If you are in business and have a website, you have without a doubt received numerous, unsolicited emails and phone calls from companies trying to sell you on SEO services, SEO, the magical unicorn of all your marketing needs! Your call starts by the caller telling you how low you rank, how many customers you are missing, and how they can get you on the first page of Google! Holy smokes what a deal! Unfortunately, SEO companies like this business model described are turn and burn. In fact, HQ Legal Resources claims that 80% of SEO business is a scam of some kind.
As a respectable business owner, you’ve worked hard to get where you are today and you want results that are real, lasting and honest! The dirty truth is that if you aren’t carefully and diligent with who you trust to perform your marketing tasks, you may see a false increase and then a steep decline that is very difficult to recover from.
So how do you know if a company is legit or blowing smoke? Here are some red flags to consider that will prevent you losing your hard earned money.
You are GUARANTEED top rankings in Google.
Promising or eluding that you will be on the first-page, first-place rankings in Google right off the get go is a common sales tactic and straight up smoke. Reputable agencies won’t make these promises and they will tell you it takes time! Truthful agencies won’t offer guaranteed rankings in Google or any other search engine, because they know there are too many fluctuations in these results -- things beyond the our control. A reputable agency knows it’s unethical to make these kinds of promises and won’t take your money.
The truth is, you simply can’t manipulate search engines, you can’t just buy better results. But what a good agency can do is follow Google’s SEO guidelines, produce quality content, maintain and update your information and be consistent.
Promising thousands of backlinks.
Link spamming and paying for links are two practices that worked back in the day but search engines caught on and out the hammer down. Now, link spamming and link buying are super easy to pinpoint with even the most basic analytic reports. Don’t get us wrong, having a strategy obtaining backlinks is important. But where they come from is even more important. Quality backlinks are the key.
In short, you need to have high-quality links from authority sites pointing to your site -- not thousands of links from low-authority sites that will inevitably bring yours down. When it comes to SEO, short-term wins will never outdo the work of building strong lasting solutions. Make sure the firm you hire understands this.
They don’t provide reports.
SEO is complicated and unfortunately, there are companies that will prey on that lack of knowledge. Your lack of understanding of SEO allows Turn and Burn companies to impress you with a whole range of jargon that means absolutely nothing. But can the firm put their money where their mouth is by offering you some real proof?
If you want to understand how your SEO is performing, you need reports that show your progress. I’d recommend you ask your firm to provide examples of the types of reports they intend to produce before you start working with them.
You can also ask about the reporting frequency, because, as a client, you want to be kept in the loop every step of the way. If they can’t produce anything tangible, you’ll know it’s best to search for another firm.
Look carefully at the contract and ask questions. If the company you are working with only provides their custom branded reports and wants to charge for raw data such as Google Analytics reports, there could be a reason why. Be sure you are promised reports raw and composed each month as part of your payment agreement.
They offer cheap content automation or none at all.
Quality content is one of the key components of a great SEO strategy, most of which should come in the form of web copy and articles for your blog that are then syndicated across a variety of networks. If the company doesn’t offer content creation within their package...walk away.
They offer a “secret” to success.
Though some methods differ from business to business, depending on your goals and objectives, there are clear and proven SEO systems that work, effective and efficient strategies that are going to build a foundation for success. Ask the proposing company what their system and approach is going to be. It shouldn’t be a secret, if they are wanting you to pay money for a product or service you have every right to know how it’s going to work. Plus, any real marketer that can produce quality content knows that the “secret” to success is to prove your expertise by providing insight.