10 Tell Tale Signs Your SEO is Ripping You Off!

Okay, little disclaimer to start with, not all SEO agencies/companies and freelancers rip people off. There are many that are doing great work, following Google’s recommendations on adding quality resources to websites and looking to increase the popularity of their client’s websites in the search results by making their websites a much better resource for that subject.

However, there are no doubt many SEOs (or those that pretend to be SEOs) that rip businesses off! The majority of businesses that hire SEO do not know the subject well enough to make a great decision and this often leads to businesses hiring SEO companies that rip them off! I see it all the time, “We’re paying [insert crap SEO company name] £850 a month but we don’t know what they do”.

They seem to follow common traits and here are 10 quick fire tell tale signs to see if you’re getting full value from hiring SEO services.

1. SEO Monthly Report – Just Google Analytics Screen Prints…

The SEO report you receive every month should show the work completed during the month. If not, tell the SEO company you want to see in bullet point format all activity during the month. You can login to Google Analytics whenever you like, therefore the SEO report should show what your money has gone on! Even if your paying less than £300 per moth in SEO fees.

2. You know the plan?!?

If your saying “What plan?” Then you in trouble, the SEO company should have explained in simple terms (plain easy to understand English) what the plan is, how they are going to increase search engine traffic to your website. Typical responses from reputable companies will include things such as “Producing great content such as [insert example of great content relevant to website/sector]”.

3. Finding it hard to speak to someone other than the Sales person?

I have seen this one many times, when the client asks for an update they are unable to speak to anyone other than the original sales person who sold the contract. You need to be able to ask questions about the work and get proper answers rather than a sales person assuring you the work is being completed but giving no specifics. Who is the person doing the actual work?!? Do they know what they are doing?!?

4. Not Asked for Your Input

Okay, they are the search engine experts but you the client has great industry knowledge. I always will ask the client for their input whether that be expert blog posts, common questions they are asked from customers etc…

An example is we were working with a car parts supplier and the most common question was “Would this part fit this model [insert model]?”. From this we were able to produce a resource which automatically tells you which models the part is compatible with and therefore has now produced over 350 backlinks to the resource. Not possible without client input.

I want clients involved, rip off merchants do not want clients to get involved.

5.  No content/resources being added to the website

Nothing been changed on the site? No new blog posts, pages, guides etc…

Typical rip off scam is to say working on off-page optimisation to explain why nothing changing on the site.

6. Reports showing ranking for Trophy keywords

In addition to Google Analytics screen grabs is the SEO Report full of search engine rankings for trophy keywords. Check if those keywords received any traffic in the last in Google Analytics.

Commonly, SEO companies will pick uncompetitive keywords to rank for to show the work is being done/is working but if those keyword phrases get no traffic then not worth targeting those keyword phrases.

7. No idea of the hourly rate?

Do ask your agency or freelancer what their hourly rate is? You will be surprised that a lot of agencies charge between £80 – £120 per hour whilst freelancers can go from £35 on the low side to £70 on the high side.

Therefore, if your paying £500 a month to an agency expect them to spend around 5 hours on your account per month! You need to get an understanding of how many hours you are paying for per month. 5 hours per month in a competitive market, your basically throwing your money away as it will not make a dent.

8. Fly by night SEO

Lets face it, the start up costs for someone who wants to sell SEO services are low. You need a desk (spare room?), phone line (mobile?) and a website and you are off! Be aware there are a lot of fly by night operations offering poor SEO at high prices.

Make sure you check your SEO consultant out on Linkedin and see how long they have been working in SEO for? Ask them about their experience and do not be afraid to get references and see what content they have produced about SEO and since what date.

9. They doing more worse than good?

I’ve heard about supposed ‘SEO consultants’ offering monthly packages at £50! Now you may think, that is a low price, what have I got to lose. An inexperienced SEO consultant can get your website completely wiped from Google’s index.

Therefore the answer to ‘what have you got to lose?’ Is all your current traffic from Google! Be careful and make sure you hire an adequately experienced professional.

10. Hiding behind ‘SEO takes 12 months to get results’

There is no doubt that SEO takes time. It takes time and resources to produce great content and fixing a lot of on-site issues.

However, there are plenty of companies that hide behind the motto of ‘don’t question our work’ for 12 months and by then they have had 12 months of fees so happy for the unhappy client to leave.

Make sure every month you understand work completed for the money you have invested. Do not let the company you are hiring to just sit and take fees for 12 months, question them! Ask them what the plan is!

Thinking your being ripped off? Feel free to give me a call and I can help you to see what a good SEO company should be doing.

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