I am contacted daily by cheap SEO companies (almost always based in India) who are still using damaging, old style black hat techniques, that simply do not work.
My inbox is bombarded so frequently that I've started to play a little game. I have no doubt that some companies offering SEO services know what they are doing and are capable, but what about the plethora of incapable service providers flooding inboxes all over the world?
How can you tell if the services you are being offered are based on effective and ethical techniques that have long term benefit?
To answer this question, I decided that every single time I get one of these emails promising a monthly schedule of 150 directory submissions, 20 blog articles, 10 new landing pages etc. I'd call their bluff.
I have 2 versions of a standard response email I send out. One where I am polite and simply act interested, the other in which I am equally polite and interested, but I also pose a few simple questions.
Part of the latter email goes like this:
"Please can you give me some examples of the articles you've written?
Also, that seems like a really high number of directories, what kind of directories are you submitting to and what quality control do you use, for example, do you have a minimum Domain Authority criteria that you use and do you ensure they are all theme/industry relevant?
Finally, could you show me a few examples of any landing pages you've created please?
Many thanks and I look forward to hearing back from you."
Version 1 of my email elicits a response 100% of the time. Would you be surprised to learn that email 2 never gets a response? Any SEO provider who knows their stuff would easily be able to answer those few questions.
What can you learn about choosing an SEO company?
Many SEO companies (largely based outside of the UK) will dazzle you by promising massive volumes of work at a very low price. Dig a little deeper however and you'll see a woeful lack of substance.
From what I've seen, (and I've seen a lot!) the quality of this work, without exception is terrible. Content is very badly written with bad spelling and grammar as standard. Link building is based on antiquated methods of submitting to endless low quality directories - many of which are exactly the same site and just re-branded.
I frequently come across unsuspecting clients who've used these services in the past, who now find they are ranking badly and have unintelligible, downright embarrassing copy on their websites and blogs.
Don't let this happen to you!
Some Questions to Ask SEO Service Providers
- Can you provide me with some examples of your published blog articles?
- What quality control do you have in place when it comes to selecting directories and other websites for back-links? For example, do you take into account theme and Domain Authority?
- Can you show me a selection of the directories you use?
- Can you give me an example of a landing page you've created?
If an SEO provider is unable to provide you with answers to very basic questions like these, this is an indication that they don't take these important things into consideration.
Please make sure you ask questions similar to those above before you sign up to an SEO package, as the consequences of poor SEO can be catastrophic.