Some professions are notoriously dishonest. Used car sales is a great example of this, but that is not to say that all used car salesmen are dishonest, that is just a reputation that many have built.
In today's age of digital marketing, the industry is growing so fast it is impossible to regulate in the same way as we do electricians, accountants and other professional services. This is why there are so many amateur operators promising the world and delivering an atlas. How can you be sure you are going to be working with a real professional who is going to be able to deliver on their promises?
Fortunately for you... we have made a list to help you out.
If a provider is promising these 8 things: start running.
This might sound good, but there is no guarantee this will lead to an increase in traffic or sales. If you rank at #1 for a search term that only two people a month search for, that is a lot of wasted money. In fact, we are not alone, even google lables this as a key warning sign.
What you really want: Someone who talks in terms of increasing overall traffic and conversion that relates to your real business goals.
We are part of the "Now" generation, generally we don't like waiting for things, we like "just-add-water" solutions. While it is true, that there are techniques to speed up the process to get indexed sooner, there is a good chance you will get caught and penalised for it. Google monitors for such tactics and will remove you from the index altogether as a penalty for dirty tactics.
What you really want: Successful SEO takes committment. You want to work with someone who is looking for long term projects. Six months would be the minimum term to recommend, but twelve months or more would be ideal in most situations.
Don't get me wrong, links are important, but to be honest, this tactic is pretty much dead if it ever was alive. Far from helping you, links from untrustworthy places can negatively effect your rankings. This could lead to you having to pay for a link detox which could be very expensive, especially if you don't know where the links have come from.
What you really want: Good clean links from relevant, quality sources, coming in consistently over time.
When writing content for a website it is important to be mindful of the way search engines read the content and incorporate that into your writing, but if you stop writing for your audience and start writing for search engines alone you are on shaky ground. While this can lead to more traffic it is equally possible it will lead to poor conversion, because the content is not engaging your audience.
Before working with anyone, if you read examples of their work, it can be beneficial; if what they have written makes you wonder what they were doing, or seems staged and repetitive, it is possible that they are writing for the search engines and not for your target audience.
What you really want: There are techniques you can use regards writing content that will positively effect your traffic. That being said you should aways write for people visiting your site first and foremost.
Thats part one! Stay tuned next week for the final four warning signs!
Have you ever been a victim of a rogue SEO operator?
Tell us in the comments!