Since SEO really started to kick off off in 2006, the number of companies out there has grown exponentially. Also around that time, SEO became mainstream, and every business was told that it’s now a necessity.
But unfortunately, there are many SEO companies out there that have no respect for the profession. Their goal is to churn through new clients as fast as possible.
These types of SEO companies are operated mainly by people who are good at business, but not SEO. They’re good at getting sales, but not at delivering results and ranking your website.
Another part of the problem is that most small business owners don’t know how to determine if an SEO company will be able to accomplish what they promise.
5 traits of a trustworthy SEO company
Don’t become another victim to false promises from faux SEOs. Remember these five traits of a trustworthy SEO agency. Bookmark this page if you must. The information here could save your business from disaster. If your business is caught using bad SEO practices, this can hurt your website in the eyes of Google for a very long time.
#1 trait of a trustworthy SEO company: satisfied clients
Let’s get the most obvious (but most important) trait out of the way first. The proof is in the pudding as the old saying goes. However, you should take this a step further by doing a bit more digging into the testimonials yourself. Your investigative work should include:
Looking at what SEO techniques the company is using to promote their clients’ websites. Are they black hat techniques that can get those websites blacklisted by Google, or are they white hat techniques? If it’s the former then move on!
Has the company been around longer than one year? If so, then you should see some positive reviews from previous clients.
Does the company service industries that are similar to yours? And if so, can they also forward you to customers that they’ve served in those industries? If not, then you should take any promises they make with a grain of salt.
You can also get an honest feel from looking at the company’s online reviews—both on the website and 3rd party review sites like Google My Business, Facebook and others.
2: Realistic promises
And speaking of promises, let’s talk about what realistic promises from SEO companies should look like.
It’s pretty simple: a trustworthy company will never guarantee first page results. As any legitimate SEO company knows, there are no guaranteed results for any keyword search. No SEO company knows Google’s inner workings or is privy to secret hacks that the rest of us don’t possess.
Additionally, things are always changing in the SEO world. So what worked 6 months ago may no longer work the same way today.
And finally, SEO takes time to work. How much time it takes depends on your SEO campaign goals and your budget to achieve them.
With the right information from you, a reliable SEO company should be able to guarantee certain metrics that can be included in the contract you sign.
Many people have been burned by so called “SEO experts,” and good SEO companies know this. This is why trustworthy SEO companies will strive to be as transparent as possible to build and maintain trust with you.
Here are 3 signs of a transparent SEO company:
They should let you know what needs to be done, why it needs to be done, and how it will be done. They should also have scheduled meetings with you, whether over the phone, through web cam, or in person.
You should have direct access to the company’s SEO experts, without any hassle or delay. Not having this access is considered a red flag; it could mean that their search engine optimization expert doesn’t even exist!
The company should provide you with regular reports. Many companies don’t do this, but it’s important to know the history of the work they’ve done; otherwise, you’ll never actually know how well your SEO campaign is doing! The reporting should be consistent, whether weekly or monthly. Reports should be thorough but easy to understand.
4. Real SEO, not paid ads
Make sure that the money you’re paying is going towards SEO and not PPC (paid ads). Paid ads will bring short term business and are valuable in their own way and can work really well with SEO if done right. SEO on the other hand brings long term success.
5. Are you on my side?
Ask if the company is working with other similar businesses in your area. If their answer is yes, you might want to consider moving on. You don’t want to work with a company who is willing to also help out and market for your competitors.
Bonus: Get free consultations
Get as many free consultations from different companies as you can. Compare the assessments given by each company. Look at how they came up with milestones, their methods used, and their projected results.