Six Easy Ways For Building Companies To Spot SEO Company Scammers
The Internet is filled with offers of ‘standard’ SEO packages promising to yield fantastic results in just a short time. But do standardised SEO services really work in getting your website page 1 Google rankings in just a few days?
The short answer is “No”–unless, of course, you want to rank for a very specific, unusual term like ‘parrots with blue beaks and red feet in Bendigo’.
You see, when it comes to SEO, cookie-cutter online marketing packages can actually be harmful for your website. So beware of any ‘expert’who claims to have the formula for a fast track to top rankings.
6 Warning Signs
When looking for an SEO service, a good rule of thumb is to consider a company that has a proven track record, provides clear information of its SEO methods, and which can create a customised strategy, clearly priced, with long-term objectives.
Be wary of self-proclaimed ‘specialists’with the following features:
1. They offer SEO packages or bundled services. In the past SEO packages often involved massive link building services designed to link to your website from hundreds, even thousands, of websites in an effort to feign a website’s digital popularity. The problem is, some self-proclaimed ‘optimisation experts’are still using these strategies.
These methods no longer yield positive results and can even hurt your website’s search rankings if the search engines discover what they have determined to be the unethical practice of unnatural link-building.
Other reasons to stay away from SEO packages with link-building include:
- Unqualified links: Only relevant links can add value to your website –unnatural links, on the other hand, are viewed as spam by Google. The problem with unnatural link-building that often comes in bundled into optimisation services is that the generated links are not filtered according to relevance. Without the essential steps of analysis and evaluation that come with customised SEO services, one-size-fits-all package-based services aren’t able to adjust strategies to improve site performance or achieve optimum results.
- Temporary results: Massive link-building may produce some results, albeit temporary, until Google’s search algorithm detects the unnatural links and penalises your website by removing it from search results.
- Site may become blacklisted: Prolonged use of questionable pre-packaged SEO solutions can put your site at risk of being blacklisted by the search engines. This means that your site may no longer appear in search results for those keywords that your ideal clients are using to find you. That’s money down the drain with a single Google penalty.
Before signing up with any SEO service, first ask about their experience in your market or industry –and request for sample sites or client references. Ask, as well, about the process they intend to use for improving your website’s SEO.
2. Article Networks and Manual Submissions Services. Another technique that Google penalises is the submission of a website’s link, usually via articles, to a plethora of online directories and article networks. While useful 5 or 6 years ago, most of these have become depositories of nonsensical content and spam. Rather than creating spammy links, it’s more important to develop high quality web content that people can share in social media which, Google admits, will increasingly impact search rankings and visibility. Other effective SEO strategies include blogging and building industry authority.
3. Top Search Ranks ‘Guarantees’. No one can guarantee page 1 search results in Google, and if they do it should trigger a big red warning light. The search algorithm that is responsible for ranking websites involves hundreds of factors that are weighed and constantly tweaked to produce the most relevant results.
Search results also change over time so instead of guaranteeing top ranks, an honest SEO service will tell you that a site audit, continuous analysis, development and adjustments are necessary in obtaining and maintaining good rankings.
Online tools such as Google Keyword Planner and SEM Rush are available for DIY website audits to help you review your site’s:
- On-page elements such as keywords, tags, site structure and internal links
- Duplicate content, if any
- Pages that compete for the same keywords
- External link profile, including your competitors’
4. “Special Relationship with Google”claims. Beware of those who claim to have a special relationship or connection to someone at Google that supposedly allows them to have access to confidential information about the way Google ranks websites.
Because of the many factors that contribute Google’s constantly changing algorithms, Google employees are not aware of the complete formula, so it is impossible for it to be shared with outsiders. Google does provide some insights with its published Google Webmaster Guidelines but the real knowledge of what works and what won’t in SEO comes from ongoing experimentation and a long process of trial and error.
If you’re interested in a particular agency or SEO service, ask them about their previous work, referrals, and some case studies. The really good ones will offer a light audit of your site to demonstrate their skill.
5. Paid advertising. Some SEO services promise ‘first-page rankings in hours’but will actually put your site in the advertising section rather than the organic search results. Google warns of this scam and reiterates that it does not sell page rankings, nor will paid advertisements affect organic search rankings.
Know at the onset what you’re paying for and be sure that the services being offered don’t violate Google policies. If it sounds too good to be true, then is likely is: walk away.
6. Emphasis on “technical SEO”. While on-page elements of your website can have an impact on SEO, working solely on technical aspects is not enough. They may adjust your meta tags, H1 tags and your site map, but a lot more must still be done on-page and off-page for your website to experience tangible results. Be wary of services that try to dazzle you with technical words that confuse rather than clarify what they can do for you.
An experienced optimisation agency firm starts with an audit and will clearly show the issues affecting your website. Next steps may include the creation of a plan that involves technical and other off-page strategies.
Because every website is different and has specific goals, a genuine SEO service will entail customising strategies and methods that suit your business and needs. This means working closely together to gain a good grasp of your business in order to formulate the best sales and conversion strategies, content development plans, website tracking and page effectiveness, and even PR, marketing, and long-term growth plans.
Professional search engine optimisation services are vital partners in business, helping you not to only plan and execute legitimate and proven strategies, but to also provide significant reports about your website’s health. When choosing an SEO firm, look closely at the company, its work experience and methods before signing up with them.
Check their work portfolio and testimonials; ask for references
Checking online reviews of a service may not provide real information about a service if they use strategies of online reputation management which push down negative reviews or scam warnings. You’ll be able to assess the reputation of a service by requesting information on previous work and contacting past clients about a firm’s accomplishments.
Ask important questions
Useful questions to ask include:
- What specific optimisation strategies and tools do you use?
- Do your methods comply with Google Webmaster Guidelines?
- How do you measure results and how much time do you expect to pass before results can be expected?
- Will you provide detailed information about changes you will make on my site and your reasons for them?
- Will you develop content? Is it going to be 100% original content?
Website optimisation is not a one-time event. It takes time and constant effort to achieve and maintain first-page rankings. The right SEO service can help you obtain top search rankings while providing clear information and feedback about your site. Choose your SEO partner wisely.
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Written by Grant Kennedy