June 14, 2016

21 Warning Signs of a Low Quality SEO Company

You work hard building your business, and continue to grow and expand each day. Eventually you reach a point all businesses should reach, when the time has come to invest in digital marketing, to increase your reach to new audiences.

Now, you could spend the time learning try to do it yourself (and many do), but you don’t have that kind of time because well, you have a business to run and focus on!

So you decide it’s best left to the professionals. What exactly classifies an agency as a professional in raising your profile in search engines (SEO), and how do you know? Selecting a credible and quality SEO agency can be a bit of an overwhelming task, and if you’re like most people, you may not know what qualifies an agencies work as good or bad quality.

Here are some warning signs the SEO company may not be as professional as you would expect and may just be giving you a run  for your money.

 Here are Common Telltale Warning Signs of a Low Quality SEO Agency:

  1. Claim to be ‘Google’ or have a special relationship with Google
  2. Are often underpriced or offer free trials. The reality is, SEO specialists like in any other field, get paid for the quality of work carried out. If an agency’s prices are too low, the margins just aren’t there to provide a quality effort.
  3. Cannot answer questions regarding technical or on-page SEO
  4. Not asking about nor getting to know your business, industry, target geography or possible competitors (all important search factors)
  5. Offers a cookie-cutter package without regard to your specific business, industry or website needs. While this approach may work for certain smaller sites, it is recommended that each SEO campaign be a least somewhat tailored.
  6. Claim to guarantee anything, including rankings. Google itself frowns upon this practice.
  7. Boasts about how they’ll get you hundreds/thousands of links for X amount of money. There are countless companies and individuals that are sold the idea that the more links you have, the better. In today’s search environment, the rule of thumb is: Quality & Relevance = far more important than Quantity.
  8. Claimsthey can’t reveal their SEO methods / ‘trade secrets’
  9. “We need to install a link directory on your site” (Google wouldn’t like this, and it is a red flag for mischief)
  10. ‘One time’ SEO website fix with no maintenance or upkeep
  11. Use of ‘keyword stuffing’ in meta tags, titles, URLs, or content, a discredited practice
  12. Focus solely on number of pages indexed in Google
  13. Pushes the importance of consistent blog articles for a local business
  14. Selling the idea that more content = more rankings
  15. Agreeing with everything the clients wants: truth is, at the end of the day, SEO Specialists are being paid to work with the client, as consultants to recommend the client is moving in the right direction.
  16. Propose targeting easy SEO keywords you already rank highly for (such as your business name)
  17. Targets keywords for SEO that no one is searching for, and have low or no search volume, then claiming this as a ‘win’
  18. Your website receives a massive Influx of backlinks
  19. Creating links on webpages irrelevant to and outside your geography (“Yelp in Kiev, really?”)
  20. Creating profiles on community forums to create a link profile
  21. Submitting your site to ‘link farms’ or private blog networks – so 1990s and long since discredited


Choosing the right SEO company can be one of the most pivotal decisions for your business, as it can be a large commitment of resources and time. Since discovery through search is inherently vital to growing business success, choosing the right Search Engine Optimization company, should include keeping an eye out for these points, and permit asking lots of questions. The SEO agency you choose should want to work alongside you, and have no problem answering any questions you might have. Otherwise, run!