Search Engine Optimization is a long-term, highly tedious and engaging internet marketing tactic. Because this is a complex subject matter, many clients and website owners frequently find themselves propositioned by ‘experts’ who claim they can help improve the SEO of their website. These propositions can come in many forms, but will most come via a form or email address listed on your website. While SEO is highly important, avoid spending money for minimal results by vetting your digital marketing company or request. Below are four red flags to help identify a potential negative scenario.
#1 Guaranteed Rankings
SEO is one part science, one part art and one part luck. No one can guarantee any results, although they can make educated goals based on historical information and the competitive landscape. A person contacting you and promising to get your site to the #1 position of any keyword is the biggest red flag.
#2 Guaranteed Numbers
Along those same lines, a good agency or expert will have case studies and examples of improvements, but won’t claim to guarantee the same results for you. Every website is different, and what works for one client may not for another. So if someone contacts you, your webmaster or your site guaranteeing an XX% increase in traffic or leads, they likely can’t back up that claim. This is especially true if they make promises without seeing any historical numbers: How would they even know how much traffic and how many inquiries you currently get?
#3 Affiliation with Google
Search engine optimization was born out of, but isn’t sanctioned by, Google. Anyone who claims to be affiliated with Google or to have insider secrets about the algorithm isn’t a reliable business partner. However, an individual can be certified in Google Analytics Individual Qualification or be Adwords-certified. These are legitimate certifications that an individual can obtain to show their expertise with the Adwords and Analytics tools, not an affiliation with the company. Agencies can be Google Certified Partners.
#4 What’s under the hood?
An SEO expert or agency reaching out, unsolicited, and making bold claims via a form or email is a big red flag. This is like a mechanic walking up to you in the parking lot and claiming he can improve your vehicle by just examining the outside. A reputable agency or individual will take a look under the hood, specifically at Google Analytics and Search Console, to identify which issues, if any, could be addressed. If your site has a ton of traffic but a high bounce rate, that’s a different issue than if your site has no traffic, but a high conversion rate. Trusted partners will examine your individual needs and create a unique plan to tackle your issues, not send a one-size-fits-all email claiming they can fix a problem they’re not even sure you have.
Keep the above red flags in mind when reviewing a cold call or email and when evaluating a potential SEO agency or partner. GlynnDevins offers search engine optimization services including consultation, audits and full management.
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