How To Avoid Unfair SEO Specialists Or Why A Business Owner Must Control The Work Of His Vendors
Google has recommendations on optimizing sites to rank higher in search results. According to Google, if the site meets its requirements, it will be visible to users. But algorithms of the search engines are constantly changed, and techniques that worked a week ago, may already be irrelevant because the search engine could change the algorithm. And no SEO, even the most experienced, knows for sure how Google algorithms work.
Let's look at several cases that dishonest SEOs use to deceive their clients.
In this case, you need to wait for 2-3 days and contact the people who left an application on the site, but didn't buy anything. Remind the client that was interested in your product but didn't buy it, and ask about the reason. If it is a real customer, he will remember and answer something. If he's confused, and there are dozens of such cases, most likely, you are being fooled. The surest way to avoid cheating is to never work for leads.
Useless blog articles
You should remember that useless content only harms the site, and vice versa: a blog, which is led by experts in their field, will be useful for people and will improve site position in search results.
How to recognize and what to do. If the manager showed you the errors and didn't explain which of them are critical and why this is so, you should suspect something. Consult with your specialists, order an audit from another agency or do it yourself using, for example, Serpstat SEO Audit. It will show you the types of errors, how critical they are and recommendations on fixing them.
Suggest your agency to include position tracking in the contract to avoid these problems. You can use Rank Tracker to monitor your positions daily and monthly to see the efficiency of the work of your vendors. You can read more about Rank Tracker and see how to track keywords in paid search.
You need to be sure that your vendors choose keywords that are relevant to your business. Check their volume, difficulty, and relevance. You can do this with the help of Serpstat Keyword Research. In this report, you can check keyword volume, i.e. how often people search for this service for a specific request. Besides, the keyword report will show you keyword difficulty — how difficult it is to appear in the top 10 with this keyword.
Illusion of work
If you ask your SEO what kind of work he does on the site, the fraudster will name the task that is invisible to the average user. For example, changes something in the code or optimizes tags. These are short-term tasks, they can be completed in a week. If a specialist spends a whole month on it, this is suspicious.
It can take more than a week to correct critical errors — for example, if the site doesn't withstand a large number of users, and expert optimizes database queries. You can check types of errors using a site audit. The place of the site in search results depends, among other things, on how user-friendly it is. Therefore, be alert if there are no recommendations from SEO that affect the design and interface of the site and correct critical errors.
Harmful SEO texts
Google says that such methods of promotion are undesirable because SEO texts are useless for people. Panda algorithm recognizes such texts, regards them as a violation and punishes the site. So just don't write SEO texts. If they already exist, remove them or replace with useful, relevant and high-quality content. You can use Serpstat Clustering and Text Analytics tool to check the quality of your texts. Analyzing the reasons for the low text relevance is a complex task even for experienced SEO specialists.
Link building is your friend on this stage. Everybody knows that link building is one of the main things in SEO. It's a complicated and time-consuming process but it allows you to get real relevant links that will not only boost your SEO but also attract additional traffic on your site.
Serpstat Backlink Analysis may be handy — you can check referring domains and pages, link type, trust rate, and many other features. Moreover, you can use it via API.
Cheating with user signals
But the search engine will know that you are cheating: your site will be banned and disappear from search results at all.
The only option is to ask for a detailed report to see what services are used. Check the list of services provided and look for something like: "creating visitors on your site that will leave positive signals." This should be avoided. Some experts warn the client about the consequences and still offer to take a risk. If you find yourself in this situation, remember that you risk your business.
How to control
At the very beginning of your cooperation, be sure to agree on the format of monthly reports with the contracting company: contents and deadlines. Ideally, the contracting company should hold a briefing at the beginning of the cooperation and ask the following information:
- Current traffic, revenue, percentage of sales by phone
- Recent changes in the site and their results
- Your business goals/expectations of the cooperation, what would you like to achieve as a result, for example, the expected percentage of traffic growth or sales over a certain period.
If they didn't ask you such questions, you should suspect something.
I would divide the further reports that should be required from the contractor into two parts: report on the work performed and report on results.
Why do you need to separate them? Because sometimes there are no results due to different reasons — seasonal decline, stagnation in the niche, etc., and then the only way to make sure that everything works is to check plans for the project and the percentage of their implementation.
Report on the work performed
- The list of tasks that were completed during the month
- List of tasks scheduled for next month
A good practice is when the contractor shows the volume of tasks for the next month (plan), and shows the percentage of closed tasks at the end of the month.
At Netpeak, we use the Personal Account (our own development), where experts write reports on all completed project activities. Comments are sorted in chronological order, that's why they allow 24/7 access to information on how the project is going. Also there are documents with monthly work plans and status of their implementation.
Report on results
- Organic traffic
- Number of conversions
- Site visibility
- Behavior factors
It is desirable that the monthly report is shown in comparison with the first month of cooperation and previous reporting month.
Organic traffic is the number of sessions from the Organic Search channel. It is essential to analyze statistics from this channel, and not from the entire site.
You can also see this data yourself using Google Analytics.
There are site positions on the semantic core, i.e. by the pool of requests that specialists work with to promote your site. Sometimes companies use formulas like site visibility to calculate one indicator and track it from month to month for quick comparison.
Another thing is when most requests shift by -10 and more positions — then you need to sound the alarm.
Pay attention to the dynamics. Positive dynamics means that the site ranks better in search. Sometimes there are sharp falls, and it's not a specialist's fault. Don't panic — perhaps it's just an update of the service database, as indicated by the mark.
- Page depth
- Bounce rate
- Number of pages viewed per session
- Average session duration
You can check these indicators in Google Analytics:
This indicator counts more or less accurate data if you have an online service and all orders are taken into account through it or if you have an end-to-end analytics system that collects statistics from all possible sources.
Which KPIs will be more objective depends on the project; for example, if you have an online store, it will be logical to track traffic from the organic channel and the number of sales, and if you have a SaaS business, user registrations will be one of the metrics. If you are a blog owner, your main KPI will be traffic and the number of newsletter subscriptions.
The format of the reports is different. There are many different tools, e.g.:
- Google DataStudio
- Customized dashboards in Google Analytics
- Their developments which collect data into one place
- Special paid services
Each company sets up reports in a different way. For example, our reporting is collected from various sources and stored in the client's Personal Account.
A sample report with KPIs for the project:
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