SEO Agency – They’re not all the same!
SEO is often best left to the experts. There are many reasons why you shouldn’t do your own optimising when you haven’t been SEO Agency trained. Including the lack of real knowledge, a poor application of your time, and the risk of damaging your website rankings through bad practice.
Get a good SEO Agency executive on board and you could end up saving precious resources, whilst making progress with your digital visibility. The question you need to ask yourself is, “How valuable is your time?”. If your time is better spent elsewhere, hiring an SEO expert really is the best way to grow your company. But how do you know who to trust? And where to find the best SEO Agency team?
When algorithms and search metrics aren’t your first language, it can be easy to have the wool pulled over your eyes. Here are some tips to avoid being ripped off – crucial warning signs that your SEO is taking you for a ride.
#1 – They don’t need anything from you
An SEO Agency will need login access to your website and CMS, and they will also need to view your Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. And perhaps even access to your social media accounts. If they don’t ask for these things, it could be that they are just adding back-links from a network of Spam sites, which isn’t good SEO practice and could be damaging to your website in the long run.
They should also ask for a list of target keywords or discuss this upfront with you. Not asking you any questions is your first telltale sign and you should beware of agents like this.
#2 – They don’t send you reports
SEO reports are essential for marking progress and getting a good view of where your money has been spent. As well as a monthly reporting, a good SEO company may also provide a full audit at the start of the campaign, with full analysis of your site’s existing links, content and tips for improvement. Set metrics so you can measure success – a good SEO Agency will always have a way to track how your website is performing.
#3 – You get unrealistic spikes in traffic
The whole point of search engine optimisation is to get more people to your site. But only good quality traffic converts and brings your business real benefits. Links from Spam websites can generate FAKE traffic, so you may see your traffic increase but these fake hits are simply bots – not real people. Not only can fake traffic skew your Analytics, but if the fake traffic is coming from spam website links built by your SEO, you could suffer a penalty for bad link building.
#4 – Your SEO is secretive about techniques
A good SEO needs to be transparent about what he/she is doing. This is your business and your brand after all. There are white hat (good) and black hat (bad) practices in optimisation, and the latter will have something to hide. If your SEO agent has some spiel about not being able to disclose company working techniques, this is a big alarm bell that they are not sticking to the rules.
#5 – Your website is hit with a penalty
Google penalties can happen to innocent parties, even if businesses and SEO executives have stuck with clean, white hat techniques. This is due to Google updating their algorithm and sometimes this can cause a domino effect of penalised sites that were doing just fine before. A manual penalty however, is when Google penalises you for unnatural links, thin content, pure spam, user-generated spam, cloaking and sneaky redirects, hidden text or keyword stuffing.
If you get a manual penalty after bringing a new SEO on board, it’s time to fire him/her and find someone new. For more advice on recovering from Google penalties, visit the Kissmetrics Blog.
Robert Alistair Jones is a writer of merit. This article delivers an open honest account of what you should look for in an SEO Agency and what they should be doing for your hard earned.