SEO Internet Fraud
SEO Internet fraud is a type of Internet scam that involves an individual pretending to be marketing specialist in order to improve the page views and rank of their clients, i.e. victim's website. SEO, also known as search engine optimization, is the manner in which a webpage received views from search results, also known as "organic" search results. As a website gains more views through search results from search engines like Yahoo or Google, it moves up the site's page rank which means as more people search and click their site, their site becomes higher and higher in search results. This is essential for success since the majority of people searching online will not go past the first page of results. Pages which receive excellent SEO, will often be viewed more often if they are higher up on the search results.
The scammer will pretend they are a marketing specialist in the areas of SEO, and claim to be able to get their website thousands more views in a very short amount of time for a fee. They often guarantee a specific number of this per month, after providing the victim with graphs and charts that supposedly show the website's previous page views and performance, but are typically either completely fake or altered significantly. The scammer then promises the victim he will make the site much more popular and higher on the search results by using his expert SEO skills.
One way the scammer convinces these website owners that his services will do the job is by providing them with a list of "references", or successful websites he supposedly worked for and are now in the top 10 or 20 search results. The victim will verify this by searching for the company, but often does not contact these webmasters about their supposed "SEO marketing specialist." Secondly, the marketing specialist makes unrealistic promises, such as listing their website on hundreds of search engines and directories, even though there are only 12 or less search engines and directories in existence. This is the first red flag that the marketing specialist is in fact just pulling a scam.
The scammer will offer his services and promise this web owner that their ranking will be in the top 10 or so, and charge a flat-rate fee such as $19.99 or possibly more. After receiving the fee, they typically make no further actions to improve the SEO of the website and simply cut off all communication with the website owner. They claim this fee "automatically" submits their website to hundreds or thousands of directories that do not exist.
Aside from the promise to submit to much more search engines and directories than even exist, other warning signs of a scam include the promise to do it in a short amount of time. Nobody can claim a website will receive a high ranking in a week, several weeks or even several months. It takes time, and there is no way to know exactly how long it will take. Guaranteed rankings do not exist as nobody has control over the search engines ranking of various websites. A legitimate SEO marketing assistant or similar professional realizes this and never makes promises he couldn't possibly keep. He may assist the web owner in ideas of how to increase page views through substantial content, correct key word usage and give advice on how to take advantage of search engine optimization.