The Red Flags of SEO

By Lisa Hirst Carnes | September 2012

If you have a website, chances are you’ve probably been contacted by an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) agency promising to get you #1 rankings in Google. Unfortunately, there are a lot of unethical SEO companies out there willing to make false promises and take your money. So how do you know if you’ve picked a legitimate SEO company and not falling for a scam?

The 9 red flags that you should be aware of when shopping for an SEO company.

  1. Promising #1 Positions. Unfortunately no one can guarantee number one positions. People promising number one positions should not be trusted.
  2. No web presence. Are they nowhere to be found when you google them? If you can’t easily find your SEO company, it’s a sign. It may also indicate that they have not been in business for a very long time. There are a lot of companies that pop up overnight and make promises they cannot keep.
  3. They don’t do content. Good content is a cornerstone to SEO and web marketing. If your SEO can’t write good quality content, they’ll be missing the mark.
  4. They’re not transparent with strategy or tactics. Lots of SEO companies are secretive with strategy and tactics. SEO shouldn’t be “magic” done behind the curtain. If your SEO company is not forthcoming about what they’re doing and why, steer clear. Instead look for an SEO company that is transparent with what they’re going to do and why.
  5. They don’t evolve. The Internet moves fast and SEO practices change all the time. Last year, there were over six hundred changes to Google’s algorithm. If your SEO company is still doing the same stuff they did several years ago, you probably won’t be seeing great results. Strategies and tactics change all the time. Choose a vendor who embraces evolution and change.
  6. Poor communication. If your SEO company doesn’t respond to phone calls or email that’s a bad sign. Good communication is necessary for an effective working relationship.
  7. They lack depth. If your SEO company cannot take care of programming, technical, design or content tasks they won’t be able to get work done in a timely fashion. SEO doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Find out if your SEO company has the resources on staff to take care of other web design & development needs required.
  8. They don’t listen. Every client is different and requires a unique strategy. If your SEO company uses the “one size fits all” approach, be wary. Make certain to choose an SEO company that listens and creates a tailored strategy that is right for you.
  9. They use “black hat” strategies & tactics. Not only are these types of tactics not ethical, they can get you penalized by Google. One of Google’s last algorithm updates specifically targets “black hat” practices like keyword stuffing and spammy links.

Topics: Marketing Strategy

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