Running a business takes concentration and effort, leaving little attention for mastering skilled business functions such as digital marketing. You entrust these services in the hands of other industry professionals, but unfortunately, not everyone you’ll deal with will have your best interests at heart.

It’s worthwhile taking the time to educate yourself enough to be able to tell the real thing from those trying to take you for a ride. This is especially important with services such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

Here’s what you need to know about SEO to avoid getting duped.

Beware of cold callers

“Hi there, we have found a problem with your website”.

How many times as a business owner have you heard that? Unfortunately, I’ve had a number of clients tell me of their experience with such phone calls. Quite often, the person on the other end of the phone is not willing to divulge any information about the “problem” or provide value on how to fix it.

Cold calling unsuspecting companies is a common tactic of some digital agencies. They do this to frighten or entice local small businesses into committing to their SEO services by making promises that are too good to be true.

You don’t need to be an SEO expert to be able to tell if a digital agency is trying to pull a fast one on you. If you’d like to challenge these cold callers, look out for the following false claims:

“We can get you to rank at number one on Google, instantly.”

Getting to a good ranking can require months of consistent effort. Many of these claims are done via what is known as Black Hat SEO. While you may receive an immediate boost to your search rankings, it won’t be long before your site is found out and potentially blacklisted by the search engines.

Depending on the keyword terms and competition, it can take months for your rankings to make it to page one. We have been fortunate for one Local Based client where we were able to get all relevant keywords into the top 3 position within the first month. This was done by following SEO best practice.


“You have to pay Google to rank well. Just pay us to do it.”

You can pay someone to help you with SEO, but your Google ranking depends on effort working on the right things, such as relevance to search terms and producing quality content.

“We can offer you a trial of SEO services.”

Quite often, you won’t see value in a trial service. In most cases, small positive results can be easily acheived within the first month with the right optimisations.

Also, the SEO company will need access to a number of your online assets (e.g. website, Google My Business listing), potentially locking you in without you knowing about it.


“If you don’t let us change your website’s XYZ immediately, Google will penalise you!”

It takes a consistent, deliberate violation of Google’s code of conduct to get your website penalised or banned. For most inadvertent SEO errors, the worst that will happen is a knock in ranking that can be easily fixed in most cases.


“You need to take up a 6 month contract”

What would you do if you are not happy with the SEO provider within the first few months? Most reputable SEO companies do not have fixed contracts and only require a 30 day termination notice period.


“We know who your competitors are”

Don’t be afraid to ask them who they think your competitors are. I had one client tell me about a cold caller who made this exact claim and proceeded to list a number of companies that were not direct competitors. Any decent SEO provider will take the time to work with you to understand who your competitors are as well as your customer personas.


What can you do?

So how can you arm yourself against fake SEO peddlers?

If you hear any of the above claims (or similar claims) just politely tell them you are not interested and not to call again.

However, the most effective thing to do is to start with an audit of where your SEO standing is currently. We’d love to offer this to you, free of charge and with no obligation to use our services afterwards. Results are determined by an independent third-party and will reveal exactly where your SEO efforts need to be focused.

Feel free to contact us today via form below to talk you through it.

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