Search engine optimization is important for the health and vitality of any website or online business, and it seems that there’s a new company offering SEO services every day. How can you tell the difference between a seasoned SEO company with proven results and strategies, and one that’s just smoke and mirrors? Here are three signs that your current SEO company might not be everything they claim.

    1. They can’t explain their strategy.

      Every field has its own set of lingo — legalese, medical mumbo-jumbo, or mechanic-speak — and SEO is no different. You might not be able to tell the difference between a widget and a long tail, but your SEO company should be able to explain it to you in plain English. A firm that says their process is too complex or mysterious is a red flag indicating that they might not know what they’re doing, either.


    1. They offer short-term guarantees.

      At the same time, the constantly evolving world of search engine algorithms makes it difficult for SEO strategists to predict exactly what’s going to happen from one week to the next. It’s unlikely that anyone can really “guarantee” you first-page results, especially if they promise to do so within a short amount of time. Optimization requires time to build links and boost your rankings — sometimes, you might not see immediate results. Be wary of quick-fix services that promise you the impossible.


  1. They don’t give you updates.

    “No guarantees” doesn’t mean “no results.” While it can take time to build your SEO, you should be able to monitor your progress and communicate with someone who is dedicated to managing your account. Social media marketing, for example, can be abstract, but a good SEO company will provide ways to measure results in a way that is tangible.

Much of SEO consulting involves careful strategy, planning, and a little bit of guesswork. In the end, though, a successful campaign can make an incredible difference to your business. Surveys rank SEO as the most effective lead generation tactic on the web, with 34% of marketers calling it “very effective.”

Not all SEO companies are created equally, however. Find a firm that will provide you with clear communication, goals, and results for the most effective optimization — and avoid the ones that don’t.