What you will learn: The key signals your SEO agency is unlikely to produce results.
Who should read this article: Company leaders and marketing executives.
Are You Happy, Unhappy or Unsure?
Some clients are thrilled with their SEO agency. Others are completely disenchanted. However, many companies, perhaps the majority, have lingering doubts:
- Are we getting our money’s worth from our SEO campaign?
- Is our SEO investment ever going to pay off?
- Is our agency doing a lot of work, or is our campaign on autopilot?
If you are not sure whether you have the right SEO agency, look for these five signs. Chances are they will tell you everything you need to know.
1. Lack of Quantifiable Results
You invested in SEO to generate sales leads or e-commerce revenue from organic search engine traffic.
Are you getting them? How many sales leads or how much e-commerce revenue are you getting? Is the trend going up, going down or flat?
A reputable, diligent SEO agency will answer these questions in its monthly reports with transparency. A really sharp agency will validate sales leads to ensure the reported numbers are not inflated by counting solicitations, spam and job seekers as leads.
If the agency provides incomprehensible reports, or distracts you with less-relevant data such as rankings, either it is hiding poor results or isn’t savvy enough to focus on what counts. Either way, it’s time to start looking at options.
2. Declining Results
Sometimes SEO agencies hit a strategic wall, and even with putting in a terrific effort cannot move the dial any further forward.
In other cases, results begin to slide because the agency has put your campaign on autopilot for whatever reason.
If you have been experiencing a decline in results over many months, a wise next step would be to engage an SEO consultant to give you ideas for how to reverse the downward trend.
3. Suddenly Super Results
Another warning sign, believe it or not, is getting results that are too good too quickly. For instance, if you see hundreds or thousands of links coming out of nowhere in a given month, it‘s highly likely your agency is using “black hat” SEO tactics to game the system and acquire shady links. This could result in severe, debilitating penalties from Google. Be very wary if you see this happening.
4. Poor Communication
If your SEO agency cannot or will not explain its processes, what types of activities it engages in to execute your campaign, or hides behind technical jargon, you are probably frustrated — because its communication lacks transparency.
These communication black holes could have a number of causes: Perhaps the agency isn’t really doing much of anything on your behalf. Perhaps the staff simply doesn’t have a communication style that meshes with yours.
Relationships are important in SEO because campaigns continue year after year. As in any business relationship, if communication is poor or uncomfortable, problems are hard to resolve and internal team members gradually become skeptical. This adds up to an SEO campaign that ultimately goes nowhere.
5. You’ve Changed
Sometimes an SEO agency becomes a bad fit, and it simply can’t be helped. These situations frequently set the stage for a change in agencies:
- Your business has grown in size and complexity, beyond the comfort zone of your agency.
- Your business has moved into a new market segment unfamiliar to your agency.
- Your business has developed the need for an intensive local SEO campaign strategy your agency is not equipped to handle.
Some agencies are very upfront in telling you the relationship has evolved into a mismatch. Others are not as forthcoming. However, if you recognize significant changes within your organization could lead to the need for a new SEO agency, you can take the next step, exploring options.