SEO Cold Calls

angry man on telephone answering cold call

SEO Cold Call

There’s a lot of buzz (or steam coming out of ears) in the SEO blogosphere about cold calling and unsolicited emails from SEO companies.

Even some of the biggest names in SEO get approached by complete SEO rookies offering to get them to the top of Google. Some of them make ridiculous claims such as being “former Google employees” or “SEO specialists for Google”.

I get emails and calls every week. However annoying it is though, there is one thing I’ve had to come to terms with.

It works.

It must do. Otherwise there wouldn’t be so many cold callers. Or would there?

Despite the fact that being pestered by pushy telesales staff from call centres drives most of us up the wall, some people must be buying what’s being offered by these cold callers.

Even if only one in every thousand calls results in an order, that’s enough to make it worthwhile for some. Regardless of whether they deliver on their promise. Regardless of reputation (you can just mutate and operate under a new alias next month). Regardless of any consideration except for just generating some income.

But does the fact that it clearly works for some, legitimise it?

At one extreme, an unsolicited email from one SEO company to another SEO company, which has somehow found its way onto an email marketing list, is just dumbass spam.

But what if you have spent several days carefully researching a handful of targets and decided to make a tailored, considered approach to businesses that you know would benefit from your services?

Maybe there is a case for cold calling. Maybe it’s just the indiscriminate, pushy mass marketing techniques of call centres that gives traditional outbound marketing a bad name.

Should those selling SEO services – which is inbound marketing – perhaps practice what they preach and win their business using solely inbound marketing techniques?

Is cold calling, in itself, prima facie evidence that the caller must be an SEO butthead?

What do you think? No, don’t call! Comment below!

Here are some recent, sometimes hilarious, comments I’ve stumbled upon from well known SEO bloggers.

Ian Lurie – SEO butthead detection in 5 easy steps
Andrew Shotland – Local SEO bullshitters please stop calling me
David Naylor – Is cold calling still a viable option?

Feel free to give full expression to your feelings below!


  1. Love this, Ewan! So true as well. Like everyone else, we get so many of these calls. The next time I get one I think I’ll refer them to this excellent blog post

  2. You think the SEO Cold Callers are bad just wait until you get the Facebook Cold Callers on to you.

    I run an online directory and have numerous honeypot listings set up to monitor cold callers abusing my listings. Some days I get half a dozen calls all using exactly the same sales spiel and bs.

    Problem is they sound so convincing unless you do the maths and know how facebook advertising works
    I blogged about it here –

    They regularly go through directories like mine, praying on new businesses registering as they know a lot are small start-ups and are still naive when it comes to cold call promises.

    I try to block them from the site as much as possible, tricky though as have to be careful not to block legitimate people too.

  3. I get these cold calls all the time, which is very ironic because #1, I wrote a book called ‘Never Cold Call Again’ and #2, I also own an SEM agency. (Granted it’s not SEO but it’s a close cousin.) Cold calling is especially ridiculous for an SEO company to do because they’re supposedly experts in online marketing – something companies try to improve to avoid or even eliminate cold calling altogether – yet there go the SEO “experts” cold calling anyway!

    TJ – as to Facebook advertising, as an experienced SEM guy my opinion is that it’s rubbish and one of the worst PPC engines anyone could waste their money on!

    • Hi Frank,

      Thanks. I’m interested in your take on cold calling. I must admit I’ve made the rather wild assumption that it must work because so many do it. Maybe, you’re right and it doesn’t work but these people don’t know what else to do. I’ve just downloaded your free “Never Cold Call Again” guide from your website and will read it with interest.

      • Thank you! As far as sales go I’d also recommend books by Jeffrey Gitomer since he also has the opinion that cold calling is the least productive way to go, and his materials are excellent. Start with the “Little Red Book.”

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