Today I got a call from an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Company – a cold call wanting to sell me their services. They came in on my toll free number which is supposed to be reserved for customers (I made him aware of this right away and gave him a different number to call me back on).
I’ve received these kinds of calls before and by know I know pretty much how to handle them. This was a typical one where he had looked at one of my sites and told me I needed better search engine positioning. This one differed in that he gave me the name of a colleague and showed me this colleague’s site. This colleague is one of their clients according to him.
After the dog and pony show was over, I realized that I could not find any prices on their website for their services. This is actually typical for the SEO industry and this is one of the few industries who can get away with that. It took a while to get to get him to reveal the pricing and as usual it was more I was willing to pay for their services.
Along the way, I picked up a few things. First of all, their own site does not rank anywhere in the first 5 pages of Google for either “SEO Services” or “Professional SEO Services” (as well as a few other common SEO keywords). So my question for him was why did their own site not rank well for common SEO Terms? How can they guarantee ranking for my site when theirs doesn’t?
A second thing I picked up was that the example site (my colleague’s site) did not show up for the keywords it should have. The only sites that seemed to rank well were a few ‘model sites’ he directed me to. The whole thing left me cold and I said “thanks for your time, but no thanks”.
This brings up a point about SEO Services and the way some of them work. They will scour the web looking for obscure sites and this might include your home based business site. Then they cold call the number on the site and try to sell the services.
Are they scams? Sometimes they are and some are not. There are some very legit SEO service companies out there. Your best defense against getting ripped off is to ask a lot of questions and educate yourself about what they do so you can beat them at their own game as I did. You don’t have to know everything about SEO but a little SEO education goes a long ways in letting you step up to face these kinds of calls.