SEO is a scam, and here's why

In this blog, we’re all about the so-called Dark Art of SEO.

It’s a massive, never-ending amorphous mass, as you can imagine. So, look out for further blog posts on this hot topic in the months to come.


Hello… Facebook

The democracy that is social media.  

Apart from funny videos of dogs and cats, despite our commitment to free speech, we think that social media has a lot to answer for.

Why? Because occasionally, a geeky, misguided person pokes their head through the parapet to reveal, what they think is, a life-changing revelation. Unfortunately, this is often incorrect and can cause a lot of damage.

We recently witnessed this first hand, when on a busy Facebook group, an “SEO expert” commented on an SEO thread saying that he’s worked for an agency that offers SEO, and that it’s all a scam, hidden behind an acronym. To summarise his full comment, he described SEO as a con trick, a swindle and a fiddle. Reading between the lines, here, however, what he’s giving away is that it’s not SEO per sé that’s a scam.


It’s actually the services offered by the agency in question. Or, more likely to be.

Our “friend” on Facebook misses the point spectacularly.

He’s revealed that he’s out of his depth. Equally, the prominent levels of knowledge and skill that can enable websites to rank well on Google are, sadly, out of his reach.

It’s likely that the “scam” he refers to is a series of what we call “Black Hat” techniques – discussed in this article – that he’s using to try to get websites onto the search engine results pages (SERPS). In other words, cheating. Quelle surprise, Google is smarter than he is. They don’t work.

Ergo, SEO is a scam.

Harsh? Yes. Fair? Also, yes.

And here’s why.


What Google Wants for Organic Search (not the paid Ads)

Google, by far the world’s largest search engine by miles, wants to deliver good search.

Their mission is, and we’re quoting directly, “to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. In other words, to bring a degree of order from the chaos of the tangled morass of information that’s floating around in the ether. To marshal it, and to bring it to you in order of quality. The site at the top of the listings on page one of Google is the one that best meets what us SEO people call “user intent”.  

What we mean is, it deserves to be there because out of all its competitors, it offers the most useful, readable answers to your questions. Given that 75% of searchers never go beyond the first page of search results, investing in a viable SEO strategy could be one of the best decisions you ever make,

But, SEO best practices are not easy.  

In effect, the search bots that Google “sends out” every few weeks to assess the billions of websites all over the world prefer a path of least resistance. They want to be able to crawl, index, and understand what your website is about without trying too hard.

Ranking organically is getting harder and harder. But first:


How Does Search Engine Optimisation Work?

In a nutshell, it’s like this:

Imagine, if you will, Google’s bots/crawlers/spiders as grab claws in an amusement arcade machine. Alternatively, internet librarians that sort out, organise and index useful website content.

Massive computer programmes create complicated algorithms that make up these crawlers; they scan and process a large volume of information, then connect what they’ve discovered with your search terms. They do this through crawling your site, scanning your content, and through visiting the links on your site.

With us so far? We hope

OK, they then store everything they find in an exceptionally large database. For example, if you’ve made changes to the site, they’ll notice and store them here. It’s called an Index.

Here’s where it gets interesting:

In the Index, if what’s on your site meets Google’s increasingly exact criteria – and we think that there are nearly 200 of these - it could be awarding your site the top spot, with all the other websites shuffling down accordingly.


How to Rank on Page One of Google

If only it were that simple to explain.

This is what we’re referencing when we advise that it really is quite difficult to achieve premier position rankings on Google. Also, unless you’re extremely good – as legitimate digital agencies are - best practice isn’t always easy either.

So, beware the charlatans.


Here’s the Thing

As you may know, Google changes and updates its search algorithms on a regular basis. It has benchmarks and goalposts. And, moves them.

Sometimes they announce what they’re going to be, or what they’ve done, sometimes not. But, it’s safe to say that increasingly, and for several years now, it will be about the quality of your content. Yes, we’ve said it. Again and again, their updates focus on getting the content not only right but perfect; stipulating unequivocally, that plenty of fabulous, easy-to-read, valuable website copy that adds genuine value will be rewarded accordingly.

That is to say, expressing your clear understanding of the problems that your target market experiences, and then showing how you can solve them is a ten-out-of-ten strategy.



More is more: convinced that your five-page site is going to rank well? Larger sites will always take precedence in Google’s eyes.

Content is King. A cliché, but it’s true.

There are other essential elements too, such as:

·      A clear site structure 

·      Easy to navigate

·      Mobile friendly

·      Clear SEO title tags

·      Well-written meta descriptions

·      Site speed (slow-to-load sites are a no-no)

·      Relevancy

·      The right keywords (are these what people are really searching for?)

·      Compressed images (nothing too large)

·      Helpful alt text on images (for image searches)

·      Technical excellence (no broken links, 404 pages, or outdated plug-ins please)

·      Robust internal linking structure

·      Meaningful, authoritative high-quality backlinks from other higher domain-ranking sites will make Google notice your site as a trusted source of information. These are vital in an SEO campaign, and again, we can cover this subject in depth at a later date.

·      Refreshed content, with long-form blog articles.

The above pointers are a great start, but they’re not the full picture.


What Not to Do

Scams, or rather, attempts at scams, do exist in the world of SEO.  This means you will need to avoid going rogue at all cost. This is vitally important to avoid your site incurring a penalty from Google. You could even be sent to the back of the SERPS queue. Basically, oblivion. And yes, we’ve heard of this happening.

What is Google NOT looking for? “Black Hat” examples include:

·      Paid links (Google can evaluate these)

·      Spammy comments, intended to create free backlinks

·      Duplicate content

·      Cloaking (a way to hide the URL and present a different one to the user)

·      Keyword stuffing

·      Invisible text


So, there you are.

A high-level introduction to SEO.

Clearly, it’s NOT a scam.

At least, not in the right hands. Get everything right, and you’ll see long-term results. We’re happy to help with everything relating to websites, content, and SEO, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.

Merry Christmas you Filthy Animals Valued Clients!

As we wrap up another successful year (sorry, there’s definitely more puns to come), we want to express our heartfelt thanks for being a part of the Sprint Online family. Your trust and collaboration have made 2023 a truly remarkable year.

This year we’ve been as busy as Santa’s Elves when the Argos catalogue gets released, and we're thrilled to share some highlights:

Four Fillies (Vegan Coffee Trailer): We all need a dose of Caffeine to get us through January, and thank goodness for the lovely Four Fillies, who we provided a host of services to, making them the go-to for vegan coffee delights in Surrey!
Google "Vegan Coffee Trailer Surrey", and they'll come up first – we’ll raise an Oat Latte to that!

Victory Wash: We embarked on a branding adventure providing a full marketing package including branding, website development, and SEO. Squeaky clean and perfectly timed, just like the services they offer.

Cappadocia Epsom and Kingston: Not at all biased, but perhaps a little led by our bellies, one of our favourite clients, Cappadocia. Now utilising our services for their multiple Surrey restaurants, they asked us to broaden their outreach in an engaging and fun way. Through an innovative 360-degree photo shoot, we allowed their Kingston and Epsom venues to feature an inside look on Google Street View, so clients can see inside the restaurant before they visit. Yum!

We were trigger happy this year with our cameras, providing photo and video shoots to Ildiko's Chocolate, La Terrazza, Utopia 360 Visuals and many more businesses.

As always, web development and branding is a big part of the Sprint Online offering, and this was no different this year. Just to name a few, Serious Entertainment Group, J M Wegner Sports Therapy, Win 360 Consulting, Kable Recruitment and Anthea Your VA trusted us to create brand new, shiny websites for their businesses this year, and we delivered. It’s not quite 7 billion presents on a sleigh, but give us a few mince pies and a red suit, and we won’t be far off!

Brambles Coffee (can you sense a coffee theme?) enjoyed a complete marketing package – from branding to website design, we brewed up a slick look, and the milk ‘tache from the cappuccino does somewhat complete the Santa look…

Piccolo Vicolo received a brand new menu design, from our in house design team, alongside a host of print and signage services for a variety of other local clients.

Finally, we connected hundreds of businesses to a more professional and flexible telephone number through our successful virtual landline service.

Looking ahead, the excitement continues into 2024. We have a lot already planned, including the launch of a brand new WhatsApp Business integration. It's our commitment to keeping your communication as cutting-edge as your business!

Now, it’s time for the annual game of Twister. I tried to join in before I wrote this message, but apparently putting my laptop on Red instead of my foot didn’t count.

Christmas gone mad. Wish me luck!

Warm regards,

Gellért and the Sprint Online Team

Our Recent Blog Posts

It’s all about the bigger picture. We believe it is essential, and inspiring, to keep up to date with the marketing and tech industry, in order to achieve the very best results. We have compiled a few things that inspire us, as well as tips on improving your own digital marketing, and hopefully a little something to make you smile.

Merry Christmas from Sprint Online

Ho ho ho and Merry Christmas! 2023 has certainly been our busiest year to date, but have managed to squeeze in a quick Christmas wrap up in true Sprint Online style!

5 Essential Things You Need When Launching Your Business

You’ve done it – after months (if not years) of planning, you’re finally ready to launch your business! To ensure a successful launch, we’ll explore five key elements you need when launching a new business and how Sprint Online can help you achieve your goals.

Your Essential Guide to Marketing in 2023

To help keep you on track, we have put together your bite-sized guide to marketing in 2023, with actionable tips to motivate and inspire you for your success this year, and beyond.

Need a hand choosing the right services?

Drop us a call today!