Finally, Google is cracking down on Shady SEO companies! Some of you may have noticed in the last few weeks-months a reduction in calls from people claiming to work for Google. Well there’s a good reason for that. Google recently started cracking down on Shady SEO companies who falsely present themselves as Google or working for Google. Even going so far as to sue them. This is good news for Digital Marketing (Internet Marketing) companies that use honest and fair business practices, like SUGM. For a long time SCAM SEO companies were using shady tactics claiming an affiliation with google and misrepresenting themselves some even going as far as to say they were actually at Google’s HQ and threatening businesses with the removal of their listing on Google services. Below is a recorded conversation with Linda Buquet and a representative of a shady SEO company. Behold the shadyness!!
In less than 2 minutes this representative claims he’s from Google and that her listing is in jeopardy. Google discusses this misrepresentation in their Third-party policy. In fact there’s a link in the policy to report a violation of the third-party policy. This is a classic example of what types of SCAMs shady SEO companies are running.
Luckily we’ve come up with a list of things that can help when determining if you should work with an SEO company and see if they are shady or not.
- Ask if they are Google Certified and if they are willing to share with you a link so you can verify this. We recommend ONLY working companies that have employees who are Google Certified. If no one in the company is certified that’s an instant red flag.
- Ask them directly if they work for Google. Most will just hang up, but If the answer is yes, Ask them to prove it. I’ve only had a few times when Google, the real, company has called me and each time they were able to prove they worked for the company. Every Google employee has a Google+ account (to my knowledge). If you are already useing Google services you’ll have some confidential info only a google employee would know like your google customer ID or your gmail address (don’t give them any hints).
- They say they can “Guarantee you #1 placement on Google search listings”. I’ll let you in on a little secrete. The only people who have that much power and access at Google won’t be doing telemarketing calls. They will be on one of Google’s dev teams and certainly won’t be doing something that fundamentally is against Google’s business practices. They are taking advantage of the people who have no idea how google makes money.
- “Unlimited Clicks!!” From the moment you here a representative tell you they can get you “Unlimited clicks”, you should instantly reply “Fuck you!” They have essentially insulted you. Any company who says they offer unlimited clicks is a SCAM. Clicks come from Humans, using a connected device, like a computer or a mobile phone. How is it possible to get an unlimited amount of that? This doesn’t go for SEO alone, this goes for ANY Digital Marketing company. Never do business with any one who sells you “Unlimited Clicks”!
- Google the company calling you. Keep in mind their SEO rank doesn’t mean they will do good for your business, but if they can be found and have an online presence that is a good sign.
- Threatens to take away your Google listing. If someone robo calls you and threatens to take away your Google lsiting it’s probably another shady SCAM. Google is the only company that can delete Google Listings. No SEO or Digital Marketing company can take away your Google listing without your consent and involvement. Google’s got a long process when it comes to deleting entries, which is also a bit vauge. They typically delete entries that are duplicates. From our knowledge and experience even getting Google to delete the listing is difficult. If you or your Digital Marketing company owns your Google Listing you’re very safe from anything negative happening. If you haven’t claimed your listing then you may want to do so, search for a Digital Marketing company like SUGM and they should be able to help.
- The rep doesn’t know what SEO is. In the above call. That rep after seeing the company name and what she does should of realized at best she would be a competitor not a client. Any sales rep that doesn’t know what SEO is doesn’t deserve any further communication, and that goes for all sales reps in marketing.
- Doesn’t know the difference between SEO and SEM. Most Advertising Agencies won’t know this and it’s clearly a litmus test letting you know who is knowledgeable and who is an iddiot who will probably waste your money. I used to work at a company where I was the only one in the sales force who clearly knew the difference (they made millions and still do to this day). Here’s a quick explanation of SEO and SEM. SEO is about Search Engine Optimization. SEO deals with the technical interpretation of a website by a Search Engine. SEM is Search Engine Marketing. SEM deals with the money side of search results. SEM is the reason Google is a multi-billion dollar search engine. SEM deals with people bidding for top placement on a search result.
- Keyword research is pretty critical in SEO. If they aren’t doing any research for you or can’t etch out some quick ideas on what you should be targeting you may want to forget about working with them. You may already have some keywords you want to show up with let them know about that and see if they can expand on them. With that said many companies won’t do research for you without 1st being a client. In those cases just ask them what their process is like. The important thing is that they actually do Keyword Research.
- Your Competitiveness. All Digital Marketing firms should be able to tell their clients about their competitive place. I usually let my clients know who showed up in a google search. I read off names and usually my clients know at least 3 of the companies in the top listings. From there the rep should be talking to you about what you could do to become competitive which would mean signing up. If they don’t or can’t talk to you about your competitiveness then you’re wasting your time, hang-up.
Follow at least half of this list and you should be in good shape. Especially if the only thing you did is follow the 1st tip.