Red Flags to Look Out For When Choosing an SEO Company
Selecting an SEO company to trust with your site’s ability to rank well in search engines and be found online is a tricky process. You don’t want to spend a fortune, but you also don’t want to waste your money on a company that won’t produce results.
There are many factors that determine which company you choose – like the ones we discuss here – but there are also a few that should play into the companies you don’t choose. Here are four red flags to look out for when researching your options.
1. They can’t explain their link-building techniques
In case you aren’t aware, link-building is one of the most important components of SEO. Links from reputable sites are a signal to search engines that your site is also reputable, and can improve the chances that it will be shown to users.
However, not all links are created equal. Some SEO companies use “black hat” techniques like buying links and spamming other sites. While these practices may appear to work in the short-term, they will likely result in site penalties and make it impossible to rank well.
Knowing whether or not a company’s practices are legitimate will require some research on your part, but the knowledge is well worth the effort. If you ask how they build their links (or the specifics of any part of their strategy) and they can’t give you a detailed explanation, you’re better off without them.
2. They only offer one pricing package
Unless a company only works with clients of a specific size or industry, they should have a few different pricing options. SEO is not a one-size-fits-all process, and the costs associated should reflect that.
For example, a large corporation offering thousands of different products is probably going to want to rank for at least a few hundred keywords, and will want to attract customers from all over the world. A local pizza shop, on the other hand, may only want to rank for a handful of keywords and attract local customers. If an SEO company thinks they can charge the same amount for both projects, something isn’t right.
3. They promise a number one ranking
Although ranking well is the object of SEO, and a skilled agency should be able to improve your site’s ability to attract traffic, it isn’t an exact science. There is no specific formula, and any company that claims to be able to get you a top spot in search engine results should send you running for the hills.
As much as you may want to believe them, there are many outside factors that play into your site’s ability to rank well. Even the best SEO companies don’t have the details of Google’s algorithm (or its updates), and they certainly don’t have control over your competitors.
4. They don’t have a portfolio
Every reputable SEO company should have a portfolio of the work they’ve done for clients. They’re likely proud of what they’ve accomplished, and they want to show potential clients (like you) that they are capable of.
As you browse company sites, these portfolios should be one of your first stops. Client work can give you a good idea of what to expect, and concrete evidence of a company’s abilities. If a company doesn’t provide it, however, you should be skeptical. Ask for examples of sites they’ve worked with, along with the results they were able to achieve. If they don’t have any, you should probably move on.
5. They don’t offer reporting
One of the biggest advantages of Internet marketing is the detailed analytics it offers. Thanks to tools like Google Analytics, you can monitor and evaluate virtually every aspect of your site and SEO efforts.
Any reputable SEO company should offer detailed reports on a regular basis. Although you may not understand what the statistics mean on your own, they should be willing to put them together in a way that makes sense in order to show you what they’ve accomplished. If a company does not offer this service, you may want to find another one. There’s a chance they can produce results, but without proof, you won’t really be able to tell.
Now that you know what to look out for, take a look at our 2017 rankings! We’ve researched and evaluated each site, so we know that none of them will raise these red flags.