During my 15-year career, 7 of them they were spent in a digital marketing agency.
It is there that I learned to cut my teeth, assemble a game, speak correctly to clients (the jury is still on it), etc.
Were we perfect?
Of course not, but we were honest and approached every commitment with heart and the best interests of the customers in mind.
I also spent the first part of my career in the SEO industry as a private consultant working for small businesses, with an identical approach – with honesty and enthusiasm. .
Even when things were not going well, I was frank with my clients and I told them the good and the bad. Full transparency was essential to establishing and maintaining these relationships.
However, all over the world, some honest people are simply looking to take your money.
Below, I underline. Based on my interactions with these companies and people over the past 15 years, here are some ways to identify them, avoid them, and make sure you work with strong SEO professionals.
1. They Ask to Own Your Data / Identifiers
One of the hallmarks of an agency / consultant trying to trick you is to launch the commitment by asking you to fully control your login credentials, data and credentials. reportage.
Many companies fall under the pretext of "I just want them to take care of it, that's what I pay for, so that they manage everything," but do not realize how dangerous that is. This may be the case if things do not work between the two companies.
Suppose you get to the point where you no longer want to work with your agency / consultant, unfortunately, but that happens.
What many shady agencies / consultants are going to do in this situation is keeping your data and connections hostage for the contract to remain in effect.
This can give rise to legal disputes that extend over many years. months, or even years and, in the worst case, ends with the need to create new connections and adding a new tracking code on your sites.
I have seen this happen time and time again, especially in small businesses.
The lesson here: any professional relationship must be based on trust. but it is a two-way street.
While you hire these people to "manage everything" from the SEO perspective, check their backgrounds and get referrals, if they can not provide any reference, then look. elsewhere.
2. They guarantee the ranking No. 1 / the best results
I am still amazed by the fact that there are SEO professionals who earn business with the slogan "We guarantee the ranking # 1", but they are present hire them.
Look at this ad that came up when I searched Google for "SEO Companies":
Really? First page rank guaranteed? Tell me your secrets, O magical magicians of the search.
What they are not going to tell you is what they will do on page 1.
Any SEO worthy of their anxiety can get something to rank on page 1, whether to generate traffic, revenue or to reach your site.
This is a common trick used by fewer honest agencies and consultants to kick you out. Here's how it works:
They call you to discuss your site. This will be done by attracting you through misleading ads as above, from a free audit that they will send you or from a long email on something that just happened with Google and that is still considered something you should not worry about because we have seen a decline in your site using their owner yadda yadda yadda.You are scared and give them a chance, because you have to solve all the problems they have explained to you because you probably do not understand everything. the ins and outs of organic research and you just want someone to take care of it. The work begins. In a few weeks, you will see some keywords go to page 1, which answers their claim to guarantee the results of page 1. You are delighted. You can not believe that you have never worked with these guys, and you can not wait for the business to start. Before, a few months and a ranking continue to come, but no new business the fact. No new tracks. They explain that SEO is a slow burn and that you see new results every week and be patient, but never really did you throw in the herbs to explain everything that's going on. This is good news from them, everything is fine, but you do not see any feedback. In the end, after 6 months or more, you start looking for the keywords you "win" and you realize they have virtually no monthly search volume. are not relevant to your business. You more than likely realize that you have been fooled, look for unresolved answers and start the process of canceling your commitment.
PSA: The algorithm of Google is a gigantic and floating mathematical equation. in the space controlled by an artificial intelligence machine learning that learns our research habits and modifies its results according to these learnings.
The lesson to be learned is that no one can guarantee anything with respect to Google's algorithm, not even the algorithm itself. If any of us could, we would be very rich and would have a little less worry.
3. They tell their story, not yours
With regard to reports on metrics, another revealing sign of an agency / consultant less remarkable is that if their stories always tell their story and not yours.
What I mean by that is that they consistently point out what worked well, what did them good, and why you should pay them more at the next renewal.
They never talk about what went wrong, what did not work, and what lessons were learned to make the current campaign so successful, which is sometimes more important than victories themselves.
The mere fact of knowing that half of this story is detrimental to your business and your own education. By not being transparent, your agency / consultant has done a lot of damage to you by not letting you learn from their mistakes.
Agencies / consultants with this state of mind are always afraid to tell you exactly what they are doing because they do not do it. You do not want to reveal their "secret formula" that makes everything work.
The truth is that most of the time, this formula involves many tests and missteps that have allowed the campaign to regain its current state, which is super valuable for everyone involved to know, not just them.
The lesson here is to make sure you hear what has not worked, and what has worked. Whether you are satisfied or not, it is better to see the whole picture.
4. The partnership is positioned as transactional
You must always be attentive to the way an agency / consultant presents you, because it is very revealing of the functioning of the relationship.
People who want to help you tell you that they want to help you, people who do not will tell you how much their services cost and how monthly meetings will be structured. It's the difference between hiring a partner and a salesman.
A partner will take you into the storm, survive the storm when things are not going well and celebrate the victories with you together. team.
A seller will send you an invoice.
If an agency / consultant arrives and spends the hour or two hours you have given him, he is only talking about his efficiency. They are and give no idea what they can do for you the relationship will probably not be as fruitful.
While there is nothing wrong with a slide or two, you should always look for people who have researched your brand and propose concrete actions that they think able to accomplish together and supported by data. These are the ones who care about your business and even if they always send you a bill every month, it does not bother you to pay it as much.
The lesson to be learned is to always look for one partner, not just another. seller.
5. Their case studies are obsolete
Speaking of wacky slides, you should still still ask from what year were the projects born / results. One of the biggest injustices of biological research is the length of time people use case studies.
The SEO changes every day and, while it's great, you really did get it out of the park for Pets.com in 2000, this story does not help me not really to evaluate your talent in 2019.
The lesson to be learned is to always dig a little deeper about these victories and when they happened. SEO changing as much as it does, even a project a few years ago would have no relevance today.
Screen Capture Taken by L & R Author, May 2019