How to Deal with Shady SEO Companies

Bill Slawski and Mike Ehline

With the abundance of SEO services, it’s crucial for business owners to differentiate between a reliable SEO provider and bad SEO companies. However, without prior knowledge of actual SEO practices, it can be challenging to determine the legitimacy of an agency. To help you, here are nine warning signs to look out for when choosing SEO agencies for your business.

These red flags indicate that the SEO firm you’re considering may not fit your needs, so it’s essential to be vigilant and do your due diligence to steer clear of spammy backlinks and other similar issues. In this piece, we will talk about telltale signs to spot a bad SEO agency and how to deal with it.

Steer Clear from SEO Services that Guarantee #1 Ranking

Beware of any agency that guarantees a #1 ranking on search engines for specific keywords permanently. This is because search engine rankings are constantly in flux due to the continuous changes that websites make.

Competitors, industry-related sites, and even your own website can alter their pages, causing search engines to update their results pages, leading to shifts in rankings. Any changes made to a website can cause them to rank better for one keyword but potentially lower for another.

Additionally, many of these keyword stuffing reshuffles occur on lower-ranking pages, while the first page of results tends to be more stable. It’s important to choose an SEO consultant that has a realistic approach to ranking and focuses on delivering sustainable, long-term results rather than making false promises.

Be Wary of any SEO Company that thinks Meta Keywords Make a Big Difference

Meta descriptions and meta keywords are now obsolete ranking factors in SEO. Search engines have become more advanced, rendering meta descriptions and meta keywords less relevant. Although meta descriptions still appear in search engine results pages (SERPs) to give users an idea of what a page is about, they won’t improve your ranking.

In fact, excessive use of meta keywords may even harm your SEO. Bing, for example, views the use of meta keywords as a spam signal, potentially indicating other shady SEO practices. It’s best to focus on other ranking factors of SEO rather than relying on metadata to improve your ranking.

Content Quality Makes a Big Difference

It’s crucial to consider the quality of content produced by an SEO agency before hiring them. Poorly written or vague content on their website can be an indication of the type of work they produce for clients. Make sure to thoroughly check the website of the SEO company, including their blog and service pages, before reaching out to them.

Ensure they provide detailed and informative explanations of their service and SEO strategy. Strong, well-written content is a crucial aspect of local SEO and a good indicator of the quality of work you can expect from the agency.

Link building is a crucial aspect of any SEO campaign, but the best way to obtain links is through genuine means, not purchasing them. Agencies proposing the purchase of links on unrelated websites are only looking to provide temporary benefits in exchange for payment.

Once the SEO firm leaves, the consequences of participating in link schemes may arise, such as Google penalizing the website for violating its policies and potentially removing it from its index. Buying links is considered a black hat tactic and is frowned upon in the SEO industry.

A good SEO agency should focus on building genuine links for Google and other search engines through creative and honest means.

Choose an SEO Agency with a Custom Approach for Search Engines

An SEO agency that focuses only on short-term goals and doesn’t offer maintenance plans is not a good choice. SEO is an ongoing process that requires constant monitoring, updates, and adjustments as search engines and users change.

A minimum of a 6-month maintenance plan is necessary to see significant results, and without it, you risk losing your rankings. A reputable agency will offer a maintenance plan as part of its overall SEO strategy to ensure that your website stays optimized and continues to rank well in search engines. An SEO agency that doesn’t customize its approach to your specific business and industry is not going to give you the best results.

Remember, a good agency will take the time to understand your company, competitors, and your industry to create a tailored SEO strategy that meets your unique needs and goals. If an agency doesn’t show interest in learning about your business and industry, it’s a red flag that they’re more interested in a quick payout than delivering meaningful results.

Ensure the SEO Experts Have a Proper Communication Plan

Having a clear and defined communication plan is essential for a successful SEO partnership between you and an agency. This plan should outline how frequently you’ll receive updates on your site’s progress and what methods of communication will be used.

In addition to having a point of contact with direct contact information, you should also expect regular check-ins from the agency. These check-ins should not only provide updates on your site’s performance but also give you an opportunity to ask questions and voice any concerns.

Avoid Any SEO Company that Is Not Transparent

Getting to the front page of search engines is not achieved by magic spells, potions, or mystical meditations. There is no secret to success. Instead, it takes sound strategies and the expertise of SEO specialists who constantly search for the most effective ways to outsmart the algorithms.

Real SEO experts are transparent about their strategies and will share their plans with you. This is how they differentiate themselves from others and demonstrate their superiority through their better plan for optimizing your website.

Choosing an SEO agency that follows ethical practices, avoids any black hat tactics, and clearly explains its methods is crucial. Stay away from agencies that can’t be transparent about their tactics, as it’s likely that they’re using methods that can harm your website’s reputation and ranking.

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