8 Mistakes most companies make when hiring an SEO agency

Mistakes most companies make when hiring an SEO agency

You want your business to grow (have more leads, sales, and traffic), and you know that SEO is a great way to do that. So, you should hire an SEO agency, right? Unfortunately, many businesses don’t know the first thing about SEO, which makes them easy targets for firms with bad intentions. If you want to be on the first page of Google’s search results, you need to find the best SEO agency in a very organized way.

This means knowing what red flags to look out for when looking for help with SEO for your business. Here are eight clear signs that the SEO agency you’re thinking about isn’t the best choice:

They’ll pay for backlinks:


You’ve heard that getting other sites to link to yours is helpful, but not in this way. If an SEO agency buys backlinks from services with bad reputations, your company is likely to get backlinks that aren’t very good and were made automatically. Some of these pages are called “free for all” pages because they have links to things that have nothing to do with each other. Also, buying backlinks is against Google’s rules, so doing this is a sure way to get in trouble with Google. Even big companies like the BBC and Mozilla get in trouble with Google for doing this.

They'll pay for backlinks:

They do SEO copywriting. 

If a potential SEO agency says that they do “SEO copywriting,” you should run the other way. Google has changed the way it ranks content. This means that practices like keyword stuffing and writing for search engines are becoming less and less useful. Instead of trying to trick the system, SEO companies should go back to the basics of marketing. No more misspelling key terms to get a higher rank, and no more writing in a weird way just to add more search terms.

They do SEO copywriting. 

Firms need to know their audience, write in the tone of their brand, and tell a compelling story, all while using correct grammar and spelling (hey, it’s worth pointing out that this isn’t always the case!). Also, it’s important to know that sites with a low bounce rate, called “sticky sites,” are now ranked higher. So, if you tell a story that sticks with people and keeps them reading and interested, your bounce rates will go down, and as a result, so will your rankings.

They promise quick results. 

SEO is both an art and a science. This means you should stay away from any agency that says you’ll see results in a week or a month. “Black hat” techniques are a sneaky way to get fast results. Even though these shortcuts might seem like a quick way to make money, Google will definitely punish your business for using them. SEO takes time, and it’s a promise that keeps on giving. As long as the results keep getting better, the right firm will keep getting better month after month and year after year.

They Have “Special Tools”: 

When you talk to a possible SEO agency, you’re impressed by their secret sauce. They tell you all about the special tools and automated processes they use to get you ranked quickly. Where do you get started? Take a step back before you give up your first check. Since Google tightened down and updated its algorithm to concentrate on natural and organic content, SEO is no longer a hackerspace. Now it’s a space for marketers, and these “special tools” will definitely fail. Many of these tools will get you blacklisted, and many of them won’t be around for long because they probably break Google’s rules.

They want to lock you in: 

If the SEO agency you’re talking to wants to lock you in right away, take a step back. If they want to tie you down for a year or more, you should think about why. Maybe it’s so you can’t stop using their services when you find out they aren’t doing what they said they would. Why do they need a long-term contract if they are really that good?

They don’t have a long history. 

Every day, a lot of great SEO agencies and smart entrepreneurs, and business leaders start up in the field. Still, you should probably wait until a business has been around for a while before working with it. You don’t want to be the first customer of a business that is still working out the kinks. Even more so when it’s a service where the wrong methods can hurt your business in the long run.

None of their references are real: 

Before you hire an SEO agency, one of the most important things you should do is talk at length with clients and other references. If there aren’t any references and they aren’t easy to get, it’s time to cross this agency off your list. The only reason they wouldn’t give you references is that they don’t have any happy customers you could talk to.

All of their packages are the same: 

Each business has a different website. That means that people have different needs, goals, audiences, and other reasons to get into SEO. If an SEO company tells you that their packages are “one size fits all,” look elsewhere. Before they can come up with a solution, good firms need to study your business, understand your goals, look into your competition, and look at your website. Be wary of local SEO companies that offer “packages” and try to sell you one before getting to know your business well.

Click here to read more about 81% of companies believe more in an SEO agency than an in-house team.

Sometimes, the first step to finding the best company for your needs is to figure out which ones aren’t right. If you pay attention to these eight warning signs, you can save yourself a lot of trouble and stay away from risky SEO agencies that are likely to not only give you bad results but also get your website in trouble with search engines.

Final thoughts

With these tips, you shouldn’t make the mistake of hiring shady SEO companies