Thursday, May 15, 2008

Search firm cold-calling you? Time to duck and cover ...

9-point checklist from Hubspot may help

What should you do if you get a cold call from a search engine optimization consultancy promising leads, sales, fast cars, diamonds and riches beyond your wildest dream?

Duck and cover.

Why? Because any search engine optimization consultancy calling you is not worth its name, said Hubspot's Mike Volpe giving a Webinar yesterday on search engine optimization.

If these experts are any good, you would have found them already online. Their name would have shown up prominently in search engine results, in blogs, in forums, anywhere and everywhere that people like you go looking for advice.

Many of my readers often call in panic, asking how they can tell if a consultancy is as good as it claims.

Here's a great checklist from Volpe that may help you find your perfect match:

1. Ask them what determines rank? If they can't tell you in language you understand, start worrying.

2. Ask them about the relative importance of on-page and off-page SEO. If they can't explain, start frowning.

3. Can they explain everything to you in language you understand? As Volpe says, it ain't rocket science. There's no reason why you shouldn't be able to understand. If they sound like they're talking a foreign language, put your running shoes on.

4. Listen to what they say about content. As you may know already, content is king (and queen) of the Web. If you have a small site and they suggest you can improve your organic results without increasing the amount of content, tighten your laces.

5. Do they practise what they preach? Put their Web site through HubSpot's Web site grader. (Okay, Volpe had to get a few plugs in.) If the company scores less than 85 out of 100, start running.

6. If you're still willing to put in some time talking to them, put their clients and references through Hubspot's Web site grader. If they flunk, they're dead in the water.

Don't be caught out
like these folks ...

7. Ask them how they measure results? Do they talk about leads and sales?

8. Can they commit to giving you a set quantity and quality of leads each month?

9. Will they do some of the hard work like linkbuilding?

Volpe has lots more advice here in this white paper on when and why you should run screaming from a search engine company pitch.

Posted by Internet Marketing Report Online editor Julie Power on Thursday May 15 at 7 a. m.



Dave J. said...

Number one rule is if they promise you 'number one placement', hang up the phone, don't even bother with the rest of these steps.

EH said...

You can get much more information about search engine optimization from reading books like "Search Engine Optimization: Your visual blueprint for effective Internet marketing." Books like this can help you gain a better understanding before you talk to 'consultants.'