Beware of so-called “professional” SEO services

by on June 13, 2013

Beware of the so-called "professional" SEO services

It might start a little something like this…


Or perhaps…

Dear Sir or Madam,

And go on to promise…

“We can get your site on the 1st page of Google! For a next to nothing price!”

Or perhaps suggest that you’re doing a crappy job with your search marketing.

It has become part and parcel of the life of a small business owner to field emails promising professional SEO services. Or phone calls from overseas.

How to smell the skunk  

It’s usually pretty easy to sniff out these emails as spammy sales techniques from a mile off. But some of them are getting pretty darn sophisticated. In fact, one of my clients asked about one such email recently. So I thought it was a good opportunity to bring up these kinds of SEO “promises” to make sure that we are all on the same page.

And to help those of you that might be a little confused by them or unsure if they could actually help your business. If you don’t know much about SEO, what they are saying might sound pretty good, and you are exactly who they are trying to target.

BUT it’s not specifically about you

In some of the communications, it’s really obvious that you’re receiving a mass email that actually has nothing to do with you.

In other instances, the emails are actually quite clever and make it seem like someone did their research, and did actually look at what you’re doing online.

Nope and nope.

One piece of proof I love to share to back this up is my partner. Who runs his own business. And who of course got me to do his SEO. And who now sits happily at number 1 page 1 for his most important keywords.

He still gets the emails and the calls “promising” the best SEO results. Even though he is exactly where he wants to be. How do you go higher than #1? Point proven.

For someone to be able to tell you exactly what SEO tactics you need to make inroads in rankings, they would have had to do a pretty in-depth amount of research about your business. And your competitors. And your industry. And really, how could anyone make any claims about knowing exactly what you need to succeed search ranking wise without ever having even talked to you?? Not to mention the point I make in the next section…

SEO “Promises”

How can anyone possibly “promise” anything when it comes to SEO?

If someone guarantees you a spot in search rankings… they are lying.

The only promise I offer with my SEO services? That I can’t promise anything.

It is impossible to guarantee anything in search. An SEO consultant can certainly do their very best and can certainly give you an indication once they’ve done their research how much work they anticipate it will take for you to move up (there is no cut and dry response to this – it is different for each and every business and each and every industry) and  then let you know about opportunities. But if they “promise” you anything, my suggestion is to run in the opposite direction. They either don’t have a clue what they are talking about (so you don’t want to hire them) or they employ tactics that “game” search engines unethically (actually, you should probably sprint at this point).

Let’s be realistic

Take my business for example. Yes, I do SEO and all that good stuff, but it’s not one of my main business goals to get on page 1 for certain keywords. Sure, I would love to show up on page 1 for Vancouver marketing consultant. But trust me, it is virtually impossible. I could devote every waking moment for the next month to this and probably not make any inroads. I am not only competing with other consultants, but every single one of the hundreds of marketing agencies in the city is also optimized for that keyword string.

So I know when I get an email that promises me number 1 page 1, it’s a bald faced lie.

What kinds of tactics are these anyways?

Some emails will offer you all kinds of SEO services. Some of them will make one sound really juicy… one thousand links for $5!!!

When it comes to SEO, the strategy and the process is hugely important. If you haven’t done proper keyword research, all the link building in the world will get you nowhere. If you haven’t optimized your own site, there is no point in doing things offsite. You need to build your foundation and then build up from there. With a clear direction. And an indepth knowledge of what’s going on in your competitive environment. A generic SEO plan will only take you so far. If anywhere at all.

And to top it all off, some of the tactics being touted are actually downright outdated. Google has just released another update to their algorithm – being dubbed Penguin 2.0. And a lot of what these SEO services are offering is exactly what you don’t want anymore.

Yes, they used to work.

But search marketing is constantly changing.

Just because something is cheap doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

And if you’re not keeping up, or you’re praying on people’s ignorance to make a quick buck, it’s going to come back to bite you. In some form or another.

But I’m happy to say that now my dear community members are informed. So you can’t pull the wool over their eyes.

On to you: How do you tackle your SEO? Have you ever used any of these inexpensive SEO services? What kinds of experiences have you had with SEO professionals? I’ll be ready and waiting for you in the comments.

Image source: Kristine Paulus/Flickr Creative Commons


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