I frequently get robo calls from some outfit where the pre-recorded voice starts out by saying, “Your Google business listing and website ranking are out of date” or something like that, and it then proceeds to tell me that if I press one to verify that I’d like to rank higher in Google, that someone will be able to assist me.
Today, I decided to press 1.
I was then given a second prompt to verify something or other about wanting to receive SEO ranking services to help my site rank higher. So I pressed one for that, too. My expected wait time was three minutes.
Lucky me! Within about 10 seconds of my wait, a guy came on the line.
“Hello this is Robert. Can I please confirm your name?”
Well, this was interesting. They called me. Shouldn’t they know who I am, or who they are calling?
“I can confirm my name after I know who is calling. Can you please tell me the name and address of your business?”
The man replied, “The name of our company is SEO Services.” I noted the wholly generic business name and the lack of an address that I asked for.
I asked, “And what is your company’s website?”
Robert answered, “Are you interested in having us help you rank higher in Google and to improve your business page ranking?”
“I absolutely am. So do you guys work for Google?”
Robert said, “No, we’re a contractor who works for Google.”
“OK. So you guys are hired by Google to do this?”
“Yes,” Robert said. “Google works with large companies like Sears and Walmart, and contractors like us work with small businesses.”
I responded, “Great! What is your company website?”
Robert wasn’t going to help me out there. “If you’re not interested in our service I can just have you removed from our call list.”
I told him, “I am interested, I just would like to know who I’ll be working with. What’s your company website?”
Again, Robert didn’t answer the question. “I can have your number removed from our call list if you’d prefer we didn’t contact you again.”
I tried to push on. “No – I absolutely want to improve my rankings. I’d just like to check out your site. I always do that for people who offer me professional online services. If they are going to help my website, I want to check out theirs.”
“I’ll have your number removed from our database.”
I continued to push. “No. Please connect me with your supervisor. If I can’t get the services you called me about from you, then I’d like to talk to your supervisor.”
“I don’t have a supervisor.”
What? “You don’t? Then is this your company?”
Robert replied, “Well, I do have one, but you’re not going to talk to anyone else. I’ll have your information removed from our database.”
I asked, “Why won’t you tell me what your website is? You’re offering me SEO, and I want to see who you are.”
Robert said, “I think we have a conflict of interest here. Your site says that you offer SEO services, so I’ll mark you to be deleted from our database.”
“Why is this a conflict of interest? I have clients who I like to refer to reputable SEO companies. If I could learn more about you, perhaps I could refer business to you.”
“We both know you’re not referring any business our way.”
“You’re right. And I sure hope that whatever shit you’re selling doesn’t work.”
And that’s when I hung up and started typing this.
Be careful out there, folks. There are countless SEO scammers all over the place. I was unable to get the actual company name, address, or website for these guys, but they wanted me to confirm all of my business information and give them details that I couldn’t get on them. And they wanted that BEFORE I was going to get even the slightest bit of info about them.
I was also unable to find out how much any of this would cost. My guess is that they charged a fairly small fee, told you a bunch of things you could never prove or verify if they happen or not, and then they’d take your money and you’d never hear from them again or be able to contact them.
When I tried to call the number back that came up on my caller ID, the recording said, “All of our operators are currently busy. If you would like to add your number to our do not call list, please press 1 now.”
I didn’t press one, as I wanted to see what other options I might have. The next thing I heard was, “We have added your number to our do not call list.”
And then I was disconnected.
The number on my caller ID was (402) 238-1030 from Omaha, NE.
I’d say with a pretty high degree of confidence that these guys aren’t a small business’s best option for improving their search rankings or site SEO.
Be careful out there. Only work with reputable SEO companies that you can get referrals for and that will – at the very least – explain their services, methodology, and – ideally – give you their website address.