I found This Guide to becoming an SEO Scammer, which can give you some tell tale signs the person you may be about to do business with or may already have gotten in bed with could be scamming you.
How to spot an SEO Scam
In this post I’m going to lay out the Anatomy of the SEO Scam and how to identify an SEO scam when you see it in the form of a beginners guide to becoming an SEO scammer.
Step 1. Don’t let the fact that you know nothing about SEO hold you back. Sure you could at least get a primer by reading some of the newbie blogs. Or if you’re really interested you could read the best Search engine forums and all the important blogs of SEO experts daily and (God forbid!) actually go out and rank for something in the search engines. But all that’s really overkill for running the SEO scam. All you really need are some buzzwords like “meta tags,” “crawler pages,” “doorway pages,” and “premium placement.”
Step 2. Buy a domain with the word SEO in it and fake a page rank 7. Alternatively, you can purchase a link to your domain from a page rank 8 that transfers page rank for about $400 a month. Copy some other SEO firm’s site (that doesn’t have a blog) almost verbatim – make sure you change the colors and the contact information. You will of course show this site to your prospective clients and point out your Google page rank. Don’t worry about the fact that you don’t actually rank for anything in any of the search engines, or the fact that no legitimate SEO has ever quoted or linked to anything you have written – you can double talk your way around that.
Step 3. Get the word out that you are an SEO. Make business cards and tell everyone you know. Once you have business cards, you are by definition a “Professional SEO.” I don’t have any business cards so I am NOT a professional SEO. Remember, almost all of your business will have to come from your offline hustling – because no one is going to find you online.
Step 4. Go to non SEO trade shows. Steer clear of Adult, Gambling, Pharma and Technology Related Shows– they are, on the whole, too savvy to pitch. I would throw Mortgages in their too, but you can definitely find some mortgage brokers who
a) don’t have a clue and
b) have money to waste.
A fool and his money are soon parted. – Thomas Tusser
Tell everyone you meet at these shows that you can get them a top 10 placement in Google and the other search engines. Get their cards and call them until they agree to meet with you. Your prime targets are people with decent sized business who know nothing about Search except that they heard about “Google or Something like that on the news”.
Step 5. If you have to, whip out the yellow pages and start dialing for dollars.
“Hi this is Mike Jones, I’m trying to find it . . . what is your companies web site address?”
Then pull their site.
“Oh, it looks like the Search Engines are having problems finding your site. Who should I talk there about fixing that problem – the President right? What’s his name? [pause] Joe? Great – Transfer me over to him. Thanks!” And so on. I could write the script, but that’s all just sales 101. Once you get rolling, you’ll be able to hire telemarketing appointment setters.
Step 6. You guarantee a top ten placement in Google, Yahoo, and MSN. How do you deliver this? If need be “with long phrases in quotes”. Do not guarantee that you will rank for any important search phrases that people actually search for or that have any traffic. Do not do pay for performance or ever agree to work for a piece of the increase in revenue.
Step 7. You tell them that because you know people at Google, you can get them premium placement at the top of Google Searches. This is of course doublespeak for selling them Google Adwords.
Step 8. You charge $1500 per month with a 12 month contract + 25% of PPC spend and a 50% markup if they want analytics software like clicktracks (basically for installation). If you think you can get more, then get more. But never work for less than this. If you need a contract or two, just contact some of the big SEO chop shops who don’t have anyone you’ve heard of working there. Tell them that you are interested in their services and want a proposal (you may need to purchase an extra domain and throw up some crappy web site for this). After you get the proposal, do a find and replace. If there is anything about link bait, viral marketing, natural links, buyouts and 301s, footprints, content generation or delivery, affiliate programs, building communities, blogging, networks, interlinking, building a site that someone might actually want to find, or any legitimate SEO strategies that you don’t understand, just take it out. Don’t worry, odds are the SEO you contacted won’t have mentioned any of these.
Step 9. When you meet with the customer, don’t be afraid to lie and over promise to close the deal. As long as your contract does not lie or over promise, you are covered.
Step 10. After the Contract is signed, make sure you get that first check. Do some on page optimization (if you know how – if not just guess), sign up for PPC programs, do a few press releases and buy them a few links – but not all at once. Stall this process over of a 16-20 week period. If they ask about results, just tell them that these things take time. If they persist, show them how they rank for a certain “search term with their company name in quotes” and talk about the next Google update.
Step 11. Send them some keyword reports, traffic graphs and their Adsense reports and ASK FOR REFFERRALS! Ask early. Ask Often.
Just close one of these deals a month and you’ll be making over $200k per year after expenses. You will have to close slightly more once you have hired your telemarketing appointment setters.
Hopefully this guide will be used more to help people avoid being ripped off by an SEO Scam, but of course I know better. As PT Barnum said (or didn’t):
There’s a sucker born every minute.
How to spot an SEO Scam
perhaps I will add some of the companies I have looked into when one of my clients has asked me too. but I will not go that far with this. If you would like us at Condor Marketing to help you or to run a check on any seo optimization companies that may have contacted you let us know
Original article posted March 26th 2006 and people still fall for it.
The original below is titled Make $200k + a year running an SEO Scam