Spotting a Phony Search Engine Marketing Company within Three Minutes
Raise your hand if you’ve ever received an email promising top 10 placement on the search engines. I get them all the time, and I’m in the business. Often these kinds of
companies use “blackhat” tactics that can get you kicked off the search engines. These tactics would include hidden text, doorways pages that the public can’t see, link farms, and a variety of other strategies.
Often blackhat search engine marketing (SEM for short) companies use deceptive sales practices and prey on business owners who know they should be doing search engine
optimization (SEO) but don’t know much about it. Luckily, these companies have some similarities in their deceit. Here are five ways to spot a phony search engine marketing
company as well as three great ways to find a quality SEM company.
They Make Promises of Front Page Placement in a Short Period
A phony SEM company will promise to put you on the front page on three of your key phrases in at least three of the top 10 search engines. Remember, the big three search engines — Google, Yahoo! and MSN—account for approximately 90 percent of the
searches done on the Internet. So the bottom seven search engines divvy up the last 10 percent They’ll let you pick the top 10 key phrases and then work to get you on the lower ranked search engines that have a miniscule percentage of the searches. So the
phony SEO company delivers on their promises but it doesn’t result in a great increase in website traffic.
Their Site isn’t Highly Ranked or is Blacklisted
Do they register highly in the search engine? Are they blacklisted? You can tell their blacklisted by going to Google or one of the other search engines and typing in “site:www.theirdomainname”. If there are no results then most likely they have been blacklisted or are brand new. One of my clients signed a contract with a company this
past year. I showed him that both of the company’s web sites were blacklisted, most likely for using deceptive practices. Do you want your website and business marketed using deceptive practices? Do you want to get blacklisted by Google?
They’re Vague About What They Do
A phony SEM firm will give you vague ideas on what they will do, as well as not tell you the nefarious things they will do. Be wary when a company talks too little in specifics and too much in vagaries. With my proposals I give specifics without giving away my
trade secrets. If they don’t give at least some specifics then they are probably trying to hide something.
They Bully You When You Question Them or Say “No”
One of my clients talked to a search marketing company about pay per click advertising and wanted me to check them out. The company wanted ,000 in advance and
promised traffic at a good cost per click. But it would have taken three years to spend that kind of budget with the number of searches on his phrases. Thanks, but no thanks. So the
black hat started in with rhetorical questions that presumed I would be an idiot if I didn’t use their services. I calmly said “no” again, and he started up again, so I just hung up.
Don’t waste your time on a bully.
They Contact You
If they are so good at search engine optimization, then you should be contacting them.
They will have high rankings on the search engines themselves on terms that people are searching for. There are some legitimate companies that do initiate calls, so ask for references from clients who are seeing success.
Three Great Ways to Find a Quality Search Engine Marketing Company.
If you’re going to do SEM I would recommend:
1. Talk with colleagues or friends that are seeing success with other companies. They should be able to give you an idea of specific results they are seeing and how well they
are being treated by their SEO company.
2. Use the search engines to find local companies that are doing well on the search engines. If you live in Dallas, type in “Dallas search engine optimization firms”.
Assuming that the people on the front page are local, you can meet with them to find out more about how they work, what they charge, and what results you might expect.
3. Listen for the Big Three Fundamentals of SEM. A genuine SEO company will talk about finding the best phrases to market, getting more content on your site, and getting incoming links to your site. There might be some ancillary techniques they’d recommend,
too, but the three tactics mentioned above should be the foundation of their work.
So, in three minutes you could look up their site, ask them for specifics, and request references. If any of these three are questionable, politely say you’re not interested and hang up. And then start looking for a company who is reputable with an acquaintance,
shows up well on the search engines, and is using good fundamentals. By doing this you will save yourself time, money and headaches.
About the Author: Dave Carlson is a Google Registered Adwords Professional and owns Green Chair Marketing Group, an Internet marketing firm specializing in driving visitors to web sites by search engine optimization, pay per click advertising, and web site design/redesign.