5 Red Flags When Hiring an SEO Company

They list “Search Engine Submission” as a service

Many years ago search engines relied on user submissions to find websites to crawl and index. This was great for website owners as it gave them a quick and easy way to have their website indexed, but it wasn’t long until spammers started to abuse this system. Google has learned that the best way to find websites is by crawling links on the web and indexing sites they find valuable. If the SEO company you’re thinking about hiring even mentions search engine submission then you’re probably dealing with someone that has a time machine in their possession. While you may want to consider using said time machine to go back in time and buy stock in Google, they’re not a company you want to pay for services that no longer work.

They Use Directory Submissions

Another strategy that SEO’s used in the early 2000’s was directory submission. Before the Google days, many people used directories similar to Yellow Pages to browse through lists of websites to visit. These directories offered a simple way for web-masters to list their website which caused them to become flooded with tens of thousands of links. Over time Google and other search engines realized that the links in directories that allow any website in without an editorial review are typically low in quality. Why would you want to spend your money with an SEO company that plans to submit your website to one of these low quality directories? There are, however, two high quality paid directories that we usually suggest to our clients: the Yahoo! Directory and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Directory.

They Guarantee Top Rankings

This is the number one sign that the SEO company you’re looking to hire doesn’t know what they’re doing. The ranking algorithms that the search engines use is dynamic and constantly changing. It would be impossible to accurately predict and develop a consistent method to rank a website. Most of the time, these companies that promise top rankings are going to rank your website for some obscure keyword that nobody is searching for. The reason Google is such a successful search engine is because they return high quality sites that searchers are looking for. If anyone could go out there and pay a flat fee to get to #1 then you’d have to filter through pages of low quality sites to find a high quality page that’s relevant to your search query. When talking with Search Engine Optimization companies, if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is too good to be true.

They Lists Meta Keywords Tag Optimization as a Service

In the early days of the web, the keywords meta tag was used to tell search engines what your website should rank for. The tag allowed you to input any keywords you thought your website should rank for and the search engines would trust that those keywords were an accurate representation of the content on your website. Google was the first search engine to realize that this concept is flawed. In 2009, Google officially announced that they no longer use the keywords meta tag to classify a website. Any SEO company that offers this as a service is probably still using Floppy Disks to backup their documents.

They Won’t Show You Past Results

Any SEO company can make a claim that they’ll increase your search engine ranking, but do they have the results to back it up? Ask them to see a list of sites and keywords they’ve optimized for and check their rankings. If the site is no where to be found in the search results then that should raise a huge red flag. There are some occasions where a Non-Disclosure Agreement is involved. If that’s the case, they should be willing to provide you with a screen shot of their client’s statistics showing organic traffic growth over a period of time.

Don’t make the mistakes that most companies do when hiring an SEO company. As with anything, if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is too good to be true.