Has this ever happened to you…

You receive a random email warning of impending changes to search engine algorithms or drastic errors that have been found within your website, along with a dire prediction of the impact upon your search rankings.  

Or perhaps you’ve already felt concerned about search engine optimization and you see an ad promising fast, dramatic results. 

In either situation, the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) company behind the message promises they can fix all of your website issues and achieve first page rankings for your site – “guaranteed”! Best of all, you are offered these astounding results quickly and for an unusually “low cost”. 

You’re understandably tempted by these promises. But before you leap into an agreement with one of these SEO companies, remember the old rule: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true. 

First of all, these email solicitations are sent to millions of website owners every day from companies that haven’t even bothered to look at your website.  They are simply fishing for business, hoping that you’ll bite.

Secondly, let’s clear up a common misconception. While it is possible for just about any worthwhile SEO company to help improve your search engine rankings, you must make sure that you are optimizing for the right keyword phrases? Are they relevant to your business? Do they have significant search volume?  Will these search results actually drive quality traffic or leads to your website? Too often, these high-promise companies bring you rankings for keywords that offer you no benefit.

These are just a few of the issues to consider before entering a relationship with them. After all, the point of improving your site’s optimization is to bring in quality web traffic and the potential for new business; you won’t want to spend time and money to rank at the top of searches that are irrelevant to your company or that don’t target the right audience. When you ask these types of questions, look for vague or “canned” responses that don’t seem to provide real answers (this is common).

Big promises or guarantees are one of the fastest ways to detect a bad SEO company. But there are other signs, too, such as…

They Don’t Tell You Exactly What They are Doing

Optimization work can sound a bit “techy” and even somewhat confusing, and a poor SEO company will use this to avoid telling you exactly what they are doing every month in exchange for the fee they charge.  A reliable company, on the other hand, is able to explain their processes and tell you exactly what is being done to or on your website to improve optimization.

Reporting Revolves Around Them, Not You

Many companies are happy to provide you with elaborate monthly reports in an attempt to impress you and keep you subscribed to their services for another month.  These reports can be filled with meaningless data and fluff that is of no benefit to you or your business.

As time goes by, your work with an SEO company should net you more web traffic from organic search queries, a stat that you can easily monitor with Google Analytics (which should absolutely be built in to your website).  You really don’t need a fancy report to tell you if the SEO work is effective. Monitor your monthly web traffic and you’ll likely know everything you need to know. Those fancy reports may offer nothing more than a false sense of security.

The Relationship Feels Transactional

Does this company really want to help you, or just sell a service? Have they done their research on your brand?  Do they ask questions and get to know your business model and target audience? Do you share a back-and-forth conversation, or do they mainly talk about their skills and their work?

Your relationship should feel like a partnership, not a sales transaction. If all you’re hearing is positive hype, followed by a bill, you have a vendor – not a partner.

Still have questions?  Contact us any time if you have questions about Search Engine Optimization or any other aspect of digital marketing. A true partnership will always allow room for your questions and concerns, and a true partner will always offer honest answers.