Buyer Beware: Emails Promising Stellar SEO/Social Media Services

by Keri Honea on September 7, 2011

Oversell

From famousquotesabout.com

Hold the phone…don’t we offer stellar SEO/SEM/social media services?

Yes, yes we do. However, we aren’t randomly emailing potential clients all over the country promising that we can guarantee “first-page” search engine rank results in one week or that we can provide engaging social media conversations across various platforms for one super-low rate.

For instance, look at this email one of our clients recently received:

While doing some research online, looking for an attorney in _____, I noticed that I could not find your firm until I was on Google’s seventh or eighth page. I am emailing you because our company is currently looking for a law firm in your city to represent the front page of Google Places.

As a result of representing Google’s first page, the attorneys we work with have seen a significant increase in new retainers signed; often in their very first month. We average less than a three week turn around time to get you listed there, and we have never had an attorney on Googles first page who didn’t land a new client in their first 3 weeks or less.

It sounds great, right? Well, the old adage of “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” could not be more applicable than in this scenario.

The long and short of great SEO and social media services is that you get what you pay for.

Buyer Beware: Auto-Tweeting

If you sign up for a social media service that promises to tweet numerous times a day, automatically respond to any mentions and retweets you receive, and automatically follow all new followers for $50 a month, you aren’t going to receive high quality content and conversations that fits your business.

First of all, automatically following all followers is never a good practice. More than 70% of the new followers a typical Twitter user snags in a day are spam. They’re either pornography spam or spam-followers who only followed you because you used one word that they search for (say you mentioned cooking one day; you may suddenly have a barrage of culinary school followers–true story). Unless you are a member of that culture, you aren’t going to want to follow them, because the last thing you want is to have your Twitter feed cluttered up with useless tweets.

In addition, putting an auto-reply system in place is also never a good idea. Nothing aggravates Twitter users more than an automatic reply of “Thanks for mentioning us!” or “So glad you stopped by!” Twitterers want responses that insinuate some thought was put into it, especially if they have a question or a complaint. Automatic replies are a surefire way of hurting your social media presence if someone has a complaint.

Buyer Beware: First-Page Ranking Guarantees

The same theory applies for SEO services. Companies can promise you all day that they can guarantee a first-page ranking for your keywords for $100 a month, but with the new Panda 2.2 algorithm, this is impossible to do without quality content marketing and link building, something no one will get for $100 a month. Not to mention, how much say will you get in which sites link to you or what your site’s message is with such a quicktastic service?

One of our current clients had signed up with one of these programs, and they were deeply dissatisfied with their service. Their entire website was rewritten around one keyword phrase, and it was painfully obvious this had happened. The content was practically unbearable to read. The client did rank high with this particular keyword phrase, but they were unranked in all other keywords for other features of their business. If they had continued with this service, the Google Panda would have undoubtedly smacked them down into the abyss.

After being with us for a couple of months, they saw their traffic rise, and more clients come in for more of their services–instead of just the one service. When the Panda arrived, they were barely affected, much to our joy.

Before You Buy, Ask, Ask, Ask!

I’m not saying that all of these emails are shenanigans. There are some honest businesses out there that genuinely want you as a client and not as another automatic payment. So before you reply with an overly enthusiastic “SIGN ME UP!!!” here are some questions you should ask and some points you should research.

  • Is their information correct? For example, if an email tells you that you are on xxx rank in Google or on xxx page in Google’s search results, you first need to find out if that is true at all. If they don’t tell you want keywords they used to determine your supposed rank, then you need to ask what keywords they used. Take the email posted above, for example. Absolutely none of that page ranking information was true, and notice how they never once mentioned which keywords they used to determine this client’s page rank.
  • Ask what they use for link building, and what sites they will try to get to link to you. If they’re buying links, Google will find out and slam the ban hammer on you. Also, if they’re building links with sites that have nothing to do with your business, the Google Panda will slap you off the higher ranks.
  • Ask if you will be able to approve any social media posts they make.
  • Ask about their auto-reply and auto-following policies for Facebook and Twitter.
  • Ask what kind of tweets/Facebook posts they promise to deliver. Are they blanket statements? Are they random questions? Are they news reports about your business or your industry?

Likewise, if you want to see how we can match these services, we are more than happy to oblige and provide a compare and contrast for you. We’ll even talk to this company for you and ensure that you are getting what your business needs.

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