With the SEO landscape growing and changing at a rapid pace, it seems like more and more agencies have been emerging with haughty claims of expertise on the subject.  For a small business with little to no SEO knowledge, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed when searching for an SEO company to work with, making you more vulnerable to scams.  

If you’ve ever received a spam email from an SEO company claiming to be able to help you improve your SEO rankings, you’re probably familiar with this type of scammer behavior.  Most of the time these companies don’t truly want to help you, so it’s important that you are able to recognize the signs of a shady or untrustworthy SEO company.

Signs an SEO Company is a Scam

They’re Hard to Reach

This should be one of the biggest red flags when it comes to identifying whether or not an SEO company is a scam.  If you have been trying to get in touch with the manager or other team member working with you on your account and you’ve been finding it difficult to nail them down, it could be an early sign that the agency isn’t being as truthful as they should be.  

One of the most important things to look for when deciding on an SEO agency is transparency. Make sure you’re on high alert during the beginning stages of your time with a particular company.  If your SEO company frequently dodges your phone calls or emails or bounces you around from one account manager to another, there’s a pretty good chance they don’t have your best interest at heart.

They Don’t Optimize For Local Search

If your SEO company isn’t optimizing for local search, that could be another red flag that they aren’t to be trusted.  Local search campaigns are imperative in order for businesses to thrive, as there is simply no point in paying for SEO services if you’re not attracting customers in your area.  

The truth is, most businesses rely heavily on local search campaigns to drive sales and website visits, so if you’re not seeing the value in that based on the work your SEO company has been doing, you could be wasting your time with a scam agency.

They Don’t Send You Reports

Considering how much time and money you’re probably spending on SEO services, it is important that you make sure your SEO company is sending you monthly reports detailing account performance. Of course, it pays to have your in-house marketing manager or anyone with knowledge of the industry provide a critical look over these reports.

Some examples of a few things that should be listed on your monthly report include:

  • Number of organic website visits, sessions, and new users
  • Number of phone calls/contact forms driven by organic search
  • Information and details on work completed that month
  • Comparisons/improvements seen
  • Conversion data

When hiring an SEO company, you should stay involved in the process every step of the way.  This will help give you peace of mind that you’re working with a reputable agency, and you won’t be met with any surprises down the road.

Your Leads are Unqualified

If you’re noticing that a lot of your new leads are from customers outside of your service area, this may be another sign that your SEO company is a scam.  Your website could be getting tons of visitors, but if the majority of these clicks are unqualified or from people outside of your service area, it is likely that your SEO company isn’t legitimate.  

Unqualified leads are a complete waste of time and only cost you money. Instead, look for an SEO company that focuses primarily on targeting customers in your area in order to see the best results.

They Seem Too Good to Be True

As the old saying goes, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.  This principle applies to SEO companies as well. If an SEO company is making lofty promises, proceed with caution.  

Companies that claim to have special insider knowledge or guarantee #1 rankings typically can’t be trusted, and they are very rarely able to actually follow through with any of these claims.  

If you find yourself questioning whether or not an SEO company is legit, do your research and ask to see case studies in order to get an idea of their skill set and capabilities.  It can also be helpful to research the reputation of an SEO company and ask around for referrals from clients who have worked with them in the past. You’ll feel more confident in your decision with peace of mind that you’re working with a trustworthy and professional SEO company.  

When it comes to choosing an SEO company to work with, it is important to take your time and do plenty of research before making a decision to avoid falling into a scam.  Weeding out the bad from the good can prevent you from being taken advantage of and guide you towards an agency that truly cares about you and the success of your business.  

Finding a Trusted SEO Company

Fortunately, finding a reputable SEO company is not impossible. In fact, a qualified agency can significantly improve your online traffic, brand position, and drive physical revenue to your business. With mastery of the latest and greatest SEO tools, an agency can provide creative consultation and offer technical fixes that lift your campaign from the ground up.

Search for a trusted SEO consultant that will work within your company’s vision and have experienced success for their clients in the past. Be sure to compare and contrast among the competition and see which company is the best choice for you!