6 Phrases Commonly Heard in an SEO Scam


We’ve discussed SEO myths before, but SEO scams are a dime a dozen nowadays. In a digital medium rife with malware, adware, bloatware, and basically any other word you can attach a –ware suffix to, it should come as no surprise that their real life equivalents are just as ubiquitous.

Your business is their livelihood, so what are the warning signs you should look out for when you’re looking for assistance with your search engine optimization? Avoid these scams like the plague with our list of 6 phrases commonly heard in an SEO scam.

“We have an inside man at Google,” or “we know the Google algorithm.”

This phrase is one we often hear from businesses that have been scammed in the past. Simply put, there is no SEO/marketing agency/freelance expert that has a relationship with Google that gives them “priority access” to the inner cogs and gears of Google.

The fact is, Google changes their algorithm so often that it’s hard to keep up with. Any company willing to tell you they have it in their back pocket, so to speak, is lying. Period.

“We take ownership of your content.”

Would you pay for something simply to not own it? You should treat any SEO agency with the same level of scrutiny. Without ownership of your content, the company can hold it (and you) hostage and possibly even sell it to someone else.

Any company telling you that they need to own the content to ensure its quality has ulterior motives at play, and you should steer clear.

“Our SEO strategies are confidential/a trade secret.”

Let’s be clear—any marketing agency should be able to tell you exactly what their strategy is, how they’re going to implement it, and how they’re going to measure it. If their SEO tactics require secrecy on their part, it most likely means they utilize techniques categorized as “black-hat” which will get your website removed completely from search engines.

Considering that is the very opposite of what you would hire them to do, never be afraid to inquire what their strategy entails.

“Top ranking within XX hours!” or “Lowest price for SEO, guaranteed!”

Basically, any company willing to guarantee you a result within a given deadline is promising something that isn’t possible, and is preying on your desperation.

Aside from this, you already have top rankings under specific search queries. Guaranteeing you these rankings means nothing more to them than taking your money, showing you a high-result you already had, and calling it a day.

“X amount of directory links for $XX.XX!”

Link building is an integral part to giving your website authority on a given topic. Without bordering into the technical jargon that can be confusing, it’s one of the tools necessary in out-ranking competitors and involves becoming the source of information other sites look toward.

When an SEO tactics commodotizes this integral part of an SEO strategy, it should throw up a red flag. Ask yourself—would Google really make it that simple (or cheap) to rank at the top.

Your answer should always be an emphatic “no.”

“Try us out for free!”

It sounds good in theory, but developing a solid SEO strategy is a very involved, time-consuming process that requires a ton of work on the back-end of a website and solid content curating. So much, in fact, that any legitimate company wouldn’t want to do it for free, much less offer to do so.

Not to mention, SEO requires unprecedented access to your website. If you were to be unsatisfied with their trial, locking down your website from further access can end being a lot more work than just changing a username and password. And scam artists are always looking for a way to exploit others.

Great content is the first rule of any worthwhile SEO strategy, though it is not the be-all, end-all solution for your marketing plan. Rather, it is a piece of a larger puzzle in your brand. If you’re ready for the challenge, take the first step toward total control of your marketing plan, learn the ropes from a reliable source, and partner with an agency that wants your success above all else.