The truth is that not all SEO agencies are created equally. Some are extremely diligent, hire quality staff, prioritise training, stay on the pulse of technology and implement SEO with precision and pride. On the other hand, there are agencies who are purely in it to make money no matter the cost – dazzling their clients with fancy acronyms and making promises which fail to materialise. And then you get those who…yawn…are as effective as an umbrella in a hurricane – but unapologetically take your money.
The first step to figuring out if your SEO is helping or actually hindering your progress, is to stop looking at SEO as a static, intangible thing which either works or doesn’t. SEO is fluid. Like an organism it changes and adapts, having the ability to either help or harm. If a few months down the line you aren’t seeing results, something is wrong.
A good SEO agency, will:
- Conduct an SEO audit of your current situation, and repeat the process down the line to ensure that all their checks and balances are effectively in place.
- Provide you with regular reports.
- Be transparent about successes and failures.
- Have a solid strategy in place which they will regularly revise and adapt should it not be yielding the desired results.
- Understand the value of quality backlinks and strive to create them for your website.
- Not try to dazzle you with the number of keywords that they can get you to rank for, but rather identify the ones that will drive the most traffic and create the most conversions. One very quality high ranking keyword is worth its weight in gold.
- Create a customised strategy that will focus on your objectives.
- Stress the value of quality content and images on your website and advise you on changes that need to be made.
- Have the ability to be agile enough to adapt to new techniques, strategies, technologies at great speed.
- Willingly supply you with a list of references.
- Have at least a handful of clients who have been with them for a decent amount of time.
- Use top notch reporting tools and programmes.
A poor SEO agency will:
- Value the quantity of backlinks over the quality of backlinks. If you are being promised a large number of backlinks for a bargain price…it’s time to run and not look back.
- Reluctant to divulge past and present clients. Granted, clients are entitled to their privacy, but if the majority of their clients don’t want to be named, red flags should go up.
- Run the risk of their clients being slapped by Google Panda (on-page violation) or Google Penguin (off-page violation). If you’ve ever been stuck on the highway after a multi-car pile-up has occurred during peak hour traffic – well, that’s exactly what will happen to the traffic to your website, but while the real life traffic jam may only take a few hours to clear up, it may take up to a few years correct the penalty imposed upon your website traffic. Take it from us – it just isn’t worth it.
- Attempt to keyhole you into a ‘one-size-fits-all’ package rather than looking at your specific needs and tailoring a proposal accordingly.
- Glamourizing ranking for many keywords as opposed to ranking for specific important keywords which will in turn result in conversions. Quality, not quantity.
- Take short cuts and give vague, abbreviated reports.
Remember, you are giving your SEO company access to your website, so make sure you choose wisely. You wouldn’t give just anyone the keys to your business. Would you?