Don’t Get Taken for a Ride by an SEO Scam Artist

Disreputable SEO companies target website owners.

We’ve had many clients contact us after receiving a call from an “SEO Expert” or “SEO Specialist,” wondering if they need website help. Often, the expert has told them they’re not ranking well for certain key words and phrases, and that he or she can help improve their rankings. Other times, the expert claims he or she can provide recommendations for improving social media presence. For example, here’s part of an email received by one of our clients:


“I’ve been doing a ton of research on your online presence and noticed that you in particular have a ton of opportunity to make social media and these customer review sites really work for you to spread word of mouth! These are the sites people go to when they are deciding where to spend their money, so it is imperative that you look as good as possible. I noticed that there are a bunch of tools that you can be using that can make it a lot easier for people to find you. By using these sites in the right way you can gain exposure to more, local potential customers.

I would like to schedule a free consultation with you to cover your social media presence and pass along some specific recommendations, tailored to your business, on how you can make the most out of these sites.”

So the question is, “Are these guys for real, or are you being targeted by an SEO Scam Artist?”

Unfortunately, a growing number of disreputable SEO companies and SEO scams are targeting naïve website owners, generally promising a huge improvement in rankings and online presence in a very short amount of time. Here are some of the most common claims made by SEO scam artists:

I can get you a #1 ranking on Google. When it comes to organic search engine results (rather than paid ads), no one can guarantee a #1 ranking.

I have a special relationship with Google. No SEO company gets “priority” or any other kind of favoritism with Google.

I’ll give you a free trial period. No legitimate company provides SEO services for free, and by giving your username and password to anyone, you are risking your site’s performance and integrity.

I’ll submit your site to dozens/hundreds/thousands of search engines. There’s no benefit to submitting your site to the dozens/hundreds/thousands of search engines that nobody uses.

I can’t disclose my SEO secrets. There are no SEO secrets, just a lot of involved and (oftentimes) tedious work. If an “expert” says they have a secret SEO strategy, they may be using black hat techniques, which can get your site banned by major search engines.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Along with these, there are many other tactics used by SEO scam artists, but in most cases, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So when someone calls you or emails you out of the blue, always be cautious. Think about it this way: the “SEO Expert” found you online, which means you do have a web presence.

Don’t Risk Falling Down the Google Rankings…

If your site’s not responsive, it’s time for an upgrade.

For quite a while, Google has made clear its preference for responsive web design, but never claimed to rank any particular URL format above another as far as SEO goes. Now, it looks like Google may actually demote websites that aren’t mobile-friendly. So if you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution, how about going responsive in 2015?

With responsive design, a website’s URL and HTML code stay the same regardless of the type of device (desktop, tablet, or mobile) it’s being viewed on, but the display renders differently—i.e. “responds”—based on the screen size. You can count on perfect readability on any device, along with a well-structured appearance. (Check out our blog “So What’s the Deal with Responsive Sites?” for a more in depth discussion of responsive design.)

Google prefers responsive websites over redirects.

As an aspect of its overarching goal to improve the internet user experience, Google has rolled out several ranking updates that favor responsive sites over non-responsive sites. According to Google, having one URL makes it easier for internet users to interact with a webpage and enables Google’s “algorithms to assign the indexing properties to your content.” It’s also more efficient when Google is crawling your content because Google doesn’t have to crawl multiple pages.

In the past, we offered clients a mobile redirect, which essentially transferred mobile users to a different version of your website that we formatted for mobile use. While having a mobile-friendly option is good, it’s not the same as having a responsive site. A responsive redesign involves putting your website on an entirely different platform, not just changing the HTML code.

Happy New Year! Happy New Website!

Don’t let your website ranking fall in the New Year. Talk to your service advisor about a responsive redesign. When your website works, you work.

Computer & Notepad

Writing for the Web Goes Old School

Get Back-to-the-Basics when writing web content.

In your search for a web design company, you’ve probably heard that SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is important for ranking on Google and other search engines. In fact, SEO has been a buzzword (or “buzz-acronym”) in the digital marketing industry for years. While the term SEO will likely stick around, the way sites are optimized for search engines has changed significantly. You might even say SEO has come full circle—we’re back to the basics.

What’s old school about modern SEO?

SEO generally means focusing content from a keyword perspective. You do some research, find out what people are likely to search when they’re looking for a particular product or service, and build your content around those phrases. The problem with this approach is that you can quickly wind up with awkward, hard-to-read content that doesn’t sound natural at all. Who wants to read something that feels like it’s been written for a machine rather than a person?

And Google doesn’t like to be made a fool. More and more frequently, Google has changed its search algorithms and penalized sites that are stuffed with keywords.

So it’s time to get back to the basics. Rather than focusing on keywords, it’s best to write clear, user-friendly content that will connect with your target audience. Don’t worry—you’ll naturally use the same words in your content that your customers do when they’re searching for auto repair or service in your area. You’re your best keyword generator.

It’s also important to regularly update your content, which can easily be done by staying on top of news and developments in the auto repair industry. Search engines look for content that is current, so even if you start out with excellent content on your site, you do need to add new items, such as reviews and blog posts, to keep your site fresh and effective.

On the web, as in life, the customer comes first.

Creative, interesting, and regularly updated content gets Google’s attention. Moreover, it gets your potential customer’s attention. So let’s get old school with content, and write in a way that’s uncontrived, friendly, and helpful to your customer.