While there are many fine SEO firms spread out across the globe, there is equally a share of bad firms as well or as Jill Whalen calls them, “Quacks.” In her most recent newsletter, Jill provides 10 signs that your SEO may be a quack. Some of them are obvious but others might not be quite so obvious to those shopping for SEO services.
That is why when searching for an SEO vendor, it is so important to perform due diligence so you can have confidence in who is finally selected. Jill’s tips will help identify firms to stay clear of. I will list them below but for more detailed explanation of each, visit her newsletter archive.
1. Your SEO company talks about Meta tags and Google PageRank (PR) as if they are the magic bullet to high rankings.
2. Your SEO company’s site (or those of their clients) has the same Title tags on every page.
3. Your SEO company talks only about optimizing for the “long tail.”
4. Your SEO company tells you it’s ALL about links (or ALL about content).
5. Your SEO company tells you that you need a linking campaign even though you already have tons of links and are a well-established popular site in your niche.
6. Your SEO company is almost surely 99% quackish if they tell you that they can rank your brand-new site in Google for keywords that will bring you traffic within a few months.
7. Your SEO company never mentions that they may very well need to redo your site architecture so that your important pages are prominently featured within your site navigation.
8. Your SEO company can’t provide you with any quality references.
9. Your SEO company tells you that you have to have a DMOZ listing or your site will never be able to get high rankings.
10. Your SEO company’s site mentions that they’ll get you high rankings in AltaVista, Fast, Inktomi, Lycos, Excite, HotBot and the like.
I wholeheartedly agree with all these points. The only one I’d like to clarify is number 8 which many SEOs might find fault with. To give or not give out references? That is the question. personally I avoid giving out references unless it is a large-scale project.
Why? Simply because I get waaay too many requests for them and I do not wish to burden clients. However, we do have a client roster on our site in which prospective clients can check out who we have worked for on their own. Additionally I can give references when I deem it is necessary to help secure the new business. I am just selective about it.
If you cannot provide any because you either do not have any or all of your work resides in confidentiality types of situations, then you will simply have to explain that. Not that it will help seal the deal but at least you are forthright with the prospective new client.