Having a team of SEO experts assisting you with your site’s SEO campaign is often the best way to go. You don’t have to do everything yourself and can instead rely on SEO specialists to optimise your site for SEO purposes. I said ‘often’ because, unfortunately, there are some shady SEO companies out there. Even worse, working with bad SEO companies can harm your site’s search engine rankings.
Do you really trust your SEO company? How can you tell if the service provider you use is doing his job properly? Here are the top five red flags to spot.
1. Mysterious Link Placement
One of the first red flags you can spot easily is the SEO company’s unwillingness to share the locations of your backlinks. Quality backlinks are handy for boosting SEO performance, but bad ones will either have no effect on your ranking, or lead to a penalty. In fact, even after the recent Google Penguin 4.0 update in which poor links were devalued as opposed to leading to penalties, Google have stated that websites which seem to be purposely scamming search can still have manual penalties applied.
A good service provider will always provide a report on backlinks they generate for your site. You can also check to see whether the backlinks are delivering human traffic to further assess the quality of the SEO company.
2. Unreadable Articles
Whether it is a guest post, a paid placement or any other type of off-site SEO, having an unreadable article written specifically for SEO is never a good thing. Again, this goes against the way today’s search engines rank websites.
The focus of search engines today is quality, not quantity. Terms like keyword density are no longer important. What’s important is user experience upon reading the article. If the articles posted to generate backlinks are not readable, you’re most likely dealing with a bad SEO company.
3. Lack of User Engagement
The next metric you can check is user engagement. A high bounce rate and low time-on-site are often signs of a bad website, but they can also be used to measure whether the traffic your site gets is actually human traffic that interacts with the site.
Don’t forget that user engagement is more important than ever because it is among the signals used by search engines to measure the quality of your site. Low user engagement usually means bad SEO practices.
4. SEO and SEO Only
It is nearly impossible to use SEO as the only internet marketing instrument for promoting a site. Content marketing, social media campaigns and various other tools must be used in conjunction for a good SEO campaign.
An SEO company that doesn’t look at the bigger picture is not going to help your site. One that is reluctant to integrate the SEO campaign with other internet marketing tools is even worse.
5. Promises and Quick Turnarounds
Even with the most recent updates on search engine algorithms – promising real-time response to on- and off-site changes – it is still impossible to do SEO overnight. It is also impossible to guarantee that your site will rank in a certain way for a predetermined period of time. When an SEO company makes high promises and promises a turnaround time that’s too quick, you have reasons to suspect the company’s capabilities.
Spot these red flags and you won’t have to worry about running into problems, or suffering from penalties, in the future. With a good team of SEO specialists at your side, promoting your website and gaining a lot of targeted traffic are indeed very easy to do.