If you are a small business owner, you have undoubtedly received many, many emails from seo companies or “search engine optimization experts” stating that your website has been analyzed and that you are not ranking for major keyterms. Another approach is that your site has been analyzed and has lost traffic due to algorithm changes from Google. Most business owners will simply delete the emails as they have come from a source that they do not recognize, however many others are perplexed by how this seo company found their website, and are concerned about the “loss of traffic” or the “not ranking for valuable keywords” issues that are discussed in the emails. Many of these business owners will reply to the email, asking what the company has found and how it can be corrected. This is due to the fact that most business owners have heard of seo or the search engine optimization process, and have also noticed that they are not on the first page of Google for phrases that define their business, even though they have a well designed website and have tried some of the seo methods that they have read on the internet. The problem is that many business owners are wary of seo companies as not providing results, and simply taking their money in exchange for work that does not provide results. They also will generally have flawed ideas about the seo process itself and what can be achieved and expected from seo. Unfortunately, these types of solicitation emails are a large portion of the problem.
Your business may have received a personalized email with your name and website address in it, stating that an expert with a friendly sounding name has reviewed the site and found problems. This is rarely the case, as the majority of these emails are actually generated in bulk by software systems. They are generated by seo lead generation companies who have a single task, get a person to contact them back, so that they can send the contact information to a company that provides seo work, and who has signed up for their service. The system works by a person putting a keyphrase and a city into the software, which in turn crawls Google’s results and returns thousands of websites which Google has recognized as having some relevance to the phrase. The software crawls the website looking for an email address, and also has the ability to recognize a contact name, although if no contact name is found it will generally fill in some generic greeting like “dear owner” or some other variation. The software then emails the contact a template email that is designed to look as though it was written to that one, specific person, filling in the name and website address into the appropriate spaces. This is why the email will generally state that they have found that the website “does not rank for valuable keyterms” but they never actually state which keyterms they have found. They also say that “traffic has been reduced” when they have no access to your traffic levels. In reality, no human being has ever analyzed any portion of your website, and they are attempting to bait you into contacting them back in order to discuss search engine optimization. If you contact back, your lead will be sold to an seo company who will do a quick analysis of your website looking for anything to use that looks bad.
The unfortunate aspect of the search engine optimization field is companies like these who treat seo as a mechanical pursuit. They are playing on the business owner’s lack of information about how seo works in order to get them to commit to a short contract, usually around three months. Even though the mechanized techniques will probably provide almost no actual results, they do not care because the business was to get you to commit to the contract. Since seo takes time to develop, the three month contract gives them ample ability to state that “enough time has not yet passed to get results” when in reality the methods will probably never produce results. You get frustrated and cancel the service, believing that all seo is just a trick and they are on to the next business.
Search engine optimization is a process of continual analysis of your website aspects against the competition’s website aspects, combined with the content that is on your site vs. the content on other sites in your business. The only way to develop rankings for targeted keyterms is to develop a stronger website than your competition with respect to that particular term, and this is not done through mechanized processes, it is done through humans developing and writing content for your website, then appropriately structuring your website so that Google can understand it. It is a complicated process, but it can no longer be effectively automated with link building programs and software anymore. The companies that make seo look like a trick are the ones using the lack of understanding that seo is not what it used to be, and trying to use outdated systems to provide “work” which can be documented as happening, yet seo professionals know that it will probably not produce any results. The biggest tragedy is that seo as a process does work, as long as it is done correctly.
Next time you get an email from a company stating that “you do not rank for valuable keyterms” just remember that any seo company who has purchased your lead can find at least a few keyterms in your industry that you do not rank well for. This is because Google is very good at deciphering the specific elements of a website and ranking one for the things that they are strong in, and another for other things. No business is going to completely dominate the space for all terms, so no matter what the company is going to find a few that you are weak for. They have also never reviewed your traffic, nor do they have any access to it. They probably do not even know what your website is named. You are just a lead to them, a number on a paper who is being put through a sales process in an attempt to get a commitment of a small amount of money. Real search engine optimization experts are going to discuss your website with you and the process by which they will improve your rankings. SEO solicitations are simply trying to scare you into buying something you do not understand.