How to Spot an SEO Fraud

I found This Guide to becoming an SEO Scammer, which can give you some tell tale signs the person you may be about to do business with or may already have gotten in bed with could be scamming you.

How to spot an SEO Scam

In this post I’m going to lay out the Anatomy of the SEO Scam and how to identify an SEO scam when you see it in the form of a beginners guide to becoming an SEO scammer.

Step 1. Don’t let the fact that you know nothing about SEO hold you back. Sure you could at least get a primer by reading some of the newbie blogs. Or if you’re really interested you could read the best Search engine forums and all the important blogs of SEO experts daily and (God forbid!) actually go out and rank for something in the search engines. But all that’s really overkill for running the SEO scam. All you really need are some buzzwords like “meta tags,” “crawler pages,” “doorway pages,” and “premium placement.”

seo scamStep 2. Buy a domain with the word SEO in it and fake a page rank 7. Alternatively, you can purchase a link to your domain from a page rank 8 that transfers page rank for about $400 a month. Copy some other SEO firm’s site (that doesn’t have a blog) almost verbatim – make sure you change the colors and the contact information. You will of course show this site to your prospective clients and point out your Google page rank. Don’t worry about the fact that you don’t actually rank for anything in any of the search engines, or the fact that no legitimate SEO has ever quoted or linked to anything you have written – you can double talk your way around that.

Step 3. Get the word out that you are an SEO. Make business cards and tell everyone you know. Once you have business cards, you are by definition a “Professional SEO.” I don’t have any business cards so I am NOT a professional SEO. Remember, almost all of your business will have to come from your offline hustling – because no one is going to find you online.

Step 4. Go to non SEO trade shows. Steer clear of Adult, Gambling, Pharma and Technology Related Shows– they are, on the whole, too savvy to pitch. I would throw Mortgages in their too, but you can definitely find some mortgage brokers who
a) don’t have a clue and
b) have money to waste.
A fool and his money are soon parted. – Thomas Tusser
Tell everyone you meet at these shows that you can get them a top 10 placement in Google and the other search engines. Get their cards and call them until they agree to meet with you. Your prime targets are people with decent sized business who know nothing about Search except that they heard about “Google or Something like that on the news”.

Step 5. If you have to, whip out the yellow pages and start dialing for dollars.closed-for-business-sign
“Hi this is Mike Jones, I’m trying to find it . . . what is your companies web site address?”
Then pull their site.
“Oh, it looks like the Search Engines are having problems finding your site. Who should I talk there about fixing that problem – the President right? What’s his name? [pause] Joe? Great – Transfer me over to him. Thanks!” And so on. I could write the script, but that’s all just sales 101. Once you get rolling, you’ll be able to hire telemarketing appointment setters.

Step 6. You guarantee a top ten placement in Google, Yahoo, and MSN. How do you deliver this? If need be “with long phrases in quotes”. Do not guarantee that you will rank for any important search phrases that people actually search for or that have any traffic. Do not do pay for performance or ever agree to work for a piece of the increase in revenue.

Step 7. You tell them that because you know people at Google, you can get them premium placement at the top of Google Searches. This is of course doublespeak for selling them Google Adwords.

seo-exposure-social-seo scamStep 8. You charge $1500 per month with a 12 month contract + 25% of PPC spend and a 50% markup if they want analytics software like clicktracks (basically for installation). If you think you can get more, then get more. But never work for less than this. If you need a contract or two, just contact some of the big SEO chop shops who don’t have anyone you’ve heard of working there. Tell them that you are interested in their services and want a proposal (you may need to purchase an extra domain and throw up some crappy web site for this). After you get the proposal, do a find and replace. If there is anything about link bait, viral marketing, natural links, buyouts and 301s, footprints, content generation or delivery, affiliate programs, building communities, blogging, networks, interlinking, building a site that someone might actually want to find, or any legitimate SEO strategies that you don’t understand, just take it out. Don’t worry, odds are the SEO you contacted won’t have mentioned any of these.

Step 9. When you meet with the customer, don’t be afraid to lie and over promise to close the deal. As long as your contract does not lie or over promise, you are covered.

Step 10. After the Contract is signed, make sure you get that first check. Do some on page optimization (if you know how – if not just guess), sign up for PPC programs, do a few press releases and buy them a few links – but not all at once. Stall this process over of a 16-20 week period. If they ask about results, just tell them that these things take time. If they persist, show them how they rank for a certain “search term with their company name in quotes” and talk about the next Google update.

Step 11. Send them some keyword reports, traffic graphs and their Adsense reports and ASK FOR REFFERRALS! Ask early. Ask Often.

Just close one of these deals a month and you’ll be making over $200k per year after expenses. You will have to close slightly more once you have hired your telemarketing appointment setters.

Hopefully this guide will be used more to help people avoid being ripped off by an SEO Scam, but of course I know better. As PT Barnum said (or didn’t):

There’s a sucker born every minute.

How to spot an SEO Scam

perhaps I will add some of the companies I have looked into when one of my clients has asked me too. but I will not go that far with this. If you would like us at Condor Marketing to help you or to run a check on any seo optimization companies that may have contacted you let us know

seo scam and fraud

Original article posted  March 26th 2006 and people still fall for it.

The original below is titled Make $200k + a year running an SEO Scam

How to spot an SEO Scam

SEO BS Marketing Email Reply to TownSquare Interactive

I just get tired of seeing companies like this that do not even have their own marketing in place to be found, offer companies what they do not do for themselves.

From: Sara
Sent: Monday, March 30, 2015 2:47 PM
To: support@
Subject: Townsquare Call

Hi Jay,

Thanks for chatting with me today. I have attached an overview of our services which may make sense to discuss on a call if you find yourself with sometime. I have also attached our pricing/packages which reflect what we would bill our clients (and a 15% commission to you monthly). Frankly the more lucrative option is to run billing through you (15% discount) with your opportunity to mark it up.

I have also attached a few case studies for you to review. Let me know if you would like to set up a call, I will touch base on Friday. Have a great afternoon!

Kind regards,

Hi Sara,
It is now about 12:30am my time 1:30am yours. You certainly got my attention by calling me rather than the normal spam email which I do not do. I have two questions for you.
1. Are you a principal of this company
2. If not would you consider working with me? I am a company with integrity I could use a marketing person like you.

Here is what I found in my research of the company you represent. How do you feel about this? Is it just to make a buck or do you like helping people? Would you like to?

I do and like helping others. It is not always about the dollar, it is about helping these people that so need our help to be found and helping them succeed.

I am a certified partner with Yext which your company uses but I include webmaster service and hosting for the same price you charge.
I am also “guessing” that none of what you offer is actually done by your company. But done just as a partner program since you are a radio company not an SEO company.

I am a real SEO company, I help people and I help them get more business, hence they stay with me for years. And my reviews are stellar for a reason

Personally and no offence your white label 15% is a joke. I Know about offshore marketing.

I do not care if I make money so I do. Hmmm just food for thought.

I am not personally interested in working with your company, I see it as just another company that will try to make money off of others without doing any real work. And I find that to be a sad situation.

I did like your phone persona so if you would consider working with us at Condor Marketing let me know.

To Your Continued Success
Jay Smith
Thought is reality – Physical is the illusion