Search engine optimization is one of the most misunderstood business strategies. SEO scams are common. There are many scam SEO agencies that usually promise businesses top SEO rankings, yet they have little knowledge of what it actually takes to achieve such a ranking.
I have been in the SEO world for around 15 years. I have worked with and worked for, many different types of SEO agencies (I will not name names), they normally fall into one of the groups below:
- Say they do SEO (but they don’t)
- Do SEO (but unethically)
- Say they offer SEO (but they see it as a line item and not an inclusive strategy.)
Agencies that actually do search engine optimization and know what it is all about are few and far between, and that is why our team was born.
The questions below will assist you in identifying those scam SEO agencies that will take your hard-earned money and offer you little value in return.
Questions You Need to Ask When Selecting an SEO Agency
There are many unethical SEO agencies and professionals who are looking for a quick buck, and they don’t have any interest in growing your business. You should make sure that an agency or a professional has the skill set needed to offer high-value search engine optimization. You should also look out for the following attributes.
1. Do They Have a Comprehensive and Established SEO Process?
We always talk with prospective clients who have received quotes from other agencies. When we start discussing our SEO process, most of those clients are surprised, and they tell us that when they asked other prospective SEO companies about their process, the response was “we don’t give away our secret sauce” or “it is top secret.”
These are BS responses! They either mean that the agency does not have an SEO process or that they have a process built on spam techniques.
2. Do They Send Custom Monthly Reports Showing Strategies and Metrics?
Scam SEO agencies usually show only the end result. They will not give you insights on how the end result was achieved, such as links earned or the value that their marketing strategies have provided.
Why would these agencies not want to show you how amazing they are, and the amazing links they have earned for you? That is because they did not earn anything of value, and they are hiding the spam, which you will only uncover after the rankings and traffic of your site start tanking.
3. Does the SEO Package Include Training?
An introductory SEO training will help you to know your Billings SEO Firm better and the professionals that you will be working with. Training should be part of the overall search engine optimization process. It should only be bypassed if you, as a business, do not want it.
4. Do They Offer a List Of Professionals Who Will Be Working on Your Search Engine Optimization?
It is important to know who will be working on your account and their role in the company.
Many times SEO agencies do not create a client team based on competencies and experience that each professional brings to the table. Instead, they usually create a client team based on the following:
• To keep costs down and profit high
• Who has free time
• They will assign junior people to your account
Neither of these is inherently bad. However, it is your right to know people who will be working on your SEO before you enter the contract.
5. Does the Agency Have Testimonials from Well Established People and Businesses?
When using testimonials in decision making, ensure the agency has:
• A diverse set of recommendations from authoritative individuals.
• Check out the titles and names of people who have provided testimonials. You can look these people up on LinkedIn to confirm they exist.
Remember, anyone can get their friend to write them a review.
6. Do they have a Higher Purpose and a Belief System?
This is definitely the hardest thing to fake, and it can separate the quality agencies from the fly-by-night agencies. It is vital that they know why they are doing what they are doing instead of just blindly offering services.
What does it mean to have a higher purpose or a belief system? Here is a hint: it is not a boilerplate mission statement such as:
- We offer leading digital marketing solutions to businesses on a global level.
- We offer our clients leading digital solutions and customer service.
- We are a top-rated SEO agency that gets you #1 ranking.
- Our custom-built solutions will transform your brand and help you engage with users.
- We are a global digital marketing firm that builds custom SEO solutions that drive bottom-line results.
- What do these statements mean? They make me shake my head in disgust.
So what is a belief statement?
A belief statement defines the culture of a business that must prevail against all challenges and adversity. It should be the backbone from where all strategies are derived from and lead by.
7. Does the agency have a Well Designed Website that is SEO Optimized?
Finally, I am sure you have seen an agency’s website and wondered why it is badly designed and why the content is keyword-stuffed, or why the website has not earned many social shares or links from its content.
You have probably asked the agency about that, and you have got a reply such as, “we focus on our clients, and we do not have the time to do SEO on our site.” This is a BS statement!
The easiest way to know whether an agency will be a great partner is to examine how they take care of their own website.
Things to consider include:
- Is their website well designed?
- Does the website have content that has earned links and social shares?
- Is the website experience well thought out?
- Does the agency have a blog where they publish in-depth content and not just thin 500 words articles?
- Do they stuff keywords in their title tags and content? This spam tactic is even common with some “reputable SEO companies.”
- Are their title tags and content optimized for both search engines and real users?