I have a website which has been online since 1996 and for most of those 19 years I’ve been bombarded with emails from Search Engine Optimizers. Guys who claim they can get me massive increases in my business if I will only send them a few thousand dollars. Does anyone really fall for that?
With any new technology comes a flurry of people who will try and exploit it. “Exploit” is not necessarily a bad word. I am exploiting the internet by putting up a website and telling people they can call me for certain kinds of legal help. But part of my website contains my contact information. These SEO guys apparently buy email lists (I get emails offering me those lists too) and then bombard the subjects with silly emails filled with lies. They are following up “on our phone call the other day,” responding to a request I sent them for “more information,” or passing along “the report we talked about.”
Other classics include: “Your website is missing 74% of all potential clients in your area.” “Your website is full of plagiarized material which causes Google to lower you in its search results.” “We can show you a simple trick to triple your sales leads.”
Since the spammers have no idea about the “potential clients” in my “area,” my website contains no “plagiarized material” and I am not looking for “sales leads,” these emails are just stupid and misleading. I usually just hit delete.
But once in a while I write a few words in return and hit send. The other day I hit a nerve when I told a guy that he had no idea about how many “potential clients” I had. He immediately sent me an email back and said, “I just tried calling you to discuss this but your phone is disconnected.”
I know. I know. It was a scam to see if I would call him. But I did anyway. I called him and said, “This phone is obviously not disconnected and I know you just did this to get me to call.”
“Oh, I may have misdialed then. But while I have you on the phone . . . “
I cut him off. Before I had called him, I looked up his website and found out how many distinct visitors he gets per week. I then looked up my stats for the same week. My site got more than four tines the number of visitors than his. Remember: My site is just a website aimed at lemon law clients in one state. His is an SEO website seeking clients nationwide. And he claims to be an expert in SEO!
I asked him why I would want to hire a spammer who can’t get decent results for his own website. He started SCREAMING at me. “I am not a SPAMMER!.” He hung up on me.
Ummm. Someone who sends spam to someone is a spammer. And someone who is trying to sell SEO off of a website with bad SEO is an amateur.
Which reminds me of the poor Fuller Brush Man. Back in the day, this old man went door to door selling brushes and cleaning supplies in my neighborhood. He did it for years and we’d see him coming down the street. Like Old Gil off of the Simpsons. Still, he’d knock on every door on the block. I remember opening the door on a day my mom wasn’t home and turning him away. An hour later, he was coming down the other side of the street. He’d be back in a few months, brushes in hand, knocking on every single door. Some people never bought from him, ever. He’d be back in a few months and knock again.
Got a website? Fill it full of relevant information and make it useful. Eventually, you’ll get traffic. Considering hiring an SEO guy to game the system for you? Don’t hire the one who spammed you. Go find one with a good website full of relevant information. Like I tell people about cold sales calls: If you needed what they were offering to sell you, you would have gone out looking for them. Not the other way around.
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Steve Lehto has been practicing law for 23 years, almost exclusively in consumer protection and Michigan lemon law. He wrote The Lemon Law Bible and Chrysler’s Turbine Car: The Rise and Fall of Detroit’s Coolest Creation.
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