As a chiropractor, and small business owner, this may sound familiar. You’ve received an unsolicited robocall from someone implying that they’re from Google, or that they’re in some way affiliated with Google. They tell you about all the “shortcomings” of your website and/or your Google listing.
This is what we call a “Google robocall.” These are telemarketing phone calls from web marketing “consultants” who are looking to pitch their services. Some may guarantee #1 search engine rankings; others may be selling so-called “listing verification” services. These calls often come as an automated message asking you to press a button to speak to a sales representative.
How Google Robocalls Violate Search Engine Guidelines
Not only are these spammy phone calls not from Google, they violate the search engine’s guidelines. Google does not make robocalls, nor do they manage online profiles or guarantee search engine rankings. In fact, the company states explicitly:
Unfortunately, there are many unscrupulous individuals and companies who make these calls, even though they are breaking the law. Sometimes, robocalls falsely claim to be working “with Google” or “for Google” in an attempt to sell different schemes and online marketing services to unsuspecting individuals and companies.
These robocalls aren’t just against Google’s guidelines. Unless you’ve given permission, they are even illegal under U.S. law.
So what do you do if you receive a Google robocall? Here are a few steps you can take to protect both yourself and your unsuspecting colleagues:
- The first step? Simply hang up.
- Prevent future phone calls by registering your personal number with the National Do Not Call Registry.
- Report suspicious calls by filing a formal complaint with the Federal Communications Commission.
- Contact Google directly to help track down robocallers.
How to Weed Out the “Bad Apples”
Whether it’s receiving a suspicious call or looking into a new web marketing provider, proceed with caution. There are many legitimate online professionals that can help grow your practice online. There are many others who have only their own best interests in mind.
When considering an online marketing company, here are a few things to take note of:
- Ask for the company’s name, phone number, and email address.
- Don’t divulge account login information.
- Visit their website to see that they are real people, providing real marketing services.
- Seek out testimonials from existing clients.
The goal is to learn as much as possible about the company you plan to work with. This takes some investigation. When it comes to Internet marketing consultants, fear mongering and unreasonable promises are common. If this is where the sales discussion is leading, run for the door.
A reputable website company or SEO consultant will not call you out of the blue. Instead, they focus on being “findable” on the Internet. So when you’re looking for a solution, their company comes up in your searches.
Furthermore, some robocallers will pitch you on arbitrary website metrics. This could be irrelevant first page rankings. Or large volumes of unqualified traffic. These are website goals, not new patient goals. A high-traffic practice website is only as good as how many new patients it converts.
After all, what sounds better? 100 visitors resulting in three new patients? Or 20 website visitors that turned into six new patients?