6 Warning Signs Of A Bad SEO Or Digital Marketing Agency

In today’s digital age all companies need to spread their message via the might of Google, Bing, and similar search engines. And this, for many, means employing the services of an SEO and digital marketing agency. SEO when done right increases traffic, rankings, and ultimately, profits. But done badly it’s not simply a case of failing to attract traffic, it can have a truly detrimental effect on all aspects of advertising and revenue.


A large proportion of sales and baseline profit is about gaining relevant traffic, driving it through a carefully formulated sales funnel, which eventually converts to cold hard cash. And the important word to note in that sentence is that of “relevant”. Not only is search engine optimization a dynamic beast, but it’s also essential that it’s carried out in conjunction with other aspects of digital marketing and web design to specifically target a market that actually wants to purchase what’s on offer. Sadly there are many agencies that claim to provide SEO and digital marketing services, yet do it so badly that they actually cause harm, not simply to online visibility and traffic, but to all aspects of commerce and sales. For any company concerned about an SEO agency they are using or considering, the following are major red flags that all might not be as it seems.


  1. Too good to be true guarantees


Does a firm promise a Number 1 Google ranking? Perhaps they purport to double or triple traffic in 2-3 months? A slick sales spiel might be hard to resist, but any quality SEO and digital marketing agency will not make such guarantees. This is because although keyword ratings and search rankings can and are successfully manipulated by quality SEO function, the truth is that it’s an ever-changing algorithm driven by AI that constantly learns and evolves. Hence no firm can have intimate knowledge of the way Google uses this data, and therefore guaranteeing such results is a physical impossibility.


  1. A failure to explain work being carried out 


This means a company either acts all “cloak and dagger” about what they’re doing, or they don’t explain in a way the customer can fully understand. A reliable and effective SEO agency doesn’t only know how to do a good job, they also have the ability to impart this knowledge to clients in layman’s terms.


  1. Focusing only on what went right


The nature of SEO and digital marketing is that in order to hit the magic formula for each individual business is not simply down to taking actions. It’s also a case or trial and error, and continual tweaking to achieve the desired results. If a firm only reports on the successes, and not what was learned from various mistakes during campaigns, then it’s highly likely they’re not telling the whole truth. This is often because they don’t want to let slip any “secret formula”. However, an unwillingness to allow a company to evolve and learn as it continues along the SEO journey is not only unhelpful, it’s actively preventing company owners from learning more about this essential method of marketing.


  1. Solely concentrating on SEO


Yes, search engine optimization is important. But it doesn’t work in isolation. SEO it intertwined with many other company attributes, including marketing, website design, PR, and customer usability. In addition, a good SEO company will also look at content, traditional marketing, and social media interaction, because, quite simply, SEO doesn’t work in a vacuum, it’s continually influenced by other mediums.


  1. Being a control freak


In other words, wanting to have full control over all aspects of reporting, data, and logins. Much as this might seem a necessary evil when employing an agency for digital marketing and SEO, it’s certainly not advisable. Should the time come when a decision is made to change providers, a less than scrupulous company can literally hold this information hostage. This can, and has, escalated into lengthy and expensive legal battles. Quite simply, a reputable firm will not ask for full control, and fully accepts that trust within a professional relationship is something that’s built over time and, of course, works on both sides.


  1. Providing outdated examples of previous work 


As already mentioned, SEO and digital marketing are constantly changing. And while an agency might have some very impressive past results, unless they’re proven to work in the here and now they really aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. Ask to see examples of such work that’s current, or at least within the past 12 months.


Any SEO and digital marketing agency should pride itself on full transparency and work with their clients in a partnership. Only by fully understanding the business, target markets, and expected results can a campaign be successfully implemented, tested, and the desired developments brought to fruition.

Smashed Media believe that clarity, collaboration, and continual advancement of a dynamic approach to digital marketing and SEO is what leads to lucrative campaigns. Their experienced team partners with customers for what is, essentially, a journey upon which both sides develop understanding, trust, and reach the desired conclusion. Honesty, communication, and a dynamic approach are at the core of their success, and the diverse teams within Smashed Media work together to provide SEO and digital marketing solutions individually targeted to suit all niches of industry.


We're a results focused digital marketing agency ready to approach every challenge with seamless optimization and improvement. We look forward to hearing from you.