By: Alex   -  In: Blog   -  4   Comments

Technology has definitely improved the way in which we all do business. From cloud computing, to big data, to IOT and a whole bunch more. Marketing your business or brand is also easier than ever with search, social media, mobile marketing, etc. Social Media platforms and SERPs have also paved the way to a higher level of transparency when it comes to researching and engaging with prospects and clients. It all sounds great, right? Not so fast.

The downside to having all these advancements in the last 15-20 years is that cyber criminals and scam artists alike are constantly praying on small businesses who don’t know better. Business owners and managers are often too busy to take time to research the B2B companies offering them services to improve and grow their business. Last week Google revealed it’s suing a search engine optimization (SEO) company named Local Lighthouse Corp for making robocalls to businesses claiming affiliation with the search engine giant. Read the story on Venture Beat.

I received a call from a similar company last week. The phone number was (949) 565-0499. They called using a robocall saying the owner of our company needed to call one of his agents immediately regarding our Local Google Listing. I allowed the gentleman to give me his pitch. I asked him to explain to me how their company was affiliated to Google. He didn’t like it and became very agitated that I was asking questions. Long story short I told him he was calling a digital marketing agency who works with many of Google’s products and that I had over 10 years of digital marketing experience. I told him that companies like theirs give other companies in our industry a bad name. He could careless, but I did tell him I would file a complaint with the FTC as my cell # was listed in the DNC registry.  It was a waste of my 5 minutes talking to a scammer and another 10 minutes writing this post. I don’t mind as long as I can save another business the headaches of hiring a company who is not going to do anything for them. I applaud Google for finally taking actions against these types of companies. If you’re looking for an SEO or Digital Marketing company to handle your marketing here’s my advice.

  1. Don’t commit to anything on the first call. Even if it’s only $100. Get their info and ask them to email you more information
  2. Google the company selling you their services
  3. Check LinkedIn to get to know the management staff and owners
  4. Check complaint sites to see if they have any complaints – RipOffReport /Yelp/ ComplaintsBoard Don’t forget good ol’ BBB
  5. Ask for 3 or more references and follow up to make sure the companies are legit. If they did good work then you’ll see it on their client’s site and performance.
  6. Lastly, if anyone tells you they guarantee they’ll get you to PAGE 1 of Google then hang up.

If they checkout on all of the above and you feel they may be a good fit for helping you achieve your goals then move on to these 12 questions.

  1. How will you improve my search engine rankings?
  2. Do you adhere to search engines’ webmaster guidelines?
  3. What are the most recent Algorithm changes?
  4. What’s your firm’s tech experience? Do you outsource?
  5. What’s your knowledge of Content Marketing?
  6. What’s your level of knowledge for Google Analytics?
  7. What’s your link building strategy?
  8. Will you share with me all changes you make to my site?
  9. How will we communicate and how often?
  10. How do you measure the success of your SEO campaigns?
  11. What are your fees and payment terms?
  12. What happens when I decide I don’t need your services anymore?

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