You hired an SEO company but the results are not as good as you were expecting. While Search Engine Optimisation is not rocket science, there are multiple things to consider when doing it yourself or when you are outsourcing to a specialised company.
Some of the most common questions we get at Monitor Backlinks are:
“How can I know if my SEO company is good or bad?”
“Is my SEO company doing the right things for my site?”
“I hired an SEO company but my traffic is not increasing. Why?”
It’s time to stop wondering if you’ve chosen the right company to outsource SEO or not. In this post, I’ll show you everything you need to know about working and selecting a reliable SEO company or freelancer.
The truth is that most SEO companies are bad and that’s the reason why numerous have gone bankrupt after the release of Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm. No wonder, SEO’s reputation is now stained because of SEO experts that were stuck in 2008. Here’s what Google’s autosuggest shows for the keyword “SEO is”:
If you’ve recently done a similar search in Google, I have to tell you something.
No, SEO is not dead, it’s not bullshit and not a waste of time.
For as long as search engines will exist, there will always be a way to optimise your site to rank higher. SEO is and will always be dead for those that are doing spam. If your SEO company is doing little to nothing for your site, you might have the feeling that SEO is a waste of time and especially money. Nonetheless, that’s not true. It might only signal that it’s time to fire your current SEO company and choose one that’s doing something productive instead.
Below you’ll find the most common warning signs that your current SEO company is not as good as they say they are.
Signs That An SEO Company Is Bad
If it’s the first time you are outsourcing SEO, it would be useful to learn a few basic things about Search Engine Optimisation. During the negotiations, you can show them that you are not clueless and you have some idea of how things work. Without any further ado, here are the signals that should make you run far away from the SEO company that does the following things.
1. Promises link based on PageRank
Whenever you hear an SEO company mention that they will build “X backlinks from PR2+ sites”, run as fast and far as you can.
Google ditched the PageRank almost two years ago, making it completely unreliable. As of today, they still haven’t removed it from the toolbar, but the fact that it was not updated for the last two years says it all. Google recently mentioned that they will remove it, to avoid people being confused about it. Nevertheless, always ignore SEOs that make useless promises based on how high the PageRank is.
2. Mass directory submissions, article submissions, automated blog comments and social bookmarking
In case you are promised “100+ powerful directory submissions”, RUN!!!
It’s the same case with mass article submissions with spun content and spammy comments. All these links are automatically created and are the definition of what Google calls “spam”. Always stay away from links that are violating Google’s guidelines.
Having such links to your site will put you at risk of getting a penalty. And trust me, that’s often complicated to remove, not to mention that you’ve wasted money on a company that was using dangerous techniques.
3. They guarantee a #1 ranking for your primary keywords
What do you think you should do if they promise that you’ll rank in a particular position for your keywords? That’s right….RUN!!!!
Beware of SEOs that claim to have a special relationship with Google or promise to submit your site with a higher priority. Google has its URL where you can submit your site, and any other advertisement is false.
No one can guarantee where you’ll rank for your keywords. Yes, it might sound discouraging, but that’s the truth. SEO is not all about the number of links you have. If your competitor has 100 links, it doesn’t mean that you’ll outrank them once you have 101 links. Google uses more than 200 ranking factors, making it impossible to guarantee that you’ll rank in a particular position. There are many things you can do to improve your overall performance in Google, but those that make other false claims are only trying to scam you.
You can’t blame the customer for wanting to rank first for its keywords, everyone wants that. However, an SEO company that make false promises prove that they would do anything to get the client on board. That includes lying.
4. You were approached by your SEO company with a spammy email
Spam is everywhere. Because they can’t rank high in search engines, most bad SEO companies or freelancers can’t get clients organically from Google.
What do they do instead?!
Simple, they send thousands of spammy emails out of the blue, in hopes to fool a beginner.
The definition of emailing spam is sending messages that are unsolicited to people that haven’t opted in. What techniques do you think these guys will use to optimise your site? Yes, you guessed right, SPAM.
Not surprisingly, even Google gets such emails:
5. They are asking you to link to their site or other sites
You should not accept to work with companies that are suggesting you to link back to their site in the footer or sidebar widgets. Some bad companies are asking clients to write on their site something like “ Badseocompany.com does SEO for this site”.
Also, avoid companies that want to do link exchanges.
6. Your SEO company is secretive about what they are doing
If you have doubts or questions, don’t be afraid to ask. Your SEO company is responsible for explaining the strategies and techniques they will use for your site. If they are very secretive and don’t want to provide details about their previous achievements or type of links they are building, you should avoid working with them.
When you hire an SEO company, you must have an excellent relationship with them because their work can influence your business future in an either positive or negative way.
They must provide weekly or monthly reports on what they have done for your site and tell you what is the plan for the coming period. Companies that don’t send detailed reports on the progress have something to hide.
7. Your SEO company has a blog network and builds low-quality links
Often, we’ve seen clients being scammed by companies that were creating very low-quality links from unrelated sites because the customer had not idea how to decide if a backlink is right or bad.
If your SEO company owns a blog network and adds links to your site, get rid of them as soon as possible. Also, ask to remove those links.
8. The content they write is not for people, but for search engines
Your site’s content should be user-friendly and addressed to the reader. Keyword stuffing can get your site penalised. It’s important that they do keyword research before writing an article, but make sure they don’t over-optimise your posts.
Is Your SEO Company Helping Or Killing Your Website?
Just because you are outsourcing SEO to someone that’s more experienced, it doesn’t mean you should trust them entirely or think that you have no responsibilities. In case they fail to deliver results or even worse, get your site penalised, you’ll be left with a site that’s performing worse than it was at the beginning. That’s why your responsibility never ends, even if you are outsourcing search engine optimisation.
To determine if your SEO company is doing the right things to your site you need to use an SEO tool and keep track of several KPIs.
One of the best tools to measure the success of your SEO campaigns is Monitor Backlinks. You can use the tool to measure the organic traffic evolution, keyword rankings in Google and determine the quality of the links your SEO company is building. Take advantage of the 30 days free trial and test it out.
Here’s how to understand if your SEO company is worth to keep or if you should fire them.
1. Monitor your site’s organic traffic
When you hire an SEO company, one of the most important KPIs to measure it’s the organic traffic growth. If the traffic you get from Google or other search engines is increasing over the courses of months, most likely they are doing a good job at optimising your site. In case your site has not improved or even worse, the traffic has declined, ask for some explanations.
In Monitor Backlinks, you can see at a glance how the organic traffic is evolving and also compare it with the average keyword position in Google. In the screenshot below you can see how the increase of the primary keywords in Google has directly influenced the organic traffic growth.
Note that you have to connect your domain with Google Analytics to get more insights about your site.
2. Monitor your keyword rankings in Google
If you have a list of keywords for which you want your site to rank higher, you can add them to your Monitor Backlinks account and see where your site is ranking for them. In case you don’t have a list of keywords, ask your SEO company to provide a report with the suggested keyword that should bring more traffic.
The tool will automatically check your keyword rankings every seven days. Rarely an SEO company provides such often updates on the keyword positions, hence why it’s best to use a tool to measure the most critical KPIs.
3. Check how often you are getting new backlinks
In your Monitor Backlinks dashboard, by clicking on the “Organic traffic” button, you’ll get to see a visual representation of the dates when your site has earned new links.
If there are no huge spikes in the number of links you got on a specific day and they all look naturally earned, that’s a good sign.
4. See at a glance the backlinks that are bad
Monitor Backlinks automatically shows a warning sign for the links that have questionable metrics. Because the quality of your site’s backlinks is vital, you should always analyse if the links your SEO company is building are good or not. With Monitor Backlinks, you can do this with ease.
The warning sign looks similar to the one in the screenshot below.
If you hold your mouse over the warning sign, you’ll see which of the metrics are bad and why the tool recommended a manual review of it.
To sort your links and find all your bad links, you can use the right side filters. Here’s a video tutorial to help you identify all your site’s bad links:
It’s always recommended to keep an eye on all the links your SEO company is building because in some cases they might not show you everything, because they are aware that those links are bad.
Monitor Backlinks automatically checks when your site gets new links, every three days and when it finds any new ones, it will add them to your account. Also, it sends weekly SEO reports with the progress of your site. Compare these reports with the ones your SEO company is sending and see if they are telling the truth or lying to you.
5. Check how many of the links are dofollow or nofollow
Dofollow links are the ones that will influence your rankings in Google while nofollow can be useful only for sending traffic. If your SEO company is presenting to you the links that they have built, but these are nofollow, ask for an explanation on why they spent time building those links.
In the Reports section, you can see a graphic distribution of all your links as shown below.
If you click on one of the statuses from the chart, a filter will be applied and show you all those links.
Also, if you are using Google Chrome and you want to inspect manually the links to your site, install the Nofollow extension. It will highlight the links that are nofollow and that are not passing any SEO juice. That’s an easy way to see if your link will have an impact on SEO or not.
6. Check if your SEO company is over optimising your site
Over optimisation can usually lead to serious problems, like a Google penalty. To avoid such problems, make sure that the links your SEO company is building don’t have an over optimised anchor text or they don’t create links only to your homepage.
Check your anchor text distribution on your Reports page.
The most popular anchor texts should be a combination of your brand names and site URL.
Not all SEO companies are good. That’s why you should always have doubts and concerns about trusting them. If you are already spending hundreds of dollars on a monthly contract, it would be nice if you could add a few extra bucks to keep track of your SEO progress. It will help you understand if your company is doing the right things for your site and know what’s working best for SEO. Give Monitor Backlinks a try and analyse your site’s SEO progress.