One thing that we hear often from business people not trading in SEO, is a complaint at the frequency with which they are contacted by ‘people trying to sell SEO’.
During a recent conversation with a family friend who is an owner/manager, I was shocked to find that he had been contacted a minimum of once a day for the previous 2 weeks by companies claiming to offer SEO services for a fixed monthly fee. Now, when he said ‘they contact me at least once every day’ he may have been exaggerating slightly, sure, who knows? But it doesn’t matter because he clearly felt as though he was being pestered to death and was, quite rightly, pretty disgruntled. The worst part was that he said he was being pestered by what he described to me as ‘companies like yours’.
It didn’t take me very long to explain how what I do is very different to what is being offered by the companies that call him, more often than not claiming to be closely affiliated to Google. Of course these unwelcome calls had poisoned him against the industry as a whole. Had he not been a friend of mine then it is very unlikely that he would have had this conversation with any other SEO professional any time soon. My main concern is this – how many other people are out there regarding all SEO professionals with the same disdain as double glazing salesmen?
In truth, there seem to be quite a few (we’ve been asking around). It seems that most businesses are regularly contacted by PPC companies claiming to offer SEO (we’re not even getting into whether or not their services provide the promised results – in this post we’re simply questioning their dubious method of approach). In the past we have advised SEO professionals not to even try to explain what they do so now, in a sense, we might sound like hypocrites when we say that the only way to protect the reputation of this industry is to make sure people know at least a little about how SEO works. We humbly suggest you make sure that as many people as possible understand at least a small amount about what you do. I am a little ashamed to admit that I discovered, when I began broaching this subject, that a few of my family members knew little more than that I ‘work on The Internet’. We’re not complete hypocrites, we still don’t believe that people need to know every subtle nuance of the industry but giving, not only clients but as many people as possible, a minimal understanding of our profession may be the only way to separate ourselves from the cold-calling PPC floggers and protect our reputation.
Marketing in general has always been viewed as something of a dark art. Add the extra few levels of technical jargon that go with SEO and you can’t blame people for being hopelessly lost. Since unwanted cold-callers are pushing people even further away we’ve decided to do our bit to fight for the reputation of SEO by educating people where we can and we hope you’ll join us. Start by explaining it to your mum, we dare you.