...and get yourself banned from Google at the same time
You've built a website to market your business or products. You may have spent hundreds or thousands of dollars with a web design company who promised you fantastic results, increased call volume and new avenues of profitability. Then after your site went live, you eagerly anticipated a stream of new customers to come rolling through your door because your website is so beautiful. But instead of reaching the promised land, you discovered new opportunities to exercise your patience as you waited...and waited...and waited.
Does this story sound familiar? In the movie "Field of Dreams," Ray Kinsella was driven to build a ball field because he kept hearing the mantra "if you build it, they will come."
The world wide web can be a field of dreams for those who work hard and follow the rules. But for the folks who are seeking fast wealth and immediate gains, it could very well turn into a field of disappointment and despair.
When faced with undesirable outcomes, many business owners turn to SEO experts for help. SEO is an acronym meaning Search Engine Optimization. It's not uncommon for SEO experts to promise fast results and increased search engine page rankings in very little time; even to the point of winning the prize of all search engine prizes...getting listed at the top of the first page of Google results—guaranteed!!!
The truth is, if a SEO expert is making you these assurances, they are lying to you. Nobody can guarantee a successful rise to the top of search engines results, especially Google's. As an organization, Google spends hundreds of millions (if not billions) of dollars to protect the integrity and end-user experience of their search engine. They do not tolerate anyone or anything with a "secret formula" designed to fool their algorithms in order to bump up an otherwise deserving business in their page rankings.
Yet, this is exactly what so many so called experts promise in return for significant recurring fees. In fact, experts who promise this kind of success are probably using "Black Hat" strategies which can produce very fast results, but with the extremely high risk of being banned from search engine results. This happened to a client of mine who didn't heed my warnings. He hired a SEO expert who promised to bump him up in Google's search results. A few months after engaging this clown, he received the following notice from Google. (I've hidden the domain name to protect my client.)
Dear site owner or webmaster of http://www.<domain-name>.com/,
We've detected that some of your site's pages may be using techniques that are outside Google's Webmaster Guidelines. Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.
We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines. Once you've made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration in Google's search results.
If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request.
If you have any questions about how to resolve this issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support.
Google Search Quality Team
This letter is basically telling my client that his website has been banned from Google's search results until he stops and corrects the linking schemes. The SEO "expert" he hired managed to generate 5,412 backlinks to my client's site on over 1,000 other sites in just a few months. Unnatural is right! And the cost for all this? My client paid the SEO expert over $2,000 to be banned from Google, not the results he wanted, expected, or was promised. He did however receive 16 calls from new customers because of the immediate rise to the top. Not much of a trade-off, is it?