Do you feel frustrated with your SEO agency? Do you wonder what they’re really up to? Do you think there may be some smoke, mirrors and bamboozlery at play?

You’re not alone.

Almost every day we hear from people who are confused about what their SEO agency is up to and are unsure about how much progress is being made.

So, how does one go about finding out if an agency is mismanaging your SEO?

We’re here to tell you just that.

Below are 5 sure-signs that your agency is full of shit.

  1. They don’t share their strategy

This seems so obvious, but we still see it happening. If your SEO company won’t disclose their strategy or won’t tell you what they’re up to, then they have something to hide. Period.

Most of the time they’re hiding an SEO strategy that isn’t up to scratch, or the  fact that they’re using tactics that are outdated or ineffective.

Sometimes they’re hiding the fact that they’re using tactics that are outright forbidden by search engines like Google and are putting you at risk of incurring a major penalty…

The bottom line is that any SEO agency worth its salt should be open and transparent about their strategy and their daily activities. You should be able to question any element of their work and they should be only too happy to tell you exactly what’s going on and should welcome the scrutiny.

Would your SEO agency share their strategy with you if you called them now? Would they be happy to give you all the details of  their activities over the last month? If not, you should be running for the hills.

  1. Your reports are lacklustre

Your agency’s reporting process will tell you a lot about the quality of your agency and the work they’ve been doing for you.

A good report goes beyond just detailing your website’s performance: it should show you how your agency has been managing your investment and exactly what you’re getting for that money.

Needless to say, your reports shouldn’t be a screen dump from analytics left for you to decipher. They should include accurate information with commentary and insights, drawing your attention to increases, decreases, changes, peculiarities and all points worth noting.

No matter how little you know about SEO, you should come away from reading your report feeling like you have a good grasp on exactly how your website is performing, how much work your agency has been doing, what’s going well (and why) what’s going badly (and why) and what’s going to be done about it.

If your reports aren’t full of useful insights, and if your agency aren’t willing to take you through each and every important metric, chances are good that they’re being lazy or dodgy (or both), and chances are excellent that you could do better.

  1. They’re not focusing on revenue & leads

Your agency’s focus should go beyond just your website’s success. They should be focused on your big-picture goals and finding ways to match your website performance to your bottom line.

Does your SEO strategy feed into your business goals and is your agency working with you to facilitate that?

If they aren’t fully across all your business goals, how can they possibly help you achieve them? It’s a half measure and shows that they’re not big-picture focused.

  1. They don’t have a content strategy, or aren’t involved with yours

Good SEO is heavily dependent on great-quality content.

Your agency should, therefore, be fully involved in all your content creation, or should be creating content for you themselves.

  • Do they encourage regular updates on your blog and help optimise all your content for search?
  • Do they help you choose content topics?
  • Do they do thorough research before creating a linkable asset?

If you’re unsure, or answered ‘no’ to any of the above, you should be concerned. An SEO strategy without content is simply a recipe for long-term failure.

  1. Their link building tactics are non-existent or dodgy

Link building is a necessary but difficult part of the SEO process, which, unfortunately, tempts many SEO agencies to cheat.

Has your agency helped you create solid link assets, and are they using these effectively in their ongoing link-building strategy?

This strategy should also be in full compliance with Google’s guidelines and should not be manipulative or black-hat in any way.

You need to know things like:

  • Does your SEO company comment on other blogs as a source of links?
  • Were any of your links paid for?
  • Is your SEO agency exchanging links with other domains?
  • Are most of the links to your domain from directories?

These are serious questions you need to know the answer to. If you’re unsure, or your agency is unwilling to tell you, it’s a bad bad sign.

Your report should also include a section on links, telling you how many they’ve acquired for your website and how the quality of these links was assessed.  Any cageyness on this topic is worrying, and – unfortunately – all too common.

So, overall, how does your agency fare? If you’re feeling uncertain or your curiosity is piqued, we can help you rate your agency right now.

Is your agency as good as they say they are?

Take the 5 minute quiz below and find out once and for all…



About Steph Von der Heyde

Our resident wordsmith’s love of digital lured her over from advertising to the online space, where she fell in love with content marketing. Since coming to the online world Steph has made her mark on all outgoing CleverClicks copy and is passionate about using words to build brands. Her obsession with the writing is rivaled only by her love of trail running, yoga and green juice. When she’s not submerged in content strategy you’ll find Steph in Downward Dog.

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