When you receive that email saying ‘we’ll get you on page 1 of Google’ What should you look for?

We all get them right, here’s an exert from one I received:

Subject: Top Page SEO with guaranteed results

Hello,

We are a Leading Indian Based SEO & Web Development Company.

We are a team of 85+ professionals which includes 50 full time SEO experts. We are proud to inform you that our team handling 200+ SEO projects.

We will be performing following list of activities:

On-Page:-

1 Meta tag updates (Title, Description and Keywords)

2 Set up Google analytics

3 Set up Google webmaster tools

4 Content optimization and update

5 Upload Sitemap.xml

6 Upload Robots

Off-Page:-

1 Social Bookmarking

2 Article creation and submission

3 Press Release creation and submission

4 Blog creation and posting

5 Classified submissions (Product based websites)

Let me know if you are interested and I’ll send you costing and other details.

Awesome! All that should do the trick right, hmmm, maybe not, what are they actually saying they’ll do?

On-Page

Meta tag updates, fair enough, needs doing on many sites, it could help if you already have strong traffic, it could increase it.

Set up Google Analytics. Well perhaps a lot of people don’t have Google Analytics set up, even though they should. If you want to know who is and how people are visiting your site you definitely should. Not that Google Analytics is the only game in town, but it’s a free tool you should be using.

Google Webmaster tools, again great! But setting them up is one thing, getting any benefit from them is quite another. Are they going to get anything from them, who knows.

Content optimisation and update. Ok we’re still a little vague here. By optimisation I’d assume they mean keyword optimisation, but, do they know anything about keyword optimisation. Are they optimising for a specific keyword by overloading your content with it, I hope not! Or are they researching keywords, google trends, long tail keywords, competitor keywords etc. What exactly would the strategy one to fulfil the vague description ‘content optimisation and update’? Where would the updates come from, given the lousy English in the email not from them directly I’d hope / assume.

Upload sitemap.xml. Well thats not a huge task, reasonable enough for sure but a short job.

Upload robots, umm, ok well that’s just dandy, what are these robots for and what will they actually achieve, where are they now:)? Ok so seriously, the robot.txt file is what guides search engines through your site, so they can index it correctly. Given that this particular email says its setting up google webmaster tools then they would / could / should be using that function to upload the sitemap which they also mention. But, it is very important that there is a way for search engines to send their robots to crawl your site, and this can be optimised to be more efficient for SEO purposes. Not that the email above is suggesting that this will be done, uploading is one thing, optimising is another. Also bear in mind that some websites will be automatically updating the robot.txt file, Wordpress does but it may not be optimised, same with squarespace.

Off-Page

Social bookmarking, so I assume they’re referring to ensuring that all social platforms have you and your website linked up. Well if you want to use all Social Platforms great, or perhaps you’d just like to grab the username to match your company on them all for safety. Whatever you wish to achieve with social media, bookmarking, won’t achieve a lot.

Article creation and submission, sounds good. This would come under content marketing rather than SEO, and I refer to my earlier point about who is creating that content. If it’s the same guy/gal who created the email it’s likely to do more harm than good.

Content marketing is a very big subject, and in my humble opinion it’s a very important one, but handing off content creation to someone you don’t know and haven’t seen great results from would be madness!

Ditto on press release creation and submission. Big subject, definitely not my area, but be very careful who’s doing that for you.

Double ditto, as blog creation is the same as article creation.

Classified submissions, there’s vague. I really can’t think of much to say on that, I’m sure if you wanted to place classified ads for your products you already have, or can.

A little disclaimer here, for all I know this particular company is super fantastic at SEO, but my gut tells me they are not. I’d like to have been able to find them through a search on google for SEO, but to be fair there’s no more competitive space for google ranking than that. I did look them up directly, sadly the site didn’t appear, though they seem to have bastardised another SEO companies name to try and nick some traffic, oh, that’s troubling.

In Summary

When you decide it’s time to actually think about using an SEO company, think hard, ask questions about how they’ll do everything and what results you could expect. Yes it’s difficult to be exact with expected results, but some criteria to define success needs setting.

When someone says they’ll do something to improve your Google rankings they may well be able to do it, if they are confident enough they’ll tell you how they’ll do it. It’s not a black art, it’s a skillset you can learn, some learn it better than others, and some apply what they learn more creatively than others. Then there’s some that think entirely differently and win hands down (in the end).

Ignore the junky emails that batter your inbox, just do some research and the right people / company to help you will emerge from the noise.