SEO, Search Engine Optimization, is a term many scammers / spammers use to attract the attention of anyone with a website. The promise of page 1 placement in the search engines, the guarantee of top ranking for your keywords, search engine optimization at a very low cost, etc., are all tricks I’ve seen used in the generic emails these “SEO Companies” send to, I’m certain, tens of thousands of email accounts every day. I get at least 5 of these emails on a typical day myself. Most of them claim that your website doesn’t rank well “organically” in the search engines. I find this particular statement very funny because they most likely found your website, to send you this spam email, via the search engines. All of their promises seem to be too good to be true, and they are, so don’t put yourself in a predicament where you trust one of these companies with your website – the engine that drives the success of your business.
I recently read a case study from a website design company that created a website for an attorney. The attorney loved the website and loved the results from his website. But, after receiving an email that guaranteed him placement in major search engines, he signed a contract. The company that built / hosted his website, was able to watch his search engine traffic fall 78% over the course of a single month via Google Analytics. He is now a statistic… one of the many who fall for the old SEO sales pitch.
There are a number of ways / reasons that they target you, including:
- You have a PPC Campaign -> Obviously, if you have a Pay-Per-Click campaign, being found in the search engines is important to you. The “SEO Companies” will call or email you, promising the moon and stars for down-to-earth prices.
- You registered a domain name -> Typically, if you’ve registered a domain name, your going to build a website on it and search engine optimization will be required. The best person or company to handle your SEO is generally going to be the person/company that built it for you, if they can. If they can’t, find out who they recommend.
- Searches -> It’s a piece of cake to go to one of the search engines, do a search for a common product or service, skip to page 5 or so and start picking off the websites that are on that page and beyond. As a rule, the easier you are to find, the more of these generic SEO emails you will get.
Here’s a few of the emails that my customers have received:
I was doing some research on your company and saw that you are spending a lot of money on Google Adwords. But your organic rankings on Google are pretty low, despite the fact that 85% of traffic goes to the organic search results.
My company does online marketing for over 1,000 companies just like yours and I think we could make a big difference for you.
I’d like to give you a short presentation on the tests I ran on your site.
Are you available to chat this week?
Good Morning Team,
I reviewed your website this morning, and I would like to share some ideas with you to improve your overall online presence.
Please let me know if you would like to setup a time to meet and discuss your website needs further!
Hope you are well. As part of our client research, we came across your website and noticed your site is not ranking in the most important search engines like Google, Yahoo & Bing. I was wondering if you would be interested in search engine optimization services for your website at a very low cost.
Proper search engine optimization will increase your brand recognition, web traffic and grow your sales, which is why you have a web site to begin with right?
We can promote your website to 1st page placement on Google, Yahoo, or Bing in three to six months guaranteed with our “National SEO” package. Three to six months is typical for all our SEO packages!
So let me know if you would be interested or like me to mail you more details or schedule a call. We would love to work with you!
Because search engine optimization takes time and getting good “organic” rankings takes even longer, you could easily be 1-2 months into your contract with the “SEO Company” before you realize you’ve been scammed.
No one can guarantee you specific placement in the organic listings of the search engines. Anyone who does is lying to you.
A few things for you to think about…
- If you are provided with a “free website analysis”, most likely that report will be a template they send out to thousands of people, telling all of them their websites performance is ok to poor. Keep in mind, actually doing a website report takes several hours to do it right, if not more. So if they churn out this report to you in a matter of minutes and/or they are scoring you in categories that aren’t relevant to your website, beware.
- If you get a call, rather than an email from these folks, most often they are telemarketers that have very little knowledge themselves of SEO. They read from scripts, hit the highlights of SEO lingo, have a sense of urgency, etc., but if you start questioning them, you’ll find they start to fumble.
- Some of these emails may be to submit your website to the search engines. Keep in mind, submitting your website to the search engines before it’s optimized can harm your rankings. In order for anyone to optimize your website, they would need to have access to it, via FTP, the CMS tool integrated with your website, etc.
- In order to determine the cost associated with optimization for your website, it first must be analyzed individually, and the time it takes to do this varies from site-to-site. So if you get emails or calls with fixed pricing for this service, beware.
I hope you find this information helpful and I’ve helped you avoid a mistake that could take several months to a year to recover from. I truly believe that we can help educate each other by sharing our stories, both failures and successes. So please share yours with us here by commenting below.
Cindy Spencer, an Account Manager at NetSource Media since 2000, works with clients across the US with RVUSA.com, TrailersUSA.com and RVCanada.com. Cindy and her in-house team of designers and programmers helps dealers with website design & hosting, inventory management & distribution, website maintenance & SEO and much more. Connect with Cindy on Google+.