Are Your SEO Results Genuine? 4 Things You Need To Do Now
Everyone knows looks can be deceiving. So can data that’s presented to you by your SEO company. A report full of high numbers, graphs, and trends doesn’t mean anything unless you’re getting leads, sales, and visitors. You may not be getting all three in the same proportion, but you should be getting something. If not, your reports might not be accurate.
Are you being led on by an SEO company collecting a monthly check without doing the work Want to know how to tell if an SEO report is genuine? Here’s what you can do:
1. Request access to your website’s analytics program
You should always have access to your analytics program. If your SEO company won’t let you in, they’re probably hiding something. Similarly, if you’ve already setup your own analytics account and your SEO company never asked for access, they’re not legitimate. It’s impossible to run an SEO campaign without accessing the data provided by an analytics program.
Chances are, your site is setup to use Google Analytics. Once inside your Google Analytics account, check the reports you were given against the data in your account.
If it’s available, go back a few months before you hired your SEO company and document or print those stats. Then look at each subsequent month to see if your organic traffic has increased since you hired them. Identify which webpages are being visited the most. If your SEO company has been running Facebook ads for you, for example, you should see an increase in visitors to your designated landing pages.
Compare the numbers, and if something doesn’t add up, ask questions until you understand where the data in the report came from. If the company can’t provide answers, and you’re not seeing any tangible progress, you should probably hire a different company.
2. Check your backlinks
The importance of checking your backlinks can’t be stressed enough. If you’ve accidentally become entangled with an unscrupulous SEO company, you might be the victim of spammy backlinks and other bad practices.
Run a check on Ahrefs.com to see where your backlinks are. Verify the anchor text is relevant to your business. Follow all the URLs that come up in the list to make sure they’re on pages you want to be associated with. If you see a bunch of spammy looking links, ask your SEO company what they’ve been doing to generate backlinks, and if they can’t provide an acceptable answer, find another company to work with.
3. Ask your SEO company to explain how they get results
A good SEO will never reveal industry secrets, but they will always go out of their way to help a client understand the process of SEO. Especially when they specialize in a challenging industry. It’s a red flag when a company claims a niche specialty but doesn’t understand the industry.
SEO experts who specialize in ranking dentist websites, for example, should have a solid understanding of the dental industry and what’s unique to those leads and clients. When an SEO expert isn’t knowledgeable in a client’s industry, they won’t necessarily know how to appeal to organic traffic, and results could suffer.
4. Verify practices described are legitimate
Take notes and research the practices your SEO describes. Compare them to what Google considers bad SEO practices to make sure your site isn’t at risk for being penalized.
Google knows when a site is using bad practices to rank higher in the results pages, and will penalize those sites accordingly. Sometimes the penalty is being blacklisted. There are seven main reasons Google will penalize a site. Some of those reasons include:
- Unnatural backlinks. Unnatural backlinks include links created by posting gibberish comments on blogs, and excessive reciprocal links. If your SEO company is getting you backlinks through these methods, you won’t benefit long-term. They’re not high-quality links to start with, and once Google finds out about these links, your site will get penalized.
- Cloaking and sneaky redirects. Directing the visitor to a page different from what the search engine spiders see is grounds for a penalty from Google. Sneaky SEO companies might use this trick to show you high ranking search results, but those results will disappear quickly.
- Keyword stuffing. It’s unnecessary (and unnatural) to use your desired keywords over and over on the same page. Google knows that’s not natural, and so does a legitimate SEO.
- Duplicate content. Spammers submit the same content that’s on a website to article directories to get backlinks. Make sure this isn’t happening to you.
Not all infractions will result in being blacklisted, and it’s unclear what the threshold is for getting a duplicate content penalty, but it’s never worth the risk.
Genuine results come from genuine content
SEO isn’t the art of gaming search engines. It’s the art of making high-quality content identifiable and desirable to search engines. You could have the best content in the world, but unless you optimize that content properly, it won’t be visible to users.
SEO reports can show high numbers month after month, but if the work you’re paying for isn’t translating to visitors, sales, and leads, those numbers probably aren’t legitimate.