How to hire dodgy SEO companies (& get your site penalised by Google)

Here are ways to hire really bad SEO gurus who will help to bury your website in the search rankings and waste your money…

First, hiring great SEO companies is not easy. The best ones wouldn’t come to you because you have to go to them via, as you guess it, search engines. If you can only find them through ads, you have to wonder why they aren’t optimising their websites in the first place. The worst SEO companies are the ones who cold call or email you—you can’t find them anywhere through search engines. So, if you receive unsolicited calls or emails from purported SEO experts, hire them straight away.

Next, ask them what sort of work they do on your website. Good SEO companies work on your website internally for technical issues and content tweaking. The better ones then work out external strategies for promoting its content. The dodgy ones, on the other hand, will try to tell you what you like to hear by saying that they don’t have to touch anything on your website at all. You have to believe that they have the power of magic to optimise your website without touching it at all.

Next, ask them for the sort of reporting they provide. The good ones will tell you what search terms were used to find your website, where your visitors come from, how much time they spend on your website, how likely do they convert to buyers, and so on. Such reporting allows you to evaluate the quality of the traffic that their SEO results bring. The dodgy ones will tell you that rankings are all that matters—you don’t need any reports. Hire them immediately and pray that they don’t resort to Black Hat strategies that will give your website an initial adrenalin boost in rankings before being busted by Google.

Then, ask them whether they guarantee results. The good ones will admit that they can’t because Google always change their algorithms. The better ones will also make it clear that they work in tandem with you to produce results. The dodgy ones will guarantee results (see If an SEO company guarantees #1 ranking, beware!). Hire them before someone else does!

After that you can also ask them how they generate links to your website. The good ones (or at least pretend to be good) will insist that they do legitimate white-hat tactics. The better ones will tell you the different strategies that they employ (e.g. content marketing, legitimate directory submission, social media curation) and show you the evidence for you to check. The dodgy ones will say that they have a special proprietary system called the “Deluxe Turbo Link Optimisation Automation System” that can generate thousands upon thousands of links continuously. Grab them this very second before your competitors do… and hope that you don’t get the dreaded email from Google about the unnatural links that your website has acquired.

Next, ask them how much SEO experience they have. If they tell you they have more than 20 years worth of experience, you will want to hire these ‘experts’ who had been doing SEO before search engines existed.

Finally, ask them who are on their payroll. The dodgy ones will claim that they have a former Google guru who knows the secret of how Google’s algorithm works. If you hear that, don’t hear anymore, sign up for their services immediately and watch how they wreck your business in 6 months time.

About the author

I am a Technology Consultant, whose passion is to help small businesses reach their full potential through mastery of digital technologies, strategies and marketing.