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How to Avoid SEO Scams: A Comprehensive Guide for Businesses

Navigating the complex world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be daunting, especially with the prevalence of SEO scams. 

To protect your business and ensure you’re engaging with reputable SEO agencies, it’s crucial to recognize common red flags and adopt effective strategies for due diligence.

Understand the Basics of SEO

99% of SEO agencies are scams. 

When it comes to off-page SEO, there are two key concepts you need to understand:

  • Authority: Determines where your website will rank in search engine results.
  • Relevancy: Decides if your website will rank at all based on its content’s relevance to search queries.

Key insights about off-page SEO:

1. Simply writing good content is not enough to secure a high ranking.

2. Authority is king. The primary pathway to achieving authority is through backlinks.

3. Quality of backlinks > quantity.

4. DIY approach = link outreach and guest posting.

Creating good content and getting discovered is the dream. But it’s hard to get this lucky when you’re a young business.

The top 1% of genuine SEO agencies possess portfolios of authoritative websites.

Experts like Grumpy SEO Guy and professionals found at Web Hosting Talk, with over a decade of SEO experience suggest that only about 5 companies worldwide meet this criterion.

Other good agencies claiming to do SEO can still help you rank, via not owning websites but having the power to get you on these websites (for a marked-up fee).

Remember, the sole objective of an SEO agency is to get you to top of search engine results for your targeted keywords.


Recognize Common Red Flags

Be wary of these common indicators of SEO scams:

  1. Guaranteed Rankings: Promises of guaranteed top rankings are often unrealistic due to the unpredictable nature of search engines.
  2. Instant Results: SEO is a long-term strategy. Be cautious of agencies promising immediate results.
  3. Lack of Transparency: Reputable agencies will provide detailed plans and reports. Avoid those that do not share their strategies or progress openly.
  4. Unsolicited Offers: Cold calls or unsolicited emails from SEO agencies can sometimes be a sign of a scam.

Key Strategies to Avoid SEO Scams

1. Educate Yourself and Your Team

Understanding the basics of SEO and keeping up-to-date with SEO best practices can protect you from falling for exaggerated claims.

2. Verify Credentials and References

Look for agencies with verifiable testimonials and case studies. Genuine SEO agencies typically have a portfolio of authoritative websites and can demonstrate measurable improvements in SEO for their clients.

3. Demand Transparency

A trustworthy SEO agency will be clear about their methods and realistic about outcomes. They should provide a roadmap of their proposed strategies and regular updates on progress.

4. Beware of Low Prices

While budget considerations are important, abnormally low prices can be a red flag. Quality SEO services require investment in skilled personnel and tools.

5. Prefer Customized Strategies

SEO is not a one-size-fits-all service. Effective SEO strategies should be tailored to your specific business needs and goals.

6. Check for Ethical Practices

Ensure the agency uses white-hat SEO techniques. Using unethical strategies (black-hat SEO) can lead to penalties from search engines, including being blacklisted.

Take Action

If you’re a purpose-driven Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) founder looking to maximize your business potential through SEO:

  • Schedule a ConsultationBook a call with us at Soodo or other SEO agencies you deem reputable, to discuss approach and ask specific questions about how they would handle your SEO needs.
  • Review Contracts Thoroughly: Understand the terms of engagement, deliverables, and exit clauses.

By adopting these practices, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to SEO scams and build a fruitful relationship with a reputable SEO agency that truly understands and supports your business objectives.


Soodo is an eCommerce Venture Builder for Purpose-driven Brands | We build & scale profitable DTC businesses.

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