A number of our clients have recently been contacted on the email (and phone) by SEO Experts with offers to increase organic search engine traffic, improve online campaigns, fix major issues with websites and with a promise to increase profit by guaranteeing a 1st page Google ranking.
Sounds too good to be true, right?
Well, that’s because it is too good to be true. But I know you secretly want someone to come along and take care of all things internet, as do the spammers – so you’re tempted!
The primary goal of these spammers is to get you to commit to a lengthy contract at a set fee each month for search engine optimisation services. The fee is anything upwards of $300 a month. Very lucrative if they can get you to sign up. Because these people are usually located offshore it can be a very difficult situation to unravel.
So how do you tell the real SEO Experts from the Expert SEO Spammers?
- Ask yourself – how did this organisation get my email address/phone number? If you didn’t give it to them then they’ve found it via bots or illegal mailing lists. Seriously, if an organisation finds their customers like this do you really want them finding your customers like this? There are legal implications with this practice, both in NZ and overseas, not to mention the damage these types of practices can do to your reputation.
- Check out their web presence, you’ll see if they implement their strategies in the context of their own business. Do they run a blog, are they on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Search their name, see if you find anything. Or like the email pictured above – the friendly Sales Advisor uses a gmail account, has no web address in his email signature, not even a Company name! Is ‘stumpy image optimisation’ even a thing, maybe its just a really bad translation?
Where do you find the real SEO experts?
You can search on google or do it the old fashioned way and ask around. Search the internet for local businesses, the ones you find – give them a call and ask them who they use. Ask your IT Provider or your neighbour.
Once you have a short-list then,
- Verify them. Check out their clients listed on their website, are they real clients? See if you can find them on Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+.
- Phone them, is it a valid phone number? Check their address on Google Maps, is it real?
- When you talk to them ask them about their SEO strategies, check it out online – see if they follow their own advice.
- Ask for a reference, is the referee legitimate?
- Expect them to ask you about your business goals and your customers, beware of promised results when they have no understanding of what you want to achieve.
- Before you sign anything make sure there are achievable SEO targets in place with a robust reporting system to track progress against targets. Be clear on how your SEO targets will achieve the business result. Ensure there is an escape clause in the contract and that you fully understand any notice period should you (or the SEO Expert) choose to exit the contract.
Optimising your web presence is not a quick job that will show results in a week. There may be some areas where you can expect a fairly quick result like an Adwords advertising campaign, however, quick results cost money. At the end of the day if you want your website to rank you need to put in the hard yards.