How to Find an SEO Agency that Won’t Screw You

Brian Miller

Some business owners have a higher SEO IQ than others, and it goes without saying that businesses who know very little about search optimization and digital marketing don’t know how to vet the good agencies from the hacks. The digital marketing industry is not licensed or regulated meaning that any nerd with an inheritance can open up shop in his basement or even get office space and represent himself as a full bird SEO ninja. These are the guys who soil our industry; they promise the impossible, make time-sucking excuses, put on a good show, but ultimately they are not delivering a return for their clients. In order to determine the bad SEO hacks from the reputable search optimization experts, there are a few things to look for when creating your short list of potential agency partners.

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Bad SEO Providers Offer Guarantees and Promise the Moon

Regardless as to how competitive your industry is, if any SEO provider says they can get you onto page one of Google within a time frame,  generate revenue, or hit any other goals you may have, do not work with them. The truth of the matter is this: Google doesn’t divulge its secrets, nor is there a magic switch that can be flipped to place someone on page one of Google. And even if there was, high organic ranking is still no guarantee that you will make more sales. The best SEO agencies who generate business growth make no guarantees but instead engineer research-based marketing strategies designed to hit their client’s goals while offering 100 percent transparency.

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They Don’t Provide Google Analytics Access to their Clients

Google Analytics only does one thing: it shows data revealing how people found your website and how they engaged with it. That’s it. If any SEO provider claims it contains their agency secrets, or they tell you that you don’t need access because they share a report with you, don’t buy it. Any agency has monthly reporting but only trusted agencies give their clients access to their own analytics. Without GA access, the provider has no accountability and clearly has something to hide (they likely doctor their marketing reports).

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Low Pricing, or Pricing that Makes Zero Sense for an SEO Agency

If an SEO provider offers their services at, oh let’s say, $800 a month, you should be skeptical. Remember that you are hiring someone to grow your business, and do you really want the “Ross Dress for Less” standard for your digital marketing vendor? That said, you don’t want to overspend either. Be sure to ask your potential SEO agencies how they determine their pricing. More importantly, if they give you a price before even analyzing your business and learning what your goals are, don’t work with them. Why? Because reputable agencies use value-based pricing models or they base their service fees on the time it will take for them to provide the necessary services to help you achieve your goals. Remember, this is not your cable TV provider where you can pick service packages; your business is unique and therefore it requires a custom strategy. Without understanding the ins and outs of your business, how can a dollar quote be presented?

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About
Brian is an SEO strategist with 8 years of industry experience with a passion for bridging on-site SEO with UX, and mobile search optimization. Having previously worked as a SEO strategist for an agency in Chicago where his work won him “Best SEO of 2015”, WEBITMD is proud to have him as a driving member of our growing team. When Brian isn’t researching consumer engagement data and constructing winning growth marketing strategies, he can be found exploring craft beer locations or fishing with his brothers off Catalina Island. He loves camping with his wife and four year old daughter, playing the guitar, and blacksmithing in his garage where he makes and sells replicas of ancient weapons.


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