With a title like this I think the best thing to do is to jump straight into the deep end and link to… let’s see some obscure SEO site with advice on getting rankings easily and with minimal effort, you pay £xxx.00 and voila in no time said company will have you ranking for any keywords of your choice!?
That is far more common than you might think and in my experience the one I often come across from clients and prospects is: “we will rank you position #1 for your keywords X Y Z”.
So what I meant to say was with a title like that the best thing is to link to Google’s own SEO guidelines I will provide a short summary of those to make it easier to digest below, but first let’s look at other common signs of a deceptive SEO company or consultant.
- We will rank you position #1 for your keywords
The strongest of Google’s guidelines is that no one can guarantee you position #1 for any keyword, so if your company or consultant offer any guarantee they’re simply not being truthful. Time to abandon ship!
- We can’t tell you how we do it
This often means they done or are doing very little, most information about your site is publicly available anyway, such as the links to your site, and even the average position of some or most of the keywords your site ranks for.
- If you stop paying our monthly fee we remove the links to your site
That is also a sign that they either never actually built any links in the first place, or if they did they did, they were most likely automated links of low quality or possibly even links that are damaging your site, the recent and current algorithm updates targeting that practice is called Penguin update.
Think about it for a minute, you stop paying them and they will waste more time removing links? I think not! They will just move along and spend time looking for the next victim.
- Hidden keywords – cloaking – e.g. white text on white background
If you are in doubt whether someone has ever used this tactic on your site do the following on a few pages, start at the top or bottom and highlight all the content, you can also do this by using Control +A on windows and Command +A for Mac. Doing this will reveal any hidden text if there’s any.
- Different content for users and Google
I recently audited a site that had suffered some sudden drops, so a penalty was applied, within minutes I identified no less than 600 pages loaded with keywords and links to other sites, and none of those pages were actually visible to a normal web visitor or linked from anywhere on the main site navigation and the 100 or so pages that composed the user viewable part of the site.
What To Do?
If any of the above is happening on your site, I strongly recommend that you first change any passwords you’ve given to anyone for that site and then stop all contracts.
Needless to say use this advice at your sole discretion and as with all other advice on this site it is provided for informational purposes only in accordance with our terms and conditions.
In case you missed it above here it is again for good measure the link to Google’s own SEO guidelines, and below you’ll find the main points to look out for and questions to ask when hiring an SEO company or consultant.
What can SEOs do
- Review of your site content or structure
- Content development
- Management of online business development campaigns
- Keyword research
- SEO training
- Expertise in specific markets and geographies.
Some useful questions to ask an SEO include:
- Can you show me examples of your previous work and share some success stories?
- Do you follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines?
- Do you offer any online marketing services or advice to complement your organic search business?
- What kind of results do you expect to see, and in what timeframe? How do you measure your success?
- What’s your experience in my industry?
- What’s your experience in my country/city?
- What’s your experience developing international sites?
- What are your most important SEO techniques?
- How long have you been in business?
- How can I expect to communicate with you? Will you share with me all the changes you make to my site, and provide detailed information about your recommendations and the reasoning behind them?
There’s also the general Webmaster Guidelines with a video below.
So there you have it, hope that saves you some money and trouble with your SEO hiring.
Need an SEO that plays by the book? HINT HINT