Posted by rishil
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/david-trattnig/262091025/
As a small business SEO/SEM, how do you deal with competition by these “guaranteed” page one results type SEOs? There are two elements to this situation: one is protecting your current client roster, and the second is gaining the right new client.
To start with, I would like to discuss protecting your own clients, and would like to illustrate this with an example. Below is an email conversation I had with a client fairly recently (edited to remove irrelevant comments and identifying markers):
Client: Rishi – see the email below, what would these guys do for us? (fwd email – yadda yaddda yadda guaranteed Page one Results yadda yadda yadda Adwords qualified yadda yadda yadda see clients’ testimonials yadda yadda ) Me: I would love to answer, but can I ask you a few questions instead? Client: Why do you have to be a pain? Go ahead Me:
- Exactly what keyword are you targeting that you aren’t on page one pos 1-3 for?
- What do you normally do with cold calls?
- Have you Googled the word “Adwords Professional”?
- I have worked with you for over a year now, I am sure you are pretty good at basic SEO understanding, can you run me an eyeball audit of the site of the “so claimed” SEO?
- I have forwarded you Google’s guidelines before – what do they say about guarantees?
Client: I wish you would stop being such a smart ass. But to answer you:
- Swear at them
- OK, PPC has nothing to do with SEO. I get it.
- Lack of alt tags, site wide title tag duplication, broken links
- No guarantees.
- Point taken and relegated to spam folder.
- Lose weight
You see, what happened here is I have worked hard with this client, forged a relationship with him, but have also empowered him to understand exactly what I do and how I do it. I encourage him and others to understand exactly what SEO is, and to learn to make decisions based on hard facts, exactly how they would if they were making any other business decision. This is Empowerment and Education at work.
Not only does it free you from countless arguments, but the clients start to even understand how to rate a “real” link request from spammy ones over time.
Don’t make the mistake of mystifying SEO – unravel its secrets to your clients, build a base on which your client has trust in you such that it can only be shaken if you don’t deliver. And if you don’t intend to deliver, then don’t even pretend to start.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/byronshell/2468121053/
How do you deal with potential new clients who you are pitching to, but who have been contaminated with these “guaranteed” SEOs?
I keep it pretty simple, really. The information is out there, all you have to do is to dress it up such that the clients understand.
Take, for example, the base one starting points:
- Webmaster Guidelines by Google: Part of the pitching process included testing the site for all the given guidelines, along with an explanation of what else over and above would I offer, such as keyword research, clickthrough analysis, etc.
- SEO Definition by Google: This link is ideal and I am going to pull out two paragraphs that I highlight without fail:
Be wary of SEO firms and web consultants or agencies that send you email out of the blue.Amazingly, we get these spam emails too:"Dear Google.com, I visited your website and noticed that you are not listed in most of the major search engines and directories…"Reserve the same skepticism for unsolicited email about search engines as you do for "burn fat at night" diet pills or requests to help transfer funds from deposed dictators. No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.
- When dealing with “Adwords qualified professionals,” I make a point to include the data from this link :
Search results on Google are generated automatically. No company can buy placement in Google’s search results (also known as the ‘natural search results’). AdWords ads, which companies can purchase on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis, are clearly marked as ‘sponsored links’ and appear above and beside the search results.
There’s a whole host of literature that you can use to point out why you are better, more ethical and the right choice compared to these “SpamEOs.” You just have to figure out what’s right for you and the audience you are presenting your proposal to.
I have said this before, but will stress again, “Don’t try to impress with knowledge, but try to impress with your strategy.”
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gi/518613153/
Don’t Go Yet!
If you would like to know more about Small Business SEM processes that I use, please feel free to read my take on SEO Swot Analysis, as well as:
- Small Business SEO: Content Strategies
- Small Business Link Building: Part B – Grabbing the Bull by the Horns
- Small Business Link Building: Part A – Analysing Opportunities
- Building Bricks: Keyword Discovery Process for Small Businesses
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