If you’re a small business owner, then you know all about being harassed by people trying to sell you SEO services. You probably get at least two phone calls a week from people trying to talk you into paying them to “help” you. They tell you that they’re a Google certified partner, that they guarantee a front page Google listing for your business and that they know secrets that other SEO companies don’t.
They’re relying on our lack of knowledge. But let’s remedy that. Let’s educate ourselves so that none of us waste our money on these useless services. Services that we can, and should, be providing for ourselves.
Let me tell you about the phone call we received today from Empire Marketing Solutions. (I’m not providing a link to their website because I don’t want to help their SEO or drive clicks to their website.)
The call came in through my husband’s cell phone. He is much nicer than I am and tries to tell SEO companies “no” in a polite and courteous manner. (I usually just hang up on them.) The caller was a woman, and when she started in on her shpeel, my husband listened to her for a few seconds before saying, “I appreciate your call, but we’re not interested.”
She proceeded to tell him all about the advantages of her company’s services. My husband told her that we have no advertising budget and that his wife (me) does all of our SEO. He told her that all she was offering was to run a Google AdWords ad for us. Something that we’ve done ourselves, and it produced less than nothing in terms of business or revenue. He finally got so frustrated that he put his phone on speaker and walked over to me so I could hear how aggressive the lady was being.
I asked him to hand me the phone. I told the lady that I’m the one who manages our SEO, so I should be the one she speaks to. I told her that I’m quite up to date on affective strategies to further our SEO and that I am capable of providing every service they are offering, thank you very much. She replied that she’s sure I am educated, but if I really wanted to succeed, I needed their services, because they know a lot of stuff I don’t. Then she started giving me her pitch and I started refuting all of her claims.
At this point, we were both raising our voices and speaking over each other. During a pause, I could hear a little voice in the background saying, “End the call! End the call now!”
Her parting words were, “Well, I guess you know more than me.
To which I replied, “Yes I do.”
To be fair, she has a job where she gets yelled at and hung up on repeatedly all day long. That can’t be easy.
But let’s talk about why I got into an argument over the phone with some lady from Oregon that I don’t even know. (Besides the fact that my husband is too nice to hang up on annoying people.)
Here are the facts:
1. They claim to be a Google certified partner.
Yes, this is actually a thing. As to whether they are a Google certified partner, or are just selling you a line of crap is whole other thing. I did a little search on Empire Marketing Solutions and I couldn’t find any information on them being a GCP, which is something they would probably announce proudly. Although, it should be said, partnering with Google does not guarantee that you’re legit. When I was searching for Empire, I ran across several weight loss scams that had registered as offering SEO related services. So the main point here is, do your research. It’s super easy. Google offers a listing of all their partners and helps you locate the one that’s right for you. That is, if you decide you don’t have the time or patience to do it yourself. Might I suggest Naked Lime? I know absolutely nothing about them, but their name is awesome!
2. They guarantee a front page listing of your business on Google.
This is a little shady because there are several ways you can be listed on the first page of Google. Here are a few:
a. You provide a very specific service with very specific search terms (i.e. Crime Scene Cleanup + Your City = The only people in your town with the worst job in the world)
b. You type your company’s name and city into the Google search bar (Cheater)
c. You pay for a Google AdWords ad and are automatically listed at the top of the page as an advertisement on certain predetermined search terms in specific locations (These ads are designed to look like regular search results)
d. You hire a shady ass SEO company and they send out mass spam messages to legitimate websites, which temporarily hikes up your SEO rating (Look! You’re number one! Until you get blacklisted.)
When I started talking to the lady from Empire, her wording made it sound like they were going to work on my SEO over time. But as it turned out, they were just offering to design and place an ad on Google for me. This is something that is very easy to do on your own. Google even provides you with your own assistant that can answer any questions you might have and help you decide on what search terms to use and what areas to target based on your location and type of business.
3. They know stuff you don’t know.
That might be true now, but take a day on the internet and you’ll be just as smart as they are. This information is easily accessible, and most of it can be found through Google itself. Some people see Google as this creepy, secretive company in the back pocket of the government (well, that might be a little bit true), but they really do care about providing you with information. They provide the same opportunities to reach the top of their search results to Wal-Mart as they offer to the little guy down the street. You just need to do your homework. And having a few million dollars never hurts.
What can we take away from all of this? Don’t try to be nice to SEO scammers when they call. It will just put you in a bad mood and inspire you to write snarky blog posts.