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For businesses in a hurry to outrank their competitors for high-competition keywords, it’s easy to fall prey to bad SEO companies. Firms that overpromise and underdeliver while leaving you to pay for their mess.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of noise out there. SEO firms (good and bad) are constantly in battle with each other by reaching out to potential customers by utilizing progressively aggressive marketing tactics. As a business owner, you probably have hundreds of emails in your spam box from companies looking to be your next SEO partner. 

This post is all about identifying the bad apples so you can filter out a good SEO company for your firm. The following are 7 things ethical SEO firms never say to their clients.

1. We Don’t Share Our Track Record Because It’s Confidential

The mark of a good SEO agency is its track record. It’s as simple as checking their clients’ metrics before and after they came into the picture. While it’s often difficult to get sales figures or the figure of the bottom line goal (subscriptions, sign-ups, etc), but tracking historic traffic data is pretty straightforward and easy.

At the very least, your SEO company should be able to show you how they influenced the traffic numbers for a past client who is somewhat close to your industry. 

2. You Are Guaranteed to Rank First Page In No Time

Gmail should really have an “incinerate” button for all the emails that say something like “Guaranteed First Page Ranking in a Month.” These emails don’t even deserve to be in your spam. 

You really have to be gullible or have no SEO experience whatsoever to fall for that. In all honesty, Google checks well over 200 ranking parameters before deciding if a particular page belongs to the first page results. The frequency of Google’s updates and the sheer complexity of it makes it impossible to guarantee anything. The ranking also depends on what others are doing, which your SEO company has no control over. 

Ranking on the first page for desired high-competition keywords is not impossible. However, it usually takes time and effort, especially if your site is new and is not optimized.

3. We Offer Unbeatable Prices and the Best SEO Service Money Can Buy

When an offer sounds too good to be true, there is a good chance it actually is. Everything from hiring experienced SEO experts and quality content writers to tweaking the design of your site takes time and expertise. 

Unfortunately, expertise is not cheap, especially now when the demand for quality SEO people is at an all-time high. 

Therefore, if the prices seem unbelievably low, there is a good reason to be suspicious. There is a good chance a lot of the actual work is being done by inexperienced blokes in third world countries where the cost of labor is cheap.

4. You Need to Sign a Contract

Signing long-term contracts are really not the norm in the SEO industry. Clients move freely from one SEO provider to the other and companies are also free to let go of certain clients. That’s how it has been for years.

Any SEO company trying to force you into a contract thus should be rejected without a second thought.

5. We Have a Secret Way to Get Your Pages Ranked

Ahh! The secret sauce technique. When an SEO company says they have a secret recipe to success, it’s never good news.

They are either going to use Blackhat and risky techniques to achieve results, which may cause your site to get penalized or have nothing at all. More often than not, the “secret” is that these companies have no secrets at all. It’s all just clever marketing and poker-faced lying to score your business.

Any reputed SEO company would gladly share the techniques they are going to use to increase the site metrics. 

6. Jargon, Jargon, Jargon

The goal of any good SEO company should be to explain and not to confuse. If their presentation sounds too complicated, then you have all the right to walk away. 

While you should ask questions when you don’t understand something, it’s also the job of the SEO firm to explain things in an uncomplicated manner. 

Remember the famous saying by Einstein, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

7. We Have Hundreds of Clients Spanning All Industries

While you want your SEO company to have clients and have extensive experience, what you don’t want is for them to be overworked

Most SEO companies assign managers to look after their clients. Now, if a manager has too many clients on his or her plate, there is a good chance that deadlines are going to be missed.

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