Can you pay Google for SEO

Finding the right SEO agency: what to look out for

The quality of work by SEO agencies is often difficult for customers to evaluate. Whether an SEO agency delivers a good job in search engine optimization or just empty promises, you actually only know when it is too late. The following 10 tips can help you make the right choice in advance.

Ascending trend. This is the curve that SEOs like best. (Source: sistrix.de)

For many companies, SEO is a book with seven seals because they have to take care of their products and services. So hire an SEO agency to spruce up your website and acquire new customers through Google and other search engines.

But how do you actually know whether an SEO agency is really good or just selling them hot air - or even worse - dangerous half-knowledge? There are clear warning signs for bad agencies.

To ask? I am glad to help.

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What good SEO agencies would never do:

1 - SEO á la carte

When it comes to search engine optimization, you absolutely have to all factors that are crucial for the ranking. It is of no use to only optimize for keywords if no one is looking for your product with these keywords. Conversely, there is no point in doing link building if your own page does not have any content worth reading. If you only buy individual services and want to save with them instead of all-round support, you can leave it alone.

Good SEO advice should always be holistic and take into account all aspects, otherwise it will not lead to the desired or possible success and you will only burn money.

2- Old Tactics: Link Spam, Keyword Spam

SEOs who still claim today that with a few old tricks like bought links and keyword spam you can still seriously manipulate Google today, live in the Internet Stone Age. Google now largely ignores everything that could be artificially manipulated in any way and is only interested in whether the content is well structured and relevant for users. Anyone who still has outdated terms such as “meta keywords” or “keyword density” in their vocabulary also proves that they are no longer up to date and have lost touch.

3 - Publish blog posts only

Blogs can be helpful to cover current topics and to build useful content, but it is much more important to find out which content, which search terms and which topics a company actually has long term should be found. All further strategic measures should be derived from this. News formats are rarely the right content format. The aim is to build long-term relevant content, so you need particularly useful and informative articles about the product / topic of a website.

4 - Wrong key performance indicators

Some SEOs promise low page bounce rates. But that has nothing to do with whether a site is performing well or not. If you then artificially increase the number of users on Google Analytics, then things get adventurous. So avoid any strategy that is based on pseudo-goals and discuss your goals with the SEO agency. In the end, you probably want more sales, and you can't do that with topics that bring traffic but no sales. So it is important to define common goals in order to make the right optimizations.

To ask? I am glad to help.

5 - Bad quality and thin content

Anyone who publishes the same thin content on the same topic over and over again has a massive problem, because you compete with yourself and thus destroy any chance of a good ranking. Good SEO agencies will always advise you to only produce first-class, relevant content that can also be found. A regular (at least monthly) analysis of your own rankings is essential in order to find and correct this crucial error. Recommendation: Better to go deeper and more detailed than to leave too many questions unanswered superficially.

6 - Guaranteed rankings

SEO is not an exact science and Google is doing everything possible to ensure that site operators cannot easily manipulate search results. The search algorithm is continuously changed and improved. A good agency will create the basis for being found and demonstrably increasing visibility. However, no one can guarantee certain rankings because the competitors also do SEO.
Anyone who advertises with pithy slogans such as “guaranteed in position 1” wants to disguise this complexity, because with “something” everyone ranks in position 1. This dubious promise is nothing but an empty phrase and should make you prick up your ears.

7 - Cheap SEO

Some SEOs just send automated reports without looking at a page. And overlook the simplest problems that SEO tools cannot even detect. SEO costs time and you have to look at a website from very different perspectives: content, usability, technology have to interlock like clockwork. This service is not available for a one-off fee of one hundred euros, as is often suggested in spam emails. In other words: cheap, one-off SEO doesn't work and is therefore very expensive in the end, because it takes away the huge opportunity for real growth and significantly more sales. In the article below, we have summarized what SEO really costs and why this investment is guaranteed to be worthwhile.

What does SEO really cost?
Here are some proven packages and pricing models for search engine optimization.

8 - Setup Fees

There is nothing “set up” in SEO. Therefore, fees without a specific service are not appropriate! On the other hand, a personal initial consultation or a second opinion (for this I offer an SEO consultation hour) or an SEO seminar to see how an SEO works and whether you understand what he is doing and whether the cooperation works.

9 - No access to Google Analytics or Search Console

As an SEO, many classic problems can be identified very quickly in the source code of a website or with special tools. But if an SEO is to work with a website in the long term and has not requested access to Google Analytics and Google Search Console, you'd better pull the rip cord. Because in order to be able to optimize a page, you have to know exactly how it is actually used and how the reach is developing. Anything else would only be advisable and not serious.

10 - No regular reporting

SEO is a fast moving business and everything is in constant flux. Therefore you should check the performance of your website at least check monthly and observe the development. This is the only way to understand whether you are on the right path or on the wrong one and where you can find new adjustments. The reporting should be made comprehensible for the customer and contain all KPIs. Request a sample report.

How long does SEO actually take?

Google employee John Mueller recently announced that changes at Google after a relaunch often only become noticeable after six months. You should also take this time or leave it to the agency.

How do you find an SEO agency?

SEO agencies that write to you with e-mails or even letters should be treated with caution. An SEO agency should understand their business well enough to be findable on Google. After all, that is their core competence. So just start your search on Google. Search for “SEO Agency + your city” or “SEO Consultant + your city” if you prefer more personal support.

Tip: don't just look in the local search results on Google Maps, but also in the list of organic search results below! This shows how well an SEO agency was able to place itself on Google.

Then ask for references to see if the agency has any industry experience. Example: I advise many NGOs, government agencies, trade unions and other content-rich websites. Other SEO agencies specialize in online shops.

If there is not enough choice of competent agencies in the area, you can search nationwide. An SEO agency doesn't necessarily have to be in the same city, most tasks can easily be discussed with emails and video chats.

SEO-Vergleich.de offers an overview of the Google visibility of SEO agencies.

How do you recognize a good SEO agency?

Who better to know what makes SEO good than Google? On the help pages of the Search Console, Google recommends that an SEO should first of all be able to identify and be familiar with the topic of a website. SEO can only succeed with fun, motivation and a certain thematic understanding.

Questions that customers should ask SEO agencies in advance include the following:

  • Are you following Google's Webmaster Guidelines?
  • Do you offer seminars and workshops?
  • What results do you expect in what period of time? How do you measure your success?
  • In the case of multilingual offers: What experience do you have with developing international websites?
  • In shops: What is your experience of developing online shops?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Who will look after me? Is it the intern or the manager?

Many large agencies mainly sell hours which they then fill with cheap young workers. So it is not always better to be with a large, renowned agency than with a small agency or a consultation where you can get “head doctor treatment”.

Why do so many companies have bad experiences with SEO agencies?

This is mostly simply due to the wrong expectations of companies that think with a little trickery you could quickly score points with Google. But those times are over for good! Technical optimization is only the basis, content optimization is the freestyle that decides on success or failure and that is an ongoing task.

SEO takes time and you shouldn't expect miracles from an SEO agency, but sustainable, long-term growth. And that requires patience.

SEO must also be implemented in-house

On the other hand, customers like to take refuge in excuses and do not implement absolutely necessary measures "because it does not work" - even if these should have the highest priority. Then you have to ask yourself what you are paying an SEO agency for in the first place. SEO absolutely needs the full backing of the management. With “a bit of SEO” by the way, you won't get very far in today's big online competition.

A lot can also be implemented in-house by employees if you get the necessary know-how in-house and use the SEO agency as a consultant and coach for the team. All employees who maintain websites must receive ongoing training and understand their craft.

SEO is not rocket science and every step can be proven by data. A regular SEO check is the basis of success online.

How well is your website placed?
Are there any problems or even hair-raising bugs that are easy to fix?
Does your SEO agency work cleanly and on the basis of well-founded data?

Book an appointment for a free initial consultation or visit my SEO seminar in Berlin.

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