4 SEO Service Red Flags That Every Business Should Avoid

One of the most affordable ways to tap the online market is to use search engine optimization (SEO).

However, it can be time-consuming and challenging to get the right SEO provider, especially when you are not sure which organization to trust in the industry. But here is the good news, certain indicators can help to raise the alarm. In this quick guide, we highlight some of the red flags that your business should avoid.

What SEO Red Flags Should You Avoid?

1. Unrealistic First-Page Ranking Guarantee

Utilizing SEO is an appropriate way of attracting high rankings. However, watch out if the SEO provider promises you a first-page ranking without a clear strategy, it is a red flag. Most websites can get a first-page ranking is they have an unpopular or uncommon name. For example, an organization called “ThirtyFive Company” may rank the first page for a search of “ThirtyFive.” The same organization might not rank well for “Statehouse” if it were “Statehouse Company”; other stuff will dominate the page.

A provider that offers first-page ranking may be using black-hat SEO. In black-hat SEO, you develop a system, which tricks the search engine to give you a first-page ranking. Since you want a long-term strategy, you should use white-hat tactics. The dishonesty of black-hat tactics will guarantee you short-term success. Therefore, be careful of companies that assure specific results within a certain unrealistic period. Current trends in marketing, the geographical location of the SEO, and increased competition influence low or high site ranks. These factors make it impossible to dictate results.

2. Poor Reporting

Outcomes are an integral part of any business. For an online organization, you should receive a report about the regular or monthly progress of SEO activities. Inquire about the reporting system of your SEO provider and the frequency that they will be giving you reports. After you get an SEO service, make sure they have an accurate reporting system that matches your site’s analytics. Note the red flag when a provider fails to offer reports or generates reports that do not match your analytics.

A right SEO provider knows what it is doing and has case studies to prove it. The agency should understand how to utilize SEO strategies and assess data to produce organic traffic. It should not just know how to place keywords and content to get you good rankings. If you are looking for an SEO agency, ask for a complete plan that meets your short-term and long-term needs. An executed strategy must be in place for constant planning and analysis. A good provider will know what works well, what does not, and re-strategize.

3. Secretive and Deceptive Methods

Effective SEO service practices should not be secretive and every strategy should be clear. If you are free, you can read online sources and enlighten yourself more about SEO practices. Avoid agencies that refuse to inform you of their plan to improve your rankings. Such secrets only prove that the provider is hiding something; most probably because they are utilizing black hat techniques. Any white hat organization will stick to transparency.

On the same note, watch out for techniques that seem deceptive. It is very easy to fall for tricks of black hat organizations that present ideas in an upfront way. Some organizations are unaware that what they are doing is unethical or do not expect clients to tell the difference. Ensure you examine their techniques and assess whether they are deceptive.

An example of deception involves hiding keywords on websites to get more rankings by tricking the search engines. Trust providers that ask you to align the keywords with the content on your page. By doing this, the key words communicate to the search engines about the contents of your page.

Here are common deceptive SEO practices to watch out:

  • Too many links and bolded texts

A search engine with so many bolded texts and links look bad. Ensure that the content is user-friendly to gain the trust of people and improve your rankings over time. This is why you should learn the basics of friendly SEO designs for your website.

  • Overuse of keywords

If a website has keyword stuffing, it can face penalties. Some sites give no information but end up using the same words repeatedly. For example, you can get a website that has more than 50 keywords in the page footer. Agencies that try to improve your rankings through overuse of keywords will kill your SEO. This is because keyword stuffing focuses on tricking the search engine instead of enhancing the user experience; something which Google doesn’t like.

  • Hidden Links

A black hat agency may choose to hide links in the footer or code of a site. They can format links to have the same color as the background so you cannot discover. Such links can be site-unrelated and can affect your SEO.  For example, a hidden Viagra link in a religious site is not appropriate. Secret links can slow down your website. Always go for transparent dealers that will use honest methods to increase your ranking. You do not want clients to land into hidden links that may be embarrassing for your site. Also, always monitor the site for such things.

  • Many domains with similar content

This involves the same sites with different keywords but the same content. Such practices can lead to poor user experience and reduce your site rankings.

  • Link Schemes that Are not Natural

Some service agencies will create programs and add links automatically or create new wage pages that are full of spam links and content. Watch out for such deceptive practices when looking for a service provider.

4. The pressure to Sign Long-Term Contracts

It is not an excellent choice to sign a long-term contract for your brand. With the advancement in technology, things are always changing in the world of SEO. These changes imply that a service agency will have to make constant adjustments to your campaign. In turn, this will affect the efforts and budgets of your company.

What this red flag means is that SEO is unpredictable, and a single strategy cannot work for a long time. A provider should know this and not force you to sign such contracts. Try to go for half a year or a full year contract at most. Besides, the way that your page ranks today might change later, and you should not rely on the same strategies.

It will also be beneficial for companies to choose reliable link outreach services instead of going for new services to cut their costs. While the new agencies may offer you better pricing for their work, they will not always be helpful to your business.

We recommend you to amend campaigns frequently, assess the results, and only renew the contract if you get favorable results. An agency that insists on a long-term agreement is a red flag.


Implementing a successful SEO campaign requires constant communication, proper planning, and a clear understanding of the business. A successful strategy will provide a mutual agreement between your company and the SEO agency while giving room for evaluation. After all, it is the image of the business that matters by the end of the day. You should review an agency well before you trust them to handle your online campaigns. The red flags discussed in this article will help you run a successful site. When creating a website, you can go for a logo maker at an affordable price to build your company logo online.

Kimberly Clark

Kimberly Clark

Kimberly Clark is a content marketing specialist in IT & SEO, who helps clients increase their revenues by improving their organic traffic and building powerful campaign through Google Adwords. She can be reached via email at kimberly@linkingaces.biz.
Kimberly Clark

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