5 SEO Scams to Watch Out For

Just like the multitudes of Nigerian princes just waiting to give you millions of dollars, some SEO pitches are too good to be true.  Some of these activities can be valuable if done with the right level of quality and integrity.

Here are the 5 most common SEO scams that we encounter:

1. Link Exchanges.  You know the drill, you get an email from someone that “likes your website” and wants you to link to their great travel site with certain wording.  In return, they’ll link back to you from their website.  There are several problems with this:

  1. Most of these are scams and they’ll use tricks to ensure they’re not actually sending you any value from their websites.  They do things like: use “nofollow” tags, hide the link with javascript, an iframe or Flash, assign the link to a low value placement, or simply remove the link a few weeks later when they think you’re not looking.  You can be assured that they’ve done their research and that if you go through with it, they’ll be getting more value than you will.
  2. Google has some smart people working for them; they’ll figure out that your business has nothing to do with that great travel website that links to you and the link will be re-evaluated as irrelevant and worthless.

Instead of exchanging links from random scam artists, look to your vendors, suppliers, dealers, and retail locations for links back to you.  Google pays attention to links because they treat them like real life business referrals.  You might as well get links from those you have real world affiliations with.

2. Pay per link.  “1000 links for $100!” the spam email proclaims.  Some of these links might work for a short period of time, but most of these will only hold temporary value.  Good links pass the test of time and don’t go for $0.10 to anyone who wants to purchase them.

Take a look at industry or geographically relevant directories for a handful of additional relevant links.

3. Article/Blog submission.  “10 articles per month!”.  These can get a bit of traffic but end up cannibalizing your true potential.  By spamming the internet with poorly written articles/blogs (you didn’t think they’d be any good for $5/article, did you?) you’re killing potential for future articles.  You will then have to compete with these low quality articles gathering traffic for other people’s websites instead of your own.

If there truly is a market for free information in your industry, why not provide good quality information?  And instead of building content for someone else’s website, why not build great quality articles for YOUR website that you can use to attract links and customers?

4. Forum posting/blog comment/article comment posting.  The great majority of these links pass no link equity or value.  Doing them in bulk at pennies per post is an utter waste of time and worthless in terms of traffic generation because any genuine blog, forum, or informational website will be fighting comment spam like this.

If you were to post insightful, relevant comments regarding your industry and you clearly mention your affiliation; that can be worth something.

5. Social Media post submission.  Just as in above, anything worth doing is worth doing right.  Yes, it’s easy to spam Twitter today.  That won’t be the case forever.  Even a platform that is as open as Twitter will continue to find ways to dial down the noise.  Not only that, spam is incredibly apparent on social media platforms, because purveyors of spam never take the time to do a good job of hiding the fact.

If you’re going to engage the public on social media, have a purpose and a game plan that’s relevant to your audience.  Otherwise you’re just going to be wasting your time.