Wake Up from Your SEO Nightmare
By: Jennifer Nietz
Let me guess: If you go through your email or your junk email, you probably have an email sitting in there from an individual at an unknown company telling you your website is not performing or your SEO (search engine optimization) is not optimized.
Have you ever read one of these emails? Ever notice that 95% of the time, there is no company identified? Notice any spelling mistakes? Do you get the impression they never even went to your site?
Guess what? They probably didn’t.
SEO Email Wall of Shame
Let’s take a look at some of the emails that we’ve received recently in our inbox.
Email #1: “Before You Think This is Crap…”
Everything about this email is shady from right off the bat.
First, the supposed “Ashley Wright” who works for Rankhow.com (which we are presuming, since she has no website information listed in her email signature) is not to be found anywhere on Google.
What about www.rankhow.com itself?
Shockingly, this website doesn’t exist.
You’d imagine, of course, that a company who is reaching out to a prospect about optimizing their website would have a website themselves which they optimize.
Not the case here.
Moreover, the fact that the first line of this email has a grammatical error is something we can’t ignore.
But the final nail on the proverbial coffin is this sentence: “Before you think this is crap, I am talking something of real sense to your website.”
Not only does this email not make “real sense,” as Ms. Wright states so eloquently, but the fact that someone says, “Before you think this is crap…” in a cold email shows that this email is, in fact, crap.
Email #2: “I am Affiliated With a[n] SEO Company”
The lack of any personalization itself (i.e., the lack of the name of the addressee in this case) is quite evident in this email and shows that this was most likely out in a huge email blast without any variable/merge tags.
But Linda Bruce’s email address also stands out glaringly.
In the overwhelming majority of the cold SEO emails that we’ve received, most are from firstname.lastname@example.org and, again, do not list the website of the company they are affiliated with (if they even state the name of the supposed company that they’re affiliated with at all, which many don’t).
We also can’t ignore the grammatical errors again; the abrupt change in font color from black to gray in the last sentence; or the fact that Linda Bruce doesn’t have a real email signature with the name of her employer, their address, or her phone number.
The “best” part, though, is the beginning of this statement: “I am affiliated with a SEO company…”
To start out with, any grammarian would cringe since it should say “an SEO company” and not “a SEO company.” This grammatical error makes us pause. Nevertheless, the vagueness of this statement is the most telling: “SEO company.”
What “SEO company”? What is an “SEO company,” anyway?
And if Ms. Bruce’s alleged affiliation with this alleged “SEO company” is supposed to be part of the big pitch, wouldn’t she want to state the SEO company’s name?
It appears not. So, it shouldn’t be shocking that this email was quickly sent to our “Delete” folder.
Ahhh, and that call to action! That’s the same call to action that hundreds of others of these SEO emails use, word for word. A coincidence? We think not.
The truth is, SEO is important, but it’s not enough in and of itself to strategically grow your business.
So, what does a true business growth process look like?
Here’s the Deal
Here is the deal: SEO and website performance are an ever-changing game.
Google, their mysterious animal-named algorithms, and other search engines make it impossible for anyone to ultimately have a perfectly optimized website.
Just like business growth, SEO is a process.
Here is our advice: Do not hire one of these people simply because they wrote to you and provided you with a free analysis. Anyone can provide a free analysis.
In fact, there are thousands of tools and technologies that you can initiate to give you the same information. (Kyle Sampson, our web developer, recommends PageSpeed Insights, Lighthouse, the Yoast plugin, and the free reports you can access through Dareboost.)
What matters most is this: Do you have a process developed to manage the ever-changing algorithms on the web and, ultimately, to grow your business?
Organizations are spending thousands of dollars to pay for their SERP position and to pay for keywords. We have learned from a lot of clients that spend money on just this – SEO services – and think that is going to help them grow their business.
Surprisingly – or perhaps unsurprisingly – this doesn’t work.
SEO isn’t the Whole Picture
Most companies come to us after trying this avenue for a year first. We always feel bad about the amount of money they waste because there was no strategy or process behind the spend.
Now, you may be wondering why having a website optimized for search engines doesn’t necessarily lead to significant increases in sales.
The simple answer is that SEO is only a piece of the puzzle, not the whole puzzle itself.
Here’s another way of thinking about it. Let’s consider other sales and marketing “must-haves.”
If your company has a presence on social media, will your business automatically grow?
Not without a process.
If you make a free piece of content like an ebook or a whitepaper and have it gated to get leads, will your business automatically grow?
Not without a process.
If you upgrade to a new CRM, will your business automatically grow?
Not without a process.
If you employ video in your marketing efforts, will your business automatically grow?
Not without a process.
True Business Growth is More than Just SEO
The truth of the matter is, you can’t grow your business only by having an amazing website that ranks highly in SERPs.
You need to have a proven, data-driven process solution to business growth that combines all of the elements of sales and marketing and leads to true, sustainable growth regardless of (and sometimes because of) the state of the economy.
A process that helps you:
- Profile buying systems
- Understand a buyer’s power and influence
- Build a successful and cohesive brand
- Address the specialization of task within the sales continuum
- Develop trust with your prospects
- Gather competitive intelligence
- Utilize knowledge management
- Build demand generation
- Forecast potential revenue
- Define and refine your value propositions
- Create effective sales funnels
This is because at the end of the day, business growth isn’t just about a technique, a website, or SEO.
It’s about a process.
Bonus: 6 Quick Best Practices When It Comes to Site Performance and SEO
“But what about SEO?”
To close this article, we want to give you six best practices when it comes to site performance and SEO that you can do on your own without spending money or responding to one of these awful emails.
- Install the Yoast SEO plugin if you’re using a WordPress or Drupal site. This will help you to easily know if your site is optimized, page by page.
- Updated content = better performance and higher ranks. Publish more (strategically, of course) and update old articles.
- Hyperlink internally and externally.
- Employ multi-device functionality and rendering. Many people look at websites on their smartphones now, not on their desktops. Ensure your website is optimized for mobile.
- Share, share, share on social media.
- Utilize a free tool to understand keywords – yes, free. You shouldn’t pay a consultant to get you this information. Check out this list of free keyword research tools from Ahrefs or one of our favorites: Ubersuggest.