How to Tell if Your SEO Company is Ripping You Off: Signs to Look For

Recently, this concern turned up on among my ConnectedIn Groups from a regional organization who had actually been undoubtedly scammed by an SEO business. It’s an excellent concern, and one that’s well worth checking out.

How to Sniff Out SEO Scams

As SEO specialists ourselves, it discomforts us to hear customers inform us scary stories about SEO rip-offs and unethical business they have actually come down with in the past. Don’t end up being a victim! Here are some warnings when referring a possible SEO partner:

1. Unsolicited e-mail pitches or calls

Beware of business that cold-call or email you their SEO pitch. Typically these pitches begin with “I was just looking over your website…”  Most respectable digital marketing firms are growing so quick they don’t have time to sales call nationally. The ones who do are normally fraudsters. If the email/call you get satisfies the requirements listed below, cautioning bells must be going off:

  • You never ever become aware of the business
  • Your network and partners have actually never ever become aware of the business
  • They e-mail or call you continuously without your authorization or any previous contact with their business
  • Your organization is not situated within 50 miles of that business’s head office

We have actually seen numerous individuals get scammed from these unsolicited e-mails or calls, 75% of them never ever understood it.

2. They utilize a generic organization name

Beware of the generic sounding names like or Now a generic-sounding organization name is not an ensured indication of a fraudster. I’m sure there are some services with generic names in it that are excellent, however in basic, it’s a tipoff. It’s much easier to vanish into the woodwork and prevent getting taken legal action against when you have a generic non-name.

3. Unrealistic costs

If an offer sounds too excellent to be real, it is. Prices for SEO will differ based upon how extensive the program is and how competitive your market is. However, if your lawyer is assuring you the world for a $200 each month cost keep in mind, you get what you spend for. Often times these low expense month-to-month programs depend on you not caring excessive to sign in on outcomes or concern what real work is being done.

4. Their examines stink or they have a great deal of 5 star and 1 star evaluations

Google their organization name + “reviews.”  Do they have less than a 4 star credibility? Or even worse, are you seeing scams grievances showing up in the search results page?   What do the workers state about the company? Google Glassdoor + their organization name, once again a score of less than 4 stars must be worrying to you.  If they have a mix of 5 star and 1 star examines that’s likewise an indication.

5. Guaranteed leading keyword positionings

Sounds counter-intuitive, best? But anybody who states something like “we guarantee a #1 ranking in one month” is scamming you.  Search algorithms alter all the time and search results page have actually ended up being customized. Therefore positionings will differ from individual to individual, place, and so on.

Instead, try to find a business that will provide you an uncomplicated response about your keyword ranking capacity. You might not like the response (all of us desire much better, earlier), however a minimum of you will understand you can trust them to be sincere with you.

6. Search outcomes are uninspired

I’ll state it once again: nobody can guarantee online search engine positionings like #1, 2 or 3. However, an excellent SEO firm can reveal you customers who have actually accomplished excellent lead to the online search engine. Those positionings must be for competitive keywords with a minimum of 20,000 search results page. You must not be impressed by page 1 rankings for keywords nobody is looking for.  If the firm cannot produce strong case research studies and reviews, conserve yourself a costly lesson and keep looking.

7. References “don’t understand SEO”

Asking for 3 recommendations is inadequate. There are lots of people who are quickly deceived or spent for. Have the recommendation review what the SEO business provides for them monthly and what sort of reporting they get. If the recommendations declare to be delighted, however are unclear in their reaction or claim to understand little about SEO, you must be fretted. Many of these business just target “easy picking” customers and deceive them.

8. They don’t request for login info

If you’ve currently spent for SEO work, how do you understand if the individual is in fact doing it? You might wait to see if you get any outcomes, however that might be a long and costly wait! The quickest method to choose fraudsters, is that they usually don’t even request for FTP gain access to or login info for your site.  This occurred to a lot of hotels in Lake George who were assured SEO for a $500 flat cost by a cold calling business. When I revealed the hotel owners that it was difficult for the business to do onsite SEO with no login info, they were astonished and unsuccessfully attempted to get their refund.

9. Buyer personalities and organization objectives are not gone over

The objective of SEO is not increased traffic. Wait what?!  Yes, you check out that right. The objective of SEO must be increasing leads or sales by increasing appropriate natural traffic.

In order to accomplish that objective, your SEO expert must be asking you about your organization prior to using any method or outcomes. If you don’t have at least a one-hour discussion about your organization, your rivals, your distinct selling points, target audience, purchaser personalities, brief and long-lasting goes, and so on… then they actually don’t get their function.

10. They don’t understand what schema is

Schema is absolutely a market buzzword, however does your lawyer in fact understand what it indicates? Do they understand why it is necessary for your site?

Ask your SEO contact to reveal you how they established the place schema and classification for your site. If they can’t address this on the fly and need to return to you… they haven’t been maintaining.

11. Reputation and evaluations are not gone over

If you are a regional business, they must be speaking with you about your online credibility and how to monitor it.  Positive evaluations and evaluation schema makes a huge distinction when it concerns putting well in regional searches.

12. You drive the keyword discussion

While it is necessary for you to have input on your keyword list, you must not be driving the conversation. Remember, YOU employed THEM to be the specialist. Any SEO expert worth their salt will have the ability to perform their own keyword research study and assist you comprehend how they chose the keyword expressions.

attorney vs. lawyer search trenda

For circumstances, if you are a law practice in NY, it may be beneficial to understand which term is more popular ‘attorney’ or ‘lawyer.’ (hint it is lawyer).

If an SEO expert is not speaking with you about keyword volume, synonyms, and competitiveness they are not as excellent as they declare to be. Also, if you are a regional organization your keywords require to be geographically appropriate.

13. No continuous interaction

If your strategist goes dark after you sign the agreement, you have actually probably been deceived. At the extremely least your strategist needs to be sharing month-to-month reports which information what work has actually been done, and the outcomes of those efforts. Ideally, your strategist needs to be connecting regularly to ask concerns, get your approval on brand-new material, and maintain to date with organization modifications that might affect the total method.

14. Page Speed is Ignored

screenshot of page speed score

Page speed might not be a direct ranking element, however to believe it doesn’t affect your rankings is out-of-date thinking. Search engines are everything about an excellent user experience, and page speed plays a substantial function in this. A website that takes control of 3 seconds to load is harming your organization. If your strategist isn’t enhancing your page speed you are losing out.

15. Conversion tracking isn’t carried out

I indicated it when I stated increased traffic isn’t adequate to call an SEO program effective. Google Analytics and conversion tracking must be among the very first things your strategist establishes. If you log into your Google Analytics and see this

Google Analytics account without goals set up

you are not handling an expert.  And I am not discussing determining things like sees to a page or time on website. While those are excellent standard metrics, if your firm is not actively determining modifications in sales, telephone call, contact type fills, or other essential conversions they are refraining from doing you justice.

How do you discover an EXCELLENT SEO Company?

There are a handful of things to try to find in a reliable digital marketing firm that you can depend on and trust. We’ve got a whole post about that here – make certain to examine it out.

Here’s the fast variation:

  1. Their customers have genuine outcomes.
  2. Their recommendations are actively associated with the SEO procedure – real partners.
  3. They have an excellent credibility in your area or in your specific niche market.

Looking for a regional SEO business you can trust your organization with?

Guess what, you simply discovered one. We’ve been a regional digital marketing firm in Upstate NY with over twenty years of success! We’d more than happy to reveal you results, case research studies, reviews, video reviews, and have you speak with our customers. Connect with us today!

Want us to evaluate your website? Let’s talk! It just takes 15 minutes to get more information about what will work best for your organization! Give us a call at 518-743-9424 to get the discussion began.

*Editor’s Note: This article was initially released in 2017, however has actually been upgraded since April 2020.


News and digital media editor, writer, and communications specialist. Passionate about social justice, equity, and wellness. Covering the news, viewing it differently.

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