Daniel W.
Daniel W. 2 June 2020

Digital Marketing Scams: 5 Tips for Keeping Your Business Safe

Promises are a key component of digital marketing. By engaging potential clients with an online presence, your objective is to raise your company’s profile and provide an introduction to your services, but there are ways that effort can backfire. Striking a balance between what’s promised and what’s possible is essential.

Page ranking is perhaps the most important factor, and absolutely the most desired outcome in digital marketing. If your business ends up several pages deep in the results of a potential client’s search, it’s the same as not existing. At the same time it’s important to know about the potential pitfalls of digital marketing efforts, such as safeguarding yourself from identity theft.

For many businesses, particularly small ones that relied on local referrals and traditional advertising campaigns, the shift to establishing and staying abreast of a digital presence has been challenging. Owners are too busy working and pleasing customers to spend a lot of time worrying about keywords and web traffic. These people are at the mercy of marketers who make all sorts of promises but who often fail to deliver an ethical product.

Frequent digital marketing scams include: 

  • Google page rank promises – nobody who promises to raise your page’s rank in Google search results to the top tier in a matter of weeks is honest and ethical.

  • Paid traffic and followers – these can be fake bot accounts which are frequently wiped out when discovered by search engines and offer no genuine value to your site or ranking.

  • Black hat techniques – when discovered by Google your site can be penalized for hosting cloaked words, for using keyword stuffing, or by using link farms to trick search engines into raising the page’s rank.

  • Outsourced content – while frequently updated content is important, it also must be of good quality. Any content outsourced to non-native speakers or unqualified sources risks quality standards and will make you look bad.

Identity Theft Monitoring

It may seem contradictory to both spend time and money spreading the word about your business and then spending time and money to protect your business name but that’s common practice in the digital age. As the profile of your business grows so do the number of hackers who see your data as a prize dangling in front of them. Just like individuals, businesses may have their identities – or customer data, or other proprietary information – stolen and sold on the dark web. Such breaches can be just as difficult to clean up and recover from as an individual’s case of stolen identity according to identity fraud facts.

One of the costs of doing business these days is self-protection. Just as you would proceed cautiously to implement a solid digital marketing strategy to produce solid, long-term results through quality content and organic connections, you should be concerned about security. Not everyone who discovers your business will be a potential customer, many will seek to destroy it because there’s profit to be made in stealing data.

Along with an iron-clad marketing plan, your company should have safeguards in place, including:

  • Policies and procedures for dealing with phishing scams, employee theft, and breaches;

  • State-of-the-art protection for customer data and payment systems;

  • Multi-level authentication for proprietary information, and

  • Monitoring to ensure that loans and other accounts aren’t opened under the business name.

A monitoring company can be charged with crawling the deep, dark web to determine if any of your company’s data is for sale there. Backtracking to determine how such a breach occurred and how to prevent it is secondary to locking down the information once it’s discovered. Preventing long-term damage to your company’s reputation justifies the cost of identity theft monitoring. A reputable monitoring company – or your insurer – will help advise on steps to take if there’s a breach of customer data or proprietary information.

Five tips for keeping your business safe

  1. Avoid digital marketing scams by hiring only a reputable marketing firm, one that doesn’t make empty promises or that takes unethical shortcuts. The only way to get to the top of page rankings is still good content, well-executed SEO, and organic traffic.

  2. Use multi-level authentication on accounts;

  3. Educate employees (and yourself) on digital marketing scams and data theft.

  4. Create policies and procedures to follow if a breach is detected.

  5. Consider identity theft monitoring to stay on top of any theft of data.

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