Poor service is the worst! It’s like getting stuck in an elevator or having somebody damage your car without leaving you their information.
But you still have to get where you’re going.
So if you’ve experienced or are experiencing poor service from your SEO company it can put you in an awkward position. You know you need SEO to improve your company but do you really deserve to be treated this way?
The truth is, the SEO industry isn’t regulated. Anybody with a silver tongue can start an SEO company regardless of expertise and convince you that they know what they’re talking about and then as soon as you sign the contract, you’re left wondering what you paid for.
If this sounds like you, you need SEO rehabilitation from a company that actually cares and gets results. If you’re still not sure, check out our “Top 10 Signs That You Need SEO Rehab” below.
Buckle up, hearing that your agency is doing some of this stuff may be frustrating.
1. Your current agency doesn’t talk to you
Signing an SEO contract is like signing a marriage license. If you got married and never heard from your spouse after your wedding day, you’d wonder what’s going on, right?
Unfortunately, agencies do this to their clients all the time. They take the money and run so to speak, not offering valuable customer service or education about what they are doing for you.
SEO is complex and has a lot of moving parts and many agencies who put themselves before their clients assume that their clients won’t understand the information so they don’t share any of it with them.
That’s a damn shame.
2. Your current agency won’t tell you the whole truth
If you get an agency that actually does talk to you time and again you might be wondering if they’re telling you everything you need to know.
Does your agency share live data on your keywords, Google Analytics, local visibility and backlinks? They should.
Do they compare their work to previous time periods to ensure they’re getting you a strong return on investment? They should.
Do they supply a custom dashboard that is visible to you at all times, allowing you to see their work and the results in the data? They should.
Many agencies will only tell you good news, keeping you in the dark if there is anything that isn’t going quite so well. That’s like a realtor showing you the renovated kitchen but not showing you the basement with the fire damage “because they probably won’t think to look there.”
It is hard to ask questions you don’t know how to ask but if you’re on a call with your agency and you feel like they are following a script or rushing you, chances are they aren’t showing you everything.
3. You still don’t know what SEO is
We say SEO is like buying air. You know you need it but you don’t know what it looks like.
We say that to people BEFORE they work with us.
If you’ve worked with an agency over a couple months, they should have educated you enough for you to know the basics.
An agency that doesn’t explain their work to you, no matter how complex it is, is you giving them a free pass. You’re not making them do their job, which is not only to get results for you but to explain to you how they got them.
This is also why many SEO agencies have such poor retention. If they aren’t explaining their work to their clients they are just another item on a balance sheet and business owners get rid of expenses they can’t explain.
4. When you ask for stuff, you don’t get it or it’s a challenge
Communication is often the number one determinant for success when it comes to working with an SEO agency.
If you ask for clarification on something and they don’t answer it, you’re frustrated.
If you ask for a PDF, a link, a login, whatever, they should get it to you promptly (within 24-48 hours of your request). If you’re waiting any longer for simple requests, that’s just criminal.
5. Your agency is holding you for ransom
Worse than poor communication or difficulty in getting things is not getting them at all. Here’s a quote from our Director of Client Strategy, Colby Wegter: “I’ve seen it dozens, potentially over a hundred times, where a client who’s worked with another agency won’t be able to give me the logins to their website or hosting company because their former agency won’t give it to them. It’s absolutely crazy. It’s like the client owns the house but doesn’t have the keys to the front door. Sadly it’s all too common that clients trust people they work with and realize that their agency doesn’t care about them.”
It’s true. We’ve seen a ton of cases where clients just don’t have control over their own website.
This is a fear tactic a lot of agencies of lower repute will use to keep their clients. “You better stay with us or we’ll shut your website down.” That’s a real threat and unfortunately a very common one.
If you don’t have 100% control over your digital assets, get control immediately. And if you’re thinking of leaving your agency, ask for this stuff before you tell them you’re leaving.
6. When mistakes happen your agency doesn’t take responsibility
Let’s face it, there are a ton of moving parts in an SEO campaign. Things happen. Logins get mixed up, a page gets broken, some text is misspelled and so on.
This industry can be filled with a lot of ego. Many agencies won’t own up to their employees’ mistakes and often make clients feel bad for pointing it out.
This is your company’s online presence we’re talking about! Things have to be right.
If a mistake happens by your agency and they don’t own up to it, they’re not telling you the whole truth (see reason 2).
7. Your SEO team can’t prove results or they promise too much
If they can’t prove results, get rid of them.
SEO is a results driven industry and if your agency isn’t improving Google traffic to your site or showing that you’ve increased in keyword rankings, what are you still paying them for?
There are thousands of agencies all over the country and hundreds of them have proven results. Sticking with one who can’t prove results is just downright lazy.
Or maybe the person who sold you this SEO package likely promised you the moon and they couldn’t deliver.
Were you promised page one results? Where you promised more sales? Where you guaranteed a certain amount of links?
These are ALL red flags. Remember Google is controlling the results not the agency. While agencies have proven track records for a reason, those same agencies getting results for their clients aren’t promising them prematurely.
Hearing a lot of guarantees on the initial phone call often puts clients at ease but it should have them heading in the opposite direction.
If your agency isn't using tools like these to show you all the data,
they're hiding things from you.
8. You’ve been a victim to black hat tactics
There are two types of SEO. There’s white hat tactics where you play by Google’s rules to rank well online and then there’s black hat tactics, which...welllll not so much rule abiding.
Black hat tactics are a one way ticket to actually harming your website. But remember, the SEO industry isn’t regulated so you have to really choose agencies carefully because you could be paying the stiff penalties of going against Google’s Guidelines if you don’t.
Agencies that are using black hat tactics often aren’t agencies at all. They’ll have a business name, sure, but they are more likely a guy or a group of people in their basement or garage using tactics like link farming, thin content, keyword stuffing, or bad backlinking (also known as toxic backlinking).
Even a company as large as JC Penny trusted a black hat SEO firm and guess what, they got completely removed from Google listings.
If you’ve never asked your agency about black hat or white hat tactics, it’s time to do so.
9. Your agency passes you around to a lot of different people
What says “I care about you” more than shoving you off to person after person at an agency? NOT.
Agencies do this all the time. This is them putting themselves before the client by simply not caring about the personal relationship you have with the project manager or worse, only caring about the money you pay them.
A lot of agencies also have a ton of staff turnover. The agencies will blame millenials for not “sticking it out” or “job hopping” but the employees will say that they are undervalued, under supported and underpaid.
Regardless of whether your agency has a lot of staff turnover, you shouldn’t have to constantly be acquainted with a new project manager every couple of months. Continuity suffers, results suffer, patience suffers.
10. They’re always selling you things without providing value
The reverse of getting passed around or not being spoken to that often is the agency who is always pitching you new services.
Pitching new services isn’t a bad thing if the services will be valuable for the client but it doesn’t make sense to pitch social media services to an industrial client who primarily gets business from referrals and product literature and it doesn’t make sense to recommend Google AdWords to a startup on a tight budget in a competitive industry.
A lot of agencies care more about the bright shiny thing they have to offer more than how it actually applies to the individual client.
Also, why would you buy more from a company if it doesn’t prove its worth? You need to build trust with your SEO agency before buying more from them. Any agency who doesn’t see that isn’t doing you a service at all.
Welcome to Agency Jet - Your SEO Rehabilitation Center
If any of these have happened to you, THERE IS BETTER OUT THERE. To many businesses remain loyal to agencies that care more about the money they are paying them than the job they are supposed to be doing for them: improving their visibility online.
At Agency Jet we find that to be disgusting. Literally disgusting.
It’s why our mantra (and this is no BS) is:
Here are the basics of what you deserve and all of these come standard at Agency Jet:
- A dedicated project manager with a team of people. You’re never passed on to a new one for the life of your contract.
- A custom dashboard that is up 24/7/365. This shows you all of our work in black and white. Now that’s full transparency!
- In-depth education on industry terms. Monthly calls are standard with us. We see them as opportunities to educate because educated clients receive more gains from our service.
- The whole truth. We show you all the stats. What’s good. What’s bad. And we explain what this information means in a way that’s easy to digest, no matter your SEO understanding.
- Crisp communication. We’re all about the effortless experience model here at Agency Jet. We get you what you need, when you need it and we always respond within 24-48 hours.
- Ownership. If we make a mistake, we’ll tell you and rectify it immediately. Oh, and speaking of ownership, everything we create for you is yours. We never handcuff you and provide all logins and access to everything.
- Guaranteed results. We said guarantees are red flags. What we mean is the wrong kind of guarantees are red flags. No one can guarantee you page one rankings on Google. NO ONE. But we guarantee a couple of things. We guarantee you’ll get more Google traffic to your site and you’ll see an upwards trend on your keywords with us. Why are these solid guarantees? Because they don’t make a promise we can’t keep and if for some reason we don’t hit these goals, WE TELL YOU to fire us.
There’s a lot more to it. When we put the client first we truly do. We guarantee results, we communicate often and we only pitch ideas that actually make sense for your business.
Whether you decide to buy SEO services from Agency Jet or another agency, if you’ve suffered from something on our list, you need to make sure that you use this as a guide to help you not make the mistake again.
Don’t be disillusioned from SEO. Be disillusioned from your agency.
And get out there! Advocate for yourself and get some results!
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