We’ve all had those emails offering to put our site onto page 1 of Google using “SEO”. The problem with this is that they can give people a false understanding of what modern SEO practice actually is, what it can be used for, and what it should be used for. They can be particularly damaging when you’re trying to run your business and focus on your particular product or service. You’re not an SEO expert, you don’t have to be an SEO expert, but now somebody has emailed presenting themselves as an SEO expert. Would you be tempted? You might live to regret it… To help you understand what’s actually going on with these emails, we’ve put together a breakdown of of what they say, what they really mean, and what a legitimate agency would actually do. Dear Sir / Madam,
Means: I couldn’t be bothered to have a look at the website and work out what gender you are. In much the same way that I can’t be bothered to work out anything about your potential customer base. I got your name from a blind list of media contacts and I don’t even know when this list was last cleansed to ensure it was accurate. Don’t worry, it didn’t exactly cost me much.
What a legitimate agency would do: Understanding your potential clients is key to your chances of establishing a mutually beneficial relationship with them. Research, analytics, and targeted use of data can give you a greater understanding of exactly who you’re trying to reach. A legitimate agency would already know who you are and how they can benefit you. If they can’t even work out your name or gender, how are they going to help you to reach your target demographics?
My name is Miriam
Means: I know in your inbox it says that this is from Nathaniel Anders-Xavier. I just get so excited by the random name generator programme I’m using that I like to double up in my emails.
What a legitimate agency would do: Well… they might say, “My name is Miriam”. If the person sending the email was actually called Miriam.
I work for a leading SEO agency
Means: I’m in my bedroom.
What a legitimate agency would do: The thing is, even the term “SEO agency” is an outdated one. SEO is one part of an overall marketing strategy that should be holistic and tailored to your specific needs. These days the content you produce, the buzz it creates on social media, the links it can create from being quoted by authoritative sites that rank highly… all of these are hugely important. There’s no such thing as ‘SEO’ in isolation anymore.
We have run an analysis of your website
Means: I have a programme that harvests company names and emails. I have no idea what’s on your website. Do you think I have time to check what’s on your website? I have 10,000 people on my list to spam. Busy, busy, busy.
What a legitimate agency would do: If they say they’ve run an analysis of your website then they’ll back it up with the information to demonstrate it.
You are missing out on several great ranking opportunities
Means: Look, no company’s perfect, right? You’ve probably got some weaknesses, who doesn’t? Let me play on your insecurities like I’m a glossy magazine peddling airbrushed celebrity photos to ordinary people.
What a legitimate agency would do: Rankings? What’s the overall business picture though? What are the aims of your company? Where are your audience? Are they coming from search, social, or on-street presence? Which factors can be improved upon and which of those offer the greatest potential for generating results? Would boosting ranking positions for some low-volume or low-relevance terms really be a result for your business? A legitimate agency would look to add value to your company’s bottom line and would work to this eventual goal.
We can put you onto page 1 of Google for several relevant terms
Means: Trust me. Give me 3 months and you’ll be ranking for “I was the victim of an SEO snake oil salesman” and “having to learn how to get rid of weird spammy porn links from your website”.
What a legitimate agency would do: You can certainly look to optimise content through good practice and this should result in improvements in position for relevant terms. However, as this Moz article explains, page 1 may no longer be a relevant or realistic goal for companies.
We use the latest tried and tested technology to achieve results
Means: I have to say “latest” to make it sound good. When I say tried and tested, I mean that what I do earned some short-term results in 2005 before Google worked out how to stop people like me feeling the internet with drivel and weird results. I’m hoping you don’t ask for clarification on how I can claim that something is both “latest” and “tried and tested”. I might try keeping you in this confused state by telling you in a follow up email that it would be “really cool to make your website hot”.
What a legitimate agency would do: What’s the actual methodology in use here? Data-driven? Backed up by creative thinking? Leveraging outreach and PR potential through content? Content which can be online or experiential but generating online results? Technology could mean a toaster. What is the role of the technology mentioned and what is it being used in conjunction with? A good agency conveys this.
Our prices are very reasonable
Means: Do you have a few hundred pounds spare to invest in your business? Probably. So do you have a few hundred pounds spare to let me set up some spam links? I mean, it’s probably cheaper than paying somebody legit. Though not in the medium- to long-term when you have to pay them to start fixing things, obviously.
What a legitimate agency would do: To be fair, the spam emailers might be onto something here. We’ve not seen many agencies say, “Our prices are very expensive…”. Then again, maybe we should all be learning from Stella Artois? —-
At DAC, we understand that anything involving ‘SEO’ can still seem like a mysterious dark art. That’s why we hope this article has helped to clear up some of the misconceptions that are fostered by those spam emails.
We’re a full-service agency, meaning that we take a holistic approach to getting your company the results you need. We’re not the kind of agency that only has a hammer so treats every challenge as a nail. We make sure that your site is kept in tip-top condition when it comes to the technical side of search engines finding it for the right searches, but we can also create the content you need to reach your customers wherever they are. That’s assuming you know where your customers are. Through our analytics department, we get you the information you need about where your customers are, how they behave and how you can best target them. Whether that’s by organic search, social media, PPC advertising, blog content, digital PR, or a combination – we can find the right solution for you. Your business is unique, its challenges are unique, so solutions need to be unique too. Find out more about what we do or get in contact with our specialist digital marketing team today.