Top 3 signs that your SEO Company is run by scammers 

John Nunez
John Nunez

Updated on 10-05-2018

1. You don't have access to anything

We typically take over accounts from fraudulent SEO “experts”. One thing across the board we’ve noticed is they hardly give access to any essential services like Google Analytics, Google Webmaster tools and Google My Business (and the respective Bing counterparts). Typically there is an infancy period where at the start of services your SEO agency will seem like your best friend. You’ll get regularly scheduled reports, frequent calls/emails, as well as any information you’d typically want to see. However, in less than a few months those reports and calls stop being sent altogether, become very irregular or come directly from their third party reporting system* which is always questionable.

Always request account access. That means you should have full access to your Google Analytics, Google My Business and Webmaster tools. This is invaluable information for you to keep them honest, as well as, if you have to move over to a new firm they can see what worked (or didn’t work) for your website in the past.

Advice for SEO agencies:

If you’re doing a good job, make sure to let your client knows. Fill them in on what’s going on behind the scenes and what you have planned next for them. Even if you’re doing an excellent job of bringing in traffic and clients, a lack of communication can cause disharmony quickly if anything ever goes awry. On top of that, if you’re not giving them advice and goals for the future, you can bet someone else is. Having good communication with your client also builds the opportunity for new types of traffic. I often get my best ideas for marketing by just having a conversation with my clients. 

2. Promising you a place on the top of Google for a certain keyword

Okay, it’s good to rank high for certain valuable keywords, however, more often than not this is a ploy to get you to trust them. Say you’re a business selling cakes, and they get you ranked number #1 for “Best Vanilla Cup Cakes in Cleveland, Ohio”. As a bakery, you may think that is a great keyword. However, when you take a look at the metrics you realize that no one searches that keyword making your ranking worthless. Ranking high does not matter if the keyword does not bring in your intended audience. Be very wary of random solicitors promising things such as this, because they will deliver, but the end result will not be what you wanted.

3. Throwing money at problems instead of solving them

I get this one often. “My website is slow, so my SEO guy told me to buy this web host for a single page site at $1000 a year”. They then control your hosting, and in many instances your domain. However, the real problem with most page speeds is not on the hosting side but on the development side of the website. Things like, uncompressed images, prioritizing above the fold content, and deferring or asynchronously loading render blocking scripts is much more beneficial in an instance like this. Check your Google Page Insights here to see if your site is as fast as your web person claims it to be.

*Third party reporting systems – I don’t have an issue if you’re using whatever proprietary software you want for reporting if it’s good. However, what I dislike is a third-party reporting system that’s clearly inferior to Google Analytics and or other reliable published services that are out there for the sake of being proprietary. Local SEO Agency propietary HoobaLoo Analytics more often than not, shows the customer much less information and can easily skew numbers without it being verified. If you want to add additional reporting features, use a recording tool like Mouseflow or Hotjar, and even more advanced analytic tools like Heap analytics.  SEO Agency advice: Yes, you can still create a dashboard for your client that’s powered by Google while simultaneously still granting them Google Analytic access.