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Last year, a very popular hosting company was emailing a bunch of our clients telling them they needed to pay to “refresh” their search engine listings every month to ensure their customers could find them in the search engine results page. While someone with several years of SEO experience (like me) might know that this isn’t necessary, I was worried that other business owners might be fooled into thinking this was something they should pay for—so I blogged about it. To this day, this is still a very well trafficked (and well converting!) blog. I guess my theory was right.
Unfortunately, these scams don’t seem to be dying down. Just this month, another email was circulated to several of our clients about search registration for their domain. The email came through as an invoice with a link to a “secure online payment” option and said:
“Don’t miss out on this offer which includes search engine submissions for [domain] for 12 months. There is no obligation to pay for this order unless you complete your payment by 4/20/2015. Our services provide submission and search engine ranking for domain owners. This offer for submission services is not required to renew your domain registration.
“Failure to complete your search engine registration by 4/20/2015 may result in the cancellation of this order (making it difficult for your customers to locate you using search engines on the web).
“You are under no obligation to pay the amount stated above unless you accept this offer by 4/20/2015. This is a courtesy reminder for [domain].
“This offer for [domain] will expire on 4/20/2015. Act today!”
I looked into the Whois data for the sender (@acceptance1754.com), and found that the domain registrar (CHENGDU WEST DIMENSION DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD.) appears to be involved in quite a number of other online scams.
But the sender isn’t the only scammy part of this email. It’s the actual email content itself, which gives business owners and other webmasters the misconception that you have to submit your website to search engines in order for them to crawl your site, and therefore, for your potential customers to be able to find it.
Why You Don’t Need to “Submit” Your Site to Search Engines
Take a look at this:
Hi. Hello. That’s Google straight up telling you that “inclusion in Google’s search results is free and easy’ you don’t even need to submit your site to Google.” Google has spiders that crawl the web all day, every day finding new web pages to put in its index. Therefore, you absolutely do not have to pay to have another company submit your site to search engines. SCAM ALERT.
If you’re worried that, for some reason, Google is not indexing your site, check by doing a Google site search for your URL, like this (where bluecorona.com = your domain name):
The Difference Between Having Your Site Indexed and Ranking
While the actually indexing of your site is automatic (unless you’ve built a site that’s uncrawlable by the spiders), getting it to rank is another story. Most people don’t navigate past page 1 of search engine results, so ideally you want to be listed on the first page for search queries (keywords) relevant to your business. But again, be wary of search engine optimization (SEO) scammers who promise you #1 search engine rankings.
Not all SEO companies live up to their promises of more traffic, better rankings, and more leads. Some SEO firms achieve results, but they do so using “black-hat SEO” techniques. These unethical strategies can hurt your website’s rankings—and ultimately your business.
Before selecting your SEO company, make sure to ask the following questions:
- “Do you adhere to search engine webmaster guidelines?”
- “How do you determine SEO success?” For (Blue Corona), we always determine SEO success by increased leads—not rankings or traffic. Who cares if you’re getting more website traffic if it’s traffic from China and you’re a local HVAC company in Bethesda, Maryland!
- “What happens if/when we part ways?” Many companies don’t let you keep your website or content—you’re simply renting it from them.
Our clients at Blue Corona are predominately small business owners who don’t have a lot of marketing budget to waste, so it pains me to no end to see scammers out there trying to take advantage of them. At the same time, I’m relieved that most of them reach out to us when they receive notices like this one—it means that they see us as their partner for all things online and not just another SEO vendor. We’re glad to be able to provide this peace of mind for their website and overall online presence, and would love the opportunity to do the same for you.
Start with a free website analysis:
About The Author:
Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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