Five SEO Curse Words That Signal You’re Being Scammed

We’ve got some “curse words” here at Foster Web Marketing, words that the SEO team keeps on a whiteboard in their office as a reminder to the team of what not to say—ever. Here’s the list:

  1. Automated
  2. Guaranteed
  3. Cheap
  4. Paid Links
  5. Foolproof

Now, why do these words make them so crazy? I sat down with Zach Stone, our senior SEO and marketing strategist, to discuss this with him. He’s pretty passionate about the work he does for clients and the scams he sees other marketers try to push. We want you to hate these words as much as we do when it comes to marketing, and here’s why.

"Automated"

If something is automated it means that it is a short cut. Taking short cuts is an easy way to get burned not only in marketing, but with anything you do. This is a term commonly used by marketing companies that sell link-building schemes.

If you’re looking for the easiest, cheapest way to do something, then you’re not looking out for your business and you are not thinking about your brand. Step back and look at your desire to automate your marketing and ask what that really means. Are you trying to game the system? Do you think you’re smarter than all the engineers and PhDs at Google and Bing? Are you really going to produce a great product, a sustainable web presence, an awesome customer experience—with automation?

If automation was the way to go then we would not need smart, creative marketers like Zach and the rest of our SEO team. We’d turn on our robots and all go have a beer (you can see our junior SEO Matt trying to build a robot at the bottom of this page).

Not only that, but if it was that easy everyone would be doing it, and it would be working.

AJ Kohn at Blind Five Year Old on automated link building…

Don't automate link building

Paul puts automated link building in perspective here…

The days of automated link building should be dead now.

"Guaranteed"

With over 200 organic ranking factors for Google there just is no way anyone can guarantee results. If they do, they are likely using some kind of cheap trick that will work until they get your money. Any SEO maven worth his or her salt can get any website to rank well in Google for a handful of terms—for a short time.

When you ask your marketing partner for guaranteed results, you ask them to get you on page one at any cost. They’ll use every black hat tactic in the book to get you there, because they want your money. They don’t care about the long-term health of your business! Again, I ask you—do you think that you or that person offering you a guarantee is smarter than all the PhDs working at Google? You want to bet on that with your business’ website and future?

From Google’s own page on “Do You Need an SEO?

There is no 'priority submit' to Google.

Once you pay up you will get found for doing something shady by Google and then you’ll be in a worse spot then you were before, with less money to work with. You’ll have to pay somebody else to clean up all the mess! We know, because a big part of our own business is cleaning up messes from clients who fell for guarantees, and now are struggling to recover their websites.

One of our clients is paying us to clean up links from these fools…

"Cheap"

There are certain things in life you just don't buy for cheap. For example, I have good tires on my car because I want to be safe on the road in any kind of weather. The risk of an accident or blowout isn’t worth saving a few bucks on substandard wheels. SEO and marketing in general is expensive because when it is done right real people are making the necessary updates, tweaks, and edits—real people who know your business and are working with you to help build your business.

This just isn't cheap. For the same reason you wouldn't want to buy the cheapest car out there. You know something is wrong and it is just a matter of time before it breaks down. There are plenty of reasonably priced cars that will get the job done, and if you want something that will really last and impress the neighbors you’re going to have to pony up and pay a pretty penny. Same goes for your marketing. You want to build a robust business and get the best clients? You need to be serious about your marketing investment.

D’oh! We’ve been doing marketing wrong all along! All it takes is $300 a month to rank on Google, Bing and Yahoo. Hooray!

"Paid Links"

If you pay money for links, you’re getting links to your website because you have money, not because you have an awesome website with helpful content. Why would Google or Bing want your site to rank just because you have cash? Remember: the search engines are interested in returning the best possible results for web visitors. If they serve up results just because you paid for them, people will go elsewhere for better information.

Don’t believe us? Check out this video by the head of the Google webspam team, Matt Cutts:

"Foolproof"

Didn’t your mother ever tell you that life is not fair? That’s kind of how we feel about this word. Anybody who is selling you a foolproof way to do anything, be it an investment strategy or a way to rank on page 1 of Google, is full of…well, you know.

There is no such thing as foolproof marketing, just like there are no guarantees. Yet we see this word all the time in sales pitches, be it scammers selling a website or directory that is a “foolproof” way to get clients, or a “foolproof” way to get to the top of the search engine results. Just like with those guarantees, if it were that easy everybody would be doing it.

The only “fool” in “foolproof” is you, if you part with your hard-earned money for a foolproof marketing scheme.

Ok, now do you hate those words too?

All this can seem daunting. How are you supposed to find a good marketing partner? I definitely encourage you to read this page from Google, “Do You Need an SEO?”

Unfortunately, our awesome SEO team does not provide marketing or SEO services for businesses that don’t have a website with us. However, you can either contact us on how to become a client, or you can get our team to give you a free analysis of your website, which we’ll review with you on a one-on-one call.

Our Junior SEO and super-nerd Matt Casey working his Lego robot with our COO Buster Tate. Once Matt gets it working, we’ll start on an automated, foolproof way to get paid links that will guarantee you page 1 results on Google…for cheap! (Just kidding!)

Foster Web Marketing Team Building Robots

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