Posted to Ben Finklea's blog on October 21st, 2009

Five Signs of a Bad SEO Company

Some SEO folks are better at running a business than they are at search engine optimization, while others excel at SEO but can’t handle a business. The worst of the worst not only have bad business practices, but also bad SEO. This translates into only one thing: bad results. Not all SEO businesses are horrible at what they do, but the ones that are choking on their own breakfast aren’t giving anyone a good name.

As a business owner who is in need of some SEO expertise, the first step you should take is finding the right SEO company, aka business partner, for your website. But how do you spot a shoddy SEO company? Here are five signs of a bad SEO company:

1. Focus Too Narrow

There is more to SEO and online success than web rankings. Given, great rankings is ideal and should be a focus of the campaign, but delivering targeted traffic and increasing conversions are what makes an SEO campaign successful. You have a website to make money, not win a race to the top of a list.

2. “Secret” Strategies

Many SEO companies have effective strategies that they would rather not make public, but when it comes to working with clients there are no secrets. Keep in mind, SEO companies are not responsible for disclosing every minute detail of the campaign to their clients, but the clients do have a right to know what strategies are being implemented and how it is affecting their website. Most SEO companies who keep secrets obviously have something to hide.

3. Doesn’t Play Well With Others

Tons of work goes into launching a company website, including a very intense and extensive SEO campaign. An SEO company can do a lot of things very well, but there will be some areas that they may not excel in. A good SEO company knows its limitations and knows when to outsource. Whether its link building, copywriting, programming, social marketing, or redesigns, a good SEO company is willing and able to work and play with others to get the job done and done right.

4. Client Involvement

A good SEO company will encourage their clients to get involved in their campaigns. From keyword selection to approval of content, client involvement is necessary for a great campaign to stay on track, optimize the best keywords, and keep the site well targeted.

5. Losing Interest

SEO companies should never be satisfied with campaign performance and stop looking for ways to improve on success. Good SEOs continue to analyze the performance of efforts and develop new strategies that will continue to push the client to the top.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a service industry. Great SEO companies service their clients while bad SEOs service themselves. Many folks unfortunately have bad experiences with SEO companies who display the five mentioned signs. Use these signs to differentiate between a great SEO company and bad one. You will save tons of time, money, and effort that could be invested in your success, not your sorrow.