The Great SEO Swindle

The Great SEO Swindle

man writing on glass board

If you’re anything like me, you probably get five offers for “free SEO reviews” in your inbox every day without fail. They’re always from sketchy gmail addresses, and the content is usually as vague as the author can possibly get away with. Hopefully, though, you’ve learned to ignore them by now. Of course, that doesn’t stop anybody from sending them, so somebody must be falling for it, right?

Here’s an email I received over the weekend. I’m going to go out on a limb and say the company that sent it isn’t the most legit.

Problem number one: Roger has clearly not looked at anything beyond my email address. He has no idea who I am or what I do (my “area of expertise”).

Problem number two: apparently we’re not ranking on Google. Okay, but… ranking for what? This is so vague! We’re obviously not ranking for phrases like “best bananas Liverpool” but we’re absolutely ranking for our chosen keywords. The author of this email has no way of knowing what these keywords are, so this is a lovely little scare tactic to get us worrying about our (honestly okay) ranking.

You should never say yes to a proposition like this; one which attempts to scare the recipient into spending money. SEO can be a bit of a minefield with countless unscrupulous companies out there just doing their thing and hoping to ensnare you, so how do you avoid getting swindled?


Make sure you’re getting a monthly report of SEO activities from your expert.

And (contrary to what way too many people are saying on LinkedIn) you should never have to pay extra for this. Proof that someone is doing what you pay them to do should never be a luxury. Any company worth working with should be happy to show off how good they are!


Have some ideas about what you want to rank for before reaching out to experts.

Yes, you might be hiring an expert because you don’t know SEO, but nobody knows your business better than you do! By asking customers and suppliers for suggestions and checking your website analytics ahead of time, you can’t be pushed into paying for unnecessary or irrelevant work.


Make sure you’re working with a company/individual that shares your values.

Check out our recent blog for a step by step guide on how to do this.


Ask any company you’re considering about how they plan to improve your rankings.

Much like Westworld, when it comes to SEO you’ve got black hat and white hat practices. You need to ensure that whoever you choose to work with only employs white hat practices, because anything in the realm of black hat will likely come back to bite you in future Google updates.

It sucks that there are so many people out there looking to screw over small business owners, but by investing a little bit of your time in educating yourself about their practices, you don’t have to fall prey to them.

WestCoastCo. don’t offer traditional SEO services; instead we empower you to manage your own content with marketing strategy days that cover the best ways to optimise your blog. We do operate a link building service which focuses on getting small businesses featured on relevant blogs with high domain authority. Contact us for more information.