We’re hearing more and more about local businesses being approached by cold-callers from big organisations – which you wouldn’t directly associate with digital marketing – that are trying to get these local businesses to sign up for ‘search marketing’ services.
We’ve dug a bit deeper in to this and it appears that these are highly deceptive sales calls, giving the client the impression they’re getting great value search marketing, but are in fact nothing but standard Google AdWords campaigns that point to the client’s business listing on a separate directory website.
In addition it seems these large organisations also selling SEO packages of varying levels, promising enormous amounts of organic search traffic to the clients’ websites.
Throughout these sales calls these big organisations make abundant mention of their “close relationship with Google”, hinting at exclusive deals with the world’s biggest search engine.
These sales calls are highly deceptive, and full of misinformation and blatant lies. Below we’ll explain a few of the lies we’ve heard told:
1. Everyone can sign up for AdWords
You don’t need a separate company to manage your Google AdWords (PPC) campaigns. You can easily set up a campaign yourself and have your ads show up on relevant search results in Google. You are not required to go through any third party. (Though we do recommend professional PPC management for large campaigns – either in-house or through a certified agency.)
2. There is no such thing as an exclusive relationship with Google
Large organisations do not have exclusive access to Google. They have no special relationship, other than the standard AdWords certification status that anyone can achieve simply by completing the relevant AdWords exams and managing a certain monthly AdWords spend.
3. ‘Search Marketing’ is not the same as SEO
There is a huge difference between advertising on Google’s search results (called Google AdWords, also known as Pay Per Click advertising [PPC]) and showing up in Google’s natural search results – which is achieved through effective Search Engine Optimisation. Search marketing is generally accepted as an umbrella term for both SEO and PPC. It’s important to understand that on average only 25% of users click on paid search ads, with the organic (non-paid) search results getting the vast majority of users’ clicks.
4. SEO is never guaranteed
Never trust any company that promises you guaranteed rankings or traffic via SEO, as that is impossible to achieve. Never trust a company selling you standard off-the-shelf SEO services, as every website and target market is different and requires a customised solution tailored to your specific niche and competition.
5. SEO and PPC should be aimed at your own website
Never sign up to a search marketing service that does not send traffic directly to your own website. Search marketing should always be aimed at sending more relevant traffic to your own site. If you’re paying a company to get more traffic to your company page on their website, you are in effect paying for their marketing – not yours.
6. Always make sure reporting is fully transparent
If a company sells you a service whose success is measured entirely through figures supplied by the same company, you have no way of knowing if you’re getting value for money. They could report any metrics they want – you have no way to independently verify them. Make sure reporting is done through your own website’s web analytics (such as Google Analytics) so you have full visibility of what the ROI is.
If you receive such a sales call, make sure you understand exactly what you are signing up to. These companies are using their well-known brand names to sell ‘search marketing’ services that are intended purely for their own benefit – not yours.
And if you have any doubts whatsoever, do not agree to anything and get advice from reputable digital marketing agencies.