Marketing July 19, 2013 Last updated September 18th, 2018 1,350 Reads share

10 Warning Signs Your SEO Consultant Is Doing More Harm Than Good

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As a business owner you are focused on running your businesses, and those things that fall outside your core strengths are handled by employees, vendors, contractors, and consultants.  The job of an SEO Consultant is to focus on SEO so the business owner can focus on running the business.

Some businesses have been burned by bad consultants.  This is not news, but it reinforces the point that in a nascent industry like SEO, you are bound to have “bad actors.”

To help you separate the bad SEO consultants from the good ones, here are 10 warning signs your SEO consultant is doing more harm than good.

# 1. No plan

If your consultant immediately starts working without a plan, this is a bad sign.  It may mean the consultant performs robotic tasks  for every client without understanding the client’s needs.  Make sure your consultant has a plan and reviews it with you, along with the expected result and timeline.

# 2.  No metrics

What gets measured gets improved.  If your consultant doesn’t have a handle on the basic metrics they will be using, how will you assess his performance? Insist that the consultant understand — at least at the basic level — your key metrics (traffic, conversion, bounce rate, ROI) and hold him accountable to improving these key metrics.

# 3. Doesn’t ask about your goals

As a consultant, it is our job to listen more than we talk.  After that, we ask questions.  Only through listening and asking questions do we have an understanding of what the client wants, then we talk.

As a business owner, it is your responsibility to ensure the consultant has an understanding of what you want.  If we don’t ask the client what the goal is, then we are short-changing the client.  If the client does not make his goals clear, he runs the risk of not getting the full value of the consultant.  Before engaging an SEO consultant, have a good idea of what your goal is.

# 4. Doesn’t understand your business

This goes hand in hand with asking questions.  Does he understand what you are in the business of doing?  Does he care?  Give the SEO consultant an overview of your business, your industry, and your competitors before you start talking about the specifics of SEO.

# 5. No projections

This goes hand in hand with metrics.  The point of a client making an investment is to get a return on the investment.  If the return is not greater than the original investment, what’s the point?

The consultant can help by putting together projections to help all parties understand the expectation and the bottom line.  As a business owner, ask about projections, but understand that no consultant is a fortune teller.

# 6. Opaque about process

As you can tell, I am bullish on setting expectations and communication.   The client needs to know what the process is, even if she doesn’t understand it. As a client it is your responsibility to make sure you understand what is going on, and if you don’t, ask questions until you do.

If your consultant does not have a process and/or doesn’t explain it, watch out!  Ask the consultant to go over his process step by step and how it plays into the overall plan.

# 7. Talks about “Tricking Google”

This one really gets me going.  Yes, there are loopholes to getting ranking, but Google has thousands of really smart engineers working on closing these loopholes.  As evidenced by the Panda and Penguin updates, the people who used “tricks” to get rankings will eventually be found and lose their rankings.

Think about SEO as but one piece of your overall marketing puzzle, and make the appropriate time and money investment in a long-term strategy.

# 8. Spams website links EVERYWHERE

The other day I was talking to a client about why he wasn’t ranking in Google for his niche.  I took a look at his backlinks and noticed there were thousands of low quality links to his site.  The days of submitting sites and articles to as many directories as possible are over.  Concentrate on high quality relevant links.

As part of the planning process, make sure your consultant focuses on highly relevant links as part of the strategy and NOT mass article and directory submissions.

# 9. Makes no mention of content

High quality content should be the cornerstone of any SEO effort.  Google is constantly tuning its algorithms to ensure that sites with consistently updated high quality content move up in the search rankings.  You want to be seen as an expert.  Work with the SEO consultant and/or a content expert to ensure that your knowledge and wisdom come across in your content.

# 10. Doesn’t talk about your customers

A business exists to serve a customer’s needs and make money.  Customers should be at the cornerstone of any conversations you have with your SEO consultants.  If you consultant is not talking about your customers, watch out.  Walk the consultant through your basic customer profile, and your prospective customer profile.  This will help in targeting.

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SEOTirrell Payton

SEOTirrell Payton

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