The SEO That Works fiasco

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it as my first dayBay Point Trading aka SEO that Works are what we in the SEO industry would like to call aggressive marketers who follow the same technique used by the mobile phone companies that try to sell you a cell phone contract. I had the opportunity to interact with one of their cold callers and when he couldn’t answer the simple questions directly related to the SEO service & domain name registration he was offering he put me through to his sales manager. I later learned that this was his first day doing sales calls and only spent 3 days on training prior. This is my experience with Bay Point Trading.

Inbound Marketing, particularly Search Engine Optimization, is something that I am extremely passionate about. I’ve dedicated nearly a decade of my life to playing around with, testing and implementing various SEO techniques trying to find the holy grail, SEO That Works. To that extent I wanted to gauge the impact Google Places has on certain keywords I watch like a hawk. My phone number is therefore one of the three or more positions on the Google map you see when searching for certain location specific phrases people search for daily in Cape Town. My phone now rings about once per day and 99% of the time lasts 1 minute where I can actually help the caller with credible information to the query they have. Not today though, Bay Point Trading called.

The salesperson rushed through how important it is to rank at the top of Google and how registering a certain domain name with keywords they already found me on Google for will get me to the top of Google. Being a Web AddiCT I know how these things work and wondered if the person from Bay Point Trading could explain it to me. Are they going to redirect traffic from the new domain name to my site? Will it be 301, 302 or are they going to build a landing page targeting the same keyword as the domain name? An SEO professional can answer these questions in their sleep. This was the salespersons first day, he didn’t have all the answers. I hope he doesn’t get into trouble. The cold caller handed me over to his sales manager. I didn’t get his name. Asked the same question and this is what he asked me…

Bay Point Trading Sales Manager: “Are you in front of your computer?”
Me: “Always”

Go to Google South Africa and type seo that works

Already I was thinking… How many people actually search for that keyword? Checked and found that 4400 people do monthly. OK so they have the exact match domain name seothatworks DOT co with a all the on page SEO checkboxes ticked. The keyword they found my number on Google for only gets less than half the searches the ‘seo that works’ exact phrase gets. Cold calling and other marketing methods have proved successful for them as they have more than 8000 customers.

So I asked him to go to Google and spelled my name… R-A-F-I-Q… click search.

To cut a long story short the sales manager didn’t want to speak to me anymore, mumbled something and hung up the phone without even saying goodbye. Was it his first day too?

This is not SEO and is only one tactic that could prove successful in the short term. If you’d like an idea of how a most SEO companies could and should interact with you try this test. I wish Bay Point Trading well with their marketing and sales initiatives.

Has Bay Point Trading called you too?

  • I thought they name sounded familiar,  now i remember them from a few months ago.

    They cold called me about one of our online stores.  They said they have a .CO domain name available that relates to our biz, did the whole sales rant.  The cost to register this .CO domain was R2800 and included ‘seo optimization’
    Did the whole sales pitch about .CO and Company domains, how com/coza is running out, having your keywords in the domain, etc etc.

    Anyway, during the call i logged into my dreamhost panel, did a domain availability search on the domain they pitched to me.  Lo and Behold it was available!!!
    I promptly registered it at a whopping $24 😀 – not sure if they ever called me back after that.

    Bit silly trying to sell someone a domain name that you dont own 🙂

    Anyway,  i know a thing or two about the web and SEO.

    • Strange. The consultants only pitch domains that are already registered and secured. It wouldn’t make sense to pitch something that any member of the public can grab.

      You probably registered a variation not pitched to you.

      • the domain pitched to me was available too, didn’t register it though. Got a .co.za instead.

    • Wayne

      It is also unethical sir to buy a domain and then try to sell it……its called domain squatting…………bit silly

  • You’re not alone here, Rafiq. I’ve received cold calls from them and I’ve received calls from my clients complaining about having said company phoning them and telling them their SEO could be better.

    So anyway, now I reckon through a good amount of comments here, some tweets and LIKES, we’ll get Web AddiCT to rank position 1 for “seo that works” and totally waste their time like they’ve wasted ours.

    Let’s discuss further..

    • Chris/Naeem – What would be killer is a contextual ‘seo that works’ link to this article from another site. I’d do it but believe this this should be a team effort. Is anybody with me?

      This gives the SEO industry a bad name. They even said they have more customers than MWEB. Customers to them probably mean ‘people we’ve fooled’

      • Contextual link complete.

        Let’s get up there, annoys the hell when these guys come along and create an awful name for an industry that actually has some great ethical SEOs.

        • Hi guys. This is clearly an SEO expert community, so I’m out of my depth since I am certainly no expert in the field. But I thought I’d at least give you my perspective as an outsider to the industry, so you can know that the perception exist, and you can correct me if you feel it’s not the right perception. With that disclaimer out of the way…

          Don’t you think that publicly conspiring to game the ranking system by making a keyword point to a different page is exactly the kind of behavior that gives SEO people a bad name, thereby perpetuating the stereotype of non-ethical behaviour that you’re trying to change?

          • Rian, that’s a fair point and I was surprised it took this long for someone to come and say it. In this case I’d say that the term being “gamed” as you call it, is a term that isn’t affecting anyone, except the very company that has caused this whole rif. I feel that the task will result in more good than bad, and thus shouldn’t be plonked into the stereotype of non-ethical behaviours.
            Fair?

            • I see your point and I understand why you’re doing it. I just don’t think it helps your case to use a tactic that is generally considered wrong to teach a company that they shouldn’t use tactics that are wrong.

          • I don’t think so at all, we are simply raising awareness about companies that try to exploit “black hat” techniques in SEO. This company is using this slogan “SEO that works” to try and show their excellent ranking on such a word by buying a domain name with the exact phrase in it. There is far more to SEO that just buying the domain name. Google discourages this domain buying practice and have measures in place to stop such things, however, it does work for a short period of time before Google catches on. The client in most cases will buy the domain and be ranked very well and then suddenly drop from the ranks… I can assure you that they company that sold the domain knew this would happen but does not care because his “promises” were already met. As for “gaming the ranking system”, I don’t believe we are doing this either, we are writing articles on a particular trend which is what we do all the time, we are voicing our opinion which is what we do all the time, we are creating awareness about our industry which is what we all try to do … all the time.

    • Anonymous

      I think articles like this are the easiest way to make others aware. The average user does not know, which is how these sort of companies make money. I too have been called by them… they hung up on me too after realizing that I was no push over. We also have a number of overseas SEO companies in south Africa that even have VOIP local South African numbers to try pretend that are actually from here, who know nothing about SEO and are just full of empty promises. One company actually promised a special relationship with Google that allowed you to get to the top GAURANTEED…. you would pay then thousands of rand to get to the top under one keyword, they would buy Adwords for that one keyword at R10 per click and then tell you that you at the top. They would spend about 5% of the money you paid them to put into the Adwords budget and pocket the rest.

      • I couldn’t have said it better myself, in fact, I wrote a blog post on exactly what you’ve said 😉 Over at imod.co.za

    • Lol, this made me laugh: I found this on Hellopeter:

      “We have surpassed our commitment as per the agreement signed by yourself
      and have your website ranked in Google’s top 3 pages with a total of 14
      keywords as per the performance report sent to you”

      Top 3 pages!!!!!! for 14 keywords… lol if I counted the top 3 pages I would have over 10000 keywords at the top… who ever looks past the 1st page?

      • Lol, I read something similar on HelloPeter as well, haha. Scammers!

    • Heard via a contact that BP Trading is hiring consultants to cold call that need to sell 40 blogs within the 1st month to pass their probation period – this is utter exploitation of people who are desperate for jobs out there in the market

  • James M

    Aah, the joys of the SEO industry. This is why we have a bad name and people expect miracles from us. They will prob just buy the domain with some keyword stuffed in it, add some scraped content and then disappear. Definitely a recipe for success! 😛 I rate we get Rafiq to #1 for SEO that works and watch their business and snake oil burn!

    • They’ll do this:

      1. Plug 30 or 40 backlinks all at once from their spam network
      2. Site will bounce to top couple positions
      3. Make sure the client sees it

      Then the site will drop off and I can only imagine the amazingly creative excuses they’ll come up with to ensure that the client then signs a 12 month contract to get back to position 1.

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  • @Rafiq – Let’s each chip in R100, and let’s run an AdWords campaign on “bay point trading” and include the word SCAM in the Advert’s title linking to this post. Now that’ll be a RANK 1 😉

    • I wouldn’t want to do that to them.

    • HA

      Hi  I am new here. I am currently in a fight with Bay Point Trading. I was one of the fools who paid lots of money for a .co domain name. They promised me all of the above … I paid… and wham..nothing happened: wrong domain name, no landing page (“..they cannot help it of Google takes so long to rank it”). I went to the .co registry page… not the wrong or the right domain is registered in my name (“.. to protect our customers privacy”) AND to top it all – I received yet another call last week from one of their marketting people to BUY THE SAME DOMAIN THAT I HAVE BOUGHT ALREADY!!! wHAT CAN i DO????

      •  A quick google search made me aware that the domain .co is registered to the country of Columbia… strange…

  • Emdee96

    Its not all doom and gloom, these guys have been around for more than 5 year so they aren’t a fly by night crowd, I have been a client of theirs for most of that time. I would imagine that some people are just not their target market, that a side the principle of cold calling works on getting a foot in the door not being able to actually understand what you are selling ;-).

    I do agree on Rafiq though – a sales manager should understand the entire product and if you ask a Q he cannot answer he should at the very least be able to come back to you at a later stage.

    • @Emdee96 – Cool to hear this from someone on the other side. Care to share your domain name with us?

    • Please share the success you’ve had with the ‘seo that works’ company.

  • Hey Rafiq

    I would love to know why you have not updated the post with what we discussed during the phone call? 

    It lacks both sides of the story.

    Once again, kindly have this article removed or we will have to take the matter further.

    • On what grounds exactly Dicebat? With the starting point being an unsolicited phone call, I don’t think you have much to go on. 

      Further to that, Rafiq’s in his legal rights to express his opinion on a matter, imagine you ran after everyone who spoke badly of you, you’d need detectives everywhere. 

    • Post has been updated. Are you happy now?

    • Anonymous

      I would personally love to know how you plan on taking this further? It’s a blog and he’s perfectly within his right to post what ever he wants. Just because you don’t like what it says, doesn’t mean that he has to remove the article.

      • Perfectly said. 

        Anyway, the post’s been updated now and we’re back on track.So, whilst we’re here, what other companies have cold called you for web services lately folks?

    • Seems every company on the “cover my ass” boat seem to want to “take matters further”

  • Matthew

    WOW this guy has just made himself and the company look worse and worse the further this has escalated today! 

    Its no reason SEO has gotten the bad name and reputation it has among the ill informed which is 99% of business and people out there.

    Shocking stuff but good on you Chris & Rafiq for serving these guys!! As the afrikaans would say (Im English but no better expression exists) BEKSTIL!!!!

    • Yeh Matthew, it’s unfortunate because I’m so passionate about SEO and to see people giving us all a bad name breaks my heart. Thanks for coming in and giving your appreciation, it’s appreciated from my side, and I’m sure Rafiq’s.

      • Matthew

        Absolute Pleasure Chris, whats the world without allies combating evil SEO tyrants 🙂 Cheers

        • @dicebat I am sure Chris said that with “Tongue in cheek” , actually doing that would waste too much time and we have real SEO work to do.

          • For a company that wants to do damage control around this scenario, you’re certainly making things worse, Dicebat. 

            Find the AdWords, take a screenshot and show us.

            • Fair enough. You’re probably right. Let’s get back to work, folks! We got people to rank!

        • Looking at where that screenshot is hosted. From aliens to slavery and SEO. I like you blog 🙂

          • lol, actually the blog made me laugh, I love it…

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  • Odette

    I agree that cold calls are not always welcome, however, for most businesses it is an integral part of the sales process.  Where cold calls are unwelcome is when the caller is aggressive.  My experience of Bay Point Trading is very different to yours it seems.  I found their sales lady very helpful and professionally tenacious.  I can appreciate that the public expects a sales person to have a reasonable level of product/service knowledge, however, it’s unfair to stab Bay Point Trading as offering sub-standard feedback when in most instances cold callers provide a front line level of initial contact where after calls are escalated to line managers and senior managers where more specialised knowledge is required.  Bay Point Trading’s polite and professional level of tenacity encouraged me to really think about my SEO and that it could be improved.  I am thankful for their occasional and polite calls because I eventually outsourced my SEO requirements to them and haven’t looked back since.  The SEO specialist whom I have almost daily contact with is whom I would call my SEO life saver and provides me with a service way over and above what I would expect him to given the monthly fee I pay.  We ran into difficulties because the CMS and architecture of my site is out of date and not SEO friendly.  Juanne spent much time trouble shooting and providing work around solutions so that we can improve the SEO for my site until I have the funds to upgrade the entire system.  What I admire most about Juanne is his thorough, detailed and very honest approach to SEO.  He keeps me abreast of SEO developments and always steers me away from suggesting quick fix solutions while encouraging me to focus on the organic sustainability of building sound SEO infrastructure through blogging and other mediums.  Juanne and the team are extremely personable that I would go as far as to say that I consider them my close colleagues who are specialists supporting my SEO whilst I do what I need to do and that is run my ecommerce platform. 
     
    I embrace freedom of speech in every way, yet I find that the internet can be detrimental to the reputation of a business if all the facts are not gathered and presented in fairness.  I have always said that there is ‘her truth’, then ‘his truth’ and then there is the truth.  Anyone who has sound business experience will notice immediately that you are a competitor of Bay Point Trading.  It makes poor business sense to ‘show up’ the competitor in the hope of gaining a larger footprint and is in poor taste.  There is enough business for everyone without having to share one sided opinions to the detriment of another business.  To me this reflects a lack of emotional and business intelligence. 

    • Thank you for your comment Odette.

      “where after calls are escalated to line managers and senior managers where more specialised knowledge is required.”My query was escalated to a more senior manager who hung the phone up on me when I asked him questions.”He keeps me abreast of SEO developments and always steers me away from suggesting quick fix solutions while encouraging me to focus on the organic sustainability of building sound SEO infrastructure through blogging and other mediums.”The approach the cold caller took with me was to try and impress me with an SEO technique Google themselves frown upon and I called them out on it. How can said technique be sustainable when most SEO professionals questioned in a well respected survey highlight that particular technique as one that is losing it’s effectiveness?

      I am really happy you are achieving great SEO results and that your experience with Bay Point Trading has been positive. I look forward to your response. Once again TYFYC.

      • First of all I would like to add that buying .co domains is not an illegal practice, however I will advise others who are considering in buying .co or other domains just for the sake of getting a vanity url that “might” list well is bad practice. If you are going to buy a .co domain then do so only if your website is going to be brand new. Do not transfer to a .co domain if you have an existing site with the hopes of putting the same information on it. Doing so will break 2 of Google’s quality guidelines; duplicate content and doorway pages. If you have an existing site on a .co.za or .co.za then stick to this option as your page (with its age) is more valuable than a brand new domain.

        There are many ranking signals that are used to get your page to the top. A domain name with a desired keyword is just one of the hundreds of signals.  You CANNOT rely on just one or two signals for ranking and you certainly should not pay too much money for just one or two signals. Look for a company that uses a number of signals to determine ranking. A good SEO expert is based on just how many of these signals the expert knows well and uses.

        • I’ve edited this response so many times to suit the tone of your comment.

          Guess I’ll leave it at this:

          http://www.seomoz.org/blog/its-a-feeding-frenzy-for-keywordrich-domains.

          • I did not say that domains have no value, we all know that they do. I am just saying that compared to an existing domain that is already strong and branded, it would be a complete waste of time. Secondly, don’t take everything you read on SEOMOZ as truth, they get it wrong quite a lot and contradict themselves quite a lot, after this article you refereed to was posted Google announced that long domains such as the example they give are a bad thing…

            • Funny thing is I hardly read SEOMoz, it’s just the first of millions of articles that pop up when you search “Keyword rich domains” or something in that effect. I find SEO forums such as webmasterworld.com a lot more informative and correct.

              I always advise to take any SEO article written by a single individual with a pinch of salt as their facts are often saturated with their own opinions. This is why forums rule.
              Anyway, I agree that existing domains with content on it are far more superior in the SERPs compared to newly registered domains with fresh and strong keyword rich content.

              Anyone with SEO knowledge knows that.

              My final point actually with all of this is that we’re not the only SEOs in South Africa. 5 years ago, there were a few. Today there are thousands and tomorrow there will be even more. It’s not a highly specialised service. SEOs don’t need masters degress in online marketing (though it helps) to become a blackbelt in SEO. In general SEO’s seem to have very large egos and we tend to think we are the only one in the field that can do a good job. – We need to get off our high horses and realise that there’s lots of competition, locally and internationally. Let’s rather use our time and energy on better results, rather than attacking any new competition that emerges in the market place with their own unique angle.

  • I know that all SEO companies need to make their money, however, if a SEO company approaches a client of mine trying to sell them SEO, I think this is highly bad practice especially if it says “SEO by SEOcowboy” on the bottom of the page. The whole reason these companies approach my clients is because my clients are ranked very well otherwise how else did they find their pages to contact them. Then they tell my clients that they not ranked under some arb keyword. Companies like this would rather get companies that are already ranking well as clients so they can sit back and do nothing.

    • If your client doesn’t rank for the ‘arb’ keyword but it’s a valid search term that directly relates to your client’s services, then the SEO consultant has every right to point out these holes especially if that ‘arb’ keyword has a high search volume.

      The client then has a choice. Either he jumps on your back and tells you to up your game to plug those holes or he decides to take his services over to a more proactive SEO company with better rates.

      No one gets forced to do anything and it never hurts to just say ‘No thank you’ either.

      If clients are happy with the services provided, they won’t consider changing. I guess that’s a no-brainer.

      • They have always said no thank you in all cases, however, this was not my point. No company is going to rank for every single high ranking keyword. Most of the time the keyword they choose is not even associated with the clients actual target audience. They don’t know this because they take five minutes to look at a website and come up with what they believe is a target keyword. They have not done 2 years worth of keyword research, they do not have access to the Google Analytics… In most cases they are just throwing out guess work

        • If proper keyword research wasn’t done by the SEO company and these search terms were then offered to the client, then your argument would be valid.

  • The company exists and they have clients who are happy. I have a client who asked me about the purchasing of a .CO. I wouldn’t say they are scammers, but I would say they’re pulling the wool a little low over the eyes. Google Panda and Google Fresh taught them anything? I would think not. URL There are so many views on how search engines respond to the stuff we publish to the web. Only one thing can be sure. Where there is quality content which is authoratative, quality and relative in/outbound links as well as location, product and service you’re starting to talk SEO. And yeah .. who checks page 3 on Google? can’t recall that I ever have. Lol!

  • Neil Pursey

    Hilarious! Great post Rafiq! Hopefully these guys have learnt a valuable lesson. Maybe try and get this post to number one for “Bay Point Trading”.. lol

    • Almost is Neil – Google Bay Point Trading and see – a bit of ORM needed?

  • These guys call constantly! Nowadays, I don’t even create SEO metrics or reports, I just count how many times Bay Point Trading / “SEO That Works” call me in a month to gauge rankings 😀 … Today I had the pleasure of speaking to Ashley who I let ramble on as she sounded a little nervous. I politely declined their services once again, and asked if they wouldn’t mind not wasting both our time in future and take me off their database. To my utter amazement her suggestion was that “we should take our number off our website, because their database [and I quote] is GOOGLE”! I asked Ashley if she new anything about Unsolicited Marketing and the legal implications – fortunately for me she is not only a sales assistant at SEO That [Momentarily] Works  but also a law student as well – and that cold calling anyone, through any means, even after they request you not to is bang okay. I see. SEO, CRM and the CPA are something these hustlers no nothing about. Steer clear!

  • Tried phoning them after falling for this , answering machine says phone back in normal working hours even though you have phoned them at 9.30 on a normal working day.
    And no reply to emails either ! i think i have been suckered.

    •  Ok i have got hold of them and an explanation from Luke at Bay Point who does know what he is talking about.
      I will give you guys feed back at a later point how it is working for me , as somebody who has actually paid money for this service.
      Holding thumbs.
      Regards
      Terence

  • Justin

    My client just received an invoice from Bay Point Trading for apparent SEO work that was completed on the website. Work that was completed without access to the CMS or files via FTP.

    • Classic – must have hacked the site then

    • Richard D

      I work alongside Bay Point Trading and have outsourced their organic SEO to all my SEM clients. As far as I know, (and I’m pretty sure about this) Bay Point does not invoice for SEO work completed. They charge a small upfront fee to get started.

      If you don’t give FTP access, then of course there’s nothing they can do… but they don’t bill any monthly fees until the site ranks. They do from time to time struggle to get FTP access to sites from certain (small-time) hosts. Especially the mickey mouse webmasters. Guess it’s just a symptom of assholeism?

      Anyway, I personally and professionally have never had a prob with Bay Point (and my clients seem pretty happy too). They always deliver without fail.

      Best to check your facts first? (BTW Seems like ‘Web Energy’ will need to use ‘Bay Point’ too… Your on-page SEO is in a state.)

  • Heard via a contact that BP Trading is hiring consultants to cold call that need to sell 40 blogs within the 1st month to pass their probation period – this is utter exploitation of people who are desperate for jobs out there in the market

    • Richard D

      I see no problem with this. Nothing wrong with looking for people that can actually sell?

      You guys must feel very threatened by this company if you have “contacts” in place to check them out… Good luck!

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  • I just thought it would be all hard work