One of the unfortunate side effects of owning an online business is the inevitable spam phone calls and emails you start receiving because that information is available to the public, and as such, data harvesting bots. I’ve received enough of these for it to occur to me that I can’t be the only one, and surely some of you have also been targeted by these people.
TL;DR – It’s A Scam
No, you most definitely do not need to pay Google to get your site listed, nor do you need to pay anyone else to facilitate your listing. There is no shortage of scammers willing to separate unknowing, non-tech-savvy people from their hard-earned money.
Think about it: If Google (or any other reputable search engine) charged money for listing your web site in its search results, then it would be far less effective as a search engine, as many web sites would refuse to pay the fee. If fewer sites are listed on Google, then Google becomes far less useful, so fewer people use it and flock to a competitor when they need to find something. Since Google makes its money via advertising, this just isn’t a choice that makes sense. It’s worth mentioning that this truth extends to all major search engines: you never need to pay. You can choose to pay for sponsored listings, but this is a different thing entirely.
While We’re At It
You should never give money to anyone who calls, writes, or emails you asking for it. There are a lot of scammers out there. I’ve received bogus letters in the mail asking me to renew my domain name, all for the low price of $49.95, from a company that is NOT my domain registrar. Spoiler: I pay $10 annually for my domain name, directly from Google and NameCheap. There are also student loan debt consolidation scams. Sure, they may actually consolidate your debt, but doing so also happens to be a free service from the federal government.
A good rule of thumb, if you didn’t ask about it first, don’t pay for it.