SEO cowboys ask you to part with your hard earned money and promise to put your website to the top of Google within days. While a good SEO consultancy can offer to improve the ranking of your site, there is little chance that an SEO consultancy can do this so drastically.
In fact, there are many cases when an SEO consultancy will actually show that they can’t make it happen. One of the best examples is when they use black hat techniques to market their services. Black hat techniques are not only immoral, but they are also disastrous for your online marketing campaigns.
There are many negative consequences of using black hat techniques. The biggest concern for your business is that if Google detects your methods, it can delist you from their search engine results. With nearly 80% of small business website traffic being generated from search engines, this can be a major loss.
Another common problem is that black hat techniques are also spammy and audiences tend to react negatively to spam. Therefore, while you may have spent thousands of pounds on employing an SEO consultancy to grow your client base, you’ll end up unknown, invisible and undesirable.
What To Look Out For In A Bad SEO Consultancy
There are several tell-tale signs that an SEO consultancy is a cowboy business. Here are some of those signs and what they mean for your business.
They Make Promises That Sound Too Good To Be True – If an SEO consultancy promises you to be at the top of Google search within a week and stay there forever then they don’t know their market. Google is constantly making adjustments and SEO is a long term game where frequent strategy changes are required to keep on top of the market.
The Use Of Black Hat SEO Techniques – Whether for their clients or for themselves, black hat techniques are something to stay clear of.
Employs Poor Linking Schemes – Growing the number of inbound links is an important aspect of SEO. However, sometimes, an SEO consultancy will resort to poor linking techniques. One example is to flood a certain website with unwarranted comments, with links back to the website (see example below).
This becomes spam and Google may see the linking site as a link farm. Google will then ban your site and the target site.
They Offer Free Trials – Don’t ever use a free trial. It is like giving away your car keys, you might not see your site again and it could ruin your website.
Their Site Is Full Of Reviews With No Identifications – Reviews are excellent for establishing authority. But reviews have to be credited to a real person and company. If an SEO consultancy just displays reviews without any identifiable information, it could mean the reviews are not real.
For example, this site has hundreds of reviews but none have a name or company attached. While this is not proof of ‘constructed reviews’, it is also not proof of their credentials. If you are concerned, always ask to speak to a previous client. Otherwise leave them.
Their site is full of spelling mistakes – Spelling mistakes do happen. However, if a site is full of grammar and spelling errors it can mean that it has been hastily put together and does not really reflect high professionalism. Hence you could be dealing with an SEO cowboy.
You should also check out the reviews. If there are consistent mistakes in reviews, this can also be a warning sign that not everything is as it seems.
Your site is a vital part of your online marketing profile. Don’t trust it with SEO cowboys; instead ask the right questions, do your homework and employ a reputable SEO consultancy to raise your business to the top of Google.