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How to spot a bad SEO service provider?

Everyday you're doing business, you could receive various SEO proposals from different companies promising different results at different pricing. So the question is, how do you spot or know if the SEO provider is lemon or whether he really knows his stuff?



Based on our experience, there are a few things you should do during the appointment with the provider.

- Test his knowledge.

Do a little bit of research before you meet him or her. Test him out on certain SEO terminologies and white hat/black hat practises. See how he respond. Does he really knows his stuff or is he just trying to humour you?

- Look at his portfolio

If he is really what he said he is, he should already have existing clients on hand. Look at his portfolio, do a search and see the SEO ranking. Is it really as good as he promised?

Below are some sure-fire ways of identifying lemon SEO providers:

1) Over the top promises.

When your SEO provider promises you #1 guaranteed ranking for x number of keywords. Be careful. Be real careful. Reason being no one owns the Search Engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. Search Engines own their own Search portals. No one can guarantee results or the #1 ranking because they do not own those portals. When the algorithm of these portals changes (and they do change their algorithm pretty regularly!), your ranking changes as well!

So if you meet someone who guarantees you the #1 spot. Be aware.

2) Lack of Transparency

The SEO Provider may be utilising Black Hat SEO techniques to booster your ranking on search engines. Hence, he or she may jeopardise your entire website being penalised by the search engines. Black Hat SEO is a big no-no in our industry. However, a few black sheeps have spoiled the market before. Just do a google search for "BMW Germany SEO" or "JC Penny Google". Lots of information about Black Hat SEO.

3) Obsession with Ranking

Many companies are so so obsessed with ranking. In fact, many of my customers too. However, it is our job to educate them. Ranking is important. However, it is not the most important factor. The most important factor when you do SEO is to get more business. Period. If you can get the #1 spot for a certain keyword but your conversion is not improving. What's the use?

Test your SEO provider on whether they can advise you on how to improve your conversion and to improve your CTR (Click through rate).

So what's the key takeaway?

A good and reliable SEO company should have the decency to acknowledge that even they (the professionals!) don’t know everything about SEO. However, they are learning new things everyday as a matter of fact.

Remember, the only thing that is constant about SEO is change. :)