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Optimizing your website and web content for search has been important for decades, but in recent months, SEO has become more important than ever. With both B2Cs and B2Bs driven out of brick-and-mortars and onto the internet, competition is fierce for almost all keyword phrases, not to mention backlink placements and guest content. It is critical that you have an expert SEO on your side to guide your business to search marketing success.
But — how do you know if your current SEO provider is any good? There are a number of SEOs your business might use, from freelancers to consultants to in-house personnel to full-fledged agencies. If your SEO is failing you, your business could be missing out on a significant amount of audience engagement and revenue. Instead of hoping that your SEO is doing fine, you should read the following signs your current SEO provider just isn’t cutting it.
Outrageous Ranking Promises
Some SEO companies will reel you in on promises permanent or long-term ranking. Often, the same companies will advertise remarkably reduced prices for their services, even flat rates. If you have accidentally partnered with such an agency, you need to get out of the agreement ASAP.
SEO might feel like magic, but it isn’t. No SEO agency can wave a magic wand and deliver a top ranking position as soon as you ask for it — and they certainly can’t do it at a much lower rate than the rest of the SEO market. SEO takes time and rarely delivers perfect results, so promises that you will get everything you desire on the cheap should always ring false.
No Interaction Between You
No SEO agency is an island. Effective SEO requires all kinds of information about the website, the business behind the website, the industry behind the business and more. Your SEO agency should ask you for this data at the outset; if they don’t, you can’t trust that their methods are tailored to your business’s needs.
What’s more, your agency should lay out a communication plan, which will help them seek more information and project approval from you and keep them accountable to their estimates and projections. Even if this communication plan isn’t formalized, it should be clear who you should contact with questions and concerns. Beware the SEO provider who makes it difficult to get in touch.
A Notable Lack of Deliverables
When you pay a third-party for services, you expect to see those services deliver results. Because SEO can take months and years to manifest change, you might not expect results any time soon — but that doesn’t mean the SEO agency shouldn’t deliver anything to your inbox in the interim. In fact, there is a large number of deliverables your agency should send along within the first few weeks, such as:
- An SEO audit of your website
- An analysis of your website’s link profile
- A plan for optimizing content on your website
If you are remaining in contact with your agency but aren’t getting any sign of their hard work, you might start looking for a more professional SEO outfit.
A Dearth of Their Own SEO Content
SEO providers can be their own best case study. They have all the resources at their disposal to improve their search ranking: content creators, website developers, social media masters, influencer relationships and more. Take Digital Current; this agency’s website has a blog packed with optimized content. If you are underwhelmed by your SEO agency’s own low rank or lack of content, you will be supremely disappointed by what they can deliver to you.
Secret Formula for Success
It isn’t uncommon for SEO providers to be a bit secretive about their methods, especially before you sign on for their services. However, if your SEO provider claims “trade secrets” and won’t give you any insights into their efforts, you might want to look elsewhere for SEO services. Most often, agencies that are too-secretive are employing black-hat SEO techniques, which might improve your ranking in the short-term but eliminate your chances for high ranking in the future. Though they take more time, effort and budget, white-hat agencies are your best option.
Even worse, some cagey SEO agencies excuse their actions with some hint about a relationship with some Google insider, who is feeding their SEOs data about the search algorithm. This is almost certainly never true. Google employees are paid well and take pride in their work — and even those few disgruntled employees are so bogged down in NDAs that they would never team up with an SEO.
You know you need SEO, and now you know that not all SEO will benefit you the same way. If some of these issues are too familiar, you should look for a more trustworthy SEO provider today.