Avoid These Types of SEOs

Imagine you’ve just paid thousands of dollars to have your business website built. The end result is gorgeous and ready to convert viewers into customers.

There’s only one problem.

The site designer hid his keywords and titles in the code of your page in order to increase his own search rankings. Your pretty new site is now advertising someone else’s business on the search engines, without your knowledge or consent. Outrageous, but true.

With millions of websites out there, you may be in the market for a talented Search Engine Optimization expert (SEO) to help boost your rankings. Before you pay thousands of dollars for that expertise, make sure that you’re getting the best value for your money.

I sat down with Joe Khoei of SalesX, an SEO and Google certified AdWords consultant, and discussed some of the best and worst strategies. Below are the SEOs you should avoid.

The Guarantee Maker

This SEO talks smoothly and promises you top-of-page placement in search results. He may have tons of clients he’s done this for successfully. However, that placement is meaningless if no one else is searching for that phrase.

Top of page placement is possible with popular keywords. It’s likely that will cost you, though. That kind of placement is usually achieved organically or through purchase of an AdWords campaign.

The White Liar

This SEO is a magician, the master of misdirection. Those 28,000 hits on this month’s report may seem super impressive, but they are actually page views. Those numbers might include your employees, your web designers and site managers, and you, if your SEO has not excluded those IP addresses. The number that really counts is the amount of unique visitors or “uniques”. Those are the new or returning people that visit your site who could be converted into clients.

The One Hit Wonder

This strategy focuses primarily on submitting your link to other sites and directories. Since Google’s algorithms place a good deal of emphasis on the number of links to your site, it appears to be a valid strategy. However, there’s a huge difference between a submitted link and a granted link. Most directories require a reciprocal link to the directory in order to list your site.

Some SEOs take the lazy route and pay backlink sites that do the submission work for them. Getting links just for the sake of getting links adds little value to your site or its ranking in search engine results. It’s better to invest in building relevant links from credible sources.

The Spammer

We all know spammers. Spam sites, software, and comments are not limited to shady scammers. Sometimes large, legitimate businesses use spam to generate traffic. Google does its best to prevent this kind of behavior, as evidenced by what happened to J.C. Penney earlier this year. Using doorway sites which basically collect links, the retailer claimed top rank on various searches from “dresses” to “Samsonite carry on luggage”. When Google caught on, J.C. Penney fell drastically in the ranks.

Some spammers will set up a machine with proxy software. The program runs for a few hours and the proxies mimic legitimate visits to a site. These fake hits have no value for the site owner, and only serve to exaggerate the numbers. In the end, you wind up trading a high number of fake hits for actual impressions and real sales. “Spamming is seriously bad karma,” says Joe.

The Black Hat Schemer

These so-called “black hat” techniques are ethically questionable. But using shadow domains are the riskiest strategy by far. This practice will get you de-indexed if you’re caught. Shadow domains deliver legitimate but fraudulent search engine traffic. In these cases, a webmaster sets up a cloaked site that is similar to the site that needs traffic. A cloaked site appears one way for search engine spiders (stuffed full of keywords) and another way for users (an invisible redirection to the main site). The entire goal is to direct traffic to the main site.

This method of tricking the search engines can improve your search ranks, but all it takes is one person turning you in. You won’t lose rank like J.C. Penney did; your site will be removed from Google listings altogether. If you can’t be found, you can’t make money.


“Linkbuilding takes time,” says Joe. “It is a LOT of work to find relevant link opportunities. It means thoroughly understanding the client, their goals, and their market online.” If your SEO avoids these practices and makes it clear how much time and effort is involved to build rank, you’ve got a keeper.

“Remember,” says Joe. “Patience is the keyword.”

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