I received a voice mail message on Tuesday. The person leaving the message indicated that they were interested in discussing my SEO services. Normally, I’d return such a call right away, but I didn’t have an opportunity to do so until Wednesday afternoon. As it turns out, it doesn’t look like they’re going to be becoming clients of mine, as they’re in the business themselves, but the call did get me thinking about advice for SEOs who seek out new business by cold calling other SEOs, so I’ve put together this little primer.

Leaving a Message

If you get my voice mail and want to leave a message, don’t tell me that you’d like to talk to me about my SEO services. A message like that is likely to make me think you’re interested in having me do some work on your site. If what you really want is for me to sign up as a reseller of your SEO services, then your best bet is to say that in your message. SEOs who are interested in something like that will return your call, and those of us who have no desire to sell someone else’s services — like me, for example — won’t bother, and a lot less time will be wasted by both of us.

Sure, it’s not exactly a lie to say that you want to talk about my SEO services, but it’s really not very accurate.

If I Say “No”

If I return your call because you failed to follow the advice indicated above and then tell you once I see what’s going on that I’m not interested in becoming a reseller of someone else’s services, you should probably just take “no” for an answer. On the other hand, if you truly believe you can change my mind, then when you take advantage of my polite nature and insist I take a look at what you have to offer, you’d better be prepared to really wow me with your services and your knowledge of the search industry.

SEO 2.0

You tell me that you call your services “SEO 2.0″ because it’s such an advance over old fashioned SEO. I’ve seen the term here and there, mostly to describe search marketing that concentrates on social media. But that’s not what you mean by “SEO 2.0.” Your “SEO 2.0″ involves advanced practices like these:

LSI

If you ask me if I’m familiar with the concept of Latent Semantic Indexing and I reply in the affirmative, it’s not necessary to read the definition from your script, especially if it’s wrong. My “yes” is your cue to skip that step in the process.

When you show me a page that demonstrates your use of LSI, it probably shouldn’t be a page that uses a phrase like “pest control” over and over. Sure, words like “mosquitoes,” “ants,” “cockroaches” and “insects” do show up on the page, but that’s to be expected on just about any page about pest control. I mean, just look at this:

some text about pest control

This is your idea of LSI?

Also, if I should raise the point that I don’t believe anyone’s conclusively demonstrated that any of the major search engines actually make use of LSI, it’s a good idea to have references to an article or two at the ready.

The Search Exchange

OK, so maybe I wasn’t all that impressed with your LSI example. It’s time to bring out the big guns if you’ve got any hope of changing my mind at this point. If your best idea is to talk to me about the “Search Exchange,” I think maybe you’re better off just thanking me for my time and saying goodbye.

But no, you really want me to see the Search Exchange, so you have me click the link anchored “Search Exchange” at the top of your wonderful LSI pest control page. I find myself on a page linking out to a real estate site, a house cleaning service site, a kitchen cabinet site, etc. It looks like a standard-issue link exchange page to me. I’m not impressed. Then you tell me that the great thing about the Search Exchange is that the links are all coming from your network of hundreds (or did you say “thousands”) of sites. Buddy, that’s not SEO 2.0. It’s a link farm. Time to say goodbye.

Do Your Research

This really ought to be step one in our primer, but for me, it’s an afterthought, so I’m throwing it in at the end.

It seems to me that if you’re looking for SEOs who’d be interested in becoming resellers of your kind of services, it’s not enough to just buy a list of the names and numbers of SEOs. Check these people out before you contact them. If their websites warn people to watch out for SEOs who try to get you to join link farms (me, for example), those are people you probably shouldn’t bother calling.

Of course, you could have done worse. It’s not like I’ve got thousands of people reading this modest blog post about you. And while I’ve commented on his blog three or four times, I’m not all buddy-buddy with Matt Cutts, so he’s probably not reading this post either. See, Matt has access to these cool insider-only Google tools, and all he’d need is one look at one of your clients’ pages to ban your whole network.

Then again, he probably doesn’t need my help, since all of the farm pages are linked to with anchor text of “Search Exchange,” and they all appear to be on pages named 0308.php, which makes them pretty easy to locate.

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