So, you’ve heard about SEO and understand why you should hire an expert to begin optimising your website. Now you’re wondering how to tell the difference between bad SEO and good SEO…

Like any industry there are agencies out there who are willing to use negative tactics to try for quick results that will only harm your site in the long run. They’re able to do this because the average website owner doesn’t understand the technical elements that make up good SEO practices. The “Black Hat” techniques used by these companies aggressively target search engines, rather than human audiences, and don’t obey Google’s Best Practice guidelines. It might get you a quick result, but it won’t be long before Google notices and penalises your website.

Even if you don’t know much about SEO, there are a few fail-safe ways to tell if a company or strategist is trying to get the better of you with false promises and Black Hat SEO.

1. Lack of Transparency

Look out for companies with little or no transparency. Scout for testimonials, call other companies they’ve worked with – take your time to do some research. Before you hire them, ask them what techniques they will use, how they perform the techniques and how they report on their work. Also, ask how often you should expect contact from them or how you can reach them when you have questions.

Basically, you want to know what they do, how they do it and why they do it.

Any company working in the digital space should be able to offer in-depth and regular reporting. If they tell you otherwise, look elsewhere.

2. Cheap Services

You may be looking for a deal but, like any service, you get what you pay for. Naturally, there will be slight discrepancies between different business’ prices, and while it’s good to shop the competition, if you’ve come across dramatically low prices you’ve most likely found an untrustworthy company. Any SEO specialist offering highly underpriced services are likely using automated, spammy tactics which will only damage your website’s ranking. Good SEO costs money, because specialists who are doing things properly need to invest a lot of time to perform quality optimisations.

3. Outlandish Guarantees

If you see promises like, “Rank On Page #1 or Pay Nothing” – run. Fantastic promises are the quickest way to identify a dishonest company. Absolutely no SEO company can “guarantee” results. SEO teams must abide by Google’s algorithm, and no one really knows exactly how it works. They can only put into play Best Practice techniques to slowly improve your website ranking. If your website is suddenly implementing hundreds of backlinks per month, after a while Google is going to blacklist you. Real, quality links involve human interaction; it’s impossible to guarantee how many links will be garnered as the SEO team isn’t in control of the websites they’re approaching.

SEO takes time and money, but it’s worth it and necessary. With the number of websites being launched every day, you need to be working on regular, quality search engine optimisations to ensure you’re picked out from the crowd.

If you have questions about our SEO management service, give us a call or send us an email. Or if you want to get started on a few basic optimisations on your own, check out our 10-step SEO action plan.