No doubt there are a bunch of SEO companies out there willing and ready to rip off unsuspecting victims. Are you one of them? I have come up with the top 10 red flag signals that would suggest you are being ripped off by an SEO company.
1.) Thousands of promised backlinks for little to no money. If someone is offering you hundreds or thousands of high quality backlinks for next to nothing then there is a high chance that something spammy is going on. So many black hat unethical tools exist out there where you can type in a URL, give it some keywords and click send. These programs will spam a bunch of forums, directories, blog comments etc. This used to work, but it doesn’t anymore. Your site won’t suffer from a loss of rankings, but it won’t gain any either. It is just a giant waste of time… Well, not that much time really as it only takes them a few minutes to load up the variables into the program.
2.) “We guarantee rankings”. It sounds catchy, it’s what everyone wants to hear, but the fact of the matter is you can guarantee easy to get long tail search phrase rankings, but you can’t guarantee highly competitive keyword rankings. For example, ranking front page for the word “golf” in Google is damn harder than ranking for the phrase “the best golf courses in Guelph Ontario”.
3.) ” Your PPC campaign has fundamental issues”. How can you know this if you don’t have access to my PPC account? This is a common one as there are money hungry SEO companies that will say anything to take hold of your Pay-Per-Click Campaign.
4.) “We will move your PPC campaign into our master account”. Never do this as this now means that the only information you will get on your current PPC campaign will be sent to you from the SEO company. Demand to have control of your PPC account and never give it away. If you are paying a PPC company to take care of your PPC campaign simply give them access to it so that you can see exactly how everything is progressing, how much work they are putting in and most importantly how much it is costing you.
5.) They contacted you first. Good SEO companies don’t contact you. If someone e-mailed you, cold called, or knocked on your door then tell them to leave. I have never called up a bunch of companies to find out if they are interested in SEO. Good SEO companies turn down clients because they are too busy. Good SEO companies are too busy maintaining excellent rankings for their clients to focus on spending resources on cold calling. I get SEO companies ringing me up offering their services to me, I get e-mails daily from SEO companies wanting to optimize my website. It’s all automated; don’t feel special because SEO companies are trying to get your service. They have scrapers that scrape the Internet looking for e-mail addresses and phone numbers. They might send out 10,000 e-mail in a day hoping that 1 person says yes. If you want good SEO, speak to friends and find out who they went with. Research the SEO company you are interested in. Are they active members of the SEO community? Do they have a Facebook page? Do they blog? Who are their clients? Do they have a Twitter account where I can find out what their thoughts are towards the industry and if they are keeping on top of the latest trends in Google?
6.) “We are an Indian based SEO company“. I know this sounds bad and I don’t wish to generalize, but there are a lot of really dodgy SEO companies from India at the moment. If you have ever been to India (which I have) you will know that for a few dollars you can buy a qualification in India. I’m not saying to boycott India. If you want to deal with Indian SEO companies just make sure you do lots of research first. Which is another point I want to raise. Who is optimizing your site? Is it a collection of dudes working for a company? Or is it a person? Do you know the name and number of the person dealing with your website or do you have to go through company protocol and speak to a receptionist over the phone only to find out that the person working on your website has gone to lunch and never bothers to contact you back? Who is accountable for your rankings if things go bad?
7.) “They only contact me when they want to get paid“. Bingo! I have heard this a lot. Reputable SEO companies will never do this. How often is your SEO company proactive in their approach? Do they keep you informed as to what is happening? How often do you receive documentation outlining what has been done in recent times? If you hear nothing, chances are they are probably doing nothing.
8.) “Only make contact to tell you good news”. This is a big one. Are you being fed propaganda? Have you ever been contacted when things go bad or do you have to discover it first THEN they talk about what they are doing to correct it? Not everyone is perfect, sometimes we do make mistakes. I have never charged a client to fix a problem that I created. Are you paying your SEO company to fix problems that they made?
9.) “We know someone at Google”. Nobody knows anyone at Google that has given away secret information on how they rank websites. If someone did know someone from Google who did give them inside information they would keep their mouth closed! For the record I don’t know anyone at Google who has given me inside information. Google is an extremely tight knit community and there are possibly only a handful of people at Google who know the inner workings of Googles’ algorithm. In conclusion, it is a RED FLAG if someone claims to know inside info.
10.) “We will create keyword rich articles”. You pay your SEO company to rank your site. Don’t make the mistake of paying someone with no industry knowledge of your field to spin a bunch of low quality articles for you. Pay a proper writer to write an original article that people are going to find interesting and link to.
This article isn’t meant to create fear because there are many wonderful SEO companies out there. I just wanted to highlight some red flags to help identify the seedy companies so you’ll eventually end up with a good one. I hope you have found article this informative. One last thing before I go – MERRY CHRISTMAS!