Conversation Red Flags
Here are some statements that should throw a red flag when talking with an SEO agent:
“With my special blend, you’ll start seeing your website appear on the first page of Google.”
The Truth: No one can guarantee this- Google’s aim is to put rich/helpful websites first. Your effort should be focused on creating a web presence that offers value to your clients. As your website presents more value your page rank increases on Google and you show up higher on the list.
“My technique is highly confidential but packs a huge punch.”
The Truth: If creating a website with actual value is how you get recognized by Google then what are they being so secretive about? Ask them what they’re actually going to do. If they don’t want to tell you I would be weary to continue.
“We just need more content! Don’t worry though I can create it from your existing website with sophisticated software.”
The Truth: Google isn’t looking for raw word count, they’re looking for useful content. This technique can damage your reputation on Google and in some cases even get you banned by Google. Writing content is hard work- but it’s one of the best ways for your site to increase it’s SEO.
Techniques to Avoid
In an effort to cheat the system many SEO agencies will try dirty techniques to bolster your ranking on Google. Be warned though, Google is looking out for these techniques and getting banned on Google could devastate your business. I would run if I saw any of these techniques being used:
- Cloaking – In this technique the attempt is to trick Google concerning the content of your site. An example of this would be a jewelry site hiding a ton of content about back surgery on their website so that when you type “Back Surgery Seattle Washington” you end up on their jewelry website.The link that appeared on Google looked like it was a website on back surgery but when you got there it was about jewelry. Google sees this as bad for users (as it obviously is) and it can hurt your page rank or even ban you on Google.
- Duplicating Content – I’ve mentioned this already- stay away from this by writing new content that is useful.
- Hiding Text – This technique aims to hide keywords by making them the same color as the background of your website or by making the font-size really small. The idea here is that Google will see the obnoxious keywords but your users won’t. It’s an effort to trick Google that doesn’t work over the long run.
There are a plethora of dirty tactics out there. See the resources section below to learn more about what to avoid.
Finding a good SEO expert can help your business a ton. Ask anyone you’re looking at for references, call some of their past clients and see if they’re still happy. Avoid city slickers and schmoozers. Avoid anyone that rushes you or is secretive about what they’re going to do. Remember that using frowned-upon techniques can damage your reputation. Educate yourself.