Do you have a website? Did you do the SEO yourself? Or you hire an SEO Company to do that?
If you are hiring SEO Company to do your website SEO, you have to be careful.
Today, because of the harsh competition in SEO Business, there are many of those companies who resorted to Scam and Fraud.
To help you so you won’t get scammed by those unscrupulous SEO Companies, we made this article.
Here, we will tell you what are the things you need to do and what questions you need to ask to minimize the chances of you getting scammed.
These are 3 Steps you need to do in order to minimize your chance of getting scammed.
Step 1 : Search for The Correct SEO Company
To get a good SEO Company for our needs, the first step we need to do is to conduct a thorough research.
If you tried to search “SEO Company in [Your Area Name]”, you will get millions of results and thousands of result at worst. Same thing also happened for the variations of the keywords, like “”
To get the best SEO Company for our website, we need to filter them first. This is very important because the quality of SEO Company you hire will determine the success of your website.
The first filter is to get the Top 20 Local SEO Company in the area. There may be some big SEO Companies got mixed in. In that case, you can keep a few names for backups. This can be a competence test for those SEO Company. If they can’t even get their own website to the top pages, then how can you be sure they can bring your website to the top also?
After you take the Top 20 SEO Companies from the list, you can proceed to the next part of your Research.
Next thing you need to do is to get more informations about those companies you have scouted. You can go to their websites, search and ask about them on forums, see how well-connected they are in Social Media, and many other ways.
After you get those informations, the number of SEO Companies in the list should have been reduced somewhat. If this is the case, then the next thing you need to do is to conduct a hands-on research by visiting them one by one.
By visiting them directly, you can see their work conditions and work ethics. You can also see how well they handle the request from clients to be used as consideration. Plus, you can also ask them questions, which I will explain in the next section.
Step 2 : Direct Inspection
The next thing you need to do after getting the list of potential SEO Company is to go visit each and every one of them (excluding the famous ones, because they have proven their qualities, and just looking for money), then observe their workplace and work ethic while asking them these few questions to gauge the quality of their works.
Question #1 : What Strategy You Can Offer Us if We Use Your Service?
Ask them to explain the general outline of their strategy that they have prepared for our website. If they are a professional, they should be able to explain the strategy clearly. If they can’t, that means they are not professional enough and you may want to avoid hiring them for your website SEO.
If they can explain the general outline, you can go into more details. Ask some questions about the services, like “What pages they will work on”, “Will they touch the technical side (source code) of the website?”, “How many backlinks they can give us and their quality”, etc.
Some agency will check your website and make some strategy based on that, this is a good agency. Some will tell you that it’s private, this one is a bit dangerous and prone to scam. Some will even said that the services they provide will change based on the data they find along the way, this is the best agency.
Why? Because as we said before, SEO keep changing, and a good SEO Company know this. There are no same strategy for all website. All websites are unique and need to be treated differently.
The first few months of SEO is Preparation Phase, where they check the website, clean it of errors, and prepare the things that will be used on the next step, which only have few variations in strategy. So the real work will start after the Preparation Phase is complete.
On a side note, you may want to check your website first before going to the SEO Company so you can know in advance about your website condition.
Question #2 : Can you Guarantee Us to Rank #1 in SERP for a Major Keyword?
Next thing you need to ask is whether they can give a guarantee to put your website in 1st position. Now, if they answer “yes”, it’s a good thing right?
If they say they can guarantee your website will reach #1 rank, immediately disqualify this SEO Company from your list.
One thing you must know is that SEO is quite a fickle thing. Yes, getting #1 is definitely the best outcome, but SEO have so many different factors that can influence the ranking of a website. Therefore, no one can guarantee your website can get #1 rank, because no one can control it.
If someone said that they can make you reach 1st rank with 100% probability, then they are just lying to get clients.
Question #3 : How will you do your Link-Building?
From the first time Google appeared until now, Link Building is one of the most important factor in Google’s calculation to determine the rank of a website. By asking this question, you can know how the firm do their link building, and whether it is legal or illegal.
Currently, Google Search Engine is smart enough to quickly differentiate a truly legal Link Building Technique and Illegal Link Building Technique that disguised as Legal. The penalty for doing illegal method is also very harsh, so you have to at least know what kind of links will the SEO Company build for you.
You can ask a few questions to know the Link Building technique the SEO Company will do. Questions like “How many Links they can give us in a month”, “Do they know about Google Updates that changed the Search Engine algorithm (Penguin 4.0)”, and “What kind of links they are building for the website and how?”.
If their response is not clear or they keep it as secrets, then you better steer clear from these kinds of SEO Company before you got scammed. Worse, if they said they can give you hundreds of Quality Backlinks in a month, this is 100% Scam and you should just blacklist this SEO Company from your list. See here for Google Webmaster Guidelines.
Question #4 : When and How we communicate?
Communication is a very important thing in SEO. A good SEO Company will actively communicate with you whenever they need somethings from you or have important notice for you. Some may only give you reports on an ad hoc basis. As a customer, you have the need to know the progress of their work.
Another way to approach this is to give you regular report via Teamwork Assistant Applications like ASANA. This way, you can check the report at your leisure, have fewer meetings, and good transparency (because you can check the status yourself and if it didn’t match, you can call them).
If they did not want to give you written report, or take a very long time making one, that’s a clear sign of scamming. Even though the standards of Regular Reports between companies varies, but they MUST provide one. This is called transparency in business.
Question #5 : Can we see the Case Study for some of your Previous Clients?
Previous Clients are like Portfolios of an SEO Agency. If they have good track record, an SEO Company will not hesitate to show us the list of their previous clients. Of course, no Private or Important information will be given, but they should give you the list of clients and their result if they have good ones, along with some data to show how they manage to do it.
These Case Studies can help you know how competent the SEO Company is. You can also check with the client written there if they really are a client or not. The Clients may not provide detailed info, but at least they can tell you if their website saw positive impact on their search ranking or not.
If they are reluctant or denied when we ask for their Previous Client’s Case Studies, then that means their track record aren’t too good and you should change to another SEO Company. Other than Case Studies, you can also see the Reviews and Testimonials from their Previous and Current Clients.
Question #6 : How Fast Can I see the First Result?
An honest SEO effort will usually show result after a few weeks for easy keywords and a few months for major keywords. If the SEO Company you asked said that they only need a few days or one or two weeks, then it should give you a ‘DANGER!’ alarm. Stay away from them.
This is because they may use Blackhat SEO or Illegal Methods to do their SEO. These type of methods can raise your rank very fast, but in exchange, once a few days past (sometimes only a day), Google will give your website penalty or even outright ban your website from Google SERP.
All in all, SEO is a long-term investment. You need months before you know whether your SEO strategy worked or not. This is one of the biggest reason why the SEO Scam exist.
Question #7 : Why Should We Hire You Over Another SEO Company?
A traditional probing question. What we want to know from this question is the “Scam” answer, such as “Cheaper than Others”, “Give you More Backlinks and Fast Result”, and so on. These answer are a sign that the SEO Company have low-quality.
Cheaper than others : No good SEO Company charge a cheap fee. Only the SEO Company who is not very successful charge you cheaply to get more clients.
Give You More Backlinks : More Backlinks =/= Good Ranking. For SEO, you may want to choose Quality over Quantity. Too much Low Quality Backlinks will get you a penalty from Google, but a few good quality links from relevant sources can bring your website to a high position.
Fast Result : See Question #6
One thing you have to remember is you must not tell Anything that can clue them you are doing the same thing to other SEO Companies. Sometimes this can get a bad sentiment from them and sometimes even get you blacklisted by SEO Companies in general.
Make sure to ask all of these questions to every SEO Company on your list. After you finished with these questions, you can note down their answer. At the end of the question, usually the agent will ask you if you want to use their service. You can delay them by saying that you will think about it and tell them later.
After you finished asking these questions, you can start to do the next step of the research to fnd out if the things they have told you are really correct or not.
Step 3 : Looking for Proof
Topic : 8 Important Questions When Hiring SEO Company
– Searching SEO Company [Your Area Name] will net you hundreds or even thousands of names.
– We need to filter them to get the best SEO Company because this is related to your website promotion.
– First we need to get only the top 20 SEO Company in your area, this is the first competence test.
– After that, we can check their reputation on the internet. Visit and ask in forums, ask people around and your friends, etc.
– When the list already further filtered, we need to ask
– Q1 : What Strategy You Can Offer Us if We Use Your Service?
– Q2 : Can you Guarantee Us to Rank #1 in SERP?
– Q3 : How will you do your Link-Building?
– Q4 : When and How we communicate?
– Q5 : Will you give me Regular Reports? How Often?
– Q6 : Can we see the Case Study for your Previous Clients?
– Q7 : How Fast Can I see the First Result?
– Q8 : Do You Need Something from Us to Provide?
– After questions, ensure the things they said is correct
– E1 : Put the keywords they suggested into Google Keyword Tools
– E2 : Ask ALL of your candidates, because you can crosscheck their suggestions
– E3 : Check their statement validity by contacting their past / previous clients