Make $200K+ a Year Running the SEO Scam

Let’s face it. Most SEO is scam. Is it fair to say that 80% of the people selling Search Engine Optimization services have neither the knowledge nor ability to deliver good value to their customers? I think so.

If someone could take your crappy site and rank it for Viagra, Poker or Mortgages, why the hell would they do it for you? Why wouldn’t they just do it themselves and keep all the money?

So, while you’re trying to figure out how to get up to $100 a day in adsense, these SEO Scam shysters are raking in more than $200K per year.

In this post I’m going to lay out the Anatomy of the SEO Scam and how to identify an SEO scam when you see it in the form of a beginners guide to becoming an SEO scammer.

Step 1. Don’t let the fact that you know nothing about SEO hold you back. Sure you could at least get a primer by reading some of the newbie blogs. Or if you’re really interested you could read the best Search engine forums and all the important blogs of SEO experts daily and (God forbid!) actually go out and rank for something in the search engines. But all that’s really overkill for running the SEO scam. All you really need are some buzzwords like “meta tags,” “crawler pages,” “doorway pages,” and “premium placement.”

Step 2. Buy a domain with the word SEO in it and fake a page rank 7. Alternatively, you can purchase a link to your domain from a page rank 8 that transfers page rank for about $400 a month. Copy some other SEO firm’s site (that doesn’t have a blog) almost verbatim – make sure you change the colors and the contact information. You will of course show this site to your prospective clients and point out your Google page rank. Don’t worry about the fact that you don’t actually rank for anything in any of the search engines, or the fact that no legitimate SEO has ever quoted or linked to anything you have written – you can double talk your way around that.

Step 3. Get the word out that you are an SEO. Make business cards and tell everyone you know. Once you have business cards, you are by definition a “Professional SEO.” I don’t have any business cards so I am NOT a professional SEO. Remember, almost all of your business will have to come from your offline hustling – because no one is going to find you online.

Step 4. Go to non SEO trade shows. Steer clear of Adult, Gambling, Pharma and Technology Related Shows– they are, on the whole, too savvy to pitch. I would throw Mortgages in their too, but you can definitely find some mortgage brokers who
a) don’t have a clue and
b) have money to waste.
A fool and his money are soon parted. – Thomas Tusser
Tell everyone you meet at these shows that you can get them a top 10 placement in Google and the other search engines. Get their cards and call them until they agree to meet with you. Your prime targets are people with decent sized business who know nothing about Search except that they heard about “Google or Something like that on the news”.

Step 5. If you have to, whip out the yellow pages and start dialing for dollars.
“Hi this is Mike Jones, I’m trying to find it . . . what is your companies web site address?”
Then pull their site.
“Oh, it looks like the Search Engines are having problems finding your site. Who should I talk there about fixing that problem – the President right? What’s his name? [pause] Joe? Great – Transfer me over to him. Thanks!” And so on. I could write the script, but that’s all just sales 101. Once you get rolling, you’ll be able to hire telemarketing appointment setters.

Step 6. You guarantee a top ten placement in Google, Yahoo, and MSN. How do you deliver this? If need be “with long phrases in quotes”. Do not guarantee that you will rank for any important search phrases that people actually search for or that have any traffic. Do not do pay for performance or ever agree to work for a piece of the increase in revenue.

Step 7. You tell them that because you know people at Google, you can get them premium placement at the top of Google Searches. This is of course doublespeak for selling them Google Adwords.

Step 8. You charge $1500 per month with a 12 month contract + 25% of PPC spend and a 50% markup if they want analytics software like clicktracks (basically for installation). If you think you can get more, then get more. But never work for less than this. If you need a contract or two, just contact some of the big SEO chop shops who don’t have anyone you’ve heard of working there. Tell them that you are interested in their services and want a proposal (you may need to purchase an extra domain and throw up some crappy web site for this). After you get the proposal, do a find and replace. If there is anything about link bait, viral marketing, natural links, buyouts and 301s, footprints, content generation or delivery, affiliate programs, building communities, blogging, networks, interlinking, building a site that someone might actually want to find, or any legitimate SEO strategies that you don’t understand, just take it out. Don’t worry, odds are the SEO you contacted won’t have mentioned any of these.

Step 9. When you meet with the customer, don’t be afraid to lie and over promise to close the deal. As long as your contract does not lie or over promise, you are covered.

Step 10. After the Contract is signed, make sure you get that first check. Do some on page optimization (if you know how – if not just guess), sign up for PPC programs, do a few press releases and buy them a few links – but not all at once. Stall this process over of a 16-20 week period. If they ask about results, just tell them that these things take time. If they persist, show them how they rank for a certain “search term with their company name in quotes” and talk about the next Google update.

Step 11. Send them some keyword reports, traffic graphs and their Adsense reports and ASK FOR REFFERRALS! Ask early. Ask Often.

Just close one of these deals a month and you’ll be making over $200k per year after expenses. You will have to close slightly more once you have hired your telemarketing appointment setters.

Hopefully this guide will be used more to help people avoid being ripped off by an SEO Scam, but of course I know better. As PT Barnum said (or didn’t):

There’s a sucker born every minute.

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26 Responses to “Make $200K+ a Year Running the SEO Scam”

  1. shandyking says:

    Right on!!

  2. shakespeare says:

    There’s a reason why some words or phrases simply are not acceptable in polite company. They are offensive, redolent with prejudice and hatred, and simply not clever or witty.

    Take, for example, the word “shyster.” According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word is of “obscure origin,” but its meaning is hardly obscure. Rooted in the German scatological term scheisser, it’s a deplorable and demeaning word which has traditionally been loaded with anti-Semitism.

  3. QuadsZilla says:

    I certainly did not mean to imply Jewish with the term. My understanding of the word is as a synonym for scammer “An unethical, unscrupulous practitioner – especial of Law”. I grew up in New York and heard the term used a lot and have always thought that it may be of German or Hebrew origin, but never as relating to Jewish people. It was used on many occasions by my Jewish friends.

    In fact, I cannot find any reputable source to verify your claim. Can you? Should I apologize? or did you just pull that out of your ass?

    Wikipedia | Bartleby | Answers | Webster’s.

    The term was used by Isaac Asimov in his short science-fiction robot story “Evidence”. Was Isaac Asimov (the Russian Jew) an Anti Semite too? Or just as uninformed about the English language as you think I am?

  4. sam says:

    man. whiny bitches should at least get their facts straight before calling someone an anti semetic.

    awsome article, btw. maybe it will keep people from getting taken by those seo shysters!

  5. Shyster says:

    Damn you for giving away the secret sauce!

    I’ll have to raise my rates now to make up for the lost customers.

    -Shyster

  6. Chris says:

    This is too funny (and sad at the same time, since it accurately describes most
    so-called “SEO gurus”). Awesome post, thanks.

  7. Another Shyster says:

    Would you please stop publishing my business model.

  8. [...] I never knew SEO scamming was easy. But really they still do work. [...]

  9. SenorLoco says:

    Shakespeare, lighten up. Your acting machugana. QuadsZilla is nothing but a mench ;)

  10. Top Rank Consulting says:

    Top Rank Consulting keeps calling me… They find my sites in the SE’s and tell me I have poor listings in the serps.

    I was reading these comments while they called today. Next time they call I will get their forms for you.

    Mark

  11. EarlGrey says:

    Quadzilla
    that is one of the best posts i have seen on any blog for a long time.

  12. srp says:

    that was hilarious .. but so true

  13. [...] Marco Loguercio, nel suo Blog, ci segnala un articolo dove di parla delle persone/aziende che cercano di accaparrarsi qualche cliente per posizionare il sito senza essere a conoscenza della materia….continua Vuoi ricevere gratis le ultime novita’ di Wmtools? Lascia qui la tua email… Tuo Nome E-mail [...]

  14. Dan says:

    Freaking awesome post. I learned a lot. Thanks for the info and hot tips ;)

  15. Ian says:

    Excellent linkbait ;)

  16. Setanta says:

    Damn this article deserves No1 ranking for “seo”, I can see lots of ‘gurus’ shifting uneasily in their seats and mumbling terms like “..err..sandbox.. jagger…link building…web 2.0..blub blub…sniff’

  17. Timur says:

    cool and realistic article 8))

  18. scottj says:

    SenorLoco above scored this page a #5 spot on Google for “machugana”. Funny stuff. :)

  19. [...] Basically he means link building. “Influence” and “authority” are operative concepts with link building. Understanding spheres of influence is very important for creating link building programs that can become viral. Inspiring others to promote your site on their own as well as viral/linkbait tactics can drive tremendous amounts of traffic and link popularity. Sometimes posts by bloggers about SEO that are a tiny bit off get a lot of heat from the SEO community. Personally, I would rather see high profile people like Seth Godin oversimplify SEO as in the passive vs active post than to portray SEO as some sort of scam. Tags: seo, seth godin Bookmark – Del.icio.us | Digg | Furl It | Spurl | RawSugar | Simpy | Shadows | Blink It | My Web [...]

  20. Benj Arriola says:

    Haha, this is why sometimes salesmen earn more than the SEO production staff.

  21. rose.water says:

    I do seo for small businesses, and I’d rather do seo because it’s so freaking easy, it’s like a game! That’s why I do seo rather than sell or resell someone’s garbage

  22. jimfromsgs says:

    Not all SEO firms are scams mind you. I head up the SEO department at Sleeping Giant Studios here in La Crosse Wisconsin. We have some very good results on SEO for our customers because we offer a performance based pricing system – we don’t get paid until AFTER the keywords they want are showing up. We assign a price to each keyword they want depending on how hard it will be, and make it happen and are paid when it breaks top 10, with a slightly higher price for when it breaks top 5. Some examples of our SEO abilities are:

    McPhersonGuitars.com: #1 at Yahoo for “acoustic guitars”
    Mathewsinc.com: #1 at Google for “bows”
    DebtAdvantage.com: #1 at MSN for “debt consolidation companies”

    New project: realliving.com: #5 for “buy a home” at MSN, #15 at Google for “sell real estate”

    In fact our own site is in the top 50 for “seo” at Google – sleepinggiantstudios.com

    All I’m suggesting is to be careful when suggesting all SEO firms are scams – we offer quality work. And for those of you about to jump on our methods in examining our code – we clearly have a vested interest in NOT getting anyone banned if we’re being paid only if they are showing up, despite common misconceptions about some methods in SEO, there are loopholes to everything and we know them… our secret though :-)

  23. [...] SEO – Search Engine Optimization The Black Art of… Run your own SEO scam – here’s what it takes. [...]

  24. [...] I will just link to a post that describes why I think White Hat SEO Consultants Are Worthless Shady Criminals Themselves. [...]

  25. JonathanDavidArndt says:

    In connection with scottj’s comment above, this article also has a Googlewhack for “machugana shyster”

  26. maflaw says:

    Don’t fall for the ORANGE SODA SCAM – they do not know seo and are a fraud company that wasted our money and months of our time with no visible results – became increasingly clear their biz model revolves around taking people that know a lot less about seo than we did – we cancelled and got a full refund.