I’m Doing SEO with an Agency. Why Aren’t My Rankings Improving?
If you’re reading this article there’s a good chance you’re paying for SEO but your gut feeling tells you something’s not right. How do you know your SEO agency is doing the right job and you’re not getting taken for a ride?
SEO does take time so it’s normal for rankings to move forward slightly for up to 6 months.(depending on the competition they can move more quickly). If you’re still concerned, use the following 3 warning signs to find out if your campaign has the potential to rank – or is going to waste thousands of dollars.
We’ll get straight to the point – there are a lot of bad SEO agencies in Australia who only care about taking your dollars, and not delivering results.
SEO isn’t a regulated industry, so any man and his dog can claim to be an “SEO pro” and start charging thousands of dollars a month. And because SEO takes time to show results, you can end up paying big for months while your agency promises results are “right around the corner”. Problem is their definition of a corner is very different to yours.
Tradies: Don’t Invest a Dollar in Digital Marketing Until You Read This!
SEO sounds like an extraterrestrial language
Every tradie is at risk of falling for a scam approach because SEO can feel like another language.
“Meta tags, title tags, sitemaps, robot.txt.”
It doesn’t take much to feel like you’re trying to chat with E.T (we speak fluent SEO and we STILL get frustrated by how complex some SEO terms are).
Looking for an easy-to-understand translation? Read our guide on understanding SEO without the jargon here
With all the jargon flying every direction it’s close to impossible to tell if you’re getting a good service, or getting ripped off. Making it harder to spot the difference between good SEO and bad SEO is the fact results can take 6 – 12 months to appear. So it’s normal for your results to stay the same for months.
The real question to ask is ‘what is my SEO agency doing to help my rankings improve?’
There’s no need for alarm bells just because you’re a handful of months into your SEO campaign and you’re not on the first page of Google yet. But any good SEO agency will be able to show you their process and walk you through their strategy for boosting your rankings, so that’s what you should be asking about.
“Aren’t all SEO agencies the same?”
Just like there are some electricians who can run lines through walls with their eyes closed and others who overload outlets and turn your home into a deathtrap. Every industry has its good eggs and its bad eggs.
The problem with SEO is it’s hard to know the difference between the two. Making things even more confusing is that SEO does take time, so it’s natural to see little to no change after 6 months, with your rankings improving the more time goes by.
Of course, that’s cold comfort for any Aussie business owner who ends up getting scammed. You might think “oh great it’s normal to wait for results”, then after 12 months realise your SEO agency was taking you for a ride. They vanish with your $2,000 a month fee and your rankings haven’t bloody budged.
Focusing on your rankings is the wrong approach.
You should focus on the strategies your SEO agency is using. These strategies will show you from day one if they’re working with your best interests at heart, or hoping you don’t look too closely at their handiwork (so they can squeeze a few more monthly payments out of you before the jig is up).
In this post we’ll cover 5 warning signs your SEO agency isn’t doing jack to help your rankings, and explain what questions you need to ask to spot the difference between a campaign that has ranking potential, and one that’s a lemon.
SEO is an intangible. It’s hard to tell gold from gold flaked garbage
One of the most challenging features of using SEO to grow your business is that it’s intangible.
You can’t see things happening like you can with a new garage being built. When you pay for SEO, you’re really paying for the expertise of an SEO professional.
Since you’re relying on their expertise AND good SEO takes time, it’s tough to see if things are moving the right direction or whether your agency is taking your monthly spend and doing jack all to make a difference.
If you’re worried your agency is pocketing your cash without optimising your site, read to the bottom of this article to test your SEO.
WARNING: You might be disappointed at what you find.
3 signs your SEO agency is hurting your rankings/taking you for a ride
#1 – They can’t show you their SEO processes
SEO isn’t something you tackle on a whim. It’s a complex marketing strategy that requires expertise, plenty of hours of work, and a detailed understanding of how Google ranks websites.
That complexity can feel like a curse, but there is a blessing to go with it – you can use proven SEO systems and processes to tip the odds in your favour. The same way building a patio from scratch sounds daunting, but if you plan every step down to the individual screw there’s actually a roadmap to follow that makes things easier.
SEO takes time so there’s no need to panic if you’re 3, 4 or 5 months in and you haven’t seen your rankings change. But your SEO agency should be able to show you their process from the start.
For example, any SEO agency worth its salt should be able to provide the following within the first few weeks to months of your contract:
· Full SEO audit of your site · Full backlink audit · Analyse current traffic · Analyse current DA or trust rate
If there’s no processes and no proof of work, there’s no chance of results.
What to ask your SEO agency: “Can you show me your SEO strategies for each month of the campaign?”
#2 – You never hear from them
Your SEO agency should be scheduling regular calls to keep your campaign on track. This starts with an onboarding call that helps them understand your business, your services, your unique selling proposition (USP) and your ranking goals.
After that there’s more calls to update you of your progress and provide suggestions to your website for a better shot of ranking on Google. If you never hear from your SEO agency it’s easy to think “well they must be busy doing work” but the opposite is true.
Imagine you organised a landscaper to help with your yard and told them they could stop by while you’re at work and complete the job. They didn’t ask any questions about what work you wanted done in your yard, they just took the cash. For all you know they never turned up and you’ve lost your money, or maybe they did turn up while you were away, cut down all your favourite trees and now the missus is furious.
Radio silence isn’t a good thing, it means you have NO idea what your SEO agency is doing.
Transparency is at the heart of good SEO, and if you don’t know what’s going on then you should be very, very worried.
What to ask your SEO agency: “How often will I be receiving updates and will I have a dedicated SEO account manager?”
#3 – There are no new conversion strategies
Professional SEO agencies know that getting on Google isn’t about rankings, but increasing revenue.
Your website should make it as easy as possible for site visitors to become leads, whether that means requesting a quote for your services or downloading a free guide you’re offering. An SEO agency that’s serious about improving your rankings will be providing ongoing work to get your conversion rate up.
That means they test the contact forms on your site to make sure they’re working and easy to use. That means they test the speed of your website to make sure people aren’t getting frustrated and leaving. That means they test the ‘Contact Us’ buttons at the top of your homepage to make sure people have an easy way to get in touch.
If they’re not focused on getting you more customers and more revenue, they don’t care about your SEO.
What to ask your SEO agency: “What conversion optimisation tweaks do you recommend for my site, and what data are those tweaks based on?”
“When should alarm bells start ringing?”
“I’ve been paying for SEO for months and I haven’t got one extra lead!!!”
It’s natural to feel nervous though when you’re seeing $1,000 – $3000 a month debited from your bank account, so the questions above will make sure you’re not sitting around and waiting for results.
Ask the 3 questions we outlined above to keep your SEO agency accountable and unable to pull the wool over your eyes. It’s perfectly fine to ask these questions within days of signing up, and every time you catch up on the phone for a campaign update.
Bad SEO agencies will try to deflect and distract. Good SEO agencies will be happy to show you how they plan on getting you results.