small business SEOFor small businesses, search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most essential tools for success. It allows them to appear higher in search engine results. This makes it easier for potential customers to find their website and purchase products or services.

Unfortunately, hiring the wrong small business SEO agency can hurt your ability to reach a wider audience and grow. Recognizing the warning signs that your current SEO company sucks can save you lots of time and aggravation.

Keep reading to discover the red flags that indicate your current SEO provider sucks!

The Absence of Transparency

Lack of transparency is a warning sign that your current small business SEO provider isn’t doing their job properly. If the company refuses to disclose its strategies, tactics, or progress reports to you, then they are likely not being honest about the work they have done. This could indicate they are simply taking advantage of you and not providing results.

Lack of an SEO Strategy

The SEO company’s lack of a clear strategy is a major red flag. Measuring progress and success in meeting your small business goals is impossible without one.

An effective SEO strategy should include things like:

  • Evaluating the state of the website
  • Researching the competitive landscape
  • Keyword research
  • Content building and optimization
  • Link-building tactics

A good SEO provider will take the time to discuss these topics with you and create a plan that works for your business. If they don’t, it’s time to look for someone else.

Ranking Guarantees Are Unethical

Guaranteed rankings are a red flag for any SEO company. Promising to reach specific rankings on search engines is impossible. It also goes against search engine guidelines. Search engines use complex algorithms to determine rankings. 

An experienced SEO provider will know how to use these algorithms to drive traffic to your website. A reputable and trustworthy small business SEO agency will never guarantee specific rankings because it’s something they can’t control.

Lack of Communication

Poor communication with your small business SEO provider can be a serious problem. If they take a long time to respond to your inquiries or fail to provide regular updates, it’s a sign that their service might not be up to par.

If the company is unresponsive when you seek clarification on specific strategies or progress, it could indicate that they are not invested in helping your business succeed. This is why you must work with an SEO agency that values client communication.

No SEO Campaign Goals

When it comes to small business SEO, goals are essential. Without these goals, it’s impossible to measure the progress of your SEO campaign and determine whether or not it’s successful. If your SEO agency doesn’t have measurable goals in place, this is a sign that they are not serious about helping you reach your business objectives.

The right SEO provider should have a clear and measurable target in mind for your business, such as:

You can see how close you are to accomplishing these goals by tracking your progress. The right small business SEO agency will provide you with documentation of campaign results.

The Use of Black Hat Techniques

Black hat techniques are methods used by some SEO companies to manipulate search engine algorithms and gain an unfair advantage.

These unethical practices include:

  • Link buying involves paying for backlinks to manipulate rankings without providing any value to the user.
  • Keyword stuffing is the practice of overusing keywords in website content to increase rankings.
  • Cloaking is a black hat SEO practice where one version of a web page is shown to search engines for ranking purposes. Another version of the page is shown to website visitors. If caught doing this, a website could be penalized. 

These practices are considered unethical and can result in penalties from search engines. Small businesses need to recognize these techniques and avoid companies that engage in them.

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The Lack of Industry Knowledge

A lack of industry knowledge is a warning sign that the SEO company you are working with doesn’t know what they’re doing. They may be unaware of the latest algorithm updates or current SEO trends. They may also be unfamiliar with industry best practices for optimizing your website.

Working with an experienced SEO provider with a wealth of knowledge about the industry is essential. This will ensure your website performs optimally.

Your Content Lacks Depth and Relevancy

Low-quality content can be a telltale sign that your small business SEO company is not doing well. Poorly written content, such as blog posts or website pages, will be irrelevant and lack depth.

This type of content will not be valuable to your target audience and could damage your search engine rankings. When looking for an SEO partner, ensure they can provide quality and valuable content optimized for search engines.

No Website Audit Has Been Performed

A website audit should be one of the first steps taken by a small business SEO provider. This allows them to identify any issues that need to be addressed. If your current SEO provider hasn’t performed an audit, you must view this as a red flag.

Reasons to perform a website audit include:

  • Uncovering broken links, which can prevent search engines from properly crawling and indexing your pages
  • Identifying and addressing technical issues, such as slow page loading times
  • Analyzing the content on your website to ensure it is relevant and optimized for searches
  • Determining if your website structure is helping or hurting SEO performance

Small Business SEO audits our clients’ websites on a regular basis. We share our findings with the clients and take appropriate actions based on the goals and objectives of our clients. 

Your Current SEO Provider is Ignoring On-Page Optimization

Ignoring on-page optimization can be a massive mistake for small businesses and their SEO companies. Without optimizing essential elements like meta tags, headings, and URL structure, websites won’t be able to rank well or appear in search engine results.

On-page optimization is essential for any website to perform well in search engine rankings. It’s one of the most important tasks an SEO agency should do. If your small business SEO provider is not optimizing on-page elements, it’s time to look for someone else!

You Have No Link Building Strategy In Place

The absence of a link-building strategy is another sign that your current small business SEO agency is not delivering the services it promised. Link building involves creating relationships with other websites to earn backlinks or building links through social sharing. These links can improve rankings and visibility on search engines.

Without this strategy, your website can’t get the maximum benefit from SEO efforts. Link building also increases website authority and helps establish trustworthiness. This is why you must work with a small business SEO agency that takes link-building seriously.

The Agency You Hired Doesn’t Conduct Keyword Research

Keyword research is an essential part of an effective SEO strategy. Without it, your small business SEO agency won’t be able to target the right keywords for your website. An experienced SEO provider will conduct thorough keyword research to identify relevant keywords that can help you reach a wider audience.

They will also analyze competitor websites to find the best-performing keywords. Failing to conduct keyword research is a surefire sign that your SEO company isn’t doing its job properly.

Local SEO is Non-Existent

Local SEO is an integral part of any small business SEO strategy. If your current SEO provider doesn’t focus on optimizing for local searches, they probably suck.

Here are some reasons why local SEO matters:

  • Improves online visibility for searches conducted within a specific geographic area
  • Increases the chance of appearing in the local three-pack. This is a list of three businesses that appear at the top of search engine results
  • Helps establish a stronger connection with potential customers.

Working with an experienced small business SEO agency that understands local SEO can help you reach more customers and grow your business.

You’re Website Analytics Are Not Setup

Lack of analytics tracking is another sign that your small business SEO agency isn’t up to par. Without regular tracking of your website’s analytics, it’s impossible to measure the success of your SEO campaign. You’ll also be unable to determine whether or not it’s working.

The right SEO provider can set up website analytics and give you access to them so you can monitor your website’s traffic and conversions.

The Agency Values Traffic Quantity Over Quality

Many small business SEO providers place too much emphasis on quantity rather than quality when it comes to website traffic. They focus on ways to generate large amounts of visitors to the website without considering how relevant these visitors are to the business’s goals.

Without properly targeting potential customers, businesses may be unable to convert those leads into sales or revenue.

This approach can lead to a high bounce rate. This means visitors are not finding what they want on the website. Working with an SEO agency that understands the importance of high-quality website traffic is essential.

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No Mobile Website Optimization

If your current provider neglects to optimize your website for mobile devices, you are missing out on potential customers. With the increasing number of mobile users, ensuring your website is optimized for mobile devices is essential. This helps to ensure customers have a seamless experience while browsing your website.

Disregarding mobile optimization is a major red flag that your current small business SEO provider is not doing their job well. Find an SEO agency that understands how important it is to optimize for mobile devices!

Charging High Prices With No Justification

Companies should be transparent about the costs associated with their services. They should also provide detailed justifications as to why these fees are necessary. Often, companies will charge high prices without proving that their services are worth the money.

As a small business, avoiding these companies and looking for an SEO agency that provides value for money is important.

Competitor Analysis Hasn’t Been Performed

An effective SEO strategy should include competitor analysis. This helps to determine what they are doing better and where there are opportunities for improvement. Without this, businesses risk falling behind their competition.

If your current small business SEO agency isn’t performing competitor analysis, it’s time to replace them. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to stay competitive in your industry.

You Don’t Have a Social Media Strategy In Place

A good SEO provider will take the time to create a plan that incorporates social media optimization tactics. These tactics should include building brand awareness and driving website traffic.

Failing to do this means missing out on potential customers and not achieving optimal search engine rankings. An experienced SEO agency will know how to implement social media optimization effectively.

The Agency Ignores the Power of Local Citations

Local citations refer to your business information on online directories and platforms, such as Google My Business, Yelp, and Yellow Pages. These listings help increase local visibility and boost your search engine rankings.

Unfortunately, many SEO agencies fail to prioritize local citations, which can hurt your local search visibility. Without adequately optimizing and updating these listings, your business won’t be able to reach the maximum potential of its online presence.

Working with an SEO agency that knows the importance of local citations and has experience in optimizing them is essential for small businesses.

The Agency is Using Unethical SEO Practices

SEO agencies not doing their job correctly may resort to unethical practices.

These practices include things like:

  • Doorway pages are created solely to manipulate search engine rankings and divert visitors from other websites.
  • Hidden text involves hiding keywords and phrases on website pages. This is done so search engines can detect them, but visitors cannot.
  • Link farms are collections of websites that link to each other solely to manipulate search engine rankings.

These tactics should be avoided at all costs as they can result in penalties from search engines and harm your website’s reputation. This is why you need to fire any small business SEO provider that uses these tactics.

You Aren’t Receiving Regular Progress Reports

Regular progress reports are an essential part of any small business SEO strategy. Without them, businesses won’t be able to track their website’s performance and measure the success of their campaign.

An experienced SEO provider will provide detailed reports that include keyword rankings, website traffic, sales conversions, and more. Not receiving regular progress reports is a warning sign that your current SEO agency sucks!

Contract Terms Are Unreasonable

Unreasonable contracts can signal you’re working with the wrong SEO agency. Contracts that lock you in for long periods, demand high rates, or come with hidden fees can be signs of a disreputable SEO agency. 

It’s always a wise decision to work with a company that values transparency and doesn’t force you into signing a questionable contract. This approach ensures a trustworthy partnership and better outcomes for your online presence.

No Conversion Rate Optimization Strategy

The lack of conversion rate optimization (CRO) indicates that your current SEO provider isn’t doing their job correctly. Small businesses may miss out on potential customers without an effective CRO strategy. This will also prohibit them from reaching the desired goals of their online presence.

To ensure your website is performing optimally and getting the maximum benefit from SEO efforts, finding an experienced SEO provider who understands CRO is essential.

You Don’t Have a Content Marketing Strategy

The absence of a content marketing strategy is a sign you need to find a new SEO provider. A content marketing strategy is essential for any small business to maximize its online presence.

Here are some reasons why a content marketing strategy is so important:

  • It helps build relationships with target audiences and establish trust
  • Allows businesses to capitalize on SEO opportunities by creating content optimized for search engines
  • Foster relationships with influencers, media outlets, and other websites to get backlinks
  • Enhances visibility in searches conducted within a specific geographic area
  • Increases website traffic by strategically using relevant keywords and phrases
  • Helps establish authority in the industry by creating informative content

Working with an experienced small business SEO agency that understands the importance of content marketing is essential for achieving success.

There Are No Local Backlinks To Your Website

Local backlinks provide an important boost to a website’s ranking, especially in local searches. If your existing SEO provider is not creating the necessary number of local backlinks for your site, it is likely a sign that they are not taking adequate measures to improve SEO results.

Replacing your current provider with one specializing in small business SEO and more committed to building backlinks can be a great way to drive traffic to your website.

No Focus On Improving User Experience

An SEO provider that neglects the user experience should be fired. Poor user experience can negatively impact engagement and conversions, leading to lower search engine rankings.

Providing a good user experience will require you to implement things like:

  • Easy navigation: a website should be easy to navigate and allow users to quickly find the information they need.
  • Mobile optimization: ensure your website is optimized for mobile devices, so users can easily access it from any device.
  • Fast loading time: an optimized website should load quickly because slow loading times can lead to high bounce rates.
  • Quality content: this content should be informative, relevant, and engaging to keep users on the website longer.
  • Relevant visuals: visuals such as images, videos, and infographics can help capture user attention

With our help, you can improve your website user experience in no time!

Organic Traffic Isn’t Growing

Organic traffic growth is an important metric for measuring the success of an SEO campaign. If your website isn’t seeing an increase in organic traffic, it may be a sign that your current SEO provider doesn’t know what they’re doing.

Without organic traffic growth, search engine results won’t improve, and you won’t be able to reach potential customers. It’s important to replace your current SEO provider with an experienced agency that understands how to produce organic traffic growth.

The Agency Doesn’t Use White Hat SEO Practices

White hat SEO practices involve strategies that align with search engine guidelines. When a company fails to employ these techniques, it can have severe repercussions for your website. Poorly executed SEO tactics can result in penalties from search engines and negatively impact your website’s ranking.

If your current small business SEO provider isn’t using a white hat approach, it’s time to find an experienced SEO agency that does.

Tons of Negative Online Reviews

Negative reviews from previous customers may be a warning sign that your current SEO provider needs to be replaced. If numerous reviews point out inadequate services or unethical practices, you need to view this as a red flag. Reading online reviews can help you determine if the SEO agency you’re considering is reliable and capable of providing the services you need.

Work With a Small Business SEO Agency You Can Trust!

Is your existing small business SEO provider making the mistakes covered in this article? If so, it’s time to make some changes. With our help, you can accomplish your online marketing goals and reach a larger audience with your message!