You want to tread lightly when it comes to hiring corporate SEO services.
If you’re a business owner or marketing manager, there’s a good chance you’re paying someone thousands of dollars to market your business online and optimise your search engine rankings.
It’s important that even if you outsource your SEO efforts, you get a grasp on what search engine optimisation is.
You have to know how to hold your SEO company accountable. Especially because you don’t want to incur into any sort of Black Hat practices. This means dodgy SEO.
Flick through these five signs that your SEO company is not keeping their end of the bargain. “Cheap SEO” and unprofessional agencies can cause a lot of long-term damage to your business.
Red Flag #1. Your SEO Company make it hard to access and follow up your results
Try it and see what you get in return, and investigate what they show you! SEO companies should be providing you with some kind of weekly or monthly report.
Dodgy companies will give you:
– A Google Analytics Report showing search rankings and visits to your site.
– A report of the keywords for which you are ranking (or targeting) and the number of monthly searches for each of these.
If this is all you are getting in your report from your SEO company, alarm bells should be ringing! SEO is (and has been for a while now) about content. If they can’t show you the content that they are producing and marketing for you OR where the actual links they are producing are coming from, you should smell a rat.
Red Flag #2. No Social Media Marketing Planning
How often does you SEO company post on your behalf?
Are they doing it at the times of the day when your Audience is hanging out Social Media?
How are they measuring engagement?
How about the flow of content through different platforms?
The best web SEO companies would take all this into consideration when creating a strategy that will exceed your expectations.
If your SEO company is not actively engaging in Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter communities on your behalf: This is another huge red flag.
Google’s former head of the Webspam team, Matt Cutts, has already come on record saying that ‘social signals’, are becoming increasingly important for your rankings. These are the weighting measures that Google puts on your authority within social networks.
So, if your Social Media presence is being neglected, make sure you hit your SEO team up about it!
Red Flag #3. Your Content is being created for Search Engines and not for People
In the past, it has been an effective SEO tactic to write content with the sole aim of pleasing search engines by maximising the number of keywords included. This is no longer the case.
In fact, not only does it look terrible for your business being connected to articles that look as though they have been written by a 5-year-old! But Google is also becoming way too smart for cheap tactics such as these, and it could actually harm your rankings in the long term.
The short cuts are dead. The key now is to write good quality content that answers questions people want answered.
If you can create great, engaging content that people want to share on social media platforms, the SEO side will take care of itself. Of course, there’s more to this, but quality should be your priority.
Red Flag #4. They focus solely on Static Content instead of Active Blogging
This means that your SEO company is likely ignoring long-tail keywords, which make up 70% of Google searches!
‘Long-tail’ refers to searches usually of 3 words or more and include searches with geographical locations and adjectives, such as ‘best cinemas Melbourne’.
Focusing solely on an off-page and static content as a link-building strategy is unlikely to ever have you ranking for these long-tail keywords. Let’s be clear: you need these to succeed as they speak directly to your audience. You can even forget about being on the top of the SEO rankings!
The only effective way of doing this is, once again, is with content.
Ensure you are writing fringe content for your blog. Make sure its answering questions and solving your audience’s problems!
If you do not yet have a blog, absolutely demand this of your SEO company!
Red Flag #5. You have no clue of what type of content you SEO Company is creating for you
This probably means that your ‘specialists’ are not writing content for human eyes. Chances are, they think they know better and are writing it for search engines, which as discussed earlier is an obsolete SEO tactic.
At the end of the day, no one knows your industry, or your customers, like you do. Content writing is all about positioning you as an expert in the industry in the eyes of Google –as well as in the eyes of your customers.
The best SEO content writers will actively seek knowledge from you (the expert) and ensure the important information reaches your customers.
If you are not being consulted on the content being written for your SEO campaign, your SEO company thinks they have a shortcut which will almost certainly fail.
Hopefully, this gives you the tools to spot an SEO phony (and they are out there)! At the very least we hope this helps you hold your business’s SEO specialists accountable.
Has your business been harmed by bad SEO practices? How did you take it from there? Tell us your story!