As more and more consulting companies transition into web design, and college students are looking to make more money, I get concerned with the good name of web designers. As a professional internet marketer, I speak to many clients who were scammed or who were taken advantage of by others who claimed they could do something when in fact they did not have the resources to fulfill their promise. In some situations, an SEO company uses unethical strategies and tactics to get great results for high rankings of very competitive search terms.
The problem is that the ranking high quickly in the search engines comes at a very high cost to you. Not only is your SEO Company charging you massive fees up front, but in short order, you could find yourself not ranking at all or even worse banned from Google due to the unscrupulous “black hat” tactics of an SEO company.
Not only is this type of intentional fraudulent misrepresentation an unethical practice, and bad business, but in many states, it is flat out unlawful. For example, in Massachusetts, making statements to induce a consumer or company to hire an SEO firm who knows they will use black hat techniques, is a violation of the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Laws, M.G.L. c. 93A § 11. If you can prove you were the victim of this, you may be able to collect 3 times the money you paid your SEO Company as well as any documented losses, such as the cost to hire a new company to do reputation repair with Google and Bing. You can also often recover your attorney’s fees.
You can generally spot these types of companies based upon unrealistic promises such as, “we guarantee page 1 ranking for all your key words” or “See immediate improvements in days”. As the old adage goes, if you hear something that is too good to be true, it probably is. Well in the search engine world, this is especially true, and the penalty for being taken advantage of by one of these unethical companies who intentionally misrepresent facts, can be years of lost sales.
If you have fallen victim to this type of scam, your first step is to fire your unethical SEO Company; then hire a new company with a proven track record; finally, contact a good consumer protection lawyer, who may be able to help you recover damages you have incurred as a result.
The foregoing article was drafted by Attorney Michael Goldstein, who practices law in Massachusetts with associates in Maryland, New York and New Hampshire. Michael is also the principal owner of VRG Web Design.