Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is critical for businesses of all types and sizes to grow and remain relevant. As a result, many companies hire a digital agency to market their brand via search engines effectively. Because this is a multi-faceted and ever-changing process, it is critical to hire a knowledgeable company that stays current on the latest trends and best practices. However, where do we begin with so many SEO companies to choose from?
We have discussed what to look for when selecting a good SEO company, but how do we determine if an SEO provider is a bad omen? We discuss several critical points to consider when deciding who to avoid.
White-hat SEO, also referred to as “ethical SEO,” is concerned with optimizing for the end-user rather than the search engines. This means that content should be relevant and written for a human audience, that keywords should be used naturally, and that links to your website should also be relevant, natural, and from reputable sources. It is critical to verify that the Toronto SEO company you are considering hiring utilizes only white-hat techniques to achieve results for their clients.
On the other hand, black-hat tactics are directed exclusively at search engines rather than the audience. Such techniques include over-stuffing keywords onto pages to rank, participating in link schemes that an experienced SEO expert has not thoroughly analyzed, and utilizing doorway pages. Such tactics should be avoided at all costs, as they may result in a penalty for your website, which may result in a complete loss of rankings for varying periods.
That being said, any techniques that appear unethical or shady should immediately raise a red flag when consulting with an SEO provider. Similarly, suppose a provider refuses to answer questions about their standard strategy. In that case, this should raise red flags, as honest SEOs will want to ensure your comfort and should outline their SEO strategy with you from the start.
It would be prudent to caution when dealing with any SEO provider who makes bold claims about what they can accomplish. SEO is frequently a lengthy and uncertain process dependent on various variables, and no provider can guarantee top search rankings overnight (or even within several months).
As such, you should avoid companies or individuals that make unrealistic promises about achieving first-page rankings in a short period.
Nobody understands all of Google’s algorithms and ranking factors, which is why you should avoid anyone who claims to have insider knowledge that will guarantee you a number one ranking.
While an SEO company can learn the ins and outs of numerous aspects of the Google algorithm through years of work with various clients, they have not “received” any secret information from Google.
Any company that quotes you a fixed price before they have had a chance to understand your business objectives, website requirements, and other critical factors are asking for trouble from the start.
The following is an example of the type of language that may be included in an SEO package:
Bronze package for SEO: 5 pages optimized for SEO on your website, 100 inbound links to your website, and 200 articles submitted offsite.
Why is this an issue? The truth is that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to high-quality SEO, and the price you can expect to pay will vary significantly depending on a variety of different factors.
High-quality SEO results are impossible to achieve unless the provider takes the time to thoroughly understand your business, your competitors, and the keywords that must be targeted. In essence, a successful SEO campaign should be a tailored process unique to each company, which means that prices will always vary and cannot be packaged.
Additionally, it is worth noting that one high-quality link to your website may be worth 100 low-quality links in Google’s eyes. It is mostly not about the numbers but rather about having access to the best, which can only be accomplished through years of developing strong relationships with various industry professionals, publications, and influencers.
Excellent digital agencies will have built a solid client base. They will be happy to share actual case studies or references with you to demonstrate their positive return on investment and the results they have achieved. If a business refuses to share any success stories, this should raise red flags.
Additionally, if case studies are being presented to you, are they based on employees who have since left the company or on long-standing account managers who remain?
Additionally, it would help to inquire about the company’s preferred metrics, as some small businesses may choose to demonstrate insignificant “vanity metrics” that carry no weight or benefit and are easily manipulated. Rather than that, focus on critical metrics such as organic (SEO) traffic, conversion rate, organic keyword ranking, and revenue from organic traffic.
While positive rankings can indicate a successful SEO campaign, it is critical to remember numerous other factors to consider. What matters most is your business’s overall profitability, and ranking highly for a large number of low volume, non-competitive keywords with low conversion rates will not contribute significantly to your business’s growth in the long run. Additionally, ranking for a single key phrase on your homepage but not for multiple variations is ineffective.
There is no point in being highly ranked if you are not generating sales and leads. Respectable SEO firms understand that search engine optimization is about much more than keyword rankings.
Additionally, a good SEO company will consider the big picture and how SEO fits into and interacts with various other disciplines, such as website design, usability, content marketing, and public relations.
You would not purchase a new laptop without first reading online reviews, and the same should be true when hiring someone to work on your website. Google My Business, Yelp, Glassdoor, and various social media platforms are excellent resources for learning what past clients and ex-employees have to say about them.
Naturally, online reviews can be easily manipulated and should thus be regarded with caution. However, businesses with no reviews or many glowing reviews that appear fake should raise suspicions. In contrast, competitors may impact and post those with many negative reviews.
SEO, when done correctly, has the potential to generate a significant return on investment and expand a business. However, with numerous companies and individuals claiming to be SEO experts, telling a good provider from a bad one can be difficult. By arming yourself with the necessary knowledge and asking pertinent questions, you can significantly reduce your risk of being poached by low-quality SEOs who may not have your best interests at heart.