How can You Tell if Your SEO Agency isn’t Delivering the Goods?
I warn people regularly about the dangers of using unscrupulous SEO agencies and the damage that they can do. However, how are you supposed to know that they are taking you for a ride in the first place, especially if you don’t have the first clue about genuine optimisation?
Well, it probably sounds pretty straightforward; however, for many it poses a massive issue. For instance, if you’re not getting regular or accurate reporting, it might not actually be clear that something is awry. Unfortunately, the only real advice is that you have to use your common sense and watch out for telltale signs, including the following:
Reporting the results of an SEO campaign couldn’t be simpler. Essentially, all you need to know as a client is the traffic levels and respective rankings for the targeted keywords. If there is no sign of this kind of basic information, or it doesn’t match the figures that you have, then question them regarding about it.
For instance, if they are telling you that you’re top 5 in Google for a key term and you can clearly see that you’re still on page 3, don’t take it for granted. It may be a genuine error (personalised search may be on for instance), but if it is happening continuously and is increasingly inaccurate, then you are well within your rights to be a little suspicious.
If they are using an analytics programme to get statistical data on visits, make sure you can access it too. Therefore, if there are no improvements in your visits, then you will be able to take them to task. Again, this doesn’t necessarily mean there is a definite problem, but it is certainly a symptom.
If they suggest that you don’t have enough links and let you know that they can find a few thousand for you, make sure you ask how these will be obtained. Natural link building is usually time consuming and often only sees hundreds sourced over the course of months of work. If there is a sudden influx, this often points to link buying or link farms, both of which can cause long term damage to your site (but also may provide a short term benefit).
Additional charges for free services
If you find that you’re shelling out more than you originally agreed for new services, make sure you question why. For instance, your SEO work should include local optimisation as part of the service. Therefore don’t pay extra for a Google Places profile. They are easy to set up and are also, currently, free to do.
Your SEO agency might recommend extra services, like Copywriting for instance, but it should be optional and serve a clear purpose.
There is no harm in asking questions of your provider. Of course you don’t want to become a nuisance, but if something appears a little out of place, then don’t be afraid to get in contact. Admittedly, if they are difficult to get hold of and aren’t happy to provide you with contact details, then this might be another indication that they aren’t all that they appear