While search engine optimization can be positively transformative for your business…it can also be disastrous in the wrong hands. Unfortunately, where there is money to be made, there are inequitable opportunists looking to manipulate decent business owners. However, the good news is that there are ways to avoid these scammers.
In this article, we’re going to share some insights on how to tell if your SEO agency is actually hurting your business with blackhat SEO techniques, as opposed to propping you up with genuinely helpful and progressive methods.
Read on for more information…
1. They’ve been “working” for months with nothing to show for it
If you’ve been throwing money at your SEO agency for 4 to 6 months and they have very little in the way of results to show you, you have every right to be concerned.
Make no mistake, SEO can take a long time to get up and running – sometimes even upwards of a year before a sustainable ROI can be achieved; however, if your chosen agency is unwilling to share their methods or show what kind of progress is being made, then it could be that they are incapable of meeting your digital marketing needs.
At the very least you should have had:
- A thorough onsite audit with actionable insights.
- An analysis of your website’s link profile.
- Well-optimised content for your website.
- A great deal of technical and on-site SEO.
- Well-crafted blogs and guest articles published on other relevant websites (including social and video content for diversity).
If you’ve had very little if none at all of the above presented to you, it’s time to apply some pressure.
2. You have received a Manual Action from Google
If Google has issued a Manual Action against your website, it is because they suspect blackhat techniques. This could be anything from keyword stuffing to ‘spammy’ link building techniques.
In this case, you should almost certainly consider firing your SEO agency! No reputable SEO company in Sydney with a wealth of 5* reviews and positive case studies will need to rely on blackhat techniques to cut corners. Nor will they ever do anything to jeopardise the integrity of your website.
You deserve the best!
3. They have never asked anything of you
While hiring an SEO agency is supposed to save you lots of time and effort, you will still be required to take part in the process. For example, how can an SEO agency truly figure out how to help you if they have no idea what your goals are?
The most successful SEO agencies put a lot of time into understanding their clients and their brands in order to best strategize a unique campaign that speaks to their specific needs.
If you get very little engagement from your SEO agency, and indeed they have never asked for admin access to your website, socials, or analytics account, then you should be concerned.
4. They refuse to talk about their techniques
Sure, some experts may want to hold back some of their industry secrets, however, for the most part, any reputable SEO agency should be completely transparent about what it is that they actually do.
The fact is, you have every right to know exactly where your money is going. If your SEO agency refuses to let you in, it’s either because they are breaking the rules or because they have no idea what they are doing!
5. Your rankings and traffic has been dropping
Your rankings may drop and fluctuate for a variety of reasons and it isn’t always necessarily a bad sign. That’s just the nature of SEO. However, if your rankings and traffic drops drastically in a very short space of time, it could be a sign that your agency is abusing Google’s algorithm, which is a bad sign!
In this case, it may be worth researching Google’s algorithm and seeing if there have been any new updates. Then you can ask what your SEO agency plans to do about those changes – and if indeed they even know about them!
6. You are ranking for low-value and irrelevant keywords
A common tactic for inequitable “SEO experts” is to get their clients ranking at #1 for low-value keywords that are largely irrelevant.
Sure, it’s nice to sit at #1 – but if those keywords aren’t bringing any traffic to your website – or indeed relevant traffic that is likely to convert – then they are wasting your time.
They may be trying to manipulate you by saying: “See, we have got your website ranking at position 1 for all of these keywords, look how hard we are working!”
Final thoughts: Hold your SEO agency to a very high standard
If you suspect that your SEO agency doesn’t have your best interests at heart, you’ve been investing in them for many months with nothing to show for it, and they refuse to let you in on the kind of work that they are carrying out on your behalf, run a mile!
There are so many reputable and highly capable SEO agencies out there who would not only be grateful to have you as a client, but they’d also go above and beyond to deliver superior results and help transform your business.
Settle for nothing less than the best!