According to an article written in one of the leading SEO information websites, Search Engine Land, they claimed that the SEO industry was worth $65 billion in 2016, and growing to an estimated $79 billion by 2020. This is excellent news for any agency that is providing their various SEO services, but it may not be good news for you, the end user. With the growth of any industry, be it in this case, search engine optimisation, there will always come with it, those individuals and companies who are only in it to make a fast buck and have no interest in being ethical in any way. We have all heard of the scam artists in the finance industry, with mortgages and investments. We all know the health niche is awash with dodgy pills and systems that will enable you to lose 100lbs in 2 weeks (slight exaggeration), and so the digital marketing niche, and in particular, search engine optimisation, is no different.
Now it is important to state that I am not for one minute castigating the SEO niche. I feel that optimising your website to rank high in the search results is very important. But what I am saying and the point I am making is that, if you feel your website needs to be optimised, you need to be very careful who you hire to do the work because there are a lot of charlatans out there, who won’t think twice in ripping you off.
Because many people, and in particular, business owners, don’t know a lot, if anything, about how website optimisation works etc., a lot of so-called SEO companies feel they can pull the wool over your eyes, by talking in cryptic nerdy dialogue, make promises backed with fake data, and you will buy it. And although we will all say that this would never happen to us, I have been in the industry long enough to know that many businesses are getting burnt by these companies who can’t deliver on their promises and take the money and run.
So if SEO is an essential factor to marketing online, what can be done to ensure you don’t fall victim to these companies who have not got a clue what they are doing and see you as potential rich pickings?
The answer is simple; you need to know some necessary information that enables you to ask any company you are going to have carried out work on your website, to ensure they are of the highest quality.
First step. Ask the company that approached you not just for case studies, but for the contact details of the companies they claim to have helped massively in the rankings. I came across a company called NTA Digital and SEO Services, and on their website, they have many impressive case studies. I contacted them and asked if they would be prepared to let me have the contact details of said companies, so I could clarify these case studies were valid. Well, the response I got was not what I was expecting. I had previously received hesitation or resistance from other companies I had asked this same question too, but on this occasion, not only did I not receive any opposition, but they gave me all the contact details of their top clients there and then, over the phone!
Any quality SEO company, will not feel the need to hide any information from you. They will happily answer your questions and in particular, tell you who their clients are, and who you can speak to.
Second Point. Never work with a company that claims or promises you the highly valuable number one spot in the Google ranking results. Not only does Google often update and change their ranking algorithm, but regular testing carried out by myself, and others, has proven, that not all SEO is equal. What do I mean by that? Well to rank a local plumber in a small town does not need the level of work that a multinational organisation is wanting to ranking in various countries, will need. Not only that, but each industry is different too. Because there are specific niches where scam artists operate, particularly in the health wealth and general well being niches, Google has made it harder for a site to rank well within these niches. The reason being, scam artists, will give up after a few months because it is too hard to rank. Whereas if they are legit, they will not only stick at working on your site, they will know from experience that specific niches take a lot of effort and time to rank.
Third and Final Point. A good quality company will only operate to industry best practices. This means they will follow the latest guidelines set out by Google, Bing and Yahoo. A simple search on your part will tell you what these are, and so you can check that the company who you are speaking to and looking to use as your SEO company, are doing this right and proper in every way.
Heed these simple points, and you will undoubtedly go a long way to protecting your business from the scam artists who more than likely hound your email inbox regularly, promising you the earth, but only delivering you crap.