Digital Marketing Scams: 9 Ways To Burn Your Marketing Budget

“I hired a digital agency to do some marketing online, but it didn’t work.”

We get this story a lot, and by probing deeper into what the previous agency did for them, we usually find one of the stories below.

This is a highly controversial topic, one that digital marketers don’t want to talk about. But we still want to expose this and hope that business owners are made more aware of what they are paying for.

We have seen this happen too often to businesses around us, paying for services that aren’t really helping the business.

Guaranteeing ranking on Google page 1

Yes, the famous guarantee of Google 1st page ranking services!
Clients love to get a guarantee! But there are only limited slots on Google search results.

So why does it seem like everyone is able to rank number 1 for their client?

The trick is to rank for keywords that do not have competition or search volume.

Here is an example of a proud result we have achieved:

Digital Marketing Scams: 9 Ways To Burn Your Marketing Budget 1

But if you look into the search volume of these 2 keywords, you will find:

Digital Marketing Scams: 9 Ways To Burn Your Marketing Budget 2

Both keywords that rank very well have no search volume, no competition.

It’s like you’re opening an ice cream shop at the North Pole: technically you’re the number 1 ice cream shop in the entire region, but there are no customers looking to buy your product.

Solution: Ask marketers to explain how these keywords translate into dollars for you.

In order to generate the leads and business, you must first have people searching for that specific keyword theme, not a specific keyword only.

If a search engine marketer claims that he is ranking number 1, you want to understand exactly how this ranking translates into dollars for you.

A few challenging questions you guys should ask to further understand:

  1. Will it lead to an increase in search traffic to your website?
  2. What is the search volume
  3. Will it help to convert customers?
  4. Is it ranking number 1 for your own brand name (which is easy to achieve even without paying)?

8 years of experience in digital marketing (but stopped learning after the first)

The fact is, quite a lot of digital marketers dislike reading and acquiring new knowledge. Please don’t get me wrong, the shiny new object isn’t always the best method for marketing a business.

The digital marketing world is an ever-changing one, and once marketers stop learning and improving themselves after the first couple of years, most of their knowledge becomes quickly obsolete!

Solution: Stop judging based on the number of years, judge marketers based on process

A marketer’s number of years in business is a good start if someone can bring value to the table. But the ever-changing internet is causing this number to be less important.

Anyone with over 2 years experience and who continues to improve will perform as well as those who claim to have 10 years of experience.

You want to judge a marketing company based on its process, are they able to pull off a complicated campaign consistently and deliver the same results every time? That is the most important thing.

You must upgrade to IPv6 to avoid losing potential visitors

“It is important to upgrade your IP address to v6 to ensure everyone can access your website.”


No doubt it provides a safer, faster connection, but do businesses really need the latest IP address for their website? Not for now.

IP addresses work just like your phone number. If I dial your business telephone number, it will reach you. If I key in an IP address, it will lead me straight to your server.

If you have to pay for the upgrade it means you’ve been scammed.

Take a look at the majority of our top visited websites, including Maybank, CIMB, Hong Leong Bank, Pos Laju, Lazada, popular government websites, payment gateways and more: they’re all still using ipv4.

Digital Marketing Scams: 9 Ways To Burn Your Marketing Budget 3

All commonly available consumer electronics devices remain compatible with IPv4, otherwise, people wouldn’t be able to access the majority of websites.

But if you got it for free, then yeh! It’s a good thing to have, but not something a business needs right now.

We will help to submit to Google on a daily basis so you can rank better

The fact is you will NOT rank better because you submit your website to Google on a daily basis!

Submitting your site to Google is just like telling Google you have a site if they aren’t aware of your website existing. Sometimes you don’t even need to do that for Google to find out about your new website, because it’ a lot smarter than you think.

You can just spend 10 minutes on this, and Google will automatically crawl your site on a regular basis. It is FREE to do so.

We help to create more content on your website to help improve the ranking

10 years ago, content was King. But today, content is abundance. There is so much content to be found on the internet with just one click.

Creating more content WILL NOT help you to rank better.

If you perform a simple search on Google, you’ll hardly find any news media sites ranked very well, unless it is a recent piece of news.

Nobody can publish more content than a team of reporters, authors, editors working full time on publishing content. So why isn’t every keyword dominated by a news website?

This just goes to show that publishing content alone will not help to rank better.

Fake urgent domain registration

You will probably receive this email in the near future.

Digital Marketing Scams: 9 Ways To Burn Your Marketing Budget 4

The easiest way to deal with this is to simply ignore it.

Unless you’re planning to enter the Chinese market any time soon, then you can get your existing website guy to register a .cn domain.

There is no need to pay an exorbitant price for a domain that you can buy through a more reputable provider.

Buy ‘Facebook likes’ campaign

This used to be a very popular option for pages that were just starting out.

A small number of likes on a business page hammers the owner’s ego, it makes you feel bad.

It leads to believing that you need to gain a large number of likes before you can run your business online.

There are packages like this offered to SMEs and they look legit!

Digital Marketing Scams: 9 Ways To Burn Your Marketing Budget 5

Get it right! The number of likes does not convert into cash for your business.

Stop wasting money on the ‘page like’ campaign when Facebook doesn’t even show page likes nowadays. It might feel good, but it does nothing for business.

Focus on the number of leads you can get for your business, not the number of likes on your post or Facebook page.

We have clients closing RM20k sales using a page that has less than 20 likes!

Guest posting opportunity or backlinks service

This scam usually targets marketing staff as the offer for guest posting or backlink help is too hard for SMEs to understand.

Digital Marketing Scams: 9 Ways To Burn Your Marketing Budget 6

So upon examining the links at the bottom, it looks like a legit guest posting service trying to get more business.

They will then send you a list of opportunities in an excel file to pick the site you want to post your article to, and get a backlink. It even has all the metrics for you to compare the site.

Digital Marketing Scams: 9 Ways To Burn Your Marketing Budget 7

This is the part where you’ve already taken the bait, and now they’re switching the offer. If you put any of the websites into a traffic analyser to see how it performs on Google, you will see there is zero traffic generated by these sites!

Digital Marketing Scams: 9 Ways To Burn Your Marketing Budget 8

This type of website is very likely to be a private blog network that is controlled by the same owner and just publishes rewritten content. It’s not a real blog that people read and visit.

Search Engine Optimisation for X amount of keywords

Actually this technique is at the borderline where it might work (or not!) for the business on the day we produce said content.

In the past, the SEO process focused on specific keywords and optimising a page to rank for that specific keyword.

But search engines like Google have got smarter, they’ve started to understand what you mean.

Since 2017, the search engine is shifting towards a topic cluster concept.

In traditional SEO, “cleaning service” and “cleaning service near me” are 2 different keywords. So marketers need to create a separate page just to rank for the keyword that has near me.

But now we know that these 2 keywords have the same context and search intent. The search engine now understands the same thing, It simply doesn’t make sense to count the number of keywords any more right?

So if you invest in and use this soon-to-be-outdated technique, you will have to pay for it again in the near future as it might not work anymore.

There are more ways shady marketers scam you

We only can cover part of the stories we know. But there are plenty more ways which make it harder for non-seasonal marketers to tell the difference.

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