Writing by Nick Stamoulis in SEO
Deciding to hire an SEO service provider is a major business decision, and it’s important that you make sure you are working with the best one for your company. There are a lot of black hat spammers out there looking to take advantage of business owners that don’t know better, but sometimes it’s the “just okay” SEO providers you need to be extra careful to avoid. On paper they may look great, but are they really willing to do the work necessary to help your website succeed?
1. Not willing to work competitive keywords into the long term strategy.
I was actually speaking with a new client the other week who told me that their former SEO service provider outlined exactly which ten keywords they would target in all of their ongoing SEO efforts. If a keyword didn’t make that list they weren’t going for it. First off, limiting your SEO campaign to 10 keywords is ridiculous. Secondly, in their list of keywords they left of some of the most important, albeit competitive, keywords that this business should have been targeting from the get-go! I guess their former SEO service provider decided it was too much work on their part to bother. Are certain keywords more competitive than others? Of course! But that doesn’t mean you leave them out of your strategy completely.
2. Isn’t upfront about amount of work needs to achieve long term success.
If you own a site that has been around for a few years but has never done any serious SEO you have some real work cut out for you. Too many black hat SEO service providers take advantage of unsuspecting or uneducated (in terms of SEO) business owners and don’t outline exactly how much work is going to be needed to achieve long term success. You can’t publish a handful of blog posts, build a couple dozen links and some business profiles and expect overnight success. That’s one of the reasons I try to be as transparent as possible with our SEO clients about what we are doing and when we are doing it. We develop a 12 month link building strategy so that at any given moments our clients can know exactly what work we are doing for them that month. That strategy is also there to help clients understand that SEO is a long term process. There is no short cut to success and it’s going to take a lot of time and work to get where you want to be. Anyone that says anything else is just trying to “sell” you.
3. Only interested in going after the “low hanging fruit” to make themselves look good.
Part of being an SEO service provider is justifying yourself and your efforts to your clients. I send monthly SEO reports (pulled from the client’s Google Analytics) so they can see the effects of our efforts over time. I want them to know their money, time and energy is paying off. At the end of the day though, data can be twisted to say just about anything you want. Some SEO service providers take advantage of this fact and only report on their success with the “low hanging fruit” of their client’s SEO campaign. This might include keywords the client was previously ranking for (say in the middle of page 2) that have been bumped up (maybe to the bottom of page one). While that is indeed an SEO success, those low hanging fruit keywords are only part of the overall campaign. How are your priority keywords faring? What new long tails are driving traffic? What un-targeted variations is your site doing well for? Your SEO service provider should use reporting to give you a whole picture of their efforts, not just the rose colored glasses view.