As someone who has worked in the SEO sphere for a while, I regularly encounter clients who have been burnt in the past by shady SEO agencies who are out for a fast buck. This is something that affects both the industry itself and me as a freelancer. People are more sceptical about trusting someone with their search engine optimisation if they have been hurt in the past.
Luckily, there are ways in which you can protect yourself from shady SEO agencies and freelancers, and ensure you aren’t throwing money away. Here are a couple of ways in which companies can protect themselves.
Do a lot of research
If an individual or business has been involved in shady SEO practices before, it’s likely that there will be some information about this online somewhere. Check each SEO professional that you come into contact with thoroughly to make sure they have good reviews. Start off with looking for testimonials pages, like this one by Ranking Rescuer, which has a number of highly positive reviews from a number of people.
Also, look at other sites famous for reviews. Google+, Facebook and Trustpilot are just three that offer the chance for customers to give businesses a fair and balanced review.
When you’ve had a look at the reviews and are satisfied, use Google do try and find out if there have been any past issues with your potential clients.
No Long Term Contracts
I have noticed in the past that a lot of the SEO companies who scam their clients are keen on signing them up for a long period of time. If an agency wants to sign you up on a one-year contract without any proof that they are any good, that’s when alarm bells should start ringing.
An SEO project does take time to take effect, and sometimes can take six months in certain industries. However, during this time you will be paying money out without much in return, so it’s important that you are able to cancel this without too much notice.
Ask an independent expert about each proposal
I often see businesses looking for SEO support with a decision maker who doesn’t know anything about SEO. This makes the business in question susceptible to being tricked into signing a contract with the agency who has the best sales person.
With the amount of SEO specialists that are out there, it might be a good idea to have someone independently look into all the agencies and people who have offered their services. Having someone doing this could be the difference between success and failure in your SEO project.
From time to time, you do have to pay SEO agencies even if their work hasn’t achieved much to begin with. Once you pay by card, you’ve handed them money that you are unable to claim back. Paypal, on the other hand, has buyer protection, so if it’s been a few months and they haven’t delivered on their promise, you can get a refund from them for the money you’ve spent on the project.