Beware of black hat SEO scammers

Posted by on April 14, 2012 in Free Advice | Comments Off on Beware of black hat SEO scammers

I recently wrote at length about the six pieces of simple advice I give to web-based entrepreneurs and marketers about laying a good foundation for success on the web. Like everything in life, doing something well means taking the time to do it right. There are no shortcuts that really work, or else everyone would take the shortcut and it would become the new path. So when people tell you they can do something fast and easy when it’s usually time-consuming and difficult, you should know that it sounds too good to be true.

For instance, if you talk to a marketer or a public relations firm that promises, “we’ll get you on the first page of Google or else you don’t pay,” that should be your cue that something is wrong. If it was that easy, everyone would be on the first page of Google.

Every industry has hucksters. When it comes to e-marketing, hucksters are the people who employ black hat tactics to get easy, but fleeting, rewards. The term “black hat” refers to old westerns where you could tell who was good and who was bad based on whether their hats were white or black, respectively. In marketing, black hat tactics include offenses like bait-and-switch, comment spamming, hidden text, forced info sharing, shady affiliate programs, overloaded meta info, content scraping, inappropriate alt tags, etc.

These methods are designed to cheat the search engines. They might work for a month or even a year, but the search engines are always changing their algorithms to combat deceptive practices. Committing one or more of these sins can get your site blocked from search results altogether.

Trust me, you’d rather have moderate traffic than none at all.

I jokingly tell people that the fastest way to get rich quick is to sell get-rich-quick fantasies via informercial between 2:00-5:00 am. Hopefully, you’re bright enough to realize that those shortcut schemes wouldn’t work in real life. Why would this be any different?

UPDATE: I’ve written more on this topic: Don’t fall for instant gratification SEO scams

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