SEO is the key to getting your brand and product out there. And every company who knows their marketing strategy realizes it.
Unfortunately, SEO cannot always be done in-house. That’s where SEO agencies come in. Hiring one may be a scary prospect, especially if you are not very knowledgeable of SEO principles. That’s unfortunate because bad SEO does happen, and not only will it fail to attract visitors to your site, it can even alienate your already existing clientele.
How can you tell if you’re working with an ineffective firm and producing bad SEO? Here are some of the warning signs.
- You’re kept in the dark.
If the SEO firm won’t tell you what they’re doing, it’s a clear red flag that something bad may be happening. Just like you won’t allow your PR firm to do something without letting you know, you shouldn’t let your SEO firm get away with keeping you in the dark. Demand that everything be explained and if they won’t agree, get rid of them.
- The explanation isn’t clear.
This is related to warning number 1. If you asked for an explanation and they give you one that’s not understandable, then it shows that they’re not a good match for you. SEO shouldn’t sound like voodoo mumbo jumbo. If the SEO firm can’t explain things better, how can you make effective decisions?
- It sounds too good to be true.
What’s that old saying? If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is? The same is true here. The SEO firm could be promising you a number 1 ranking. Don’t bite. No one really knows what will put you on the number 1 spot when it comes to rankings. Google’s algorithms are quite obscure to make any guaranties.
- They have a lot of clients. Too many, in fact.
SEO firms usually assign a point person to lead the work for you. Ask how many clients this contact is working for at once. To produce good quality SEO, the answer shouldn’t be more than 5 or 6.
- They propose form automation to create a ton of pages.
Honestly, this only makes sense if you’re just launching a new site or local business directory. But other than that, automatically created pages do not help at all.
- The main focus is on metadata.
Here’s a tip: meta keywords have no value. None, whatsoever. Meta descriptions? They don’t factor in rankings, either. It helps click through rates, but they’re only a small part of the SEO process. So if the SEO firm focuses on metadata on their pitch, they might not really know what they’re doing.
There are many other warning signs. Prices that are too good, proposals that talk about price per link, even SEO firms that talk about inside information about Google’s algorithms. Do not be fooled. It may be hard to determine the good from the bad firms. But at least check the signs before signing up with any one of them.