It is amazing how much of a bad mood I get in when I don’t have my coffee lol. I was just talking to a potential client and wow was I cranky. He had a good mood and sort of expected it from me though I think since he has read this blog. Anyways, besides a lack of caffeine, prepping for Affiliate Summit East and signing a new SEO Client today, my day started off with a seriously annoying sales call from an “SEO company”.
It wasn’t the sales call that annoyed me as much as the fact that they are pitching an SEO scam service that I thought had died off years ago. Instead of mentioning the company, I’ll just talk about what they do and the benefits. Then I’ll go into why it is sort of a waste, sort of not, and the questions you can fire back at them to make them have to think.
The company pitches that they have partnerships with some of the highest traffic and best ranked sites in the country. The reality is that they do have these relationships but that doesn’t mean that they are through or for SEO purposes. I have no doubt they could not get me the backlinks for the prices they are charging for links on those sites. What they do is that they rent the links out on a monthly basis and tell you it will be anywhere between $1,250 and $3,000 per link per site. Although those links sound great, until you actually think about it and think about how SEO works you won’t realize that what they are pitching is nothing more than a scam. Sure you are getting the benefit of the backlink for the month and if it is a relevant site to your niche then it may count more and help benefit you. If you get relevant traffic and it converts into sales for you than that is even better. But what happens when the month is over and you lose the link?
SEO is about having great content. It is about having back links and inbound links. (There is a lot more but those are three of the most basic and important SEO fundamentals). Having links that appear and disappear or are known to be paid links by the Search Engines (SEs) is actually not that beneficial to you. Especially if they are counted and give you rankings then all of the sudden disappear. That can actually hurt you even more if you don’t have a solid SEO plan and backlinks already in place. Having those links remain on the site and continue to point back to you is what you really want and need. Especially if there are little to no other outbound links from those pages. So how are they getting these spaces and backlinks and why do they only last a month?
If you remember back in the days of media buying you would buy the run of a paper or sections or full pages or double trucks. The same goes with your online media buys. You can buy month long positions, impressions, category runs, etc… Buy buying in bulk you also get a discount. You can buy banner ads, links and adspace in a ton of forms. That is what some of these “SEO” companies may be doing. They buy the ad space, divide it up and then resell it off as backlinks instead of ads. When the month is over you can rebuy the ad space again and keep your back link or let it expire. When you think about it that way it is technically not really SEO at all, but more like buying ad space in a media buy or part of a media plan. If you do a bulk buy or longer run, you may find out that you can also beat the “SEO company’s” prices mainly because you’ll be getting rid of their markups and you have a longer run off the rate card.
So when you get a call from one of these companies trying to sell you on the benefits of using them to give you backlinks from major sites like Forbes.com, how can you stump them and get them off the phone?
What you can do is ask them actual questions about SEO and don’t let up until they give you solid answers to prove that it is beneficial to you and won’t hurt you. Here are some sample questions and follow up statements.
- So what happens after the month, do I get to keep my links or do you take them away? Follow up with “Well then won’t I lose the SEO benefit because I no longer have the link, how is that SEO or an SEO benefit to me?”.
- Why wouldn’t I just buy the back link myself? I can get a quote or go off our media team’s budget.
- I sell “insert product here”, Forbes.com is about finance, why would I care about the link from them? Follow up with statements like, the traffic isn’t relevant so why would it convert and how is that beneficial now? (This is an especially good question if they continue to talk about increasing sales and traffic). The site isn’t in the same niche so how will it be as valuable as a less trafficked site that is and may have customers and ranks for the terms I want?
- How will you measure the success of my SEO? How many sales will I expect and what keywords will these backlinks rank me for? This is sort of a trick questions because the chances that that one back link or those two or three backlinks will rank you is fairly minimal if that is all you have done for SEO for vanity terms,,,then again people have gotten lucky.
- Ask for the specific pages and keywords they will link you off of and why those are the right ones for a solid SEO benefit. This will be key to see if your sales rep. even understands the value of backlinks and how to set them up and make them worth the money.
So without the firm, as they are going to be taken off guard, how can you get the backlinks since it is now in your head?
There are numerous ways to get backlinks from these sites.
Buy ad space. Draft press releases or pitch them to do an article about you. The best way though, but also the hardest, is to build a quality site with quality content and make it visible through old fashioned SEO and hard work. When they are writing articles about your topic or niche they will eventually find you and link to you if you did your job correctly.
Years ago people fell for these fake SEO companies and I was kind of shocked to get a call today from one of them pitching this garbage. I guess some companies with money to burn or uneducated employees still fall for this stuff….or maybe they just don’t have the time to call and say place this ad or link on the phone so they pay someone twice as much to do it for them. Either way it was kind of shocking to see they were still around and even funnier to hear they are still using the same pitch as an SEO company with basically no SEO knowledge or benefits.