Most of the clients we meet with have had a bad or horrible experience with a previous SEO Agency. This makes our job harder because we have to prove to the prospective client that we are honest and that we will engage in the right techniques to help increase their online presence. I have heard some horror stories of some of the techniques that have been used even after the algorithm updates. You need to build a killer SEO agency behind your product. In this post I’ll teach you what to look for.
If the SEO Agency says or you notice any of the following things simply stand up and walk away.
Number & Quality Of Links
One of the first aspects most clients like to get their head around is the link building side to SEO. Most agencies will try to educate the client to understand exactly what the agency will do for their website. If you notice that they are slightly reserved when it comes to their link building techniques, this is your first Red Flag.
If they open up and tell you about the thousands and thousands of links (More than likely low quality) they will build then leave straight away because it is these links that will get your website penalised and result in huge losses in traffic and sales from search engines. Gaming and Online Gambling might need huge amounts of these links, but for the average website it will only hurt you.
If you hear them mention low quality links maybe from article directories, forums, bookmarking or even low quality guest post with 300 words that have been loosely thrown together then start to jog out of the office because these will hurt your business.
This is one of the most common practices I have heard about from my clients. The Agency would write them a great article with 700 words that looks amazing and really is a thrilling read but then they go and spoil everything by syndicating the content on 10 other websites. The clients see that they have got 10 links when the reality of the situation is that these links are worth nothing and might be doing damage to your site if they have the same anchor texts.
Owning Content & Links
This has only happened to a small amount of clients, but they had paid for a year’s worth of SEO agency and they had stuck out the contract and reaped the benefits; however when they left the agency, their traffic and sales suffered. They didn’t know what had happened and when they came to us, we realised that the previous agency had taken down all the guest posts and links they had got throughout the year.
Just make sure you ask about this because you have the right to the content and links as you paid for them.
Guarantees Of Sales or Traffic
If they mention guarantees of traffic or sales start running because it is impossible to guarantee anything in the SEO world. They might forecast some targets, but it is very hard to guarantee anything because some changes Google might make are out of your hands. Forecasts are great, but Guarantees are BAD.
Black Hat Techniques
This is just another thing to be aware of is that the agency might be engaging in black hat techniques. If you have a feeling it’s a black hat technique, then you’re probably right. Make sure they explain exactly what they are doing and if you are still unsure about the technique then ask a friend or someone in the industry.
Most SEO Agencies are really great and do a great deal of work for their clients but it only takes a small number of agencies to spoil it for the rest. Make sure that the agency is transparent and gives you great reports and breakdown of the time spent on each task. At the end of the day as the client you are always right so find out everything before you hire an agency. Here are some questions I would recommend you ask the Agency before you hire them.
Subscribe to SEJ
Get our weekly newsletter from SEJ's Founder Loren Baker about the latest news in the industry!