I got a lead through our website the other day with an interesting comment attached. The prospect was requesting specific information on pricing for our services but as you can read below, they simply copied the information from what another SEO provided them.
I am just starting an internet business and I am looking for the following services. Please let me know if these are services you can provide and if so an estimated cost. Thanks
1. Website Analysis to check the current status of your website.
2. Meta analysis and recreation of clients tags and keywords.
3. Link popularity program – Increase the amount of pages that link to you.
4. Automated Submissions to 1090 search engines for site indexing twice a month.
5. Manual Submissions to the search engines that don’t accept automated submissions.
6. Submissions Report on the 1st and 15th of each month showing the progress of the website. “upon request”
7. We build you a Site Map for your website which helps all of your pages to be indexed into the search engines. The site map will also be submitted to 1090 search engines for site indexing twice a month.
My first response was to simply hit the delete button. If these guys were looking at a $20 junk SEO service then they were not going to be anywhere in the ballpark for the professional search engine marketing services we provide.
I could go through this line by line and pick it apart, but I won’t simply because it’s already obvious to anybody who knows anything about true optimization. Suffice to say for those who don’t, that almost all of the “services” mentioned above range from mostly useless to completely useless. Link building is important, but without knowing more about their methodology, there is no way to know if there is value in that service. I suspect not, based on their “submissions to 1090 search engines.” That’s a service that is not even worth the digital space it takes up to be able to read it. It’s clear that this is not an SEO that knows anything about what SEO really is.
Unfortunately, there are far too many of these faux SEO providers out there. The knowledge of these SEOs differ, some know enough to talk a good game, others know enough, or are good enough salespeople, to be able to sell a sham service. In either case, these are the SEOs that give the industry a bad name.
I went ahead and called this prospect and I’m glad I did. No, I wasn’t able to sell them our service and hadn’t expected too, but I may have prevented yet another business owner from being turned off to the SEO industry as a whole. What I was also able to do was to provide some education as to what they can and should do now and later in regards to promoting their website properly.
The bottom line for them was they didn’t have a lot of money to invest in promotion. Now, frankly, I think anybody who thinks they have a strong business idea needs to do whatever they can to secure the financing necessary to market their website properly. But it’s also true that there are many things that can be done to get your business model working with little or no cash.
Since this no-longer-a-prospect’s website was new I mentioned to her that new sites almost always take a long period of time to start ranking well. She can get on Yahoo and MSN relatively quickly in some cases but with Google, it will be a long road. What she needs to do now is to generate some exposure. Paid ads are the quickest and easiest way to do this.
I have also suggested paid ads to other potential prospects that were unsure whether or not they had a viable business model. First of all, unless you are sure, it is probably best not to pour money into expensive, long-term contracts. Paid ads via Google and Yahoo are an ideal means to start producing traffic to your site and see if your business model (and website) works. If not, change the model or pack it in.
If you have a good business model, the exposure you gain from Google and Yahoo through paid ads will not only start producing income (if not a profit) but will also start getting people to your site. The more people that see it and like it, the more likely you are to start generating some natural links. Links are the first step in the process of getting search engines to your site to build search engine rankings.
Another thing I told her she could do is to write and submit articles to article banks. If well-written and informative, these articles will likely be re-distributed on a number of websites, and if you create a good bio, they’ll link to your site as well. Those who read the article may visit the site and those who visit the site may link to it, creating even more incoming links.
Do this for six to twelve months and you now have site that has “aged” enough that a professional optimization campaign will be able to achieve some good rankings. It may take significantly longer to rank well for competitive phrases, but you should be able to target and rank well for enough keywords to produce an additional stream of targeted traffic, thereby boosting sales.
With any business, research is the key. One in ten businesses fails (online and off), largely because of a lack of funds and lack of research. If you are undercapitalized, research is even more important because this will help you make wise decisions as to where you put your money. It will also educate you enough to be able to identify which services are scams and which are legitimate.
I provided this prospect some knowledge that I hope will help guide her to build a successful business. And, since I was honest, willing and able to provide this information, who knows… maybe she will become a client at some point in the future.