There’s an old saying in SEO: “The best place to hide a dead body is on page 2 of Google”.
Spammers know this. They also know that if you’re not on page 1 for competitive search phrases, you’re probably not too thrilled about it. Unfortunately, that’s where “what they know” ends.
*Real, verbatim SEO doomsday Email spam from Client:
I was checking your website ‘www.redacted.com ‘and see you have a good design and it looks great, but it’s not ranking on Google or other major search engine.
We can place your website ‘ www.redacted.com ‘ on Google’s 1st page, Yahoo, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube etc…
I will happy to send you a quote/package/proposal.
I’m not worried about getting an angry Email from Martha. I’m not worried about her company’s reputation. That’s because Martha, nor her company are real.
“Martha” is an Email spammer that uses website scraping software to find websites that are on page 2 and beyond for competitive phrases, extracts contact information from the website, and curates a list to be spammed with this type of messaging. Thousands (or more) receive this exact same Email, in an effort to catch you in a moment of weakness or frustration.
If I’m Not on Page 1 of Google, Then the Criticism is Warranted. Right?
Wrong. Details about SEO are incredibly complex, it’s so complex that I’ve had to teach myself over a decade on how to talk to Clients about SEO in an effective, educational yet non-patronizing way. SEO spammers target you with messages about the following because it’s sometimes easily believable:
- all you need are more “high DA” backlinks;
- you need more content;
- your website is loading too slow and preventing it from ranking;
- your SEO vendor missed something critical to page 1 rankings.
While there might be some potential truth to these, often these types of assumptions get interpreted to a conclusion that the spammer’s service is the only way to get to page 1 of results. This is like a doctor googling the common medicines for an illness and writing a prescription without even knowing if the patient has that illness.
Often times when we don’t understand something complex, we have a tendency to believe anything if said with enough frequency & confidence. If you’re constantly getting a spam Email saying your SEO sucks and promising to fix commonly believed symptoms, you might just start believing them.
The fact is most SEO spam includes no evidence that what you’re SEO vendor is doing is not working, that they did something incorrect, that your traffic is falling, that a catastrophic mistake was made, etc. They also don’t know when you started, what problems had to be solved with your specific website, what the targeted keyword strategy is and how far you’ve come. All things that factor into the progress of your campaign.
If your SEO company can provide real time proof that your rankings are improving over time, or that traffic to targeted pages is growing, they are probably doing a good job. That’s not to say there isn’t opportunity, but SEO takes time. If you’re a 6-12 months into SEO and your rankings & traffic are stagnant or falling, there might be a problem.
Doomsday Spam is Designed to Play on Your Impatience and Emotions
Doomsday spammers know that as a law firm, you’re likely paying for SEO and/or marketing services. They also know that this service is typically not cheap, and if they can press the right button at the right moment they may catch you in a moment of weakness when you’ll respond. Spammers also know that lawyers are impatient, which makes for a good target. What you don’t know is that there are numerous scenarios that may hinder a website for appearing for a specific search phrase, and it almost always has nothing to do with the list above. If you hire a reputable SEO company that can prove their capability, and deliver evidence that their strategy is working you should be listening to your SEO – not an unnamed stranger who has passing knowledge of one deficiency of your visibility.
Doomsday SEO Spam is Evidence that Your SEO Vendor Might be Doing it Right
It felt good to get that off my chest… Did you start getting SEO doomsday spam soon after you started your SEO campaign, or after your website launched? Have you just started to get into the top 3 pages of Google results for competitive phrases? If you’re getting an influx of spam now this is likely because vendors are noticing your SEO effort. You might think that would ward them off… that you already have a vendor and they should respect that. Honestly, it’s the opposite.
When a new Client tells me that they’re getting a lot of solicitation leads & calls, I consider it a compliment. This means the Client’s website and our effort is getting noticed… not by the right people yet, but it’s on the radar.
Talk to Your SEO Vendor
Make sure that you and your SEO vendor are on the right page (baddum tsss) 😜 and that there are A) clearly defined goals B) progress can be measured and that C) some sort of time frame is in place. A conversation and implementing measurable results can often motivate a vendor to better prove they’re performing.