Bad SEO Companies Are Out There
Bad SEO companies seem to be the norm, unfortunately. However, it also depends on how you define "bad." The following are examples of what I consider to be less than stellar performance for the client. These are real world, by the way. I can't make this stuff up, as much as I might like to.
Including your paid ad campaigns in organic search rankings - yup, I've seen this. C'mon, it doesn't count if you're paying top dollar to be on page 1, position 1. But recently, I was given an SEO ranking report that included many terms from the company's Google Adwords campaign. Is that cheating, or what?
Not doing the keyword research and analysis as outlined in the contract - this is such a fundamental task, I'm amazed at any SEO business getting away with not doing this, and yet, I've seen it. The web page titles and descriptions were vague and generic, and mostly read the same. So much for unique, compelling, useful, optimized title and description tags.
Bad SEO Companies Do These Things As Well
Creating just one page for every single product - I am not a fan of creating pages for every product that's basically the same or very similar, but if you have products that you can adequately create unique content for with a good keyword phrase or topic, why would you not jump at the chance to have more organic ranking opportunities? I've seen this, and I've never seen a page in this situation rank for anything.
Creating empty pages - I've come across this as well, and I don't know if it's just sheer laziness...or what. But any SEO company worth a dime can at least write something. Especially if it's an FAQ page, which I've seen empty.
Not creating a complete ranking report - by this, I mean show me the keyword phrases that are ranking in which engine; that's all fine and good, but please go a little further and include the URL. What good does it do me to see a phrase that's ranking somehwere if I don't have a page or post to go with it? Oh, and also give me some words and verbs about how you, the SEO experts, are going to work on those phrases that aren't ranking, to get them to bubble up higher in search results. That would be quite helpful.
Ignoring the specific tasks in the services contract - one I looked at recently has failed to fulfill more than half of the services they're billing a company for. Not only is that bad, it's shameful and possibly breach of contract. You know, important tasks like writing blog posts, providing a regular Google Analytics report, page speed reports, and so on...
Web owners and publishers, keep your outsourced SEO vendor honest by holding their feet to the fire every month. Make yourself a pain in the ass (PITA) to them. Keep asking questions until you get the answers you need.
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Until we meet again, keep it safely between the ditches.
All the very best to you,
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