SEO agencies are mushrooming everywhere these days, and New York is no exception. Every time you search for an “SEO near me” you will get hundreds of links, each claiming to offer you quality SEO services. The market has become so saturated that it’s now the business’s responsibility to do its research to find a good SEO agency to partner with.
Now, the question is, how can you be confident you are looking for the right things when choosing an SEO agency? Do you know what the signs of a bad SEO agency are?
Here are common red flags that you can spot to check whether an agency can be trusted or not:
- Promises high ranks: Any SEO agency that guarantees the top spot for your business on Google should never be trusted. It’s a sure sign that the agency isn’t reliable and is trying to dupe you. That’s because rankings keep changing just as Google’sranking algorithms keep evolving. Sites are making changes all the time and search engines must update SERPs on their part.
- Too much focus on metadata: Metadata is no longer used by search engines for ranking purposes. Metadata typically refers to meta keywords and meta descriptions of web pages. Earlier, these were critical for SEO, but now, search engines are sophisticated and while meta descriptions continue to be displayed on SERPs, they don’t impact rankings. Incidentally, over-usage of metadata can be detrimental to optimization.
- Buying links: The idea is to earn links, not buy them. However, a bunch of SEO companies “buy” links from unrelated sites to offer short-term benefits. Once done, they usually leave and you are left to face the harsh consequences. You can be sure of the consequences because Google is always on the lookout for such link-buying schemes and penalizes violators severely. Your site may even be removed from their index; this means you stop ranking for searches altogether. Buying inbound links is now considered to be a black hat tactic that is liable for penalty.
- Poor site content: It’s a good idea to evaluate the content quality of the SEO agency’s site to get an idea of their services. When you find poorly-written content that doesn’t offer a clear idea of complicated concepts like Pay-Per-Click, SEO, and pricing structure, it suggests that they aren’t transparent. If their own site content isn’t good enough, can you trust them to optimize your site content for Google?
- Poor maintenance: A good SEO company realizes that SEO is an ongoing process and not a one-time fix. SEO never ends; even when you have managed to secure the top rankings for your client’s website. The top spots keep changing, and unless the agency is well-versed with the latest algorithm changes, it cannot secure your rankings. SEO needs to be maintained to make sure your site’s rankings don’t suffer. Besides, SEO trends keep evolving and it’s imperative for an agency to stay abreast of the latest trends and technologies. If they cannot conduct routine updates and upgrades, you will lose out on your competitors.
- Bad SEO practices: Many SEO agencies resort to “secret” methods to get higher rankings. These can kill your SEO in the long run. So, before signing up with an agency, you need to find out how they work and the methods they use. If you find they are not willing to share this information with you, it’s likely they are engaging in seedy practices.
- Ignorance about your industry: Is your SEO agency not interested in your competition or industry? That is a red flag for sure because there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to SEO. It will vary depending on the type of industry and the level of competition in it. If your SEO company shows no interest in knowing more about your business, you can’t expect it to give you results.
- Taking control over your data: This is probably the strongest indication that you are being trapped. If your SEO agency starts asking for your login credentials to access data and reports, it means they can manipulate the data as they wish. If you hand over data ownership to them, you can land yourself in big trouble in case the agreement doesn’t work out eventually between you and the agency. You may be embroiled in legal disputes that are likely to go on for years. That’s not something that you want to sign up for!
SEO changes every day and it’s important to work with an agency that is in tune with the times. Finding a good SEO agency may not be hard, but it’s prudent to do background research before entering into a partnership.