post by Stephanie Nelson
Last week, I posted about what to look for in an SEO provider. As a follow-up, and inspired by the spam emails I receive daily, I decided to do a post on breaking down a couple of the sneaky SEO sales tactics some companies use.
Tactic 1: “I did a search…”
I’m sad to admit that I once worked for a company whose salespeople used this one. (I wasn’t in sales. But as an account manager, I was the one that had to work my butt off to try and honor what the salespeople had said.) The premise of this one is that the sales call or email says, “I did a search, and you didn’t show up in the results.” The thing to notice here is that the salesperson never says anything about their query. That could be for one of several reasons:
- The sales person never actually did a search.
- He/she did a search BUT it was for keywords unrelated to your business. (This one’s used a lot of times when the salesperson has an ounce of integrity but still wants the sale.) For instance, you sell car batteries, but the salesperson searched for dog food. No wonder you didn’t show up in the results! You wouldn’t want to!!!
- The sales person did a search, but they’re out of your service area. To keep with the car battery example, your store is in Topeka, but the salesperson is in New York City. (This one may be less of a sneaky salesperson and more of a salesperson that doesn’t really know how SEO results work.)
This tactic is sneaky because it plays on your fear factor. You immediately start questioning what you’re doing wrong, particularly if you’re not terribly familiar with SEO and the search engines’ algorithms. But this one’s also easy to combat. Take a deep breath. Step away from the fear induced. And ask questions. What did they use as their search query? Where are they located? When did they do the search? Ask for details of what prompted them to contact you. If they’re not legit, their story will soon start to unravel. They won’t have the answers to the simple questions you’re asking. If this happens, walk away.
Tactic 2: Guaranteed results.
This one’s not just sneaky. I consider this one a scam. As an SEO practitioner, I can tell you there is NO WAY for us to guarantee where you’ll end up in the search results. There are too many elements out of our hands! We can’t control what your competitors are doing. We can’t control when or if the search engines even see the optimized elements of your site. We can’t control whether searchers change how they’re searching or what they’re searching for. So if someone guarantees you a certain spot on a certain keyword, they’re either conning you or they don’t know how SEO works these days.
The guarantees you CAN look for are the things SEO practitioners have control over. We can guarantee that our work adheres to current best practices. We can discuss with you wher our work falls in the spectrum of white hat, gray hat or black hat techniques, and what that means for expected results. We can guarantee that we’ll do the proper keyword research and set your SEO strategy around appropriate keywords.
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