There are a lot of SEO companies out there, and many of them are selling meaningless fluff and ripping you off. Some of what they sell is not just useless – it’s actually harmful to your search engine rank!
“We submit your website to search engines”
First of all, you don’t submit your website to search engines. You can submit a well-crafted sitemap that will help search engines crawl your site, but they will discover and index your website regardless of this. Search engines are not directories that you place links in.
“We guarantee xx page rank”
Steer clear of any company that guarantees a particular rank. I understand that savvy business owners want some kind of guarantee for their investment, but the hard truth is that no one has any control over what rank Google will assign you after they crawl your site. Search engines determine your rank by comparing a variety of factors on your website to those of your competitors’ websites for a given search term. You can’t pay Google for a particular rank, and the algorithms used to determine how you should rank change very frequently in order to maintain quality search results and keep people from cheating the system.
“We guarantee you will rank in xx amount of time”
As with the previous promise, no one can guarantee how long it will take search engines to rank your website. Search engines like Google periodically crawl websites to review any changes that may have been made. This doesn’t occur on a set interval, and there is no way to predict when it will happen. If you’re extremely lucky, your new optimization will be noted in a week. It will more likely take weeks or even months for your rank to change.
“We will get you thousands of links to your site”
This is dangerous and will actually hurt your rank. Any company or individual who makes this claim is placing links to your website on a bunch of irrelevant blogs. This is a blackhat SEO tactic known as link farms, which Google frowns upon. If Google discovers link farms linking to your website, they will penalize you by either reducing your rank or banning you from search results entirely. It is difficult and takes a great deal of time and work to recover from such a penalization. Quality link building takes time.
“We have a guy inside Google who will get you xx rank”
First of all, it doesn’t work like that. Google employees don’t “set” ranks for websites. Google has highly advanced machines running software that crawls websites for potential search terms, compares them to other relevant websites, then uses complex algorithms to automatically calculate ranks from a variety of factors. Second, if such an “insider” theoretically existed and was somehow able to get you a certain rank, they could go to jail for a long time if caught. Why would someone risk that much for a few hundred bucks? Even for a few thousand? It’s the most absurd claim made on this list, but it is made more frequently than you might imagine.
The bottom line:
These types of claims are most often made by email spammers and otherwise unsolicited offers to optimize your website.
Don’t do business with any “SEO” company or individual who makes claims like these. They’re either lying to you, or are going to destroy any potential you might have for organic search engine marketing.