I recently received a mail from a so-called SEO agency based in India, telling me how they could help my website by optimising my website for Google with an email that was littered with all the usual SEO bullshit cliches:

My name is Nisha, Marketing Manager for an international marketing company based in India.

While studying your website I couldn’t help noticing it lacked any significant ranking in Google – for any of your keywords.

As you already suspect, this means your site is virtually invisible to potential customers searching for a supplier in your field.

It’s as though you’d made an expensive TV ad and then forgotten to buy any airtime for people to see it!

Firstly, what does she define as a significant ranking on Google? She is also saying that my site is virtually invisible to potential customers. Well how the hell did she manage to find this site then?

Secondly when these snake oil salesmen mention terms like “no.1 ranking on Google”, do they actually know what they are talking about? I’ll let you into a little secret, you already are no.1 on Google. That’s right, no.1. If for example you were to type Capital Webs into a search engine, no doubt this site would appear at no.1. Okay that might not be particularly relevant for the purpose of gaining new customers so lets look at the opposite end of the extreme. Imagine the owner of an e-commerce site selling shoes online. He wants to come top of Google for the term ‘shoes’. This is a ridiculous goal to set and its not achievable. What about the terms ‘online shoe shop’? Again this is not very feasible. If your website was top of page one for competitive terms like that, the volumes of traffic and subsequent conversions could mean you are turning over 10s of millions of pounds per annum. Highly unlikely for a small business.

So what should be the approach to SEO? Like anything it is about finding your niche. The terms ‘plumber in London’ would be very difficult to achieve a good ranking for. If however you were to focus on a smaller area around where you live such as ‘plumber in wimbledon;’