At a recent seminar in Dallas, I was asked by an attendee about the SEO services my company provided. Specifically, he wanted to know whether we offered a free SEO review. His question got me thinking about the whole idea of “free offers” and what they mean to businesses and consumers.
Paraphrasing my response, I told him: “We do not offer a free SEO review, and here’s why. Lots of companies that offer these free reviews take your contact information and run your site through a tool that kicks out a useless report that doesn’t give you much to work with. You’re then forced to ask them for further assistance, which they’ll gladly offer at their going rates. So, the ‘free review’ turns out to be the first step in their sales process which ends up with you spending money.”
A real SEO review requires a real person to look at the website, check through the coding and content, and make real assessments about the ways it can be improved. A real SEO review requires a real person to make a real effort and take some real time to do it, and that costs real money. Unlike the so-called ‘free report’ the real report provides solid guidance on how to proceed, and can be taken to another company or developer if you desire.
Many companies offer free stuff — reports, tools, etc. — in order to entice potential customers to approach them so the company can sell their wares. All I can say to those potential customers out there is to beware of free, because invariably you get exactly what you pay for.
10/2/2009: Chris Brogan did an excellent job talking more about this subject in today’s post entitled The Audacity of Free. Good reading!