I’ve been working on one client’s account and encountered some consequence of the operations of the previous SEO agency. The SEO agency in question has actually won awards, which comes as a great surprise since the quality of the SEO and the value generated for the client is questionable. Occasionally I get contacted by other SEO companies proposing the outsourcing of work, but all too often it’s the same old story; poor SEO practices. Therefore I thought I’d take some time to compile some of the most common characteristics of poor SEO agencies.
1) They do blackhat SEO
Some of the other reasons will comprise of the dysfunctions of practicing blackhat SEO, however it warrants a separate factor. There is a time and a place for blackhat SEO but on client accounts isn’t one of them. With the size of the accounts I work on, there are various stakeholder group interests to be taken into consideration, the risks of a strategy featuring blackhat far, far outweigh the advantages. The consequences for being penalised with a major client is that people could lose their jobs, and investors could lose capital. These are not risks that can be taken, and so it’s essential that strategies should be white hat.
2) … and they do it badly
Not only do they do blackhat, they do it badly. Your inbound link portfolio consists of a large proportion of inbound links placed with no context, with the perfect anchor text on PR loaded, low domain authority pages. They make no regard to maintaining an organic looking anchor text distribution, nor a natural PR distribution of links. Probably all of your key phrase targeted links appear only on pages PR3 and above, sending alarm bells to Google.
You’ll likely to have a range of links on penalised pages too, lowering your domain authority and link reputation.
3) They will turn off all your links when you switch agency
Unless you plan to be with your SEO agency for the rest of time, one day you won’t renew your contract and when that day comes, your SEO agency will stop paying for all the links that have been giving your rankings. When that day comes, you’ll lose your rankings, your links and you will be back to square one. Not at any point are you generating any sustainable competitive advantage. Indeed, with consideration to this you’ll only building up your barriers to switching supplier which in turn makes you more dependable and places you in a worse position to negotiate new terms.
4) They target vanity terms with no consideration to ROI
It’s common for management to place great pleasure on vanity terms, and sometimes as an agency you have to fullfill this. However it’s the responsibility of the SEO agency to convey the importance of leading a ROI focused campaign that delivers returns, not boasting material for management. SEO isn’t just about attaining high position in Google, but high positions that deliver returns on investment. 80% of traffic can come from the long tail, and ignoring this can be a huge mistake too. I’d always recommend tracking search traffic through to sales, so you can see which keywords are delivering you sales, and accordingly target these.
5) They underestimate good on page optimisation
It’s true that the Google algorithm heavily values inbound links in determining rankings, but on page optimisation should not be neglected. As previously stated, 80% of traffic is generally derived from the long tail, and accordingly on page retains great importance. Getting a good, indexable website is crucial, and an approach to content creation that gives consideration to semantics allows your to far better target the long tail.
No doubt I’ll continue to keep coming up with ideas why your SEO agency sucks, but this list will do for now. If you’re looking for a SEO agency, make sure you are satisfied with these points when you pick one.