As a business owner, marketing manager or webmaster you’ve been there; you’re either looking for an SEO provider or someone is trying to get you to switch to their ‘agency’. It can be hard to differentiate between who is legitimate and who isn’t and we have heard some horror stories! To help sort the cowboys from the experts, we’ve listed a few things to keep in mind when moving ahead and putting your trust in a company!
Top 3 things to Question
#1 Vague or Incorrect SEO Onsite Audits
Scare tactics are used quite a lot by dueling providers, and part of the ammunition are often vague or incorrect SEO audits of your website. These audits are usually run through a program or SEO software that aren’t always correct and are there to create problems where there may not actually be problems. They are often very vague and ambiguous, or even straight incorrect. Because they’re not done by a person, they are programmed and can’t ‘think’ or problem solve like a person can. They are also filled with jargon to confuse and bamboozle you and many of the items in them don’t even make sense!
For example, these types of software are often outdated and will tell you that your SEO isn’t right because your website doesn’t contain meta keywords. Any self-respecting expert knows that Google started viewing meta keywords as spam a long time ago.
Another example of a common mistake that these ‘audits’ make is that they are set to find a sitemap.xml. Most websites sitemap.xml will sit on the file path http://www.samplesite.co.nz/sitemap.xml however this isn’t always the case. These applications will check that path and if it’s not there say that there is no sitemap.xml installed. The sitemap on your website might be on http://www.samplesite.co.nz/website-sitemap.xml so whilst there is actually one installed, the report will say that there isn’t one.
Lastly, these audits often claim that there are ‘errors’ but don’t provide any details on such ‘errors’. Such ambiguous claims are there only to hoodwink you. The equivalent of this would be taking your car to the mechanic, only for them to just say that, ‘stuff is broken and needs to be replaced.’
#2 They don’t provide any campaign KPIs
This might seem like a no-brainer, but a lot of companies lock you into a contract with no set goals, KPI’s or guarantees around their work. Any strategic marketing campaign should have KPI’s for measuring success and to make sure the agency is held-accountable to achieving results. If a company is confident in their abilities, getting some KPIs down on paper shouldn’t be an issue.
#3 The Price is Too Cheap
Just like with anything, you get what you pay for. This is even more important to consider since the latest Penguin 4.0 update. Why? If someone is telling you that they’re doing to deliver an SEO campaign and there isn’t enough resources, the chances are that they’re going to be cutting corners. In SEO, cutting corners can end up in your website being penalised, and it’s going to cost you a lot more to get that fixed.
BONUS TIP – Look out for this when signing up for a pay-per-click campaign
#1 There is Only 1 Monthly Charge
Some agencies / PPC providers aren’t transparent with how much of the monthly fee they’re keeping, and how much is actually going to the Search Engine/ Media Outlet for the clicks. Always ensure you sign with a company that has a set admin fee and then you pay for the clicks separately. That way you know exactly where your hard-earned money is going.
Apart from the items above, always check that the company has a legitimate phone number, physical address and recent photos of team members. Go to their offices to meet with them if you can to make sure they are who they say they are! If you would like help deciphering audits or need any help – our friendly and experienced staff are always here for a yarn.
KPIs: Key performance indicators. This could be anything from page 1 guarantees, increase in traffic, sales, decrease in cost per click etc
Sitemap.xml: A sitemap that is in the backend of your website that isn’t there for users to see, but for Search Engines to help crawl (see) your website