SEO Salesman B.S – Learn It, Avoid It & Make Your Life Easier

SEO Salesman B.S – Learn It, Avoid It & Make Your Life Easier

SEO Salesman B.S – Learn It, Avoid It & Make Your Life Easier

Episode 009

The SEO world is notorious for dodgy operators making massive promises to businesses just to get them to part with their hard earned… then delivering poor results.

We run through the common sales tactics and B.S that these services like to spin, and why you need to look out for them.

If you follow the points in this episode it means you’re likely to avoid the cowboys and make sure you’re working with a legit operation.

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Unknown Speaker  0:04
It’s time for the SEO show where a couple of nerds talk search engine optimization, so you can learn to compete in Google and grow your business online. Now, here’s your host, Michael and Arthur.

Michael  0:23
welcome to the SEO show for episode nine. This week, we’re talking SEO salesman Bs, learn it, avoid it and make your life easier. And I’m joined by Arthur. How ya going?

Arthur  0:33
good. How are you? I always say that I need to find a better way to introduce myself each week.

Michael  0:38
I am not bad. Thank you. How are you? No. We don’t need to ask you I’ve already asked you that, but, look, today we’re talking about a pretty, I guess, a bit of a minefield, right? The world of SEO, sales and SEO promises and the types of dodgy things that maybe unscrupulous agencies or salespeople will tell business owners to try and get them in the door. Then we’ll also talk a bit about, I guess, what the good agencies do. So you can compare and be informed and try and figure out, you know, if you are looking at engaging an agency, whether they’re from the Camp A, the dodgy operators or camp B, the decent operators. So we got a whole bunch of points, we’re just going to sort of talk back and forth on them and have a bit of a conversation about that. But I guess I wanted to start by saying that you know, the world of SEO, or running a digital marketing agency, that there’s not very many barriers to entry. You know, anyone can just start an agency, in theory, you know, throw up a website, get a name, get a logo, and start hitting up business owners and trying to sell to them. There’s actually a ton of YouTube videos out there about starting marketing agencies and people selling this dream about how easy it is to suddenly make all this money every month. And the reality is that running a service business is really hard. It’s really difficult to build maintain a team with the right skill

Arthur  1:53
unless you’re ripping people off, which is these guys do.

Michael  1:56
Yeah. Well you know, you burn your agency that way so you might be in operation for a year or two years, get a bad reputation and move on. But to do it the right way? It’s very hard to have the team to get good client feedback. to maintain your margins and get it that whole balancing act? Right is really tough?

Arthur  2:11
Yeah, that takes years. To build up a reputation.

Michael  2:14
Yeah. And a lot of these people will come along and find out, you know, a year into it, that that’s the case. But by that point, they’ve already burned a lot of businesses and moved on those businesses swear off SEO,

Arthur  2:24
and it’s annoying for us, because then we have to deal with them. Yeah, then we have to relearn their trust. Yeah,

Michael  2:28
exactly. So what we’re gonna do is just run through what we see very common, you know, out there in the industry, we talk to a lot of businesses. So we hear about pain points they have. And yeah, just sort of freestyle a bit of a chat about it. So the first thing I think is a really a sign of a dodgy SEO agency, is that they will prescribe things without assessing you first. So good analogy for that is like a, you know, if you were going to get plastic surgery or something, you wouldn’t just rock up to whoever gave you the cheapest price without them even looking at you first.

Arthur  2:59
Yeah, or I go into a mechanic and then him just giving you a query without looking what was wrong with the car?

Michael  3:03
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, yeah, this is gonna cost you two grand, you’re on my basic package. Let’s get started. That’s not how it works in the SEO world, right?

Arthur  3:11
Absolutely. Not.

Michael  3:13
Like you need to look at a site and figure out where it is.

Arthur  3:16
Absolutely, yeah. So you can have a ballpark figure, but no two sites are the same. So you need to have a custom quote based on the needs of the client.

Michael  3:25
Exactly. So this is a bespoke service. So you should be treated as such, you’re not just a cog in the machine. Another number.

Arthur  3:33

Michael  3:34
The other thing that a lot of dodgy agencies will make promises, a lot of the time that they can’t even keep,

Arthur  3:41
like the 90 keywords in 30 days promise that we see all too often, or for

Michael  3:46
a really popular one is first page guarantee. Yeah, guaranteed in 90 days.

Arthur  3:52
So I’ll definitely avoid any one that offers you any sort of guarantees.

Michael  3:55
Yeah. Well, actually, it depends on what the guarantee if it’s a guarantee of something they can control.

Arthur  4:02
Yes, for sure.

Michael  4:03
Like, you know, we guarantee we will create 10 blog posts per month that a certain amount of work

Arthur  4:07
or get you this many links, yeah,

Michael  4:09
that can be guaranteed

Arthur  4:10
if someone’s guaranteeing you 90 keywords in 30 days. Now, you can bet that it’s going to be trash, it’s going to be either branded keywords or something really long tail that you probably already rank for. And again, like it’s out of their control, there’s just too many variables for them to be able to guarantee anything really, yeah. When it comes to keyword rankings like that.

Michael  4:30
So here’s an example right there. Say a company engages one of these agencies that says, We will rank you first page for 90 keywords in 90 days. Yeah. But then that agency does the keyword mapping and the on site optimization work, gives it to the client, but the client doesn’t even put it on their site for two and a half months. How can the agency guarantee that they’re getting those rankings if those changes aren’t ever met? Well, they can’t. That’s the thing.

Arthur  4:53
Yeah. So they’re definitely they’re lying, basically,

Michael  4:56
because they have been deceptive. They don’t control Google. Yeah. I wish I Control. Google will be

Arthur  5:01
a billionaire by now.

Michael  5:02
So anyone that’s promising rankings, traffic, you know, sometimes I’ll promise traffic, which, you know, do you want traffic for the sake of traffic? Or do you want leads and business outcomes, you know, revenue growth, more customers. If they’re promising traffic, you’ve got to be a bit suspicious about where it’s even coming from.

Arthur  5:20
Yeah, I’ve got a headline here. So guaranteed 500 new website visitors within two months all your money back? Yeah. So he didn’t say where the visitors are coming from. So it could be bot traffic. Yep. And like you said, it could be most likely will be junk. Yeah, yeah. When we convert or just be Yeah, what traffic so definitely want to avoid that.

Michael  5:39
So look, guarantees a good from it, you know, let’s look at it from the agency’s point of view as a sales tactic,

Arthur  5:46
talking about some of the guarantees we give clients.

Michael  5:49
Yeah. So well, first of all, guarantees help remove friction in the the buying process that can help a client feel confident that they’re getting x, y and Zed out of a scenario. So I understand my clients like them, I understand why agencies want to offer them. But it needs to be stuff that you can deliver on. And they don’t have control over. Yeah, for sure. So we would guarantee, you know, our link building team, we know that if they have a certain amount of investment put into them each month, that buys a certain amount of hours. And for a certain amount of hours worth of work, it will lead to at least you know, X amount of links. So then we can say to clients, we guarantee at the end of a link building campaign, you will have x amount of links.

Arthur  6:27
Yeah. Or you can guarantee the amount of time is spent on the account as well.

Michael  6:30
Yep. Well, we can guarantee that, you know, if we do a technical audit, and we find a list of 10 things that need to be done, and that we space that work out over a three month campaign, we guarantee that that work will be done by the end that campaign, we control that. Yeah, they’re good guarantees. Definitely. Yeah.

Arthur  6:47
That’s basically what we do with our clients.

Michael  6:49
Yeah. But a bad guarantee is

Arthur  6:51
just 100 keywords within two months or your money back

Michael  6:54
exactly. Anything to do with Google. We ever Theo’s don’t control Google.

Arthur  6:59
Google Google’s guidelines basically say, if someone’s guaranteed to position one results, then avoid them. Like the plague.

Michael  7:05
Yeah. Yeah. So that’s, that’s a pretty big point. Yeah. Avoid Them, put your mask on and walk the other way from those clients. And those clients, those, those agencies, yep. Another thing you see in tandem with this sort of stuff, is long term locking contracts. So, you know, long term writing contract to me is six months, 12 months, maybe even longer. I don’t really see much benefit in that to the client, you know, from from the agency point of view, it’s great, because they’ve walked in that revenue that Billings for that amount of time, they can make decisions around planning and all that. But for the clients perspective, unless you’re getting a massive discount for locking in that long, or unless you’re maybe getting that agency to work with you exclusively. What’s the benefit of looking in long term? Not Not at all,

Arthur  7:53
it gives them the opportunity to become complacent in a way, because they feel they’ve got, you know, a whole year to deliver some sort of results. Yep. It’s just not the right way to operate. Yeah. So I agree that there should be contracts in place, minimum three months to kind of get some sort of, you know, get the ball rolling with the SEO side of things, because it takes time for Google to kind of, you know, value the site. Yep. So I think anywhere, you know, three months is a fair kind of locking contract when it comes to SEO.

Michael  8:23
Yeah. And to give a bit of background, you know, with our agency, we used to just do no lock in contracts, like no time whatsoever. People were gentlemen, my mother would leave after a month. Yeah, you sort of, we found that people would have unrealistic expectations, just think they can test the waters. And a lot of the time and effort and expense you incur at the start of a campaign as an agency is significantly more than as the campaign rolls. Yeah. So we changed the three month minimum to try and weed out people that weren’t serious. And we think that’s the right balancing act, that’s a fair amount of time to really test things are so you’re not really you know, you shouldn’t be expecting a huge amount of results in three months.

Arthur  8:59
Yeah. And going back to what you said, it’s not just a waste of our time, but it’s a waste of their money. Because if they you know, they pull the plug two months into where they’ve just spent 1000s of dollars. Yeah, for nothing. So, you know, it benefits them as well. Yeah, to kind of, you know, hold out for three months, just kind of revisit it, see where they’re at. And three months, you’ll

Michael  9:17
know whether you enjoy working with that agency, whether they’re reporting is good, whether the service is good, whether the relationship is good. So then you can make a decision about continuing on so like any longer than that, it starts to get a bit questionable. Yeah, yeah. The other thing, like everything in life, let’s chat about price, you

Arthur  9:35
get what you pay for.

Michael  9:37
Yeah. Like, there’s a reason things are called, you know, don’t worry about that. It’s just cheap. You know, like, I was just the GB, if it breaks, doesn’t matter, get a new one, you know, when you’re talking about things around your house and stuff like that. So when it comes to services, if they’re cheap, there’s something going on to make it cheap.

Arthur  9:54
Yeah. So if you’re getting quotes from agencies for $2,000 for an SEO retainer, you Someone offers you, you know, a $500 retainer. Hmm. That should ring alarm bells,

Michael  10:04
massive alarm bells? Like even you know, if you’re a business owner, think about what’s going on there. $500 a month, six grand a year?

Arthur  10:12
Yeah, that would barely cover the cost of tools for most people.

Michael  10:15
Yeah. You know, yeah, subscriptions to tools can be many hundreds of US dollars a month and lots of them. So then that means that agency needs to have a ton of clients for every team member, just to make their business viable. But what does that mean for your campaign? You know, it’s gonna get no attention, it’s going to get no investment. So, like everything in life, investing a bit more, and doing it with the right people is always going to be better than going with the cheap and nasty option. Yeah, or even just a cheap option. Don’t worry about nasty. So if seems too good to be true, price wise,

Arthur  10:47
yeah. It is avoided and avoid anyone that offers you things like SEO booster packages, or things like that, that, you know, guarantee they’ll get you to position one, you know,

Michael  10:56
give an example of a SEO booster package. This is an SEO, we’ve had this stuff in the wild, right?

Arthur  11:01
So we had kind of remember when it was a while ago, we had a client. And we were doing Google ads for them. So we had our own tracking setup. And we noticed that those one number they kept calling them and it was daily. It was relentless. So we went in there and had a look, we searched a number and we found out there was a an agency competing agency. So we hadn’t listened to one of the calls. And we found out that there were basically calling them up harassing them every day offering them SEO booster packages to get them into position one for one of the most competitive keywords. I think the CPC is around $30. So you know, it was ridiculous. One or $300 fee to get them to position one is not going to happen.

Michael  11:40
Yeah. And that’s a $300 fee. One time one time. Yeah. And as we know, with SEO, you need to be investing in content and link acquisition and ongoing work for months. Yeah, so that $300 is going in their pocket.

Arthur  11:51
Exactly. Yeah, so definitely avoid that sort of stuff.

Michael  11:55
Yep. What else? Another one, that is a little bit sneaky and underhanded is when agencies claim that they have some sort of a link with Google. So whether like that can be as simple as saying, you know, where Google partners, so you should trust us. But Google don’t offer a partner program for SEO, they have it for their Google Ads program, you can be a partner agency on the advertising platform. But that doesn’t mean Google’s endorsing you as a good SEO agency. Google don’t endorse any SEO agency. Exactly. The other thing that they can do is maybe hint that they have some sort of a link to a Google insider or understanding of the way Google works or some sort of proprietary knowledge of the Google algorithms that other agencies don’t have. It’s all lies, all lies. Don’t fall for it

Arthur  12:39
to a degree. I mean, we kind of have our own internal tool that we use, which kind of plugs will uses.

Michael  12:45
Yeah, but the thing is that tool has been built, because, yeah, it works with Google and reverse engineer. We’re not saying to anyone that Google told us Oh, yeah, this is what yeah,

Arthur  12:53
of course, yeah. Because there are sites that actually do have handy tools, audit tools that you can use for free. But anyone that claims that inside, infer, is lying, or knows how to, you know, knows how the algorithm works. Exactly. We’ve had clients actually hit up one of our bigger clients with some sort of proprietary tool. Remember that?

Michael  13:09
Yeah, we had to look at it. And it was an absolute joke. They were throwing out terms like AI machine machine learning stuff, and like the client got very excited. And the tool was just, you

Arthur  13:20
know, I don’t know why they got excited. The the presentation had spelling mistakes. And yeah, they were using, you know, Gmail, email addresses. It

Michael  13:27
was ridiculous. But it’s another thing, right? Gmail, like if someone hits you up from a gmail address? Why, like, are they too cheap to buy were named for eight bucks and set up Google suite? Probably a backyard operation. Yep. Or a churn and burn, you know, like, they’re just plowing through the email addresses and moving on and burning plants. But you know what, the client was super excited about it. So it does work.

Arthur  13:48
Yeah, it does work. So you have to be very careful.

Michael  13:50
Yes. Yes, absolutely. And look, in a sec, after we finish trashing or the dodgy sales tactics, we will talk about what the good agencies do so that when you are getting excited, you can sort of tell if you’re getting excited about the good stuff, or, or the snake oil. But um, look, another one I see a lot is where the number one agency where Australia’s leading the best, the biggest, where whatever, you know, and then they’ll say that in the ad copy, or there can only be one number one agency for, you know, whatever metric that they’re saying, but they’re all saying that stuff. So vague promises or claims like that, that have no, you know, grounding or sort of, I guess, backup as to why they’re making that claim. Look, it’s a little marketing tactic, just

Arthur  14:33
a marketing tactic, but no one’s the best. No one’s number one,

Michael  14:36
look, look through it, see, see through it, like if they’re saying that, like, what are they backing it up with? And then likewise, on the same tangent award winning is a big one, you know, oh, not all awards are created equal. There are awards for, I guess, doing good work. And there are awards for growing your business and growing your revenue as business. You should look through whatever sort of claims they’re making about awards and see, you know, are these awards? The first category? Or the second category?

Arthur  15:09
Do you have any examples of the two? Alright, so

Michael  15:11
let’s say Australian Marketing Institute awards, or sem rush awards, or Apex search awards.

Arthur  15:18
So that’s the stuff you should be looking out for.

Michael  15:19
Yeah. Because that is like, you know, especially buddy, and they’re judged by your peers, you know, for people with agency experience and marketing experience and looking at campaigns, you’ve actually run Yep, results achieved the outcomes for the clients, and then picking winners.

Arthur  15:32
So what about something like Telstra Business Awards? That’s more focused on the business growth?

Michael  15:37
No, no, that that we’ll look at a whole range of categories that are well run business, but things like, you know, fast 15 fast starters like so things that just look purely at revenue growth? Sure. Why do you care about that as a client? You know, if

Arthur  15:50
you don’t,

Michael  15:50
yeah, if their business is growing so quickly? Sure. That’s good. But is there operations and delivery and fulfillment and sort of Client Services growing at the same rate? Or are they just making a ton of sales and pumping stuff out the door and getting heaps of clients for every team member and, you know, burning their clients, often, really fast growth like that, and a really good service don’t go hand in hand, unless they really on their game? What else would be a common one that we see a lot with? clients and dodgy SEO companies? I would say saying yes to everyone.

Arthur  16:26
Yeah, definitely. Um, and I guess when you’re starting off, you do kind of want to say yes to a lot of people, if you’re a small business, you want that revenue coming through, you want those clients to work on. But when you when you get to a stage, don’t want to say that we’re at that stage. But you know, we’ve stopped saying yes to people, because, you know, we know that we might not be able to help them or the budgets are too small. So I definitely want to, you know, pick and choose, I guess, maybe that’s not the right,

Michael  16:52
right, what is the right way? Like as a as an agency? You If you say yes to everyone, you get a lot of headaches? Yeah. So you want to just sort of find your lane and say no to that opportunity, that side? So we say no to a lot like sort of 60% of the leads we generate? We don’t?

Arthur  17:09
Because we don’t feel like we can help them. Yeah. For their budget or for the to reach their goals, basically. Yeah. So we’re transparent and honest, upfront, letting them know that they don’t have enough money to get to where they want to be.

Michael  17:21
Yeah, a lot of agencies don’t do that. They will just sign them. If a hairdresser comes along, says, Oh, you know, I want SEO, they’ll just say, Yep, cool. come on board. And like as a hairdresser, you probably shouldn’t be doing SEO,

Arthur  17:33
even worse, or lock them into a 12 month contract.

Michael  17:35
Yeah, exactly. And tell them that they guarantee they’ll be on the first page. Yeah, and all sounds good. And then that hairdresser ends up getting bent and thinking SEO is trash, and that the industry is trashed. And it’s just this repeating cycle. So look, really, as a client, when you’re approaching an agency, you should expect to be asked a lot of questions about your business and how you operate and what you sell and your margins. And you know, the agency should be trying to understand the business case, or the you know, doesn’t make sense for you to invest in an agency. And the good agencies will walk away from it, if that all doesn’t always SEO, the right channel for you. At that point in, sorry, about Sorry, my thread at that point in time. Yeah, 100% 100%, because then SEO SEO agency will sell SEO. But that’s not always the right channel. Now. The other maybe I guess, on that note is, you know, is their team really super sales heavy. You know, if you look at them on LinkedIn, do they have a massive sales team, and then not many people delivering the actual work?

Arthur  18:37
That’s a big red flag, definitely, always check out the site and have a look at the team if it’s available.

Michael  18:42
Yeah, maybe we should just, you know, we’ve done a fair bit of trashing of dodgy tactics here. But let’s talk about that side of things. Like how do you figure out the good ones? And that one is a pretty good point, right? Checking out the website.

Arthur  18:53
100%. I mean, it’s, it’s a, it’s a brochure, it’s the basically the face of the business. So you can if you look at their site, and it doesn’t look great, then it’s probably a red flag. If it’s templated if they’re spelling mistakes, like if it doesn’t look like a proper business, then you should probably avoid it.

Michael  19:12
And then, on that note, as well, there should be a face to a name. Yeah, for sure. Like you should see the team like you click on the about page in the team, there are their photos there. Can you see who owns it? Can you see who works in SEO who works in paid search that sort of stuff? But depends how big if it’s a if it’s a kind of what do you call it? Like a lone wolf working by himself? Well, he should be he should be Yeah, he is a brand in that case. Very trashy.

Arthur  19:36
Yeah, sure.

Michael  19:37
But what what the I guess, coming back to the dodgy side of things, a lot of these agencies will be faceless. Like there’ll be a name a logo like brand, but you can’t there’s no service office address service office address they have like fake phone number. Everyone I met no names for the team. No sort of LinkedIn no social like check their socials. Does it show an act? It’s

Arthur  19:58
a big one, I think Yeah, any any agency that has a team will probably be posting, maybe not super frequently, but there’ll be posting their events, you know, any sort of updates. So I like we post about once a week, once every fortnight. So it’s not super frequently, but we do post

Michael  20:15
Yeah, you showing team life, that we are a real business, a bit of culture there, that sort of stuff is all important. You’re dealing with a real business or, you know, shady behind the scenes type operation.

Arthur  20:26
So to have three followers in one post, and they’re probably new or new or not very

Michael  20:31
dodgy. Yeah. Very good. Yes, I get on this sort of topic as well. If you’re able to check out who works at a place, you can check out their experience, and see whether they’re up to the task. So very easy to go on LinkedIn. And look at the agency you’re going to work with, and look at their team. Have a look at their experience. Yeah, wherever they worked. How long have they been doing

Arthur  20:57

Michael  20:59
What were they doing before they got into the world of SEO? Like, you know, where have they done it for five years, 10 years? why they’ve done it for one year. And before that there was something totally different, you know, real estate agent ever decided they wanted to work from home and did a course online on YouTube. And now is exactly hustling people online. Exactly. Say, that’s probably not going to be a very good experience working with someone like that, because they just haven’t spent enough time to develop the skills, obviously, and gain the knowledge. They’ve probably read theme watch one of those YouTube videos about how to start an SEO agency and gone done it. The other thing, of course, is reviews. Yep. So reviews, uh, you know, agencies have funded their reviews. And they will try and reach out to clients and get reviews, obviously, which is every every business should do that, right? Like, every client should be trying to get reviews from their customers as well. So that’s not a bad thing. But don’t just take, you know, reviews on their website that they’ve placed on there on face value, or even

Arthur  21:59
Google because anyone can write a Google review.

Michael  22:01
Yeah, you should still

Arthur  22:02
look at it, you should still look at it. But I mean, if you there’s a, if you see a trend of people with only one review or contributor with one review, that’s leaving five star reviews. And I’d probably, yeah, avoid that. Because they’re probably fake accounts that are just leaving, it’s pretty, it’s pretty easy to tell when businesses are putting fake fake good reviews for themselves. Yeah, I don’t know, maybe written the same way. Like the same sort of was super specific, super specific, but the best way is to have a look at who’s written the review. And if they’ve only contributed once and written one review for that agency, then it’s probably that agency, just creating Gmail accounts and leaving reviews.

Michael  22:40
If that is a common theme, if there’s a lot of one stone Yeah, it’s like the odd one here. And there’s normal because some people might have just never left.

Arthur  22:46
Yeah, absolutely. But if it’s all of them like that, then

Michael  22:50
yeah. And if that it’s all bullshit. If they all say they’ve been, they’ve increased my visibility senate 4% more reducing my cost per lead by 27%.

Arthur  22:59
So if astea too

Michael  23:00
specific, that might happen sometimes, but if it’s common, you see it a lot, then that’s a red flag. Yeah. Similar, you know, name dropping team members. If that’s an all of them, then again,

Arthur  23:12
we get named dropped. Yeah. Imagine that reviews. Yeah. There’s different types of review platforms. I know you love clutch, because that’s verified. So the reviews are actually, you know, customers that you can trust people, people that have worked with us so

Michael  23:25
yeah, so clutch will look at, you have to log in with your LinkedIn, and then submit it, or they actually talk to you on the phone and get that it’s pretty good in that regard. Another little, I guess, hackers go a bit deeper than looking at those sort of big, you know, the Google’s the Facebook’s obvious platforms. Like if you type agency name, and then reviews into Google have a look at Reddit. Yeah, I’ve read a whirlpool Whirlpool. Yeah, product review. Thread a couple of years back. Yeah, there’s been some agencies on there where they, you know, they’ve reviews on their website, sort of like, you know, five star and glowing, but then you go on Whirlpool, and there’s page after page after page after page of people, just having the most horrific experience. So do a bit of digging, just do

Arthur  24:09
research. I mean, you research when you’re buying a game when you’re buying any sort of appliance or anything you do research so why not do your research when you’re, you know, investing 1000s of dollars into Seo? Mm hmm.

Michael  24:19
So research can be testimonials too. Yep. Do they have them? Are they real?

Arthur  24:24
Are they authentic? Like well video you love your video testimonials? Because literally love a

Michael  24:29
video testimonial? Yep.

Arthur  24:30
Because I mean, you can’t force them. Basically, you’ve got the client, they’re talking about your business in front of a camera. Anyone can write a testimonial and say, you know, Joe doe or whoever wrote it, or gave you that testimonial, but it’s hard to fake a video.

Michael  24:43
Yeah, and for clients to be happy enough to go on camera and go through, you know, a couple of hours. Shoot, it’s hard. It’s hard to get video testimonials. Yeah. And like it’s awkward to do them as a client like they might say yes, and then all of a sudden the bright lights around them, the cameras on them and it can be tricky. So the

Arthur  24:58
tricky one, you’re even there with Then when you ask him the questions, because you start winking at yourself sometimes and you’re making eye contact with them. And

Michael  25:05
yeah, it’s a bit of a funny set. It’s fun,

Arthur  25:07
but it’s not. Yeah, I can see why clients aren’t thrilled to do them.

Michael  25:11
Yeah. So if they do, it probably means they’re happy.

Arthur  25:14
Yeah. And we appreciate every client that’s given us 100%.

Michael  25:19
What else did the good agencies out there do? I would say, the way they sell is really important. So you know, with sales, there can be the super sleazy, aggressive approach the high volume game where they’re just, like coming back to that prescription without assessment. They’re just pumping out templated proposals using package pricing, and then harassing people. That’s one way of doing things. But then another way of doing things is taking the time to really look at your site, look at the opportunities, look at the competition, suggest a custom plan, and then educate or even

Arthur  25:51
tell them you know, SEO is not the channel for you. And maybe you should look at x y Zed. Yep, yep. So a good salesperson from a reputable agency will let you know that this isn’t the right time for you to do SEO, or maybe you should do SEO, and, you know, Google ads or Facebook?

Michael  26:05
Yeah, I’ll start with Google ads. And then SEO is maybe for you in the future, once you’ve got a bit of runs on the board. Exactly. But like good sales, people sort of have empathy, they listen more than they talk, they understand what the actual goals are for you. So if you save under SEO like is it because you’re trying to generate more business and how much more business you’re trying to generate. So what needs to be done to get there, and they frame it in that context, and they educate when they fill, you know, they’re open with what the plan would be and bring you along with that. So that you you’re very confident in what’s being done. So just look at the salespeople and assess them, you know,

Arthur  26:44
and it’s in our best interest to do that as well, because we don’t want to sign people and have them have expectations of getting, you know, this much traffic this many, you know, this many rankings knowing that we can’t deliver that because, you know, in two months time they’re going to be upset and leave. So

Michael  26:59
yes, exactly. Expectations are massive. Yeah, like having expectation alignment. And being on the same page, like we when we were sort of kicking around ideas for this episode, right? You’ve found that article on, the day that was talking about, you know, the SEO industry and how there needs to be crackdowns on these digital charlatans, fleecing Australian, so we’ll put the actually the link to this article in the show notes. But in that article, I interviewed a business owner who engaged in SEO agency. And she said, in the six week period, I got no sales. And you know, that company had been engaged to improve her SEO and she’d been given some useless reports. So the red flag to me there is Jenny allowed the campaign to run for six weeks. Before she kicked, you know, kick them out for getting no sales. So that’s just a bad engagement to begin with the expectations were totally wrong. The sales person from the SEO company should never have sold sign her up to SEO to try and generate sales for business in six weeks. Because SEO is a long term channel. Yep, sonically good sales, people will say, hey, look, you know, six weeks your timeframe, maybe we should be looking at Google ads. And now the agency will probably make a bit less money because you don’t need to invest as much potentially there. But that’s the right thing to do by the client.

Arthur  28:17
So I like that the at the end of it, they asked for a five star review.

Michael  28:22
It’s amazing fixed rate five yet leave us a five star review. So yeah, do your research on the reviews, because that sort of stuff does happen. What else do the good guys do? I would say thought leadership, or at least trying to share knowledge and expertise is a big part of it. You know? Are they writing useful blog posts to show their knowledge? Are they hosting excellent podcasts like the FTO show to face

Arthur  28:47
audiences? And on

Michael  28:49
cases that touch on? Yep, case studies and have in depth? Are they are they really sort of pulling back the curtains a bit? And you know, how, how volumous is their library? Is there a lot of case studies or just one or two types of businesses they work with? You know, are they similar to yours? Are they arrange a big and small ones? Or are they just focusing on smaller ones? You know, sort of have a look at that. Yeah.

Arthur  29:15
What about asking for a reference? Yeah, cuz I, I’m on the fence about that one, I completely understand. And I think you know, if if an agency’s good and honest, then they would have no issues. giving out a number for my client has a reference. It’s just sometimes it’s hard to tee up to, you know, to have someone agreed to have a chat with someone else about that business isn’t isn’t easy. But I mean, any any reputable agency wouldn’t have any issues. You know, teeing that up for you.

Michael  29:43
Yeah. And we do that. I’ll tell you what’s annoying though is we get asked for that sometimes. And we go in after client him. Would you mind having a chat to this person? They just wanted to sort of pick your brains. And then the client says Sure, yeah, I’ll wait for their call. did have a prospect never calls him and You sort of and they still sign on? Or? Well, sometimes they do. Sometimes they don’t. But like, it’s just sometimes

Arthur  30:04
maybe agreeing is enough. You know, if you agree to it, they might be alright. Well, they’re not hiding anything. Yeah, I can’t be bothered to do it’s much time on my behalf. So maybe just did that act of agreeing is enough.

Michael  30:15
Yeah. Yeah, I think so. They should be, I guess it comes back to they’ve got nothing to hide. No, they’re not sort of why it’s

Arthur  30:22
just, it’s just difficult to tear it off sometimes.

Michael  30:25
Yeah. So look, I think this has been a pretty good summary of the main, you know, the dodgy things to look out for, but also the signs of a good agency. Was there anything else there that you sort of, we haven’t covered or you think would be useful? Because, you know, we’ve done this, but in the next episode, we are going to talk about stuff that clients do, you know, that contribute to SEO campaigns not working. So it’s not always the agency’s fault, it can often be a client’s fault. So we’re going to be quite honest about the stuff that goes on there to try and illustrate that some of the pitfalls that happen from the client side,

Arthur  30:59
that will be really fun, actually,

Michael  31:02
chance to blow off some steam from a years of frustrations. But I look at I think from from an agency sales perspective, that’s the main points, right? You keep on top of all of that stuff, you’re going to end up having a good experience or avoiding a bad experience, as the case may be. So that’s pretty much all for this episode. Thanks for tuning in. We appreciate your listening. We’d love those reviews and subscribes follows if you’re feeling up to it. If not, we’ll see you next week and maybe we’ll when you follow then so have a good one. Adios

Meet your hosts:

Arthur Fabik


Michael Costin


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