The world of search engine optimization is no secret to most business owners with a website, but it’s quite obvious that spotting SEO scams still is. About 25% of our clients come to us after paying for SEO and getting no results – or no SEO at all for that matter. Most had poor quality SEO services that were tacked on to package website deals, while others didn’t go through much of a vetting process when selecting their company. The result was a lot of money spent and the mindset that SEO is a scam. Were those clients scammed by their previous SEO companies? In some cases, yes. In other cases, their SEO providers were simply unskilled. Is SEO a scam? No. How then, do you know if the SEO company you hired is doing their job right, if at all?

You paid for SEO services, but your website doesn’t show it.

The most obvious scam is when a person unfamiliar with SEO hires a company to optimize their site. Believing SEO must be a complicated service not obvious to the naked eye, the client assumes the work has been done and that they are the proud owners of an optimized website. After sitting on it for a while and getting no results, they do a little research to find that their website is missing some of the most crucial aspects of proper search engine optimization. Their SEO companies were guilty of one or more of the following:

  • They didn’t add a blog (or recommend adding one).
  • If you didn’t have a blog or weren’t keeping one up and they never mentioned it to you, then they either have no idea what they’re doing or they aren’t doing anything. Business websites with weekly blogs get five times more traffic than sites without them! This is because they are an integral part of building up a library of high-quality, industry-related information optimized for important search terms.

  • They didn’t find or notify you of broken links on site.
  • When you first hire an SEO company, they should perform an in-depth SEO audit on your site. This will show them any problems affecting your rankings. If there are broken links, that’s a red flag to Google. If you click through your site and stumble upon a broken link yourself (or worse a client does), but you were never notified about it, that’s a problem. Ask your SEO company to provide the data from your SEO audit, specifically, the link report.

  • They didn’t notify you about the plagiarized content.
  • If you had anyone other than you write the copy for your website, be sure to check it for plagiarism. You can enter each of your webpage URLs at Copyscape.com for a free plagiarism scan. For larger sites, you’ll need to copy and paste the content to check it at smallseotools.com/plagiarism-checker/ . If you find pages with less than 88% originality scores, Google could be downgrading your ranking. Your SEO company should have discovered this in their audit process.

  • They didn’t add keywords to webpage copy.
  • This is SEO 101. While you don’t want to see keywords all over the place, you do want to see them in the page title, and a few times throughout the page. If you can’t find them or if you’re finding too many of the same one, your SEO company isn’t doing you any ranking favors.

It is true there are some SEO strategies that aren’t immediately obvious, but these definitely should be. A skilled company will make changes to every layer of your website as well as to related websites you use around the internet.

You haven’t heard from your SEO company for a year or more.

This is the second most obvious and most prevalent scam we see. Clients say they purchased a year of SEO services a year ago and haven’t heard from them since. Normally, there were changes made to the website, but they were sloppily done and did not improve SEO. We see a lot of incorrect optimization. This is most likely because it was done a year ago. Unfortunately, a year in SEO terms is extremely out of date. If you haven’t heard from your SEO company in over a year, it’s definitely time for a new one.

Your SEO company does not send you monthly reports.

Really? You’re not getting any reports from your SEO company? Even if you’re only getting reports annually, that’s a red flag. The world of SEO changes on a daily basis. Your competitors are out there making changes to their own SEO strategies, new people are creating websites and media on the same topics, and everyone is challenging someone else for one of the top three spots.

This is an example of an SEO report from Jurevicious Studios.

This is an example of an SEO report from Jurevicious Studios.

Because of this constant back and forth, your SEO provider should be constantly tracking and making changes to your SEO plan. These changes should be coming to your attention in the way of easy-to-read reports. You should know what’s happening with your SEO and why. Hold your SEO company accountable and ask for monthly reporting.

Your SEO company isn’t doing something meant to help your ranking every week.

Every day, spiders crawl the web looking for new information to index so we can find it in the search engines. Every week, your competitors are getting their content out there and improving their rankings. Every few months, Google changes their algorithms which affects how websites are ranked. In order to keep up with all of this, optimization is something that must be developed over time. Your SEO company should change their strategies based on Google updates, internet progress, and best practices in the industry. In fact, every single week, you should see something happening that is meant to improve your SEO. Ideally, this should include:

  • a weekly blog,
  • daily social media posts,
  • a couple of backlinks,
  • one piece of weekly multimedia,

as well as all the research, monitoring, analysis, adjusting, etc. that it takes to make sure all those items go out with the right content.

Your SEO company isn’t sending you recommendations based on their analysis and results.

Even if you do receive reports, it’s important that you understand them. All that data is of no use if you don’t know what it means. A quality SEO company will be able to explain it in laymen’s terms and make internet marketing recommendations based on their findings. They can give you great information about your internet audience and their behavior, helping you make better business decisions.

Your SEO company does not perform in-depth quarterly SEO audits.

We already mentioned reporting, but a quick monthly report is not the same thing as an in-depth quarterly SEO audit. Those audits should show your website improving in both on- and off-page SEO.

You should be getting quarterly SEO audits for your business website.

This is an example of in-depth SEO audit from Jurevicious Studios.

You should see fewer pages without optimization on your site, more backlinks, higher rankings, a wider array of content and media, and optimization for more keywords. How do you know your SEO is improving if you don’t compare the data from before and after you spent all that money?

Your SEO company is not coordinating with your internet marketing department.

There was a time when SEO was a complex mathematical phenomenon that few believed they could master. Now though, we’ve all realized it’s just another aspect of internet marketing. You need to get your business noticed and get customers to your counter. On the internet, the best way to do this is to be as many places as possible. This is why it’s so surprising when we come across SEO companies who are not also internet marketers. The two go hand-in-hand and you simply can’t succeed at one without the other. The biggest clues to this lack of integration are normally:

  • the repeated marketing message is reading as plagiarism
  • new backlinks aren’t reported on or tracked
  • new backlinks aren’t promoted on the website or on social media
  • SEO data is not a part of the premarketing campaign decisions
  • keywords have nothing to do with most current promotion
  • social media hasn’t been integrated into the website
  • social media posts aren’t optimized
  • social media posts aren’t targeting current SEO campaign keywords
  • blogs, social media, multimedia, press releases, and more aren’t connected or coordinated

There are many more, but these are some of the worst offenders. Don’t let black hat SEO take advantage of you or your company. Find out if your SEO provider is really doing their job. If not, contact Jurevicious Studios and experience the difference it makes when you hire a reputable SEO company with the knowledge, experience, and talent of a full-service marketing team.