Why We Don’t Sell SEO Anymore

Last week, I was on a panel discussing SEO with Seth of Conductor, Chris of Bruce Clay, and Kevin Lee of DidIt. The audience was startups, and here were are, 4 of the top agencies in SEO, telling them about SEO. The trouble is, these aren’t Fortune 500 companies that have $20k a month to pay for SEO consulting– they’re scrappy startups with just a few people each and a few dollars for hosting. They’ve got brand new sites with no link juice, so no amount of on-page optimization– to spread around what little juice they have– will even matter.

Thus, SEO for startups is an oxymoron.

Clients who come to us wanting SEO, after a chat to clarify objectives, actually want more traffic profitably.  They may request SEO, likely because they don’t know the technical lingo or have heard others tell them that this is something they need.  Thus, most of our discussions with prospective clients are educating them about what SEO is, than it is pricing out services.  If you run an agency, do you discover this pattern with your inbound requests?

Save yourself some time– avoid that discussion entirely.

  1. No need to talk to folks who believe they should rank #1 on “mortgages” by tomorrow because they paid you $79. 
  2. No need to explain to them why those firms that guarantee organic rankings or thousands of links for 12 cents each are just charlatans. 
  3. No need to discuss why their content-free site can’t rank unless they are willing to create meaningful content, in addition to getting great links.

In short, avoid completely the dashed dreams of clients who believe that SEO is a magical elixir to their site not getting traffic.  You wouldn’t believe that a diet pill can cause you to lose 30 pounds in 30 days with no exercise or diet required.  So why believe that by hiring an SEO firm you don’t need to build a great site, reach out to industry folks that matter, and experiment with PPC and social media?

BlitzMetrics doesn’t rank on SEO terms and doesn’t try to– though we do rank on “local advertising”, “local online marketing”, “Facebook advertising”, and so forth. We believe it’s easier to sell clients on delivering results– a certain level of qualified traffic that converts into a phone call, form completion, coupon download, or other measurable action.  Having a compelling site, engaging users on social media,  reaching out to the press, and doing things that have been in the category of “webmaster” was and has been effective long before the term SEO was coined and became en vogue.

We’re not bashing SEO– there are plenty of practitioners who provide great ROI to clients. What we are exposing is when clients really want certain types of results, but mistakenly think it’s SEO.  Nowadays to get organic traffic from search engines– the definition of SEO- you’re engaging in lots of things that are called by other names.  So why to add to the confusion?  Just sell the underlying parts of public relations, content writing, application development, buying links, social media, or other more specific forms of getting traffic and engagement.

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