SEO Scam Checklist

The truth is that hiring an SEO agency can sometimes do more harm than good.

With many small businesses falling victim to SEO scammers, it is essential that you know if you’re working with a legit agency. Forking out thousands of dollars for unrealistic promises is something that no one should have to deal with.

To help you figure out whether the SEO agency is legit or not, we’ve compiled an SEO Agency Scammer Checklist of subtle (and not so subtle) things to be aware of.

The SEO Agency Scammer Checklist

Lack of Communication

Whether you’re trying to get hold of the account manager or the CEO, you should always have someone from the SEO agency that swiftly communicates with you. Dodging your questions or passing the buck by not taking phone calls or answering your emails is not only unprofessional but also a clear sign that the SEO agency that you’ve chosen is not legit.

The Agency Needs Nothing From You

As the owner of a website, an SEO agency can’t make your site work without your help. There are a few things that an agency will need access to do its job correctly, including the following:

  • Access to the content management system (CMS)
  • Access to social media accounts
  • Access to Google Analytics
  • Access to Google Webmaster Tools
  • A list of target keywords or, at a minimum, information about your desired audience

If your SEO agency does not access to the above, there’s a chance that they are performing unethical actions to improve your website ranking. These “black hat” tactics can appear like a quick win, but if caught and penalized by Google or other search engines could take years to recover from.

SEO Practices Should Be In Place

Within the first few months of working with an SEO agency, you might not see results or a rise in your website ranking. But what your SEO agency should be able to show you is practices that they’ve put in place to better your ranking. You can be paying the agency to do nothing for the first few months, so ask for the deliverables which can include:

  • SEO audit of your website
  • Optimized content on your website
  • An analysis of your website’s link profile

You can ask for any (or all) of the above within the first weeks of hiring an SEO agency.

No Local Search Optimization 

A key component for getting leads for small businesses is through successful local searches. This should be an early approach by any SEO agency. If a potential lead can not find you by searching ‘[your service or product]’ + [an area],’ and your business does not show up fairly soon after the agency has gotten to work, the SEO agency is not doing its job or are merely just scamming you.

Promising A #1 Ranking

If your SEO agency is promising you a number one ranking in an unrealistic amount of time (‘one month’) on search engine results pages like Google, the agency is probably not legit. If you’re not using Google Ads, getting a number one ranking is something that SEO agencies dream about and can take up to two years to do so. Remember that Google is updating its search algorithm daily, so to hit number anytime under one year often is unrealistic.

No Lead Capture Strategy

Yes, a ranking is essential, but so is converting the ranking on search engine results pages into leads. Even legitimate SEO agencies can overlook this critical piece of the puzzle. But, what’s the point of ranking number one for any given keyword if your products or service is not selling? There is no point! Ensure you 

If your SEO agency is doing one or more of the above, its time to take your money and move on!

Curious how your SEO is performing? Contact Elevated today for a free assessment.