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To some, SEO (or search engine optimization, for short) is a vital component of their entire marketing strategy. A branch off the ole marketing tree. For others, SEO may be the lifeline of their companies success – like a plumbing contractor running a one-man show.
One thing all of us business owners or employees have in common – we hate scams. Whether you’re the Director of Marketing for a Fortune 100 company with offices around the U.S. and abroad, or Joe of Joe’s Plumbing Co. in Grasmere, Idaho, you deserve an online marketing partner looking out for your best interest.
So, how you do you know if your SEO company is a scam, or if they genuinely are working for you? Read our 8 signs your SEO company is a scam below…
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SCAM ALERT: Find out how your SEO company is doing!
8 Warning Signs of an SEO Scam
1. Your SEO Company Won’t Talk to You
Have you ever tried getting in touch with your account manager, or even worse, just anybody at your SEO company and nobody seems to respond? You’re not alone.
If your SEO company tends to dodge your questions, drops the ball on responding to your phone calls or emails, or you seemed to get passed along from one person to another, chances are they may not have your business’s best interest in mind and might be a scam.
“Is Blue Corona easy to talk to?”
Yes. In fact, we’ll give you direct access to your account manager via phone and email, and you’ll always talk with the same contact regarding your website, your SEO campaign, and its performance.
2. Your SEO Company Doesn’t Send You Reports
Would you continually pay a cable bill month after month, even if you couldn’t watch TV?
We admit, comparing search engine optimization to channel surfing isn’t quite apples-to-apples, but you get the picture. (Get it?)
The beautiful part of SEO is there are massive amounts of data to be reported on. From the number of organic website visits month-over-month, to organic leads earned by your SEO campaign, year-over-year comparisons, keyword tracking, etc., etc.
Chances are, if your SEO company doesn’t send you reports detailing their work and your campaign performance, your SEO company may be a scam.
“Does Blue Corona send reports?”
Yes. At Blue Corona, we send monthly reports detailing:
- Number of organic website visits
- Number of contact forms driven by organic search
- Number of phone calls generated by organic search
- Month-over-month and year-over-year data comparisons
- Details about the work we completed
- Links to work we completed
- Industry insights and how these impact your website
- And more!
3. Your SEO Company Doesn’t Optimize for Local Search
Let’s be honest. If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re not running a billion-dollar company. Most businesses rely on the success of local search campaigns to drive website visits and conversions.
For example, an HVAC company wants homeowners and business owners within their service area to visit their site – and ultimately make their phone ring. What’s the purpose of getting the attention of homeowners two states away? There is none.
If your SEO company doesn’t optimize for local search results, you may be part of an SEO scam.
“Does Blue Corona optimize for local search?”
Yes. Our clients rely heavily on local search performance, which is why we always create
hyper-local SEO campaigns targeting visitors in our client’s cities and their surrounding areas.
4. Your SEO Company GUARANTEES #1 Rankings
Guaranteeing a #1 ranking on SERPs is something all SEOs dream about. While it may be nice to hear your online marketing partner make claims like, “We guarantee a #1 ranking in one month!,” or “You’ll outrank your competitors, guaranteed!,” you may want to ask them more about this subject.
Google’s core search algorithm is fluid. It’s more than once per day, on average. While these aren’t major updates that significantly impact your placement on search pages, you can never know exactly when or what Google will change next.
Keep a watchful eye on your SEO company’s campaign strategy if they guarantee a #1 ranking. You could be a part of an SEO scam. Would you trust an SEO “company” whose email is a GMail account and guarantees rankings like the one below? Didn’t think so.
SEO expert Rand Fishkin of Moz expands on this topic here.
“Does Blue Corona guarantee #1 rankings?”
No. However, our SEO campaign managers will carefully research your products and services, your market, and your competitors’ digital marketing campaigns to give you a straightforward answer about the potential your SEO campaign.
5. Your Leads Aren’t Qualified
Not all website traffic was created equal. If you’re getting leads from outside your service area or from customers who are unqualified, your SEO company may be a scam.
Did you hire your SEO company because they promised more leads? If so you’re not alone… but have you re-visited those leads recently? Unqualified leads will always be an occurrence, but they shouldn’t be the majority of your inbound leads.
For example, a blog post title “10 signs your air conditioner is broken” may attract visitors from all over the country, and one of those visitors may happen to fill out a contact form, not realizing you’re company isn’t anywhere near them!
The instance above is a natural occurrence for SEOs, but the majority of your company’s newly acquired inbound leads should be within a qualified area. If more than 40 percent of the inbound leads is from unqualified search areas, chances are you may be part of SEO fraud.
“Does Blue Corona target only qualified leads?”
Yes. We only target customers in your qualified area. We focus our SEO efforts in towns and cities near you and within areas you tell us to target!
6. Your SEO Company Focuses ONLY On Keyword Rankings, Not Leads
Keyword rankings are important – there’s no denying that. Ranking #1 for “Italian restaurant” in your respected city could generate thousands of dollars of new business over the course of a year (if you manage an Italian restaurant, of course!).
The same goes for occupying the #1 spot on SERPs for any given keyword.
However, an SEO company that focuses only on keyword rankings and not leads is something to watch out for. What’s the point of a #1 ranking if none of those visitors actually want to schedule service or buy your product?
“Does Blue Corona only focus on keyword rankings?”
No. Although we do track keyword rankings for you and your competitors, it’s not our the best indicator of true ROI from the web.
We look at it this way: Did you hire us to rank #1 and generate $0 in new revenue in the year, or did you hire us to increase rankings and generate thousands of dollars in new revenue for your business?
You tell us.
7. Your SEO Company Promises “100 New Links!”
It’s no secret the authority and SEO value highly-qualified backlinks provide to your site. In fact, we believe backlinks are one of the top search engine ranking factors, and so do other industry leaders.
With the release of Google Penguin in 2012 and the pending 2016 Penguin update, SEO companies promising any number of new links to your site are more than likely engaging in black-hat (unethical) SEO tactics and could result in your site being penalized by past or future algorithm updates.
Link building can be highly beneficial to your SEO campaign, if done right. If your SEO company promises a lot of new links, but never discusses their strategies or what types of links, they might be a scam.
“Does Blue Corona use black-hat link building schemes?”
Never. Our team takes a firm stance against unethical link building schemes and never promises a set number of new backlinks to your site. The best way to earn trustworthy links (from .gov, .edu, or local websites in your community) is to create shareable content.
Publish website content that you and your visitors will want to share, naturally acquiring backlinks in the process and establishing YOU as the authority in your industry.
Learn more about what makes good backlinks.
8. Your SEO Company Puts Too Much Focus On “Technical SEO”
Search engine optimization from a firm involved in an SEO scam might put too much of an emphasis on “technical SEO,” or behind the scenes work invisible to the naked eye browsing your website.
While technical SEO is a key component to any successful SEO campaign, black-hat SEO companies often fail to publish new content on a consistent basis to your site. Always ask your SEO company
“Does Blue Corona focus on technical SEO?”
Yes. At Blue Corona, we’ll optimize your technical SEO for you. Optimizing meta descriptions, title tags, optimizing page speed, and other technical SEO elements.
However, we also focus on other areas of search engine optimization, such as:
- Local SEO
- NAP citations
- Natural link building
- Publishing new website content
- And more!
Find Out If Your SEO Company a Scam
Want to see if your SEO company is a scam, or if they’re engaging in white-hat SEO? Contact us today to learn more!
About The Author: Blue Corona's Editorial Staff is determined to help you increase your leads and sales, optimize your marketing costs, and differentiate your brand by passing on our tribal knowledge. The team vigilantly stays on top of the latest in digital marketing, bringing you the top insights with expert commentary. Want to see something on our blog you haven't seen yet? Shoot us an email and our marketing team will get to work.
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