My ever-trustworthy Snake Oil Detector registered a big one last week after I was approached by an online retailer with questions about search engine optimization (SEO).
Turns out they’d recently launched their Website and were shopping around for some much needed SEO help. They had been speaking with another firm that purported to do SEO work, and they were a bit suspicious of what they heard. Turns out they had every right to be.
When I did a bit of digging, I uncovered one of the most egregious scams I’ve come across in a while.
The main business of the other SEO firm (hereinafter referred to as “Scamco”) is designing Websites. Nothing wrong with that, of course. But here’s what is.
The Websites Scamco builds aren’t search engine friendly at all. In fact, they’re great examples of what not to do if you want your Website to be found by search engines. But, and here’s the kicker, for an extra $5,000 on top of your Website production budget, Scamco will ‘optimize’ your Website.
Now hang on a second here. If Scamco knows how to build search engine friendly Websites in the first place, which they should if they offer SEO services, why don’t they just incorporate SEO best practices into the initial build of the Websites in the first place? (The answer, of course, is that this way they can hose their customers for more money.)
Which is precisely the way Scamco operates, I found out. When their unsuspecting customers, upon discovering that their Websites can’t be found in search engines, turn to their Web developer for help ‘correcting’ this, Scamco is happy to help – for the aforementioned $5,000 fee.
Don’t fall prey to the Scamcos of the world and their sleazy SEO up-sell. If you want your Website to be found by search engines, make SEO a priority component of the initial build of the Website, and insist that your Web development firm adhere to SEO best practices. In fact, make following SEO best practices a part of your initial selection criteria when choosing a Web development firm.
And if you suspect that your Web developer isn’t familiar with SEO best practices (most aren’t, in my experience), bring in a SEO consultant who is. He or she will straighten the Scamcos of the world out, and the bill will probably be way less than $5,000.