Search engine optimization has become an increasingly necessary component of website management. In order to perform well on search engines, your website has to be optimized. Not optimizing your site gives your competitor’s an advantage and your consumers a disadvantage by not being able to find you. This is how SEO has ingrained itself into the strategies of businesses big and small, resulting in hundreds of SEO service providers.
But finding the right service provider is easier said than done. The relative newness of search engine optimization has opened a door for scammers and frauds, making untrustworthy SEO companies a common issue. Here are the red flags to look for.
- Guaranteeing things that can’t be guaranteed.
As an employee at an SEO firm, I’ll be the first to say we can’t actually guarantee anything. By doing good work with relevant SEO methods, we can improve your website and see positive results over time. But what a good SEO company knows is that there’s no telling exactly how much time that process takes, and there are certainly no guarantees on anything that will happen. If your SEO provider is guaranteeing you’ll see a specific increase in traffic in within a certain amount of time or something similar, it’s a red flag.
- Promising rank positions on search engines.
Similarly to guaranteeing things that can’t be guaranteed, safe and reliable SEO service providers should never promise websites a certain rank position on Google or another search engine. Those spots can’t be bought, and all the SEO practices in the world might not get you a top ranking. Rather than promising you a coveted search engine rank position, a reliable SEO provider will promise you an efficient plan of action that will help your website achieve organic search success.
- Encouraging link building automation.
There are some SEO practices that can be automated and some that cannot. Link building and content generation are two areas that should not be automated. Because automation is risky to invest in and only works temporarily, it holds the potential to cause more damage than benefit. Google frowns upon and punishes link building automation with heavy fines, so be sure your SEO service provider is organically growing quality links.
- You’re never offered reports or data about services.
Successful SEO service companies know the importance of looking at data and running reports to keep track of progress. If you’re working with or considering working with a company that withholds status updates with concrete numbers and data, it’s a red flag. Make sure you’re regularly getting updates and are in the know about how your site is progressing.
- Vague explanations of services.
If you’re new to it, SEO talk can sound like a different language. What your SEO provider should never do is talk over your head, down to you, or deliberately over-complicate explanations. Keeping you in the dark about what each SEO service entails and how it gets carried out. Instead, the ideal SEO point of contact will be accommodating to your understanding of SEO and ask to make sure you’re clear on everything being explained.
- Messages come from a third party email.
An easy way to identify a spammy SEO company is by the email used to contact you. All communication should be done through emails corresponding to the website name, not a Yahoo, Gmail, or Hotmail account. It’s also worth noting that truly successful SEO companies don’t typically obtain their clients by way of cold calls. Do the reaching out yourself to find the best SEO provider.