RW Lynch SEO ScamsOur team at RW Lynch has noticed a rise in SEO advertisers and here are some points to consider when choosing your advertisers. With the flood of traditional advertisers moving online, “SEO consultants” have sprung up around the country offering up big promises of moving your website up in the organic listings on the main search engines. While real SEO is a completely legitimate, and in fact completely necessary, online advertising technique, these “consultants” often sell nothing more than false promises, banking on the fact that most traditional advertisers have only a vague understanding of how SEO works. In fact, it’s estimated that millions will be lost by small business advertisers this year alone in fruitless SEO efforts.

Mainstream Business Media Sounds the Warning

The problem is so large that even mainstream business media has begun sounding the warning to educate future potential victims about how to guard against these scams. In a recent Entrepreneur Magazine article entitled “What You Don’t Know About SEO,” the magazine warns “unscrupulous SEO firms not only make promises they can’t keep, the worst of them also use shady practices that might produce no traffic, deliver the wrong traffic or even get you banned from planet Google.” Peter Kent, author of Search Engine Optimization for Dummies, is quoted in the same article saying “The SEO business is 80 percent scam. It’s very, very difficult to find a good firm.”

Even Google itself has a support article warning would-be Search Engine Optimizers against the dangers of blithely hiring a firm: “While SEOs can provide clients with valuable services, some unethical SEOs have given the industry a black eye through their overly aggressive marketing efforts and their attempts to manipulate search engine results in unfair ways. Practices that violate our guidelines may result in a negative adjustment of your site’s presence in Google, or even the removal of your site from our index.”

And they aren’t joking – as the Entrepreneur article reported: “Optimal Fusion, a Los Angeles-based marketing agency, found out the hard way. Optimal Fusion’s Bess watched a company with a popular as-seen-on-TV product wind up in a costly legal battle when an SEO firm’s ploys got them banned by Google. After more than $100,000 in litigation, $2 million in lost sales and a lot of begging and pleading, it was reinstated.”

Red Flags to Run the Other Way

Both articles are full of great tips for when to walk away from an SEO offer. You can view the full text of the Entrepreneur article here and the Google support article here.

With the additional restrictions placed on legal advertisers, it’s even more potentially damaging if an unscrupulous SEO company uses some of the standard “black hat” tactics to boost your traffic. These could include shadow domains that mislead people to visit your site, invisible hidden text, pulling traffic from “fake” search engines or spyware, operating under falsified WHOIS info, and many more.

Be smart with your business and your reputation – prepare to interview many different firms and do your homework before hiring any SEO consultant. As the saying goes, If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

RW Lynch has been a leader in ethical, effective, and cost-efficient personal injury legal advertising for over 26 years and has connected millions of potential injury victims with local lawyers through their consumer brand, the Injury HelpLine®.

To learn more about RW Lynch, or to inquire about InjuryHelpLine® subscription opportunities for your practice, please visit www.rwlynch.com or call us at 1-800-594-8940.


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