There are a number of companies cold calling businesses in Ireland and trying to get them to sign up for search engine marketing services. One of these is Matchmaker Marketing whose sales people often imply that they are ringing on behalf of Google.
Google does not make direct marketing calls so you can be sure that you are not being rung by Google. You can read more about this scam in the Sunday Business Post article on Matchmaker Marketing. http://archives.tcm.ie/businesspost/2009/05/24/story41952.asp
If you do get a call from any company making claims as to search engine services that they can offer and if you are inclined to consider their offer do the following:
- Check exactly who the company is – at a minimum go to their website
- Get an email or letter from them detailing exactly the services they are offering and all the costs involved (including any ongoing costs)
- Ask for examples of other client companies who are using their search engine services and check that the other client companies are happy with them
- Check that the company has at least one Google Advertising Professional and preferably it should be a Google Adwords Qualified Company (see below).
- Carefully check the terms of their contract to find out how long you might be tied in to it.
You can check the Professional Status of a company or individual by clicking on the ‘AdWords Qualified Individual’ or ‘Adword Qualified Company’ logo that should be displayed on their website. If it is not displayed on their website ask them to supply the link to the Google page which confirms their professional status. Check the following details to be sure that their professional status is authentic:
- The name of the company or individual on the page is the same name as the company or individual that is contacting you
- The page address starts with ‘http://adwords.google.com/select/ProfessionalStatus.’ (you should see this in the address bar of your browser (at the top of the browser) when looking at the page.
Do not give your credit card details over just because you are pressurised by a salesperson to do so.
Search engine marketing companies selling Google related services will be usually be offering to set up a Google Adwords (Pay per Click) service at a fixed price per month. Our clients have told us that prices offered range from €20 (for a limited period) to €200 per month depending on the company.
If your website is advertised in this way, using Google adwords, then a link to your website would appear in the sponsored links section of the Google search results. There are usually on the right-hand-side of the main body of the results although on some occasions one or two of the sponsored links appear at the top of the Google search results page.
If you have decided that the search engine marketing company you are considering is offering a legitimate service then consider first the following two questions:
- Could you improve your website optimisation and get better organic search engine results? Once you have performed search engine optimisation you may find that you do not need to pay for sponsored advertising as you are receiving sufficient enquiries from organic searches.
- Could you run your own adwords campaign directly with Google and save yourself a large proportion of the costs involved in employing a search engine marketing company?
Legitimate search engine marketing companies will not try to make excessive profits by taking advantage of companies who are not aware of how Google sponsored advertising works. However more unscrupulous companies may be making excessive profits by praying on a company’s ignorance in this respect. For instance one small business was paying a search engine marketing company €50 for one search term using Google Adwords, per month. For that search term, if they had advertised directly with Google the adwords would have cost them approximately 6 cents per click with around 3 clicks per day and therefore approximately €5.40 for the month.
Look at our other posts on search engine marketing and search engine optimisation so that you can better decide whether you want to go ahead with an offer from a search engine marketing company.