November 10

Episode 70 : SEO Scams & How To Avoid Them



If you own or manage a website, you’ve probably gotten one of these scams. We’ll talk about some of the most popular scams and how to avoid them

Paul: All right, so welcome to this episode of The Marketing Guides for Small Business Podcast. I’m Paul Barthel. Today I’m joined by Ian and Jen, and we’re gonna talk about some, probably not all of the SEO scams that are out there, so you can hopefully recognize ’em and then avoid ’em. Ian, Jen, welcome. Let’s get started, and I’m gonna start off.

I get to so often, is the super low prices. You see it all the time. Usually it comes from some free email. It’s not even a domain based email. It comes from Gmail or Hotmail, and it’s usually poorly worded, Google one ranking, $50 a month. And, it’s bad because a lot of people don’t realize that SEO takes work and you generally get what you pay for.

So, they sign up with one of these people and then they come away thinking, SEO’s a scam. All SEO firms are a bunch of crooks, and the reality is you actually got what you paid for you. You paid next to nothing, and that’s what you got. Ian, I’m gonna start with you. You had mentioned previously that one of the biggest scams is misleading reporting, great sounding reports, but the keywords aren’t that great.

So, can you talk about that? 

Ian: I get this one a lot, especially from prospects who have been burnt. Or at least they feel they’ve been burned by their previous SEO, usually multiple SEO providers. And it’s unfortunate. And the big thing I see is that once you start to unpack it a little bit with them and you get past the anger of, I was investing this amount of money and I don’t feel I got the results I wanted.

Once we start to unpack it a little bit, I learned that a lot of it had to do with, they continued in these relationships, cuz again, it was almost like these serial relationships for multiple years. Because the reporting they were getting sounded okay, but the true results, like when they tried to match up, every business should be doing this, is matching up what their marketing provider is saying with what their actual business results are.

And a good marketer will try to connect those or help you as a business owner try to connect those. So if you’re investing in SEO, that SEO person, if possible. Again, you’re not gonna get this for $50 a month because they’re not investing enough into it for you, but really it should be connecting those two things.

And so what I mean by that, as a business owner, you want more visitors to your website, but you want qualified visitors and you want leads that will ultimately turn into clients. And so putting the reporting into that and making them connect so that they can see, Oh, my SEO rankings are this. My overall website, organic visibility compared to my competition is this.

And I can see on my side when I look at number of new leads I’m getting per day through phone calls and form fills and referrals is this. And I’m seeing it rise in an equivalent manner to the reporting I’m seeing, all is well. When you see a disparity, that’s the problem. One of the biggest issues I see is that people are getting reports every month because as an SEO provider, you have to provide something, proof. Proof that we’re doing something for you. So they provide these number one ranking reports. And I’ve seen these because clients I’ve won have shown me what the previous provider was giving them, and it’s just this list that the client doesn’t understand, but it looks like number one. Hey, wow, we’re ranking number one. And they don’t even know how to scrutinize what those keywords are, even though they’re listed or the value of those keywords. Anybody, even for $50, can rank you for keywords and they’ll eventually get you in the number one position. But if those keywords are of such low value that if they’re not attracting qualified buyers, if qualified buyers aren’t entering those search terms, then they mean nothing.

That’s the kind of misleading reporting I see a ton of. It makes me really angry as somebody in this business because I know that every dollar I invest in my own marketing for my business is very precious. It’s a risk and you want a reward from it. And so it’s upsetting to see business owners who work very hard for every dollar losing out and giving money away to people that aren’t providing a good return on investment back.

Jen: Ian, you mentioned prospects showing you these reports. What do you mean by that? In the time where you’re talking about taking on a new client, they’re showing you what other companies are giving them? 

Ian: Yeah, some do. My sales process is very relationship focused. I’m not a hard sales kind of guy. I’m more about educating and informing people and helping them make an informed buying decision.

In particular, we’re talking about SEO today. Oftentimes, I’ll provide them with some sort of visibility report. I’ll ask them, Give me your top three competitors. I’ll also find out who the big player in their particular market is, just so I can show them, Here’s your visibility right now as a third party objective person, I can share this with you.

I’m pulling it straight outta the system. I show you where I get the report, and then they’ll say Geez, that’s not lining up with this. And they’ll send me a PDF and I’ll say, Yeah, but look at the keywords that they’re giving you. One quick example of that, and I see this all the time in all industries, but I took on a dental client and they were really proud of this because the other SEO person was really waving this banner a lot, that they were ranking number one for dental charts, but specifically dental teeth charts.

So where you see a diagram of how the teeth fit together, but they were actually ranking well for human dental teeth charts, but also cat dental teeth charts or dental teeth even the human dental teeth charts are totally meaningless from a transactional. I’m looking for a dentist. Nobody looks for dental teeth charts when they’re looking for a dentist. Maybe when they’re researching a school project. 

Jen: But that’s not even a potential client, so yeah. Oh geez. Wow. 

Paul: Yeah, those are some good points. The whole key where that’s a whole other issue in how Google has changed the way they deal with them over the years. We won’t go there right now. 

Ian: Can I share one more thing? Cuz I thought this would be helpful as I was thinking about this topic ahead of time. This might weave itself through our discussion today, but one thing that kept popping up in my mind is it’s great that we’re talking about scams with our listeners so that they’re aware that these things are out there.

But I thought it would also be helpful to share how to avoid. This particular one I just wrote down a few. And the first thing to know is, and this might apply to a lot of what we’re talking about today, but there’s no silver bullet here. It’s hard as a business owner if you’re not an expert in SEO, to understand what the SEO experts are actually saying.

But if you ask these questions, they will help you a lot. So asking the SEO person, how do you choose the keywords that you’re going to help us rank for? And how do you integrate my competition into that research? Another question is what keywords will you report on every month? Are those based on ranking? Or on volume or on both factors? How do you link website conversions to SEO efforts? If people are filling in forms or clicking to call, how do you link those to the SEO efforts? And how will I know that my SEO investment I’m making is growing my business? And just put them on the spot and hold them accountable.

Jen: And watch them not respond to your email.

Ian: And, that’s a great sign that they’re not the right people. That’s a good point. 

Paul: Like, Ian said there’s no silver bullet. There’s no one thing you can do because Google is looking at signals. I won’t get into entities. I know we’ve touched on it in the past, but Google isn’t looking at one thing. Google is looking basically at your online presence and the your online signals that are generated. And it goes back to expertise, trust, and authority, and we won’t get into that either, right now. There’s no one thing you can do. It’s not, If I do this, I’m gonna rank number one. That’s just not how it works.

Jen, another one. I wanna be a little careful here. Guest posts. Now not all guest posts are a scam, but it could be. So what would turn that from a legitimate offer into something that’s a scam? 

Jen: Okay, so guest post, and I’m glad you said, not all of them are a scam. There are legitimate writers out there looking to either get their start or get into your industry or legitimately become your content writer by offering guest posts and what we mean by guest post is a guest blog post.

Typically, these will come into your email. Typically, there will be a lot of fawning over how great your content already is. I could add so much more to it. One of the warning signs that I would see, or that I do see, that you can tell is probably not legit, probably not a writer looking at to actually help you.

Is if they start right in the first email pitch to say, I would like to have you link to this article, or, I have written these articles and I think that, my knowledge in this area can help you. And if you look through and those articles have nothing to do with your business, your industry, there’s a good chance right there that this isn’t a legitimate offer for you. If you do go further with it, sometimes what they do is end up embedding links into that post that drive traffic back to their own blog network, which usually has nothing to do with your industry or helping you whatsoever. A good way to protect yourself from this is read through the first pitch carefully. I made a joke in the last segment about emailing back and waiting for the non-response. We’ve done that a number of times, just emailed back to guest posts, requests that seem on the legit side. If there’s no answer there, just definitely move along. 

Paul: Yeah, definitely. Cuz not all guest posts are bad. There are legitimate ones out there, but you just have to be careful. 

Jen: It’s the other thing too, when you say there’s no silver bullet. With a lot of companies producing the content, writing the weekly or biweekly blog posts, that’s something that I don’t know anyone that wouldn’t want that take it off their plate of things to do, even if they really enjoy doing the writing for their company blog.

So it’s an easy way to say, We’ll take this off your plate and do some guest posting for you. So you wanna be careful for sure. 

Paul: Something that I wanted to touch. It’s not really a scam. It’s misleading and it link building in guest posts from high domain authority sites. And, the reason it’s misleading is because Google doesn’t rank websites.

Google ranks webpages and Google does not use a domain authority metric. They do have a page rank, which they hide. Used to be visible if you can’t find it anymore. Domain authority comes from SEO tools that get these signals from Google and they look at how you rank your visitors, the quality of your traffic, the expertise, authority, and trust.

And they assign a domain authority, but it’s a proprietary metric. Semrush has it. MAZ has it, and it’s a way to give you a guide as to how trustworthy a website is, but it has nothing to do with Google. If someone comes along and says we can get you these links from these high domain authority sites, now okay, if it’s Forbes, yeah, obviously that’s definitely a very high authority site, but is it relevant to what you do?

That’s the first thing is just because it’s a very well known, trusted website. If it’s irrelevant to your business, Google’s pretty much gonna ignore it. It doesn’t matter much. Just be aware that Google does not use the domain authority metric. It’s something SEO tools, it’s valuable to people in the SEO industry, but from Google’s perspective, it doesn’t mean anything.

Ian: I think that’s a great point, Paul. And just to clarify for the listeners, nobody knows what’s in Google’s algorithm. The only way we as SEO experts understand what’s happening is through trial, error and testing, having hypothesis testing those hypothesis and making them work. And there’s thousands of really good experts in the field that eat and breathe this stuff.

And they’re the ones that feed tools like the Semrush. In order to draw out things like the domain authority or ranking visibility reports. And it’s true that Google doesn’t use those, but it is our only way as businesses to try to crack the code and it’s the very best way actually, there’s no other ways to really do it, to crack the code of what will help you rank better in Google.

I just thought it was worth saying that because it makes it sound like it doesn’t matter, but it does matter because it’s the only way we as businesses can figure out what’s gonna help my website or my client’s website rank better in the Google algorithm, which only Google knows about. So it’s like there’s a curtain there and we’re trying to figure out what’s behind the curtain and maybe throw things behind the curtain and see what comes back at you or something. I don’t know that, maybe that’s not a good analogy. 

Paul: It’s definitely useful and it matters to, like you said, to people in the SEO world, it just doesn’t matter to Google. 

Ian: Nothing matters to Google except our money. 

Paul: Google doesn’t care what Semrush or MAZ say a website’s domain authority supposedly is. I guess that’s where I was going with that.

I love this one. The Google SEO partner. Tell us why that’s bs? 

Ian: Cuz Google doesn’t have SEO partners. Google offers no search. 

Paul: But they do have partners. 

Ian: They do, but that’s on the ad side. So the paid advertising side, they do have certifications and they do have partners, but on the SEO side, they do not.

So if anybody’s using their ad side to sell their SEO side, it’s misleading. Or if anybody’s just saying, I’m a Google preferred SEO partner, that’s a total lie. Again, Google doesn’t tell anyone what’s happening in their algorithm. Anything else to add to that? Paul? It’s a good question. I certainly see that out there a lot.

Paul: No, not really. That one has a simple answer. There is no Google SEO partner, period. End of discussion.

Ian: But there are people that will email you saying they are, and there are people that will phone you using robo collars and stuff that say they are as well. 

Jen: It is unfortunate because in marketing there’s so many different, Oh like any industry, but there’s so many different catch words and phrases and terms that mean the same thing.

And so, if you’re calling or praying upon business owners that don’t live and breathe marketing every day, just hearing Google Partner, they just assume, Oh, okay. There’s some authority there. 

Ian: They’ve got the inside scoop. 

Jen: Yeah, exactly. 

Paul: Sure they do. Jen, I love this one too. Guaranteed rankings, they’re gonna guarantee rankings. So how does this supposedly work? And, why do you need to avoid anyone that makes that claim? 

Jen: Guaranteed rankings. Guaranteed rankings for what? That’s a thing. So we can get you on first page of Google. This is leading on with that Google SEO partner.

They use snippets of the end result that a lot of us are looking for in a misleading way. So on the first page of Google, so we all hear it’s important to be on the first page of Google. No one goes on the second page of Google. You can think as a business owner, you’re thinking, Of course I wanna rank in my industry or for my products or my services on the first page of Google. And, I think that’s where the scam really happens, because in the mind of the business owner, they’re thinking, Okay, first page that makes sense for my audience. But, what really is happening is first page of Google. For what keyword? And that’s the problem. That’s where the scam comes in.

That example of, was it teeth? Human teeth, charts, cat teeth charts in the realm of dentistry. Certainly it’s related, but not to the point of a local dentist needing more consumers to come in and get dental work done. Nobody as a consumer is going to type into Google. Where can I get my dental charts spread? Or, I don’t even know the term we would use. So that’s the thing. So that’s how they get you. There can be all kinds of words or phrases that are applicable to your industry that really mean nothing that these folks can get you ranked number one for. Then they can show you the report of, Oh, you rank as number one on the first page of Google. There you go. But for a keyword that is gonna bring you no traffic and have nothing to do with your potential clients being able to find you. That’s the scam. 

Ian: The thing that goes along with that, and it probably goes all the way back to what Paul was saying about the $50 a month you pay $50, you get $50 worth.

Is that no business, no SEO provider can do competent keyword research for that amount of money. It takes work and it takes time in order to think like the consumer for whatever business you’re looking at and to do the research that draws out the actual keywords that are representing what qualified buyers will search.

So, without that and if somebody tries to sell you SEO without some form of keyword research in it, it’s garbage in, garbage out. You’re not gonna get good results. 

Jen: Yeah. It really is. It really is. You touched on the word volume, and I know it might sound obvious to us. But, we wanna be sure that there’s enough people searching for the terms that you want your business to rank for.

If there’s not enough people out there looking for what you’re offering. And that’s where it becomes a business decision as well, right? So you wanna make sure there’s enough volume there and you are using the correct terms. So forget about getting you on the first page of Google. Forget about that being the end goal.

But remember first page of Google or what in which industry, right? You wanna qualify that. And I think we can use, Ian had a five point questionnaire to ask you your potential Google scammer. 

Ian: So that’s right. 

Jen: Those are great for sure. 

Paul: Yeah, you wanna find out what keywords matter to your business, ask your customers what they were searching for. That’ll give you a lot of insight right there. Another one that comes in the form of a call or a, I’ve even seen this actually mailed to businesses and, cause this actually happened not too long ago to one of our clients. That’s your Google listing is about to expire. Send us money and we’ll take care of it.

Okay. Your listing will not expire. Okay. If you have a domain registrar and if you don’t pay them, your domain can expire. So if you get an email from your domain registrar, I’m not gonna go into that. I don’t wanna get too technical here, but you should pay attention to that. Definitely. We actually had a client that didn’t lose their domain, and fortunately their website was hosted with us, but they had a hosting account because the previous company had moved their name server over to their hosting company and all their email was tied to that hosting company. So it was a matter of migrating the email to something like G Suite or Microsoft, and then moving the names sources back to their domain. And I wasn’t gonna get technical. 

Ian: I was gonna say something. 

Paul: The point is, they didn’t pay, they ignored the emails from this hosting company that said your hosting service is about to expire.

They didn’t pay it and they lost their DNS records, so they lost all of their email. It’s not recoverable, and their website went down. Now we got the website back by at this point you lost your email, so we may as well move the name servers back and bring your website back. Yes. Pay attention to that stuff.

If you get something saying your listing is gonna expire, it’s a scam. And usually somewhere on there it will say it’s an advertisement. It’s in the super small fine print, but it will say that. Your Google listing will not expire. Yes, you can lose your hosting or your domain name if you don’t pay that bill. So pay attention to that. 

Jen: Pay attention to that, and maybe put that on auto-renew for sure. That’s one of those things we all think, Oh, I’ll pay it when the time comes. Just auto-renew. 

Paul: Even auto-renew, if your credit card expires. They will let you know.

If your registrar is GoDaddy and you get an email from GoDaddy saying, Your credit card is about to expire and you need to renew your domain. You might want to find out what that is. 

Ian: I’ve seen this one a ton. One of my clients has they did a lot of domain shopping. They have probably in their portfolio, they probably have 25 to 30 unique domain names that they captured over the years.

And one of the unique things that I’ve seen through them is you can turn on privacy on those domains. It’s an extra fee, but then people can’t find you when they’re trying to scam you. The spinoff scam to what you’re saying, Paul, is where another company who can see that information. It’s publicly available, like who’s the admin on this domain? What’s their email address? And so one of the scams I see all the time, and I’ve had to coach my clients on this, especially this one cuz they have a lot of domains, is they’ll get emails from all sorts of alleged domain providers posing as the real domain provider saying, Hey, your domain’s coming up for renewal because it renews every year or every two years, depending on what your settings are.

If you click the button to renew, if they buy into that and click the button to renew, they’re actually moving their domain off of their current provider to a new domain provider. So it’s like a domain thief, right? I see this all the time and I’ve had to, even the same clients over the years, I’ve had to recoach them on it cuz we get enough trust between us where they’re, Hey Ian, you’re my marketing guy. I got this email. What does it mean? Is this real? And I, nope. It’s from Gmail, or if I do find out what the actual address to the link is, it’s sending me off to some other domain provider. It’s so scammy and it’s so false. It’s horrible. 

Paul: But at least they called you and asked . 

Ian: Yeah, absolutely. The first time they didn’t, so that’s how it all came up. 

Jen: Right. Yeah. I think that’s one thing though for folks listening if they haven’t been exposed to this yet, or if they have and they’re like, Oh, I didn’t know what to do. In your own personal network, even if you don’t have a marketing team helping you out yet, or you’re handling it all in house. In your network, you’ve got the technical guy or girl who is able to answer any questions.

So I would say just run it by them. Just, I receive this. Can you just? Yeah. What do you think? Is this a scam? Is it not? Someone that’s really knows what’s happening technically would be able to spot that a million miles away. So there is a little bit of hope. If you’re unsure, just get a quick second.

Paul: And know where things are. You don’t have to understand things from a technical perspective, but know what a domain is, who your domain registrar is, who your web host is, who your email provider is, and if you get one of these emails, if you get something about your domain expiring and okay, I know my domain registrar is GoDaddy. You can call GoDaddy and ask them. But know where things are that will help you avoid all of those things. 

Ian: Yeah. And a bunch of clients, they ask us to just change all the admin settings in their stuff, like for their domains, for their hosting, or if we’re hosting it, it doesn’t matter cuz we are the admins, but to change it to us because once we become their trusted advisor or guide or partner. They’re like, I don’t want to have to worry about this. I don’t want to get scammed, and you’re the best person to figure this out. So you’ll get the email and then you can figure it out. 

Paul: Yeah, cuz usually they give you three different points of contact. The admin, the technical, and the regular account contact. Ian, I see this all the time. I’m sure you do too.

It’s like you’ll get an email. Your website isn’t ranking for these really important keywords. They don’t tell you what they. Now, but that can be scary if you’re a business owner, it’s, Hey I need to write for certain keywords. So what’s wrong with that? What are they really doing? 

Ian: And just to let the listeners know you guys aren’t alone. It’s actually quite funny because I don’t know about Paul and Jen, but I get emails all the time from SEO providers saying, Hey, your rankings are no good. Or, Hey, we can help you with your SEO. Because I get those I can actually scrutinize them a bit on behalf of my business, but also on behalf of my clients.

And the first thing is that most of emails that come to you are from people that have never looked at your website. I would say 99.9%. So there might be a 0.1% of businesses that actually do scrutinize your website and they’re trying to prospect you, but the lions share of them are just robo emailers that get a list. I’m gonna send this to all of the plumbers in the United States of America. And they’re just going through that list and they’re sending out these things saying you’re not ranking for the best keywords. So I would scrutinize the email. I would scrutinize who it’s from. Again, always look at, is it a Gmail account that the email is actually from, or a Yahoo. Or, if it’s a free email account, just delete it.

It’s not a legitimate business. If they can’t stand behind their own brand, you don’t want to talk to them. I think the reality is that the only way they can know and the only way they can present it to you is like what I was talking about is presenting an actual report of some kind, and most would never do that.

There are automated reports that some of these guys might use. Most aren’t spending time to win your business. They’re just hoping that you’ll be gullible enough from the email to even respond. Even a response keeps this conversation going.

Paul: Yeah, they’re playing on fear and a lot of times budget. Hey, your rankings suck and we can get you great rankings for next to nothing and people fall far it unfortunately.

Ian: It’s true though, if you’re a business owner and your rankings are bad, it doesn’t have to be fear, but you should be concerned about that because you are giving business a way to whoever is out ranking you.

I’m not one to play on people’s fears, but I am one to present honestly, and I think we all are on this call, because I know who you guys are, is that we just wanna present and allow people to make the best decision they can. 

Paul: Definitely, definitely. 

Jen: Here’s the thing too. We go through this a lot with our,TOPA, total online presence audit.

And sometimes we get potential clients coming to us saying, if we aren’t the number one in our industry, the big gorilla, our industry is so and and after seeing what. So for example, if we do some keyword research with that offering that yeah, the gorilla is ranking for these things, but you guys have this specialty or this niche or this area that’s very profitable for you. Just because there’s lots of competition in your area doesn’t mean that you still don’t have a chance. And that’s what the keyword research, and that’s what diving into your business and finding out what do clients come to you for? What are people buying? What are you best at? It’s a whole real business discussion around having SEO help your business. So, to say that there is a lot of hope, even if you weren’t the number one gorilla in your industry, 

Paul: And good legitimate five star reviews can help level that playing field.

Ian: I think that’s another topic. 

Paul: It is. 

Ian: That’s part of it. Yep. 

Paul: Jen. Now I’ve seen this this usually comes from a maybe less than aboveboard SEO firm. Their claim is, Hey, we know what we’re doing because we rank number one for this keyword. And maybe they do, but does that mean anything to their client?

Jen: Yeah, that’s the thing. 

Paul: Is it legit? 

Jen: It could be legit. It could not be legit. We were ranked number one. They’re playing off the fact that if we can do this for ourselves or our business, just imagine what we can do for you. Like We’ve figured it out, we’ve tested it, here we go. Let us share this golden opportunity with you.

So again, it’s leading with that. I would dig into it a little bit. And what exactly are they ranking for and what exactly does the business do? What’s the volume on that keyword and where is it located and how long they’ve been ranking for? Then take Ian’s five point checklist and ask them some questions.

Again, it’s something that’s gonna play on your emotions to make you feel like, Oh, this is a really legitimate firm, and if they can do it for themselves, they can do it for us. Let’s go with them. Just slow down. And what are they ranking number one for? What’s the keyword? What’s their actual business? Nine times outta 10 that’ll show you that it’s not a legitimate claim. 

Ian: Do you guys do this? When we have prospects where we’re in a discussion already, it’s not something we email out to people. But when we’re talking to a prospective client and they have questions about why does SEO matter, this question aligns with what you were just talking about, Jen, is that we often share case studies with those people to actually say this is why SEO matters, and it’s because with client A, they had a hundred people coming to their website organically last year when we took over it. At this time, this year, it’s now risen 18000% because we’ve incorporated a strategic and systematic approach to doing SEO. Stuff like that, where we can actually share a legitiment report or multiple reports and saying, this is what has happened to existing clients. Again, I would never email that out to someone because it’s more part of the discussion of creating authority and expertise in their eyes. Do you guys do that kind of stuff, like sharing case studies related to SEO? 

Jen: We do that. But what I noticed we spend most of our time on is educating on why SEO matters. And what I mean by that is slowing down and really saying, Okay, what is typed into Google that this is how it all works. Because a number of business owners that we work with have heard the term SEO or I hear the phrase, Oh, let’s just get this done and SEO it later.

No, you can’t do that, and here’s why. So we find that the case studies sure. But it’s really like slowing down and going through the 1 0 1 of why this matters, at least with the clients that we end up working with is what we do. 

Ian: Yeah, we do that too. It’s important. 

Jen: Yeah, it is important. Yeah, and here’s the thing, so what folks might be searching for, then we get into this discussion might be too basic compared to what the company wants to be known for or wants to offer. That’s how SEO, it’s not just technical, it gets into your business value and how you have someone coming through the front door.

They might come through for a website, but they really need a whole marketing department behind them. But you have to meet them where they are and that whole thing becomes more of a sales discussion. 

Paul: SEO matters because we live in a digital world. There’s no more phone books dropped off at your door, so people are gonna go to Google and they’re gonna search for something, and if your business doesn’t show up, you may as well not exist.

That’s the short answers to why SEO matters. One thing, I don’t see this as much anymore. Search engine submittal, they’re gonna submit your website to the search engines and it’s a scam because if you have a well structured website, Google is gonna crawl your website and it’s gonna find your pages. I do believe in submitting site maps. But you don’t have to pay someone to do that. Go to search console and submit your site map. It’s not that difficult to do, but if you have a website and it’s well structured, Google is gonna crawl it and it’s gonna find it. I have seen websites that rank very well because the website is well built, well structured, and they have never submitted a site map. I believe in submitting site maps, but you don’t need to pay someone to submit your website to the search engines. 

Ian: If your web developer is also your SEO company, which we are in our case, usually we’re submitting the site maps and starting that crawl on Bing and on Google right away as soon as it launches anyways. I totally agree with you, Paul. Google will find you, Bing will find you, but we’re trying to get people as fast as possible, right? We’re trying to speed up the process cuz SEO takes time. 

Paul: Yes. Definitely. Yeah. So, is there anything we missed? 

Ian: Probably. 

Paul: There’s a lot probably, but I mean off the top of your head.

Jen: There’s a lot of scams out there for sure. But I think we’ve given folks a few points into what are the red flags to look for? What are some of the things that you could ask a potential company or consultants if you’re not too sure about this SEO offer that they seem to be pitching. 

Ian: Just to go along with what you said earlier, Jen, SEO can be a super valuable part of your overall, the way you acquire, attract, and acquire new customers or clients or patients. But it takes time. It’s like planting a tree and you need to make sure you’re planting the proper seed and watering it and taking care of it and doing the right things over time, cuz it’s not a, if you build it, they will come. You need to continue to invest wisely in this. And when you do with our clients, we usually see organic ranking be their top acquisition source for them, unless we’re doing a ton of online ads for them as well. And then it might be neck and neck. It can make or break businesses and the ones that aren’t taking advantage of it are missing out.

Paul: It takes time and it’s an ongoing effort. I guess that’s the other thing I’d point out real quick. I know we’re getting close to our time here. It’s not set it and forget it. One and done.. Google changes their algorithm on a daily basis. And I’m not saying that SEO is necessarily a daily thing, but we have been contacted by businesses that say, If I hire you for three months, what results will I get?

Probably not much in three months because it can take six months to actually start to see results and then if you stop and your competitor doesn’t, and that’s one of the most important things to remember. How much you have to do is largely dependent on what your competitors are doing. If your competitors are doing nothing, then you probably don’t have to do that much. But if you have a competitor that is making a serious effort and they’re all over the place. They’re on social media and they’re doing paid advertising, and they have a company doing SEO and they’re posting regular content and they’re putting videos out on YouTube. If you want to compete with them, you’re gonna have to match that effort and that spend.

Ian: I always like sports analogies, and the one I think of is, it could be any sport, but football comes to mind. SEO is a, you’re what you were just saying, Paul is like, if your competitors are fielding a full team of football players against you, and you’ve only got your quarterback out there, you’re gonna get crushed. You will get crushed. So you need to make sure that you’re fielding a full robust SEO strategy to combat these guys. But again, I agree with the competition thing. We have clients who are in a very small community and their competition, as of yet, have not done a lot. We, with Google My Business optimization and making sure their website is optimized with not a lot of ongoing stuff, they’ve been able to out rank almost everybody in their geographic area. But we monitor that and it’s starting to erode. The competition’s starting to wake up, especially over Covid. 

Yeah. If your competitor has our starters out on the field and you have your backups, you’re probably not gonna do too good.  Not gonna rank.

Paul: Well. I think that’s probably a good place to wrap up. Jen said, I think we pointed some things out. Hopefully if you run in any of these things, you’ll recognize ’em and at the very least, start to question some things. Thanks for joining us. 


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