By Ritu Sharma
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a vital component for effective digital marketing. If you adjust your website in accordance with a search engine like Google, build relationships with other websites, and publish content that provides vital information to your customers, your website will appear higher up in search engine’s results.
Due to a sudden increase in demand for SEO, there are plenty of agencies and freelancers out there who try to scam business and website owners to make quick money.
In reality, SEO requires meticulous planning and execution. It takes weeks or even months to see any result from efforts made by SEO agencies. This somehow makes things easier for scammers who are looking for unwary customers. By the time you realize they are not generating results, you have already paid a decent sum of money.
Now, the biggest question that comes in the mind of any business owner is how to avoid fraudulent SEO companies? Fortunately, you can identify these scammers quickly if you keep the following points in mind:
1. They promise you quick results
There are no quick results in SEO. Search engines like Google and Bing want to make sure they’re providing their users with relevant search results. So, they don’t rank websites quickly, the algorithm checks for external website links, keywords, content on a website and more to avoid any mistake.
An experienced and reputable SEO use strategies that involve a lot of planning. Agencies need time to research and understand the client’s industry, create relevant content, perform a keyword search, come up with new strategies and techniques and more.
All of this takes time to implement, and even after implementation, search engines take some more time to take these changes into account.
If your potential candidate is guaranteeing you results within a specific time, they are not worth your time, effort, and money.
2. They claim to have “insider knowledge” of search engines
No one knows how the search engine algorithm works. It is so complex and ever-changing that engineers don’t know how it works. If an SEO company claims to have insider knowledge, then it is one of the biggest red flags, and you should avoid it at all costs.
A successful SEO is based on testing and industry experience. A good SEO company will study the current trend and implement a strategy to get the best result.
3. They guarantee impossible results
Legitimate and successful SEO agencies will promise things like more traffic on a website, ranking on the first page within a specific time frame and more. What you want to watch out for is impossible guaranteed results like #1 website ranking for a competitive keyword in a short period. Guaranteeing such things is impossible.
Another thing to look out for is how the SEO company makes the guarantee. Different industries require a different set of SEO strategies and timeframes to implement those strategies. Obtaining results in competitive industries will always require more time than domains where there is less competition.
If an SEO agency promises to give results without asking about your industry, you should avoid it.
4. They mention outdated SEO techniques
Some SEO techniques were effective a few years ago. But most of these techniques don’t work today, and many can even hurt your website ranking. If you don’t have much knowledge about SEO, it becomes tough to catch a scammer.
Here are some standard outdated techniques that you should avoid using:
- Keyword stuffing: Using a keyword as many times as possible in the content
- Buying or trading backlinks
- Black hat techniques
- Use of private blog networks to boost website ranking
These techniques are still effective but only for the short term. If you are caught using such techniques, your website will be penalized or de-indexed from the search engine.
5. They’re ambiguous about pricing and can’t or won’t provide references
These two traits are the hallmarks of a scammer who is in the market just for your money.
As there is no such thing as standard industry pricing, any reputable SEO company will provide you with an estimated cost based on your SEO needs. If the prospect is not providing any upfront cost, then it is nothing less than a red flag, which could lead to a huge loss of investment down the road.
Similarly, every agency worth investing will be ready to provide their portfolio and a list of references that you can contact at your leisure. If your potential candidate refrains from giving any reference, it is advisable to say NO to them.
With so many SEO agencies in the market, it becomes hard to find the right agency for your business. If you keep the above points in mind, you won’t find any trouble finding a good and reputable SEO company. Just make sure you do a thorough background check on the company.
Ritu Sharma is the Content Manager at SEO Company PageTraffic.