What Do You Do with Undesirable Solicitation on Your Site?
(below is a screen capture of the email I just got this afternoon)
Personally I ignore most emails that come in pitching me on SEO services, considering they are most likely bot submissions as obviously they didn’t bother to see what I do for a living. What I wanted to emphasize was how to identify those that are pitching you black hat SEO – the kind that can get you band from the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).
What to look for with a “bad” SEO consultant / company:
1. An offer to provide you a “Directory Submission” services.
Reason: Over the last few years Google has actively been updating their algorithms to weed out spammy sites and spammy directories that try to game the concept of “popularity” through the number of links you have pointing to your site. In particular Google’s Penguin & Payday Loans updates specifically go after questionable directories. Whether the links are paid for or not, if they are unrelated to your content or services, this can drastically impact your organic rankings & visibility online.
2. An offer to provide you Social “Bookmaking” Submissions as a service.
Reason: Very similar to the above promise of submitting your site to help bolster your rankings – simply a false promise. Create unique, useful information (content) on your site and people will click-through from any of the social platforms, like Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest…etc. Understanding what your existing and prospective customers are interesting in or asking question about is your starting point to creating informative content that fosters engagement – this is what you should be investing in – NOT getting a supposed SEO to submit your for!
3. through to 5. (including 8.) Same as above!
6. & 7. Offer a article / press release writing service?
Reason: Although it is nice to have a “helping hand” in writing content for your site or social profiles, people can see through the B.S. coming from a generic post. Let alone a sales like post or article. Another flag on this line item for their services is that if they create content for you, who is to say they haven’t created the same or similar piece of content for 20 – 1000’s of other sites. This could get you penalized with the search engines as well. Be mindful who creates your content and how unique it is to your site and services. All of your content should have a genuine feel to it and reflect what you, your business’s services or products. You can easily get suggestions from an SEO and maybe an outline but to get the most out of your content and grow/nurture your online relationships, try to own the creation of your own content.
9. through to 14. are basic services that should be part of a SEO company’s offer. BUT do not expect for them to turn your site around or get your ranking in the top positions. There is a lot more involved nowadays with optimizing your site, let alone your online presence. Don’t just hand off SEO to a company, be involved and work with a company that believes in educating and empowering their clients – not just taking their money!
15. An offer to provide you a “Keyword Density report for your site” as a service.
Reason: Keyword Density is a thing of the past, like back in the late 1990’s and maybe early 2000’s. Most search engines have become a lot more sophisticated with their search algorithms in determining the relevance of a webpage and a site. Although it is still important to have proper placement of your targeted terms in key webpage elements, don’t get blindsided by a company that floods your webpages with repeated terms. This will quickly get you flagged and a noticeable drop in search traffic due to your loss of rankings.
16. & 17. An offer to provide you with a “HTML & XML” Sitemap as a service.
Reason: Again, these are what should be part of the “Best Practices” in SEO services offered to you, not a line item. You should be recommended that your site be verified with both Google & Bing’s Webmaster tools and directly in the tools you are informing the engines of your sitemap location. This enables you to create a direct line of communication with the search engines as well as get direct feedback from each.
I hope the above items help you steer clear of the frauds that are out there.
It is truly disappointing to me to see how many scams you run into, which only tarnish the true value of working with someone that has your business and site’s best interest in mind.