If you’re involved in the marketing and/or management of a business, you would have most likely received an email regarding “We can rank you position 1 on Google”. The most suitable term for these people would be “Poachers” – They essentially send out mass emails to a list targeting businesses with websites, social media, and Ad campaigns.
The offer may appear appealing at the beginning, anyone with a website has the goal of reaching the top rank, it’s the money spot. Due to this there are businesses that jump on the proposed offers, and will end up extremely disappointed once locked into a rolling contract.
The process often works like this:
1) Send out a mass email with a lucrative sounding offer, enticing businesses to agree on receiving an initial audit report.
2) The poachers will use any free SEO auditing tool to crawl the website and nit-pick any “issues” that appear. They will then list on the report any minor issues that are picked up from the audit and exaggerate to the business creating worry. As they are not an Online Marketer they know no better and their main concern is dealing with the “issues” presented to them.
3) Once a sense of concern is presented by the business, a poacher will then bombard them with technical jargon and more reports highlighting exaggerated issues. Due to this they may agree to go with the SEO services offered and move the control over.
4) Often the agreed offer is a 3, 6, or 12 month contract, locking them into a large payment. Once the contract is signed and agreed the actual service the business receives is of poor quality and the points raised are not worked on. The poacher may use black hat techniques (A term for SEO methods outside of Google guidelines) to bring in traffic, fulfilling the “improvement” on the reports. This traffic will more often than not be fake clicks to present the sense of a job well done.
5) After the contract is over, if the business wishes to renew then the same service will be provided, never actually improving the ROI as the statistics are faked. If they cancel then the transfer process can be disorganised and damaging to the site. Due to the black hat techniques worked on, there is a high chance of receiving a Google penalty.
This scenario is one of the worst cases, but it is so common in the industry. There is much more to SEO than ranking page one and I would advise anyone considering SEO to research and trust the supplier before agreeing to any form of contract. If you believe you have been victim to a poacher then please feel free to get in touch on 01202 677 277 to discuss your website and SEO, we would be more than happy to help.