08 Nov 2005

Telling a prospective client, “You’re screwed”.

Telling a prospective client "You’re screwed"

(OK, I was much nicer and didn’t actually say "You’re Screwed", but that’s still what it came down to.)

His situation:
He’s calling for one of his clients, a doctor, who was involved in a lawsuit (based on a specific medical condition) some time back.

The first 10 results are all "This doctor is evil" type pages.

The prospective client tells me that the doctor wants to be #1 in the natural search results, nothing else is acceptable. Then the prospects says, "I just need you for some link campaigns. I know all about search engine optimization, and I know exactly how we’re going to do this."

"Oh, what is your plan?" I ask.

"We’re having 2 other websites built right now as we speak. Both Search Engine Optimized. Those 2 you’ll do your linking campaigns on and we’ll be at the top with those sites," he replies.

"Hum, have you heard of the "Sandbox" and the "aging factor"" I ask.

"Yes, and I’ve heard it can take up to 6 months, but I’m sure you can do it much faster with a good linking campaign"

I then give him a brief talk about the "age of sites", and "natural link growth", and how he might be waiting years for these new sites…if the content is great.

"OK, give me the doctors name (that he want to be #1 for), and I’ll see who’s in the top 10."
He gives me the name and I check out the top 10 using our Cool SEO Tool.

The top 10 are all "lawsuit this, lawsuit that, this doctor is evil, etc."

So I ask, "So you want to be on the first page?" and he responds with, "Not just that, we’ve got to be #1 to make sure we’re found above that "evil doctor" page at #1.

"Hum…well, let me tell you why they’re #1. The site was started in early 2002, and has 400 pages now. They have about 4000 backlinks to thier domain, and a little over 1000 backlinks to that specific "evil doctor" page." I tell him.

I then add, "When I look at the backlinks to the #1 "evil doctor" page, I see they’re all coming from  pages about this specific medical condition, all natural backlinks, placing this page right in the middle of the perfect backlink community."

Then, in so many words, that it’s going to be "impossible" (I might mention other work arounds to people who are interested in listening…but he was not going to be one of those people).

So he tells me, "But the page that ranks #1 is only a pagerank 4, and google only show a few hundred backlinks" – (and I think "case for "fairy dust"").

I tell him that doesn’t matter, it’s all about "age of site", "natural link growth", "link neighborhoods" and that this is going to be impossible to achieve with his new site.

So I tell him, "Sorry man, it just isn’t happening. Why don’t you pay that company that has that #1 evil page to remove it."

He responds with "no chance".

So I end with "ok, well good luck, I’ve got to go".

about 10 minutes later he calls again and asks, "but what if we had everyone link to our new pages with the doctors name, won’t that beat the top page."

My response "I already thought of that, and that specific page that is is #1 in the natural results, is also #1 for "allinanchor" (along with an explanation of that), so sorry, again, it’s not possible. Good luck".

So I’m betting that he scratched my name off the list, and he’s on to the next SEO to see if they’ll promise him anything better…someone just might….think about this, for he might be calling you. Do you have a solution? I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’d also like to know how you guys would handle these types of situations.