Why Pay For Performance SEO is a Black Hat Promise and a SCAM

Why Pay For Performance SEO is a Black Hat Promise

Just imagine, you’ve come across a tempting offer for pay-for-performance SEO services.

Some agency has promised to boost your website to the top of search engine results without any upfront cost.

Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, that’s because it is.

Is Pay for Performance SEO for YOU?

Pay-for-performance SEO might seem like a cost-effective solution.

But in reality, it is wrought with problems. You can’t guarantee anything without employing black hat SEO tactics.

And Black Hat SEO usually backfires, harming your website’s reputation and long-term standing on search engines.

For example, if you see promises like this one, stay FAR away!

Guaranteed SEO Ranking? Stay Far Away!

In this blog post, we’ll explore why to avoid pay-for-performance SEO for your own good. Let’s get right to it.

Understanding SEO Ethics

White Hat vs. Black Hat SEO

Your website’s visibility on search engines depends heavily on the strategies you implement.

White hat SEO focuses on ethical practices that follow search engine guidelines. This is how you achieve long-term success.

Black hat SEO, on the other hand, employs shortcuts and manipulative tactics to get quick but unsustainable results.

Be sure you understand the difference. Your ongoing SEO success depends on it.

The Dangers of Black Hat Strategies

If you opt to accept black hat SEO tactics, it will only be a matter of time before search engines penalize your domain.

This is the worst case outcome. If you get penalized, you’ll plummet in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and lose some or all of your traffic.

Don’t overlook the fact that penalties often come with de-indexing. That’s right, complete removal from the index and SERPs.

And none of this speaks to the damage your reputation will succumb to when word gets out that you, essentially, cheated.

Shortcuts are just far too risky. You need to prioritize sustainable growth above all.

And we always hear the argument that some domain is out there link spamming or whatever, and ranking #1 for important keywords.

Google just hasn’t figured it out yet. Or maybe they’re working on an algorithm that will smack them down before long.

They always seem to catch the cheaters, sooner or later.

Without the trickery, you will be building a foundation of SEO strength that can withstand search engine enforcement actions.

Stick to the straight and narrow, and you’ll do well over time.

The Pitfalls of Pay for Performance SEO

Short-Term Gains and Long-Term Losses

Every website owner wants the same thing: quick progress and fast return on investment (ROI).

And I get it, if you see a keyword darting up the SERPs, you’ll be ecstatic about all the traffic it could drive for you.

But are you making progress in a way that will last more than a week, or a few months? Are you SURE?!?

You need to be sure. Absolutely sure.

Otherwise, you’ll always have to look over your shoulder until the penalty hammer finally drops. That’s no way to operate.

The Impact on Your Reputation

We mentioned before how your reputation is also at stake. This is not to be underestimated in importance.

First, Google uses a model called E-E-A-T to determine the quality of your content. These stand for:

  • Expertise
  • Experience
  • Authority
  • Trust

Trust is paramount for maintaining your spots on the SERPs. Fast-tracked SEO, being Black Hat in nature, puts your Trust factor squarely at risk.

But aside from that issue, search engines are not the only entities paying attention.

What about your prospects and customers?

Industry influencers and thought leaders? If they figure you out and start talking about it, your goose will be cooked in short order.

My grandfather used to say, “We are all born with two things that can’t be replaced: our health and our reputations. It’s up to you to protect both, and your fault if either falters.”

Smarter SEO Investment Strategies

Sustainable SEO Practices

What exactly constitutes “sustainable SEO practices”?

It’s the typical stuff you hear about: high quality content, optimized user experience, and high quality/relevant backlink acquisition.

Some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Generate unique content that hits on points you can’t find regurgitated in 50 other places, perhaps even including your own spin on it
  2. Conduct regular audits on performance, UX, and other technical aspects of your website, and fix what you find awry
  3. Always hold link building tactics to the highest standards, and never pursue low quality links in bulk unless part of a larger strategy that makes sense holistically

It’s not rocket science, but it’s not easy either. It’s a lot of work, and highly effective when done the right way.

Focus on these fundamental aspects of SEO, and you will create a strong foundation for your website that stands the test of time.

How to Evaluate SEO Providers and Avoid Scams

If you’ve never worked with an SEO agency before, you need to start by knowing what to look for.

This is even more important if you HAVE worked with SEOs and gotten burned or disappointed by the outcome.

Look for providers with a proven track record of success, transparent pricing and methodologies, and clear communication.

And of course, avoid providers who promise unrealistic results or use ANY black hat tactics.

Be wary of providers who overpromise by offering guaranteed rankings or rock-bottom prices. These are both red flags for potential scam artists.

By doing your research and asking the right questions, you can find a reputable SEO provider that aligns with your goals and values.

Conclusion: Pay for Performance SEO is a Scam

As soon as you hear “Pay for Performance SEO,” be skeptical. That concept is virtually impossible for White Hat practitioners.

Remember, you aren’t just risking your traffic and rankings with Black Hat SEO. You’re also putting your reputation itself in jeopardy.

And you only get a clean reputation once. It’s on you to avoid tarnishing it.

Quality, White Hat SEO practices take time and effort. When done properly, It will provide your website with sustainable and long-term success.

In our next blog post, we’ll look at SEO timing and what you can expect from a more reasonable strategy. Hint: It won’t happen overnight. Until then!

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As Founder and President of Return On Now, Tommy Landry provides the vision behind our SEO and SEM methodologies. With over 25 years of business experience and a deep understanding of modern internet marketing techniques, he spends his time providing hands-on consulting, insightful content, and engaging public speaking appearances to Online Marketers of all skill levels.
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