Chances are you have received a few (or a few dozen) emails before that start off with something like this:

“We’ve noticed that your business doesn’t rank well in Google …”

It’s the sales pitch from many an SEO firm. Most of them are off-shores developers trying to score a new client and make a few dollars. Shockingly, some of them are actually from actual SEO firms you can go find in cities around the U.S. or Canada.

For the unsuspecting and undereducated small business person or marketing manager who realizes they do have an SEO problem, it might be tempting to at least engage these folks to see how they can help. But I’m here to tell you: DON’T!

If anyone tries to sell you search engine optimization by saying, “I see you don’t rank well …” for anything, then they are a fraud. Why? Because they don’t know what you want to rank well for.

Certainly, if you don’t rank well for your own business name, well … that’s a problem. But I can assure you than 90 percent or more of your future search business won’t come from someone searching for your name.

The vast majority of search traffic you get now and will get in the future likely comes from unbranded searches. These are searches that do not have anything to do with your name. For example, if you run Zack’s Pressure Washing Company, almost all of your search traffic will come from searches like these:

  • Pressure washer
  • Cheap pressure washer
  • Pressure washer Louisville
  • Louisville pressure washer

No one knows who Zack’s is. So they don’t search for it. That’s unbranded.

And any SEO firm worth their salt knows they can’t possibly know your specific targets without asking. Thus, they don’t know what unbranded search terms you need to rank well for.

Thus, “I see you don’t rank well for …” is your first clue that they don’t have one. Move on.

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