Snake Oil Anyone
Recently we've been hounded by a pretty aggressive salesman pushing display ads and search engine/ social media marketing. Normally Liz fields these things but he happened to catch me as I came in the door.
An FYI, I've been studying search engine marketing since Alta Vista was king. It not only intrigues me but I have a number of businesses that 100% of their marketing is based upon web marketing. I have rankings in very highly competitive search phrases that are extremely difficult to get. This is not meant to brag but it is to say that when it comes to SEO I'm pretty hard to trick.
So this guy starts telling me about how he's Google's best friend and such. How he knows how to get us to the top of the serps (search engine results page). That his company has a special arrangement with google.
Uh oh big red flag. I will guarantee one thing. Google doesn't partner with anyone when it comes to serps (well there is talk about how they cleared up the President Obama google bomb in a week or so but it took them four years to clear up President Bush's. But other than that)
So I start throwing out a few simple SEO questions to test his knowledge. #fail
So I'm curious. Is it a legit company with a smarmy salesman. So I do some quick research.
Ok so they are listing some services that local businesses definitely need to get into. Taking control of local business search (free if you just go do it) Geao-targeted PPC, yep that's a good idea if smartly managed. If done poorly you'll waste a fortune with no results. I've seen that enough times. Google adwords certified. Ok someone passed the test
"We provide a web presence on the first page of Google and other search engines"
1) Noone can guarantee this
2) The catch on this and how most unscrupulous SEO's get you is by promising you this but not on WHAT search queries. It's easy to rank on nothing queries that are non competitive. Ranking on the correct ones can be difficult. It's all relative to competition.
So let's check out their SEO and social media engagement.
1) Pure html site. That means its static. Not good in today's world.
2) No social media integration. HHHHmmm isn't that what they are selling.
Back link check 53. Not terribly impressive.(My recent site I've been working on http://www.breakpal.com has 3,258 and some of them very powerful backlinks)
They do have a company facebook page but it's all about recruiting sales people. HHHMMM
The link from the facebook page is dead. Company site gone. Not impressing me.
Front page canonical error. Big mistake. Made all the time by newbies. Anyone who knows anything about SEO should check for that first.
Alexa rank 44,934
That's actually pretty good but easy to spoof.
Google page rank 3. No bragging rights there.
Now I will be the first to admit. My own site I use for marketing my SEO services is poorly SEO'd. But the truth is I don't do SEO for others. I consult on it occasionally but I've found that I can do much better doing SEO for my own businesses. So I have not SEO'd my own SEO site. I have, however, SEO'd my money sites.
A bit more research finds that this is a MLM company. MLM has hit the SEO/SM world.
So I think I'll probably pass on this. I hope that the rest of the VS business world does a litle research before buying.
So he's also selling display advertising at Mar Val. I'm no expert in that but since he didn't build much trust in the other arena I think I'll pass there too. Unfortunately for Mar Val I don't think he's doing them a favor.
I'd usually have let this slide but there are so many companies out there selling SEO and SM campaigns that are total scams. Web marketing is a must for small business these days but I'm afraid most small businesses will get burned a few times and get turned off to what could be profitable for them.
Secondly, I believe this blog post will prove a point.
YOU CAN'T BE DISHONEST OR SLIMY IN BUSINESS IN TODAYS WORLD.
Social media will out you quickly. Between this site and the FB fan page our reach is a couple thousand VS residents. If people decide to share it it goes even further. Wouldn't take to long to make it very difficult for a dishonest business person to make a sale here.
What do you think? Tell us below.