Effective search marketing is valuable for growing business. Done well, search marketing can be the most efficient and effective form of marketing available today.
However search marketing is not well understood. This opens the door to a variety of scams. From reading my junk email and talking to search marketing sales people whom our clients direct to us, search marketing scams are more prevalent today than ever. I also fear they are bagging too many clients who have no idea that they are being taken.
So avoid these common scams:
- Unsolicited emails...
Ignore all unsolicited search marketing emails. When I check the sender's email address and contact information, they often do not match. When it is possible to check the domain of the sender's email, I usually find no Web site, a Web site "Under Construction" or a Web site with a Google PageRank of 0. These are not credible organizations. Stay away.
- Guaranteed top search position...
The only way to guarantee top search positions is to buy Pay Per Click Advertising – Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing or MSN AdCenter. If the seller claims some "proprietary method" or a "special relationship with Google," run away. These are fabrications.
There are search marketing companies that do guarantee top search positions by using PPC. Make sure they are being honest with you about that. Then check your search positions to verify that the ads you are paying for are actually displaying.
- Advertising on search engines you have never heard of...
If a salesman wants you to advertise on a search engine that you have never heard of before, don't do it.
There is one so-called "search engine" that will manufacture fake traffic to your Web site for two or three months. Then a salesman will call you. He will ask you to look at your traffic reports and point to all the traffic his "search engine" is sending to your site. He claims "Advertise with him and you will have more traffic." Tell him, "no." Then look two months later at your traffic again. You will probably see that "search engine's" traffic disappeared. Don't worry. You lost nothing.
Another "search engine" wants you to buy ads that they guarantee to place at the top of searches for the phrase you buy forever, with a yearly service charge. This "search engine" has no traffic. Save your money.
- Submitting your site to "hundreds of search engines"...
Automated submissions of Web pages to search engines have long had no impact on search visibility. Despite that fact, there are many services still offering to submit your site to not only Google, Yahoo and MSN, but "hundreds of search engines." I could never find "hundreds of search engines." Can you name even twelve?
Save your money and skip services that submit your site to search engines.
Search marketing is a reputable way to grow your business, as long you entrust the job to reputable people. Demand that your search marketer's strategies are transparent to you. Don't buy into the quick and easy strategies. Effective search marketing is neither quick nor easy. There are trustworthy professionals who have made search marketing their careers. Those are the search marketers that will get you the long-term effective results you deserve.