On several occasions I’ve had clients tell me that a telemarketer has called with this promise. “Pay us ($40, $100, 200, etc) per month and we’ll put your website at the top of Google. We have a special relationship with Google. ”
Is this a scam?
It’s generally not a scam in the strictest sense. They aren’t lying, but they do leave out a lot of important facts. Most of these places are using Adwords to promote your business. Adwords allows you to bid on a keyword (choose an amount are willing to pay per person who clicks through to your site) and therefore is called Pay Per Click advertising. Using this system, you can be at the top of Google (the sponsored listings show at the top and on the right), by just paying enough money.
They usually leave out one or two different pieces of the puzzle. What keywords will I come up # 1 for. As you may imagine, it’s much cheaper to come up #1 for a long very specific keyword phrase like, “Beaverton Oregon Commercial Carpet Cleaning” than for a more general phrase like “Carpet Cleaning.” The fewer people competing for a keyword phrase the less money it costs as it’s priced in auction style. Secondly, how long will it be #1. If you bid $4/click on Carpet Cleaning, and you have a monthly budget of $100, after the first 25 people have clicked on your ad, it will come down for the rest of the month.
These folks charge more than you would need to pay if you went directly to Google and signed up for adwords (they are marking up the keyword phrases). Additionally, they may not be creating the most optimized campaigns. Google takes the quality of the ad as well as the quality of page it’s being sent to, into consideration when determining the bid. In other words if your ads aren’t setup correctly, you will pay more for each click.
Hopefully this can save you some serious money when you are approached by these folks.