Google SEO & Search Engine Marketing Services

20 Steps To Sniff Out An SEO Scammer

Well it’s that time of week again and this Friday I feel like delivering a more relaxed post. If you’re a reader and looking for super doopa SEO advice (like is normally delivered here :) ) then this post might not be the one for you.

However, if your looking for a little bit of a chuckle at the expense of the many idiots in the SEO industry, please keep reading and join in the fun.

The SEO industry, unfortunately, is full of scammers, people who have no intention of delivering quality but instead their business model is to take your money and deliver very little in terms of tangible results.

Today I thought I would give you my top 20 ways to spot an SEO Scam, so no time to lose, here we go……

Guaranteed #1 Ranking

- OK this is a laughable promise that any real SEO would never even think about making.

Blog Spamming

- Yes folks there are companies out there who think the correct way to build links is through blog spamming and most aren’t afraid to admit it :s

Pay on Results

- Now I have to be careful when I talk about pay on results as there are some companies out there that offer pay half now half on results, however the result is never #1 for competitive terms. There are also companies out there who offer pay on results SEO full stop and there are many reasons why most are scams. SEO or real SEO is a slow process, who do you think can afford not to be paid for 6 months of solid work? Or are they simply trying to get hold of sensitive information for spam and fraud?? Be careful.

The more traffic you get the higher you rank

- Really? I thought it was the other way around. Yes these companies do send robots to your site and play it off as real traffic.

They have an insider

- They always no somebody inside who can manually up your ranking, for a price :)

No Analytics Needed

- I mean why would they need your analytics? It’s not like their going to give you an end of contract report or highlight new organic opportunities, come on.

Whats HTML?

- Yes us SEO’s are not quite as fussed about HTML and PHP as you dev’s, but any SEO who tell’s you html is not involved in the process is lying and should be avoided.

Alexa Rank is Key

- It is really surprising how many people think Alexa rankings is key to actual rankings, come on people. I have never seen a tool trusted so much that can be manipulated so easily.

Do they rank for there name?

- If the company don’t even rank for their own name their not worth bothering with, nuff said.

Organic link farming is OK

- There is no form of link farming Google agrees with and unfortunately it used by some of the big companies to generate links. My opinion is it won’t work forever and when it stops you are going to find yourselves in a little trouble. The kind of link farming I am talking about is creating thousands of domains to create links from see Artificial content networks for more details.

If you come across a site explaining they can get you instant links from their partner sites it is most likely a farm and the page your reading is most likely blocked with robots.txt.

Google indexes emails

- This is so funny but true, only 3 months ago I had a guy offering to build links for my clients, I asked him what his main methods were and he replied, mass emailing links as Google indexes the pages!!!! Now you can see why I don’t outsource.

Adwords increases rank

- Er no, but hey it makes for a great chain sale!!! Ye adwords increases rank now pay me to manage your adwords account as well :)

Adsense helps rank

- Again another shameful tactic, advising clients to use adsense as a way of increasing rank, but you must use their publisher code??? I haven’t seen this one for a couple of years but it was definitly around at one point.

Link to their partners to increase rank

- hmmm, no I don’t think so..

My best friend is Matt Cutts

Ye mine too :)

Top rankings for $10 an hour

I take it your working 24 hours a day then?? You pay for what you get in this industry. A cheap deal is normally just that.

They guarantee a 1000 new links right now

- erm link farm, spam….. I’ll say no more.

Increase rank by submitting to search engines

- I can’t believe people charge for this, either way it doesn’t work.

HTML Validation

- Right let me explain this carefully before offending the wrong people, having valid html is good, however it will not increase your ranking, SEO’s use this to sell their services and the truth is it won’t impact your campaign. This may change in the future but it currently has no bearing.

The only type of html you need to keep clean is your architecture, ensuring Google can find all your juicy content. Having said this it is good practice to keep your site as clean as possible.

Keyword targeted title optimisation

AKA adding keywords to your title tags, if this is all it took to rank a site we’d all be SEO experts.

Well there you have it my top 20! One more gripe I’d like to add that isn’t related to scammers I don’t think but it’s really annoying.

I don’t mind people emailing me about outsourcing, I am not going to take it up but I don’t mind receiving offers and appreciate you have to put yourself out there.

However…… If I get 1 more email starting “greeting of the day!!!” I am going to spam you back 100 times harder!!! No not really but stop doing it. It’s annoying and gets deleted without a thought.

So hope you enjoyed this different kind of SEOwizz post, if nothing else I hope you had a giggle and please feel free to add your own scam tips in the comments.

Line Break

Author: Tim (254 Articles)

is the owner and editor of SEO wizz and has been involved in the search engine marketing industry for over 9 years. He has worked with multiple businesses across many verticals, creating and implementing search marketing strategies for companies in the UK, US and across Europe. Tim is also the Director of Search at Branded3, a Digital Marketing & SEO Agency based in the UK.



Andrew @ webuildyourblog August 21, 2009 at 7:27 am

Just love the first one. I cannot understand how anyone can guarantee a number one spot. And I liked the last one about title tags.

The problem is there are so many who fall for such services becaseu they know ne better.

A nice Friday pm chuckle. Thanks.


Tim August 21, 2009 at 11:32 am


I know it’s kind of funny but scary at the same time, I have lost count of the amount of clients I have dealt with coming from sub standard SEO services. There needs to be some kind of SEO body, but then I guess the only ones that could authorise it are Google.

Hamza Jilani August 29, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Exactly, no one can guarantee your position on google!

“Google indexes emails” – nice one lol

All the best Tim.

Tim August 29, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Hi Hamza,

Nice to see you around, hope the site is coming on OK. We’ll have to have a chat on skype again soon :)

Bill Hazelton September 6, 2009 at 2:31 pm

Thanks for contributing. Hopefully, we can keep the Carnival moving forward. Would love to have you host the carnival at some point. Thanks again

Tim September 7, 2009 at 1:56 am


No problem, the hosting is something we could definitely look at in the future.

Matt September 25, 2009 at 9:03 am

hahah The number is the funniest. One of my old bosses, (not the company I am working for now) kept saying we should send them predictions. I kept telling him, I have a better chance of predicting who wins the superbowl before the season starts. This is a funny post. The next thing that erks me is Alexa rank. I see all these ‘SEO Tools’ that actually use it. It is almost next to pointless. The one thing I think I partly disagree with is the blog spamming. (Not saying blog spamming is good), but if you actually read the blog post and actually take the time to respond, I believe it is worth it. I feel like you kill two birds with one stone. You learn something new & you actually get a link back (may not be the greatest link back, but still something). The rel=nofollow did help destroy blog spamming a while back :), yet there are a few out there that still try it.

Tim September 25, 2009 at 1:03 pm

Hi Matt,

Thanks for the input, you’re spot on. The blog commenting is fine when, like you say, you actually read the post and leave a constructive comment. I don’t agree with automated spam, not only because it’s a pain to deal with and no follows make it pointless but because it is so easy for Google to highlight and penalise.

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: