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.

ASE Certification Patches

What’s ASE Certified & Why Does It Matter?

Use your website to explain your certifications.

In the automotive repair industry, “ASE Certified” is thrown around a lot by technicians and shop owners. But do your customers know what certification means? Do they realize not all mechanics hold certifications, and that it takes a lot of time, money, and effort to acquire proper training? We’re sorry to tell you—probably not. You have to market your certifications.

Wes Severi, a senior consultant here at Management Success!, recently spoke to Ratchet+Wrench about how shops can effectively market their training certifications to boost their perceived credibility and expertise among customers. Check out the article, and continue reading to learn more about highlighting ASE Certification on your website.

It’s ok—go ahead and brag a little bit.

Let your new and existing customers know you are committed to professionalism, continuing education, and proper automotive training. Distinguish yourself and your shop from mechanics who lack formal certification. There’s no shame in touting your accomplishments! You and your technicians have worked hard to maintain your certifications, and your customers should recognize their value. It means they can count on you for quality work and stellar service.

As Wes explains, “Marketing and promoting your shop’s training certifications is one way to generate a favorable attitude toward your business among members of the community. It demonstrates the professionalism of your facility, illustrates your core values, provides confidence in the expertise of your technicians, and improves perceptions of the level of care you’re able to offer during the repair experience.”

Posting your certifications online is critical.

The primary place customers search for information about your business is your website—it’s the tool they use to gauge your business. Therefore, posting your shop’s certifications online, along with an explanation of the certification, is critical for attracting new customers.  

Explaining your certifications can set you apart.

At MS Web Pros, we give you the opportunity to tell us about your shop when we’re building your website. One thing we ask is “what sets you apart from other shops in your area?” In our experience, not all of our clients’ competitors mention whether or not they hold any certifications, and almost none explain what those certifications mean.

You can really make your shop stand out by explaining the significance of being certified. This can be as simple as talking about the certification process as you would to a curious friend or acquaintance. Just put it in writing. For example:

“An ASE Certified technician is a mechanic who’s fulfilled the voluntary requirements for certification by the U.S. National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. To become ASE Certified, you have to have at least two years of work experience and pass at least one specialty test, and you must renew your certifications every five years. At ABC Automotive, we have technicians ASE Certified in heating/cooling systems, brakes and suspension, and drive trains. We’ve spent more than a decade of combined training hours earning these certifications, making us experts on these systems.”

If you’re Master Certified, let your potential customers know that you’ve taken a series of subject tests, and provide examples of exams you’ve  successfully passed. A test you name may be the exact service your potential customer is looking for.

Learn more about marketing your certifications!

You worked hard to earn your certifications, and your customers should understand the time and effort it takes to be an excellent automotive technician. They’ll be more likely to appreciate your expertise and respect your advice. To learn more about marketing your certifications, contact Management Success! today.


WE CARE Women's Excellence in Auto Repair Equality

Marketing to Women with Your Auto Shop Website

Female-friendly websites bring in business.

At the Management Success! Fall Convention, female automotive professionals from around the country launched WE CARE—Women’s Excellence, Careers in Auto Repair Equality—an advisory board that will work to raise awareness of the auto repair industry as a viable career path for women as well as men. Another goal is to show how the auto repair industry has changed and continues to evolve. More and more often, women are running things behind and in front of the shop counter.

According to member and shop co-owner Lacee Cunningham, “we are dedicated to helping others by offering up [our] resources for career opportunity, training, and ideas.” One way the group can help you—as a shop owner—is by providing tips for marketing to women. And they’ll tell you, an important way to attract female customers is through your auto shop website.

Find out what women want—and then deliver it.

The auto repair shop is generally perceived as a male domain, but in fact, women request 65% of the service work done on cars and spend over $200 billion on new cars and servicing each year. Women also buy more than half of the new cars in the U.S. and influence up to 80% of all car purchases. Accordingly, it pays to find out what female customers want and need—and then deliver it.

When it comes to your website and your online presence, women are more likely to engage in social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, and check review sites, such as Google and Yelp, before choosing an auto shop. Therefore, it’s important to respond to your reviews and engage your customers on social networking sites. Your happy female customers are likely to tell their friends and family members about your shop online.

In addition to having a fresh and attractive looking website, it’s helpful to include personal information about yourself and your employees. This makes you “real” to potential customers. Pictures and education points also establish your authenticity.

Make your mama happy.

It does take a little effort, but marketing to women pays off in the long run—with repeat business, future referrals, and an increased viable customer base. What a huge return! And all you have to do is “make your mama happy.”

Here are some websites we’ve designed for WE CARE members:

Aardvark Automotive

2nd-to-None Service

Knight’s Automotive Repair

Ultimate Truck Service

Equipment Experts, Inc.

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.