Have you had them? You know, those phone calls from SEO agencies promising to get you to the top of Google for your search term because you’re not ranking as well as you should be? Am I the only one that finds them a damn nuisance – I wish they’d leave me alone! And of course the emails too…. “I came across your website and notice that…..”.
I brush them off as a bit of an annoyance and politely tell them where to get off, but judging by comments I’ve seen in various Facebook groups not everyone takes the same approach. I think it’s fair to say that many small business owners actually get pretty stressed about them – after all they’re being told their website isn’t ranking and that someone has a magic pill to fix it. It’s no wonder people sign up for some ‘too good to be true’ deal and end up living to regret it.
For some it’s a case of being baffled by science: not being knowledgeable about the subject of SEO means you’re not in a position to argue or query any of the claims that are being made. For others maybe it’s pure battle weariness and they caught you on a bad day where you just didn’t have the will to say no!
But what if the person on the other end of the phone IS a good SEO guy. What if the agency really CAN do what they say they can? How can you tell?? What should you do when you get one of these sales calls and what questions should you ask?
Do You Know What My Business Does?
May seem obvious, but not you’d be surprised at how many will say no! Chances are you’re on a contact list of thousands and it’s a pure numbers game – call enough people and eventually someone will say ‘yes’. If an agency can’t even take the time to look at your site and see what your business does before calling then how much care will they take with your SEO? Time to end the call.
If they say yes, then what next?
What Search Terms Will You Rank Me For?
If they have looked at your site then they should be able to answer this. If they do, check out the search terms they’re quoting you for. Look at the search volumes in a tool like the AdWords Keyword Planner or at http://keywordtool.io/ and see if anyone is actually searching for this term. The higher the volume the harder it’ll be to rank for that term – if they’re giving you search terms will very low or non existent search volumes then frankly it won’t matter if you’re number one because no-one is looking for it! Hang up.
If they say yes hang up!! NO-ONE can guarantee a first position ranking – here’s a quote from Google themselves regarding this:
No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.
Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through our Add URL page or by submitting a Sitemap and you can do this yourself at no cost whatsoever.
These three simple questions are likely to weed out 99% of the calls you get and ease your conscience along the way maybe. But what if you really want to find someone to help you, and they passed this first little test? Or what if you just need to find someone and don’t know where to start.
There are lots of reputable agencies who use cold calling as a sales technique so feel free to investigate them further and find out how they can help you. Request a written proposal and ask them exactly what they will look at before starting work: they should be looking at things like your site structure, load times, how well the site is set up to convert and whether it’s mobile friendly to name a few. It’s not just about backlinks and meta titles these days.
Google have written an excellent article about how to choose someone to do your SEO for you – you can read it here: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35291?hl=en It goes into great detail on what you should look for and what to avoid so it’s well worth a read.