Whether you’re a blogger or business owner, chances are you understand the importance of search engine optimization. With the vast majority of Web users ignoring paid ads completely, it’s important for you to focus on organic search. Because like many others, you probably rely on search engines to attract new visitors to your site. And there’s no doubt about it: you can’t afford to not start a blog as a foundation for your SEO efforts. After all, websites with blogs are nearly 500% more likely to be indexed by Google and rank higher in search engine results.
Considering these statistics, it’s no wonder why you might be looking into working with an SEO agency or an internet marketing guru. But with so many SEO agencies and gurus popping up left and right, choosing the right one is easier said than done. There are plenty of gurus and agencies out there promising to put your business in the #1 position. If you’re sifting through your options, here are some warning signs to help you avoid the fake companies:
They Make Guarantees
No matter how great an agency is—or how strong their portfolio and track record is—no one can guarantee you a position on the first page of Google, and certainly not in the top three results. Google explicitly released a statement advising everyone interested in working with an SEO agency against it, saying: “Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a ‘special relationship’ with Google, or advertise a ‘priority submit’ to Google. There is no priority submit for Google.”
They Offer Low-Cost Services
Naturally, you’re looking for SEO services that align with your budget. And everyone loves a good price tag. However, you can’t cheapen the price of good SEO, as it takes time, research, and plenty of manual hours. The average monthly retainer for SEO services is around $750 to $1,500; anything below this—including companies with a one-time fee—is likely not legit, and chances are you won’t get the results you’re looking for.
They Promise Quick Turnaround Times
Similar to guarantees, it’s fairly difficult for an agency to tell you exactly how long it will take to achieve desired results. Great SEO isn’t an overnight process. And every website is different. It might take one website six months to achieve their SEO goals, while it might take another website a full year.
Additionally, keywords aren’t the only factor that determines SEO success and the length of time it times to put you in a favorable position on search engines. It also depends on the industry you’re in and the level of competition, your location, and content. Furthermore, getting fast-tracked to the top of search results isn’t always the best long-term strategy. Often, this high fast high ranking is short-lived; search engines care more about a slow and gradual growth to the top, as it shows improvement over time and not search engine manipulation.
They Only Push Blog Content
As previously mentioned, blog content plays such an important role in your SEO efforts. Still, some agencies take advantage of this fact, pushing blogging statistics as a way of promising it’s the main (or only) way to improve your search engine rankings. Your website needs much more than blog posts—you need thorough keyword research, Meta descriptions, internal page linking, link building tactics, and much more. Furthermore, SEOs who use blog content as a crutch tend to push low-quality content using black-hat SEO tactics (like keyword stuffing) and/or article spinners.
They Don’t Shift Strategies
A great SEO partnership shouldn’t be built on rankings; ideally, your SEO cares about your leads and sales, too. After all, the entire purpose of working with an agency is to improve your bottom line. It does no good for your business to improve your ranking if your sales continue to fall, which is a sign the SEO tactics being implemented are not user-friendly.
Furthermore, Google updates their algorithms hundreds of times each year; sometimes, these changes are minimal are barely make a difference, but others, it can force an SEO to shift their strategy entirely. Your SEO should be willing to re-think their current methods in order to help you with your goals and stay in line with what’s happening over at Google headquarters.
They Offer a la Carte Services
It’s fairly common among SEO agencies to offer various packages. Each package takes the depth of service to a new level. However, businesses that push individual components in a “build your own” package style should be avoided. This is because a la carte services don’t put the end customer in mind. As the expert, you expect your agency to be able to tell you what needs to be done to increase your rankings. An itemized list of current offerings won’t be useful to you.