Search engine optimization (SEO) can help you improve your Google rankings and reach prospective clients. Unfortunately, this is only true if your SEO agency knows what it is doing. If you hire the wrong SEO company, it could ruin your website and cost you thousands of dollars.
When picking an SEO agency, you must be extremely careful. A low-quality agency will use poor tactics that can cause you to lose rankings. If they use keyword stuffing or similar tactics, your website can get penalized. In some cases, you can end up getting removed from Google completely.
How Can an SEO Company Ruin Your Website?
SEO agencies may use black or white hat tactics to try to boost a website’s ranking. Black hat tactics include keyword stuffing or buying links. Sometimes, black hatters use irrelevant keywords in an article to try to artificially rank for those keywords.
Black hat tactics may work initially, but they will not increase your traffic forever. Modern search engines are extremely good at telling if a website is using black hat tactics. Once they realize you are using these tactics, they will penalize your website.
In comparison, white hat tactics involve reputable SEO techniques. A good agency will help you build authoritative links over time so that your site ranks higher. While a good agency can deliver lasting results, black hat tactics will never pay off for long. Eventually, they can end up ruining your website.
How to Find the Right SEO Agency
If you have never had to hire an SEO expert before, you may not know what to look for. While reading through testimonials can help you get a feel for a site, you need to look at more than just the reviews. You can use the following factors to determine whether an SEO agency is a good investment or a risk to your business.
- SEO and keywords: A bad agency will use keyword stuffing and redirects to artificially boost a site’s ranking. In comparison, a good company uses original content, solid site architecture and competitive keywords.
- Content: With Google’s Panda update, Google stopped sending content to sites with badly written content. Keyword-stuffed content no longer works to improve search engine rankings. Instead, professional agencies use high-quality content and relevant keywords.
- Links: Your backlinks help Google determine if your site is useful and authoritative. Bad agencies spam other websites and buy backlinks in an effort to cheat the system. Ultimately, Google will eventually catch on to this practice and penalize the site.
There are other red flags you should look for when hiring an SEO agency. If they charge a surprisingly cheap rate, they are probably a black hat agency. Likewise, you should be wary of any company that promises a top ranking in the search engines. No one can guarantee a high ranking, so it is impossible for an agency to achieve a top spot with every customer.
If you do hire a black hat agency, it can end up costing you thousands of dollars. Initially, you will end up having to pay a different SEO agency to completely redo your website. Afterward, you may continue to lose money for months or years. As long as Google continues to penalize your website for your former SEO tactics, you will get less traffic and fewer leads.
Is Hiring an SEO Company Worth It?
Hiring an SEO company is definitely worth it, but it has to be a good SEO company. A good company can help you improve your search engine rankings so that your site gets more traffic. Other than delivering quality content, they can also improve your site architecture and perform other activities to boost your search engine ranking.
While a good SEO agency is worth the money, a bad SEO agency can cause significant harm to your website. If you hire a bad agency, they may use bad links and ruin your rankings. Cheap SEO companies do not care about getting high-quality links, but a reputable company will take time to get links from high-quality sites. Meanwhile, inexperienced SEO firms will often create sloppy categories that send garbage URLs to Google.
Bad SEO firms can hurt your site in other ways. If they change page names without designing redirects, you will end up with a lot of broken links. Redirect chains can reduce your page’s authority with each redirect. Plus, excessive plugins can slow down your website.
A really inexperienced company can even make your site completely disappear from Google. WordPress has a checkbox that allows you to hide your site from Google’s spiders. While an experienced worker would know not to click that box, a cheap employee could easily make that mistake.
While a bad agency can lead to penalties and low rankings, a good SEO agency can help you reach the top of the search engine results. Because of this, it is important to be cautious about who you choose to work with. Through the help of a good SEO agency, you can improve your rankings and boost your online presence.