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12 Ways to Find Out if Your SEO Agency Can Be Trusted

White Shark Media

9 years ago



If you own a local business, then SEO is crucial for your online success. Getting organic traffic is challenging and without the appropriate resources, knowledge, and support, you can do more harm than good.

Often times, SMBs put their trust in different SEO firms. But how can they find out if they are trying to help improve their online reputation?

Today you will learn 12 ways to find out if your SEO agency can be trusted. I have decided to divide this post into two parts. In the first part, we will explain how to know if they’re hurting you. Second, we will explain how to work with your SEO agency seamlessly while generating profit.

Signs They Are Hurting Your SEO and Your Online Reputation

So you found a “good” SEO agency online and you finally hired them to boost the organic traffic of your website. Now, what? Should you let them do all the work and wait for everything to perform like you expect while you sit back and relax?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Instead, you should find out exactly what they’re doing, especially during the first two months of work. The earlier you can find out what they’re doing, the better chance you have to determine if they are helping or harming your site.

1) They Guarantee the First Position in Your Search Engine Results Page

Different SEO Agencies offer a guarantee of their services, such as improvement in traffic and positioning (better rankings). If an SEO agency promises you a humongous traffic increase and to rank your business in the first position on the first page of Google within a specific time frame, they are most likely deceiving you.  If this is your case, be aware that the SEO techniques implemented by the SEO firm you hired, are unfortunately not the best ones. This type of technique is known as Black Hat SEO.

2) They Don’t Have Anything to Show

Your SEO agency should have something to show you during the first weeks or months. I’m not talking about results or an increase in rankings. Instead, the agency should be able to show you the actual SEO practices they are doing.

Here are some things that your SEO Agency could provide you during the first weeks or months of working with you:

  • SEO Audit for your site

  • SEO Strategy (Keyword Research and Geo-Targeting Analysis)

  • Optimized Content (Fresh and Updated content)

3) They Don’t Need Your Input – They Are the Experts

Remember that an SEO agency knows only about SEO. Therefore, they will only be able to help your company by learning about your business.

The best way to know what product/service you provide is by asking you because you’re the owner and expert in your industry. If they don’t ask questions about your industry or your business, it could be that they’re adding linkbacks from their huge network of spammy sites.

4) No Room for Improvement

The best SEO agencies view their relationship with you as a partnership. For you to be successful, you’ll have to work with them. That means they-they should make suggestions or give you recommendations. They are supposed to help you build an online reputation and engage with your visitors and potential customers.

5) Their SEO Techniques Are Top Secret

If you want to be involved and are curious about what they are doing with your site, you should always ask. If they give you a generic answer like this one: “We do a lot of things, it will take time to explain, but it involves basically optimizing your site for search engines.” you should run away, and fast.

True SEO involves White Hat SEO techniques that are accepted as legitimate and are proven to get results. If your agency is doing those things, they should be able to explain them.

6) A Penalty Is Around the Corner

You’ll know if you receive a manual penalty when you get a GWT notification or an email message. If you receive a manual penalty one or two months after starting working with an SEO agency, you have the right to be suspicious.

 A Penalty Is Around the Corner - White Shark Media Blog

7) No Ranking or Audience

I recommend that you keep an eye on your rankings (but not obsess over it). If you notice that your rankings are steadily declining, then your SEO agency might be performing actions that are getting your site algorithmically penalized.

You need to find out what the agency is doing. If it sounds, looks feel, or smells suspicious, get them to stop.

8) Drop-in Traffic

It may or may not be your SEO agency’s fault. You have the right to be suspicious, and start asking questions.

  • First, find out if there has been any algorithm update that could have coincided with the traffic decline.
  • Second, determine exactly what changes were made to your site in the days and weeks leading to the decline.
  • Finally, get an accurate picture of what off-site actions were taken by your SEO agency.

    Traffic drop in Google Analytics - White Shark Media Blog

9) You Start Ranking for the Wrong Keyword or Geo

If your organic keywords change significantly, beware. If you begin gaining traffic from the wrong keywords, it’s happening for a reason. Or, if you stop ranking for previously high ranking keywords, this can mean there is a big problem.

If you start receiving calls or quotes request from your business from a different city and a different state, it means that your SEO agency is targeting other locations just to gain traffic even if it means that the traffic is irrelevant to the city you serve.

10) They Add One Link to Your Profile every day

Links to your website are important. They add value to your site and give authority.

Imagine you’re a candidate for school president. It is natural that you look for people to support your candidature during the election period.

Your friends will give you their support and will vote for you, ensuring that you’re trustworthy and popular. The same thing happens with your website; other websites will give you their vote (link) certifying that you’re trustworthy, and your link profile will increase.

If your link profile gets messed up, your site is in trouble. How does a link profile gets damaged? It gets hurt when your site receives too many questionable linkbacks from spammy or suspicious sites.

Links need to happen naturally, and there’s no specific time to create a link, receiving links from questionable sites will get the attention from Google and might fall into a penalty. If your SEO Agency promises one link per day, you should question them from what websites they are linking and why so often.

11) They Offer to Automatically Create Unique Text on Your Page

If your SEO Agency says that they have automated software that will generate 100% unique content for your website, be careful. This could mean that the content created is not written for users to find it, but is written for search engines and might fall into the practice of keyword stuffing or cloaking.

Keyword stuffing means adding the same keyword in your content to improve your rankings, Google is aware of this practice and should be avoided at all times.

12) Get Listed in Thousands of Search Engines

They will offer you to get listed in different search engines. Your Agency will say it’s pretty easy, all you need to do is submit your name, business info, and that’s it!

It’s not important to get listed in thousands of search engines. Only three search engines are really important since most searches are performed on Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

Get Listed in Thousands of Search Engines - White Shark Media

How to Work With Your SEO Agency Create and Discuss SEO Strategies

By working together to build SEO strategies you will let your agency know what you really want, what market you would like to target, the city, and what specific keywords (service or product) you want to rank for.

You might not know about SEO, but you know your business, and you count with a powerful SEO agency willing to work with you side by side as your partner.

Be Patient

Remember that good results take time and patience. Having a good SEO strategy will help you achieve your goals in the ranking, traffic, and clients. If SEO is done correctly nothing can’t go wrong, it might take months or even years to rank for the targeted keyword. Just be patient, and it will pay off.

Do Your Research

If your SEO Agency state they are the best SEO agency in the world, there’s one way to confirm it. Use Google to get to know them and most importantly check every single review, especially if they have bad reviews. If your SEO Agency addressed the bad review in a professional way, they care about their clients. Clients’ experience is the only way to know for sure if your experience will be successful.

Constant Communication

Communication is key. If your SEO agency stays in silence for more than five weeks, give them a call to check upon them. Usually, a good SEO agency will create a special bond with you and will keep you informed about every aspect related to your site. Your SEO agency should build monthly SEO reports, new fresh content and copy edits, local citations, and social profiles.

Can Your SEO Agency Be Trusted?

Your online and local business will succeed or fail based on SEO. Your business and online reputation are too important to hand them over to anyone who guarantees they know what they are doing and will increase the traffic in 1 week. If you’re truly concerned about your business’s success, you’ll give SEO the attention and investment it deserves.

Now that you’ve learned about the 12 ways you can find out if your SEO agency can be trusted, you can start putting these tips into practice. Decide whether to keep your SEO firm if they are doing an outstanding job, or it is time to renew and migrate to a new SEO agency that will take care of you and your local business. What has been your experience with SEO agencies? Share your thoughts with us.

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