This is so common, we literally had to make an entire page on our site about…

SEO Scams

Inform yourself. Learn how SEO really works. Don’t waste money on snake oil salesmen.

Here is how Search Engine Optimization really works

Before you read about what to avoid, here’s how SEO really works. It’s not complicated. There are no “trade secrets” to learn. Google literally publishes their own guides on what they look for in websites, and how to show up higher, organically.

Please note, we’re broadly summarizing this, and paraphrasing what Google has on their own Search information page. If you’re interested in learning more about how search engine optimization works, block off 30 minutes, and learn it from Google themselves. (It’s worth it, if you’re curious and want to know what we are doing.)

Your domain (website) is like anything else, and search engines know how long you’ve been around. The longer you stay in business, the more credible you are, and the more likely you are to rank higher organically.

We use Google Search Console to index every page on your site. It’s a simple tool, and Google gives you everything you need to submit a sitemap there. It’s literally made by Google.

Does the stuff on your page match your menu, hours, and items you serve? Is it easy to navigate? Are you using the correct header tags? Is it mobile friendly? Are you using the correct schema tags? Awesome. That was easy.

This is an underrated element of your website, and you shouldn’t ignore it. How quickly does your site load? There are tools out there you can use to measure load times, but basically, faster is better.

When other website share your pages, because they are informative or useful, those are called backlinks. Backlinking is the hardest part of SEO, because if you’re doing it correctly, you don’t have much control over it.

Make sure your site doesn’t have any buggy javascript, and then repair any links that may be broken. A 404 message is something you want to avoid.

If something is an address, it should in an address structure. A phone number should exist within a phone button. Your address should be labeled as a navigation point. Once again, this is simple stuff.

We use a program called Yext, and it allows us to make sure all of your business information is the same, everywhere you’re listed. It also allows us to see reviews, respond to them, change hours for holidays, etc. We highly recommend this, as it does help, but it’s an optional service.

Here are some common scam terms. Mix and match as you see fit.


“We guarantee you’ll rank on the first page of Google!”

Simply put, no one can guarantee this, unless they’re talking about some bizarrely specific phrase that would only be found on your site anyway. Take it from Google, where they say this specifically on their website: No one can guarantee any ranking on Google.


“We have a special relationship. / We’re a Google partner.”

No. That’s not how this works. No company has any special tools, or priority access. They’re not doing anything special. They’re lying. One of our founders once had a contract working at Google — and even as a former employee, he doesn’t get any special treatement.


“We have proprietary methods and secret SEO strategies.”

This is snake oil, plain and simple. Any SEO company should be able to tell you exactly what they are doing month to month, day to day. There is no secret to link building strategy, on page content, or how they’re using your XML structure in the Search Console.


“We get you ranked in __ hours/days!”

This goes back to the first point, since no one can ever guarantee anything about Google. Unless, of course, they’re citing some obscure phrase that is found on your site, and only your site, and you’re the only search result that pops up.


“We know the Google algorithm.”

No one knows the Google algorithm. Not even Google. Internally, Google has dozens of departments that all do things differently, from Maps, to My Business, to Search Console, Ads, and more. The algorithm is dynamic, and machine controlled. No one knows the secret, because there is no secret.


“We we need optimize you for local search.”

Most restaurants, bars and cafes are already locally optimized, if you’re using Google My Business, and indexing your address correctly. People searching for services are going to be shown local results. “Optimizing for local search” is a scammer buzzword.


Google has an entire page dedicated to what you should look for in an SEO company, what they should be doing, and what to avoid.

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