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How to Avoid Getting Completely Ripped Off by SEO companies

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If your Google rankings have tanked or you can't seem to get to page 1, then you are probably getting ripped off by your SEO agency. This is common so be warned! Many business owners are far too naive about digital marketing and SEO and will often go with an agency that offers the cheapest price, this can and in most cases leads to less than a desirable outcome in terms of your Google rankings. Being ripped off by SEO agencies is super-common and happens more often than not. Fall for their sales pitches at your own peril.

Are you still scratching your head and wondering what’s been going on for the last couple of months with your SEO agency.

You paid them you trusted them, they said all the right things, but nothing happened, except you now have a lighter wallet.

There are many SEO agencies in Sydney and you can easily find them on Google, which is going to quote you unrealistic and ‘too good to be true’ prices when it comes to handling your search engine optimisation. They will gladly take your money and do absolutely nothing when it comes to ranking your website on Google.

Basically, they are out to rip you off with no moral conscience or business ethics. These are the types of players that bring the SEO industry into disrepute and give all of us good guys ( who practice white hat SEO) a very bad reputation. This is unfair for people like us who play by the rules and offer a genuinely good service that can really help your business become more successful.

I recently wrote an article on AdNews about this topic which you can read here.

There are hundreds of scam artist out there looking for their next victim. These people can be based in Sydney or overseas and you will never ever know unless you are prepared to meet with them and know what the danger signs are. Knowing these will help you prevent getting ripped off.

Following are some things to keep front of mind and be very aware of when speaking to your next prospective SEO agency:

1) There are so many SEO companies that say they have a Sydney presence when in fact they are based in Thailand or India, be aware of this. I actually got cold-called from one of these companies the other day who said they were in Sydney and when I asked to meet with them they said they can’t and when pressed further they eventually admitted they were overseas. These guys are real scammers so keep your eyes open. It’s preferable to deal with a local company. At least one you can visit in person.

2)  Don’t do everything via email. Get them to come in for a chat which will give you a better idea of their work ethic. Meetings are a great way to judge character and to tell if you’re going to get ripped off. If they want to do everything via email and are not even prepared to Skype you avoid them. These people are killers for small business.

The basic rule here, if you are going to avoid getting ripped off is to not align yourself with any SEO companies that offer:

  •    SEO guarantees and page 1 rankings within 60-90 days or pay on performance SEO
  •     Monthly SEO fees for around the $500 mark if you’re in a highly competitive niche.
  •     Instant SEO quotes over the phone without doing any kind of keyword research or industry analysis.
  •     Yearly or half-yearly MUST sign contracts with no exit clause.
  •     Ex-Google employees working in the company –  this is a huge trick and as I’m sure you can imagine why would a Google employee go and work for an SEO agency. The chances of this are very remote and highly unlikely
  •     If they do not offer any type of content marketing, website audit, social media marketing and are just focused on link building. This is very dangerous and know that this type of strategy is considered very old school.

Let’s examine each point individually so you have a better understanding of what to look out for:

SEO Guarantees

In the perfect world, businesses can offer warranties and guarantees on their products or services. Unfortunately, Google is the third wheel here and is in charge of the ranking process. All an SEO company can realistically provide is the vehicle that helps your website rank. This is because Google makes all the rules and can easily and without any prior warning change them at any time. Guarantees of page 1 positioning is really a scam and sold to you to lull you into a false sense of unrealistic security. Again, unfortunately, if you believe in it hard enough, and are told it time and time again, it still won’t make a difference.

Google has their hand on the controls and no amount of positive thinking or over promising guarantees will change this fact. Also, if companies say they will work till they get you on page 1 for free if they can’t rank you within 6 months, again stay well away!

These are all scams and designed to fleece you of your money.

Cheap Monthly SEO Fees

These guys are out for the fast buck. Their aim is to quote low, get you in and do little or no work. It’s simple math, if they are going to be charging you such a low SEO price, how many hours are they going to spend on your website and optimisation?

SEO, if done correctly takes many man-hours. The simple fact of the matter is that $500 is just far too cheap. Might as well throw the money down the toilet. Whilst $500 per month may not be a lot of money, if this is done in large volumes, then it becomes quite profitable for some SEO agencies who prey on the naivety of small businesses.

Instant Ball Park Quotes

Over the phone are done to surprise you with ‘so called’ great value packages and then they sign you up and lock you into a contract. $500 x 12 months = $6000, which is a lot of money, if you are getting no results. Be very careful if your SEO company tells you that they are offering special packaged deals at these silly prices.

Lock-In Contracts

This has been addressed but I will go over it again. If you are in a contract paying your hard-earned dollars every month for nothing, this is going to be financially draining with no return on investment. Not only are they difficult to exit, but think about all those lost opportunities and clients you could be bringing into the business – if only you had made the right choice from the beginning!!

None of these SEO companies has ex-Google employees – why on Earth would they leave a high paying, powerful role in Google to work in an SEO company. Yes, there may be a 1 off occurrence but the chances are very slim – these kind of statements are an outright lie – be careful if you read this or they tell you this!

Focusing purely on link building

This was a popular method many years ago but Google is looking for a more holistic approach to your internet marketing. Link building is fine if they are from relevant, trustworthy sites but this is now becoming less important. Agencies must be looking at all your digital assets such as copy, user experience, social media and your site structure. This is not so simple and only s select few will be able to have a thorough understanding of all these essential components. If the people your speaking to go on about link building and nothing else this is a really bad sign. Content and link building are the way to go so make sure they offer this service.

So What Should You Take Out Of This?

Pay peanuts and you get monkeys, simple as that. Paying a fair and respectable price for your SEO service is the best marketing move you can make for your business. If you prefer to take the low road and go for the cheaper option where guarantees are dangled in front of you like candy to a child; all we can say is you have been warned.

steven waldberg - ceo seo sydney experts

About the author

Steven Waldberg

Steven is the director of SEO Sydney Experts and is one of the founding members ( that’s over 18 years ago). He has one of the longest careers in the SEO and content marketing industry and has written for many prestigious websites, including B & T and AdNews. If you’re serious about working with someone who will dedicate 100% of himself to your business; Steven is your SEO Expert.

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