We've heard horror stories of other SEO companies that have not been the right choice for their customers. Whether they do a bad job, or just don't give the service they supposedly offer, there are a lot of companies out there that might not give you exactly what you need for the money you're paying.
It's difficult to know which company is right for you. There's lots of jargon and fancy words that some SEO companies throw around to make them seem better than they are, or they guarantee certain positions on Google that no one is really able to. There's also "black hat" techniques that some SEO companies use that will end up doing more harm than good.
Here you'll find a list of red flags for other SEO companies that you should look to avoid.
They don't spend time getting you know your business
It's important for your SEO company to know your business; how else are they going to effectively work to get your website ranking otherwise? If your SEO company tells you that they can just "run a few keyword reports" and don't want to meet with you, or talk to you over the phone, this should be a huge red flag.
An SEO company's first port of call should be to learn about your business; an initial search of your existing website, or any reviews about you online should then turn into a meeting or phone conversation about the services you provide and what you want to get out of your new website or the SEO that is going to be carried out.
They guarantee you'll be at the top of Google
Sadly, no one can guarantee this, not even Google themselves! Every SEO company should be striving to get customers' websites to the top of Google, but there's no hard and fast rule to do so. SEO takes time - for new customers, at least 6 months - so to say that there is some magic way to get rankings to position one in a short amount of time is a false claim.
Any SEO company that say they will definitely have you at the top of Google in a week is lying. SEO relies on a plethora of factors and Google algorithms change all the time. Good SEO works over time: making a website keyword rich, with content that makes the company a leader in their field. Your competitors might also be doing even more, spending even more and their SEO companies might be using "black hat" SEO that is getting them higher ranks... for now.
They guarantee backlinks or want to use misspelled words
Speaking of "black hat" SEO, there are many ways that a company might try to get good rankings for customers in a short space of time. If an SEO company offers guaranteed backlinks or recommends using misspelled words in the content, you should think twice before taking them on. Backlinks are earned when your website is seen as being valued in your industry and other websites will link to it so their customers or readers will come to it. Buying backlinks will mean that they are coming from low quality sites that are irrelevant to your industry; this might help your SEO right now, but in the long run it won't.
If your website is found to have "black hat" SEO techniques on it, it will be heavily penalised by Google and other search engines. It takes a lot of work to make it up to them and a lot of SEO companies wouldn't touch your website knowing that it had been handled so badly by a previous company if you were looking to move to someone else.
They're very cheap - much cheaper than their competitors!
Though you might think you're saving money when you find the cheapest SEO company around, there might be a lot of not so great reasons why they're so cheap. There's a big difference between competitively priced and inexpensive, and when it comes to SEO it's important to know the difference. If you're serious about getting your business out there online then hiring a cheap company may do more harm than good; it might even be a scam. We have heard stories of companies hiring other companies that they thought would do them a great service for a fantastic price, but were ultimately let down. After sales support was next to none, they weren't allowed to look at previews of the site before it went live, they received very few reports and absolutely no enquiries.
This also works in lieu of very expensive SEO companies; just because they charge the most doesn't necessarily mean they give the best service.
They don't give you what you've asked for, when you want it
Often, you'll want a report on how your SEO is going, or want a review on the ongoing strategy that your SEO company has in place. From the initial proposal right through to regular reporting, if this doesn't show up on time, when your company has promised it, then this is a big red flag.
You shouldn't be chasing your SEO company to tell you how your SEO is going. Their job is to take care of your website, to take care of your business' visibility online and ensure that the money you pay them is well spent. This includes sending regular reports and keeping you updated. If your SEO company can't even send you their initial proposal on time, this should raise some of your alarm bells immediately.
Of course, this doesn't mean that your SEO company can't make a mistake. But, if it happens repeatedly, perhaps look into why this is happening and maybe even into another company that won't keep letting you down.
What does this mean for you?
Firstly, making sure you pick the right SEO company isn't easy, but if you follow these simple rules you should be able to pick the bad from the not so bad. Secondly, always listen to your instincts; if you think something is a scam, it probably is. SEO is never too good to be true. Do a little research and make sure you're getting the right service for the money you're paying.
Or, let the marketing experts at the Smart Domain Group carry out SEO for you. We offer competitive prices for our packages, learn about your business and ensure you are kept up to date with how your website is doing.
- Search Engine Optimisation,