Many business owners are hounded every day by solicitors selling various services and products. Unfortunately one of those services is search engine optimization, or “SEO.” These calls or emails often are laden with promises of amazing results – hundreds of leads, first page listings, and more.

Don’t get taken for a ride! Many so-called SEO experts are taking advantage of black hat methods that will hurt you in the long run, or worse, they’re taking your money and doing nothing!

Arm yourself with the right questions to ask a potential SEO or Internet Marketing or Content Marketing firm. We’ll help you spot red flags that can help you identify when you’re being scammed.



Run away quickly! NO real SEO expert can promise to get you to the top of page one. No one. The algorithm changes so frequently on Google, first of all. Secondly, unless you’re selling a super niche product nobody else has you will be up against websites with tens of thousands of pages of content. A website can only rise in natural search listing according to its potential. A small website of 30-50 pages will not usually outrank a giant like Amazon or Forbes, if that’s what currently holds the top spot for a given key phrase.


Great, they’ll help you get to the top of the search engine. But for what, exactly? What search terms are even important to you? How could the SEO company possibly know unless you told them? Be sure you know what you’re paying for. Are they developing content? Are they helping you disseminate content on social media outlets or blogs? Are they optimizing the current pages of your site? Get the specifics in writing.


Optimization is complex and difficult. It takes Google a few days to even index your new content or site structure. If an SEO company is promising to get you traffic within hours of days, they’re not going about it the right way. There are no shortcuts, no secrets, no “insider info” that could make this possible. Period.


Be oh-so-careful with backlink strategies. Buying links or getting links in any way that is unnatural (that means anything other than your awesome content being passed around) is a Google no no. It’s a surefire way to get penalized and will hurt your ability to rank in the future, and may get you booted off search results entirely. Linking is an advanced SEO strategy that only comes from producing original content. If an SEO “expert” is offering to get you a ton of links, you need to ask how! 

Bottom Line: SEO takes time and a lot of hard work, but it is worth it when you’ve got a good partner on your side. Any good optimization firm should be able to explain to you, in a way that you understand, exactly what they’re going to do to help you gain quality web traffic. SEO is also very individual and has to have a customized approach. It is tied to your objectives, history in the search engines, and content – no one-size-fits-all program will do it.

Ready for a real, logical, results-driven SEO program? Contact Tangram Sky.