Sunday, 22 April 2012

SEO No-Nos: Five Ways To Lose Me At Hello

I get a lot of emails from companies offering me SEO services. Sometimes I respond to them. A professional approach will at least get you time of day. Here are five mistakes SEO service providers have been making with me.

1. Not sending emails from a top-level domain.

Never send business emails from a gmail, yahoo or other account. It looks amateurish. Somebody actually sent me an email promising the sun, moon and stars, from an email address. I sent it to spam.

2. Offering services from a website that is under construction.

Referring clients to a website that is under construction looks sloppy. Only advertise or link websites that are ready to be seen. Clients will look.

3. Being dishonest.

One cheeky bird thought she could get away with announcing that she had found me while searching "Manchester Manchester." Okay... who in the world uses those search terms? Our correspondence:

Results from

 Positioning History
Report ID:#2345476
Load Time:2 second(s)
Report Generated:2011-05-12 17:39:13 GMT
Domain to
Keyword to verify:manchester manchester
Related Keywords:n/a
Spell Check:ok
Search EnginePlacedRankCompeting PagesFirst Url Found


Her response:

Why are you telling me this

My response: I don't like being lied to. I tried "Manchester Manchester" in google and didn't show up. I'm not impressed.

I provide leads in the US and Canada and if needed around other countries for SEO and WEB Design. Are you interested in more information?

I sent it to spam because I don't like being lied to. Or treated like a fool. Or having the subject changed when I want a resolution. And I firmly believe that people who lie to you about one thing will certainly lie about others.

4. Promoting aggressive following and unfollowing apps

There's a plethora of apps for Facebook and Twitter that offer you the chance to get more followers instantly. The trouble with this is that many people are quite mercenary in their following and will instantly unfollow people who don't follow them back. Well I'm not interested in Justin Bieber, Twilight, scammers or quasi-priests blessed with powers from their 'ancestral ancestors' (ordinary ancestors don't cut the mustard, it seems) so I'm not going to follow them just because they follow me.

If you're a code-writing web designer or developer who can help me get ahead by teaching me tips and tricks to raise my game, I'll follow you whether you follow me or not because you're cool and handy to have around. At the same level and like to chat? Hello, nice to meet you. Typography? Yes, please. General design trends magazine? I'm all over it. Professional SEO and social media marketing? I'm very fussy about who I follow with regard to that, but I follow a few. I will, of course, follow clients, personal friends and random things that catch my attention.

5. Promoting paid-for get-rich-quick schemes

I don't care how cheap it is, the idea of doing work for someone is that they pay me, not the other way around. And offering software so you don't have to do much work at all is downright cheeky. I don't know how many people have fallen for this, but I'm not touching it.

As far as I'm concerned, any "big secret" that requires payment to get hold of and will make you rich, get you more leads or grant you three wishes without you making much effort has made the seller rich because chumps fell for it and forked out. The actual scheme (it's usually affiliates) doesn't do much for the person who forks out for it in the first place. There are plenty of free affiliate schemes that will pay out - not a lot - but you don't have to pay to get into them in the first place. The idea of paying to get into an affiliate scheme or to learn how to get into an affiliate scheme seems outrageous to me and I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole.

Although I'm interested in SEO, I'm not aggressively following a program to float my site to the top of Google search results or anything. According to my analytics, random keywords do that for me on any given day, and there's no way to predict which ones will do it.

The only SEO advice that seems to be worth following is to honestly and organically grow your online reputation by taking part in related forums; subscribing to, commenting on and writing for related blogs; and getting involved with related groups on Facebook, Linked In, Twitter and other social networking/bookmarking websites instead of taking shortcuts to nowhere.

In short, send emails from a top level (i.e. .com) domain with an up-and-running website, be truthful, follow and friend sincerely and organically, and get involved with peers at your level or higher to demonstrate best practice when offering SEO services. Anything else will not work.

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