Here’s a warning – not every SEO Houston company can be trusted. In fact, some online marketing firms intentionally use black hat techniques, which can potentially destroy or heavily penalize your site. Now, why would they do this? Because black hat tactics deliver fast results.
The trouble is, these results don’t last long. Google’s mission is to provide users with the best search results possible. If they find that your website has been gaming the system and the quality of your website doesn’t match its search engine ranking, your site will be penalized. If this happens (and it will happen eventually), your search ranking will drop considerably into the deep end of the Internet, where no one will look. This means that no potential clients can find your website via search.
If you’re locked into a contract with one of these shady SEO firms, you’ll get billed for services that do the opposite of what you’re paying for. Unfortunately, many startups and small businesses spend tens of thousands of dollars on firms that promise to help them shoot up to the top of Google’s SERPs in just four weeks or so, often with disastrous consequences.
Red & Green Flags to Look For When Hiring a Company for SEO Houston
Actual SEO Media, Inc. believes no one should enter a deal or contract blind. Here, we’ll discuss the red flags indicating the agency might cause more harm than good. Of course, we’ll also pinpoint the green flags that make an SEO Houston agency great. The purpose of the article is to make you aware that there are many unscrupulous firms out there, which is why choosing the right SEO Houston firm for your business will be one of the most important decisions you will make.
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Red Flag #1: They don’t have a verifiable track record.
What can the agency show you without some sort of disclaimer or excuse? If the firm can’t show you its SEO practices or tries to keep them a big secret, everything they say is just a lot of hot air. It’s been two or three months since signing the contract. While you shouldn’t expect extraordinary results at this stage, you have every right to ask the company what they have been doing with your money.
A reputable SEO Houston Agency such as Actual SEO Media, Inc. can show clients exactly what we’ve been doing to improve their search engine ranking. Though massive results take time, we can prove how hard we’ve been working on your website within a few weeks! We provide:
A comprehensive search engine optimization audit of your site
Analysis of your website’s link profile
Articles and reputable backlinks
If you don’t know what those things are yet, that’s okay – our SEO consultants educate clients along the way.
Much like we’re doing now, we provide the information you need to decide about your online marketing services. At each consultation, you’ll learn something new about your business and search engine optimization (SEO) in general. We prefer for our clients to stick around because they’ve seen what we can do, not out of fear or misinformation. Within a few weeks, we’ll be well on our way to gaining trust and respect as a fair, reputable SEO Houston company.
Red Flag #2: The SEO Houston firm doesn’t ask you for anything.
Any online marketing firm should ask you for the following once they decide to take up your work:
Access to your Google Webmaster Tools
Admin access to your CMS
A list of keywords targeted by you (or at the very least, topics)
Access to your Google Analytics
Connection to your company’s social media accounts
Access to search optimization audits or work done on your website
Information about the penalties that you were hit with
If your agency does not ask for any of the above, you should be very worried. It’s possible that they are providing you with backlinks from a number of sites with low repute. This allows them to create a temporary spike in your ranking on Google, but don’t be fooled. The results won’t last. Not only might you be struck with a penalty, but you can be sure that no real work’s being done.
Proper SEO is more than backlinks. It’s also more than keywords. And it’s even more than content. In fact, perfect search engine optimization requires attention to all of these details and more. If a company doesn’t have all of the information about your website, social media accounts, and analytics, there’s really no way they can make substantial changes to your SEO. Even if they request some of this info, they’d be neglecting the other aspects of optimization. The end result is a partially-optimized website. Unless you’re paying for partial services, that’s unacceptable.
How To Avoid This Red Flag
Actual SEO Media, Inc. will get all of the information that we need to maximize your SEO completely. You’ll still have access to all of your accounts, should you ever need them. We’ll create separate accounts, so you can easily differentiate your pre-existing content from the new articles our writers create. If you don’t have social media accounts set up for your business, our team can create those for you. This will allow you to take advantage of the ever-growing marketing influence of platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
Red Flag #3: The firm has no viable ideas or suggestions.
This is a major red flag. If the company you hire can’t tell you how they will improve your site or what needs to be done, you can be sure that they will do nothing more than arrange for a number of backlinks from low-quality sites. Or, maybe they are only interested in your money and don’t plan to do anything whatsoever. They are just wasting your time and money. They might not even be interested in interacting with you, as that would give their game away.
At Actual SEO Media, Inc., we view our client relationship as a partnership, not a competition. We’re here to help you manage your business as far as marketing is concerned. We’re here for the long haul and can give you short-term and long-term strategies to grow and maintain your company’s online presence. Our search engine consultants will offer personalized recommendations and suggestions, which will help improve your site’s position on Google’s SERPs. With your approval, we’ll employ those strategies and keep you updated along the way.
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Red Flag #4: They are secretive and don’t clue you in on what they’re doing.
This is another obvious red flag. An SEO company should be able to tell you what they are going to do. They should have no problem sharing their strategies without going into too many technical details. However, if the agency says that they cannot share anything with you as their information has to remain confidential, you can be sure that there’s something fishy going on.
Rather than expose themselves as illegitimate, they’ll keep you in the dark, perhaps claiming that their tactics are proprietary or too complicated for you to understand. If they put you off or act condescending towards you by saying, “Oh, we do a lot of things, it would take us too long to explain. Maybe some other time…” fire them immediately and get out of the contract as soon as you can.
The truth, which these types of SEO firms don’t want you to know, is that you can learn almost everything you need to manage your website’s SEO yourself. The reason you won’t do that is that it takes too long. Legit SEO is in-depth and time-consuming. You need to know about keyword competitiveness, web design, on-page SEO, off-page SEO, social media marketing, and more. Furthermore, with every Google, Facebook, or WordPress update, the tactics must change in order to keep your website ranked #1. You don’t hire an SEO firm because you can’t learn the concepts; you hire us because that’s not how you should be spending your time.
Avoid This Red Flag
A trustworthy SEO Houston business that follows only White Hat (Google-approved) practices would certainly explain its strategies to you. There are no real secrets in search engine optimization – it’s about hard work, following best practices as clearly stated by Google, and staying in tune with the latest developments in search engines. If your agency suddenly starts acting as though they are CIA, well, you can be sure that you have invested in a scam. Just get out of there at the earliest opportunity.
Red Flag #5: You’re hit with a manual penalty.
The worst thing that can happen to any website is a manual penalty from Google. What is a manual penalty? It’s a penalty given out by Google when a human reviewer flags your site for not complying with the search engine’s webmaster quality guidelines. This penalty won’t be visible to the public, but you’ll receive the notice by email or a notification on your Google Webmaster Tools account.
Did you receive this manual penalty within weeks or months after the agency started work on your site? Okay, this is a definite red flag. You have every right to be concerned. However, receiving this penalty doesn’t mean you should fire them straight away. It may not be their fault, so don’t jump to conclusions. It can take Google quite some time to penalize a site. If you’ve had other contractors or companies working on your SEO previously, the benefit could be the fault of any of them. Do an investigation, and only then make a decision.
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Find out the reason for the manual penalty and who is responsible. If the penalty was intentional or the result of the firm’s negligence or ignorance, fire the firm. Your SEO firm should stay current with the latest SEO regulations. Furthermore, the online marketing company you hire should have all the information and access to your site that they need in order to prevent penalization. However, sometimes, mistakes are made due to miscommunication or if you’ve switched SEO firms and caused a “too many cooks in the pot” situation.
Make a judgment call after a thorough investigation. If you see other red flags with your current SEO agency, it’s time to terminate your contract with the firm. If the firm is professional, sincere, and willing to rectify the problem right away, perhaps they deserve another chance.
A penalty can be reversed, and your website ranking can be restored, so take a deep breath. Google will tell you exactly why your website has been penalized, and your SEO firm should know how to fix it. Furthermore, they should fix these issues at no additional cost, especially if the penalty was their fault. This hiccup doesn’t have to ruin your working relationship with the firm, but it should warn you to pay more attention to the other red flags.
Look for Good Signs
Those were the most common red flags that you should look out for when evaluating your current SEO or any digital marketing firm. Here at Actual SEO Media, Inc., we want to help local businesses in our community learn more about marketing to help themselves. Even if you don’t hire us right away, you should be aware that there are unscrupulous firms out there. That’s why choosing the right SEO Houston firm for your business will be one of your most important decisions.
When hiring an online marketing company, stay local – don’t settle for less than the best, and call Actual SEO Media, Inc. Our track record proves that we are one of the most impactful SEO firms here in Texas. Our clients have gone on to make higher earnings, expand to multiple locations, and comfortably rely on our services to continue growing their businesses.
Have you noticed that when you take care of marketing projects, you are hiring the individuals working on the project, not the company? At Actual SEO Media, Inc., we understand this, which is why our team consists of some of the best minds in this business. Our writers are professionally trained and creative, our SEO consultants are experts in their field, and our web design crew has years of experience. All our teams work in-house and regularly hold face-to-face meetings with our local clients so that you’re guaranteed quality work. The Actual SEO Media, Inc. team can’t be outmatched regarding transparency, strategy, and client satisfaction.
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Commitment Without a Contract
Although our competitors like to boast that they provide a similar level of service, there’s one thing that makes Actual SEO Media, Inc. stand out from the rest of them:
We don’t make you sign a contract.
When you work with our team, you don’t do so out of obligation. We don’t use fear tactics, intimidation, or misinformation. Furthermore, we can show you proof of our past and current successes. Because we believe in our team and the services we provide, we don’t need to lock you into a contract.
Furthermore, high-quality SEO doesn’t happen in a consistent timeframe. Depending on your current search engine ranking, local and national competition, and niche, your progress might increase at a different rate than another company’s. That’s why we offer flexible, non-contractual plans. There are similar companies offering the same services, but the quality of their services can’t compare to what we offer our clients.
Our prices are both flexible and affordable for all businesses regardless of their sizes – Actual SEO Media, Inc. has various packages that you can select from depending on your business needs. As your business grows, your plan can change with it. This ensures that you always get the exact services you need at the price you’re comfortable paying for them.
Even though we don’t require contracts, your business will have our full commitment. Here’s another thing those other SEO firms can’t tell you:
We won’t work with your competition.
Of all the local businesses in Houston, at least one other company is bound to offer similar services to yours. However, there can only be one #1 in the search engine rankings. Actual SEO Media, Inc. doesn’t make clients split the difference. We pour all of our strategies and competitive keywords for your niche directly into your company website. You hire the best, and you get the best. Your competitors won’t stand a chance.
The Actual SEO Media, Inc. team of experts applies only white hat services to your website. At your first free consultation of many to come, we can explain more about how we work and how we’ll help you grow your business. Not only will we turn away your competitors once you decide to work with us, but we’ll analyze their SEO alongside yours. By looking at their strengths and weaknesses, we’ll make sure to leave no stone unturned. Soon, you’ll outrank them in the search results and in earnings.
It is our philosophy that a combination of search engine optimization, link building, content management, social media marketing, and online reputation management helps clients build a brand image for their businesses and products. This will put you in direct connection with clients who are ready to pay for your services as soon as possible.
Call Actual SEO Media, Inc. today at (832) 834-0661 to schedule your free consultation for SEO Houston services. Although we’re based in Houston, we’ve helped clients in our local communities and those in other states. If you’re wondering how we do it, you can check out our frequently asked questions. Contact us soon, and we’ll evaluate your website and devise a plan to put you at the top of all the popular search engines for the long term.