It is funny and sad to see some SEO scams that were big back when I first started getting popular again. I think it is partly from more of the general public actually knowing what SEO is at a high level and looking for that easy win.
The old scam was to promise a first page listing in Google. This sounds great to the average person and in the end is what the goal would be, but this promise is far too vague when you consider the number of possible keyword combinations out there. It is important to understand that every possible combination of words you may type in to Google has a search demand and competitive landscape. For example, “your service nj” and “you service new jersey” are two entirely different keywords. Google is getting better at understanding semantics and treating these the same, but that is for another post. The point is that those that promised a first page listing back in the early days would not specify what the listing was for. They would find a relevant term to you, the uninformed. However, with their research they could see that nobody really searched for that term and there was no competition. So they would target your page at some long term phrase that nobody searched for and had no competition. Voila. You have paid them some amount of money that you thought was going to help your business, and what happens is you have this google first page rank for a term you think is helpful, but nothing happens. No traffic, no new customers, and you think SEO is a scam. In that case, it was.
Now that scam went away a bit because a) people in the industry knew it was a scam and called them out on it and b) search got so competitive and highly used that it was a lot harder to find these easy terms to rank for and wasn’t worth making that promise any more.
So the new twist is companies coming out and saying they have niche markets where you can instantly find top rankings. It is a new twist on the same old scam. I see ads for it in Twitter and Facebook all the time. In this instance, they are even more vague. They aren’t even telling you what the subject of the terms are, they are just saying they can find you terms that will get you instant success.
The most important thing to know when you want to do SEO properly and make a good investment, is that SEO can do great things for you, but it always takes time. If anyone offers you instant success with SEO, you should run away. The only time you can have instant success is if you have done a good job on your own in building up online relationships for your site and have a good link profile, but have just never had anyone take that strong site and aim it properly. This is a fairly rare case.
Feel free to give us a call and we can set up a plan to take you to the top of search the right way, and keep you from getting penalized by Google or getting scammed by someone that simply doesn’t know what they are doing and is trying to capitalize on the popularity of the SEO term.