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Gym owners have become the target of an SEO scam and I’m tired of it.

Here’s how it usually plays out….

You get a call on your main business line from someone who quickly rattles off their name and mumbles something about Google. Usually, they name their company something close to a Google product, like “Google Local Business XYZ”.

Then they rant about how you could be getting “so much much more traffic” and how your business isn’t taking full advantage of what Google has to offer.

The game is simple: they want you to believe that someone from Google is calling you, or at least someone who is endorsed by Google.

Here’s one gym owner in our SEO course who paraphrased the call in our private Facebook group:

Guy Calling – Blah blah blah

Gym Owner – Ok, I’m simply trying to change my address so that it’s consistent across the board. I’m working with someone to help with our SEO and this was their suggestion.

Guy Calling – We can do that for you. You’ll have to setup payment and once the payment is secure we’ll change your address. Then there will be a monthly charge.

Gym Owner – I have to pay to change my address?

Guy Calling – Yes. We guarantee everything for 90 days though so if you aren’t happy we stop charging you and we end up working for free.

Gym Owner – What would you possibly be doing that would make me unhappy? I just need my address changed. I don’t require any maintenance. Once it’s changed doesn’t it just…stay changed?

Guy Calling – Look whoever you’re working with probably isn’t certified. We can build a website that goes behind your website. It’s like having a giant billboard on the web. You’re not getting any traffic to your site! I just checked.

Gym Owner – I have to go do anything else. Enjoy your day.

This boils my blood.

No, not because he claimed I wasn’t “certified” (there is in fact no certification for what he’s talking about).

It’s not even the deplorable, profit-driven, low-value service offering that does it.

This turns me into a rage monster for the simple reason that scammers are distorting one of the most powerful marketing channels available to gym owners.

Calls like this make gym owners throw the baby out with the bathwater. After all, if SEO works so well, why would these knuckleheads be forced to use mind games on their prospective customers? Shouldn’t the results speak for themselves?

Here’s what to keep in mind when these scammers (inevitably) call:

1. Google will NOT call you unless you initiate with them first (either through a support ticket, or verifying your Google business page).
2. If someone does call you posing to be Google, ask them straight up, “Are you an official Google employee?” You already know the answer, I just want them to struggle through a response.
3. Anyone cold calling you like this is probably harvesting a long list of small business phone numbers and has ONE goal in mind: TAKE YOUR MONEY.
4. Ask to be placed on the “Do Not Call” list, and/or register your number here with the FTC. They are mandated by law to leave you alone, at the risk of getting sued into oblivion.
5. Don’t turn your back what could be one of the most profitable marketing channels for your gym because a chain smoking telemarketer spoiled it for you.

Spread the word to your fellow gym owners: DON’T spend a dime with these crooks.

But DO take the time to understand how traffic from Google can fuel new membership like you’ve never seen.

1. Here’s the official word from Google on this matter
2. The FTC also created a website dedicated to preventing “robocalls” like this.

If you are looking for the Complete SEO Course for Gym Owners, click here

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Josh Sturgeon | Search Engine Marketing Expert

Josh Sturgeon brings nearly a decade of experience in digital marketing and entrepreneurship. He has consulted for billion dollar corporations like Staples right alongside small, local businesses. His work has been cited by Entrepreneur Magazine, TheNextWeb and Wired Magazine.

In 2011, he co-founded a profitable translation business, which exploded through Local SEO and was acquired only two years later. Josh lives and surfs in the Boston area with his wife Erica, and two kids.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]