If you’ve done any shopping for SEO services chances are good you’ve run across a few amateur agencies. The bad part is, you may not have known it unless you’re already aware of the signs of a poor SEO agency. Unfortunately, that’s exactly the problem; too many unsuspecting business owners are looking to make their business grow and are being sold on services that actually have a better chance of harming their SEO ranking than making it better.
What’s more, these amateur agencies are doing more than harming the SEO ranking of their clients – they’re actually hurting the concept of SEO as a whole and changing how people see optimization. They have set unrealistic standards and have made the responsible, professional SEO agencies look like the unfavorable option. How can you spot an amateur agency? Simply put, they tend to offer fast results, overnight success, and dramatic growth in a very short period of time. It may sound great, but it’s not how SEO works if it’s done correctly.
Why is this important? Why worry so much about the impact amateur agencies have on the concept of SEO and other SEO companies? Because the damage they’re doing is pretty significant.
Here are some of the major ways that amateur SEO agencies are harming the overall concept of SEO.
They Change the Expectations Regarding Time Frame
One of the main ways that amateur SEO agencies harm the concept of SEO is by offering to deliver fast results. Truly organic SEO – the kind that lasts – is not something you can do overnight. It doesn’t happen automatically. It takes time to build a consistent and growing SEO profile that will remain reputable and reliable for years to come so long as maintenance is carried out properly. By promising overnight results, these companies are implying that people should expect to see fast results when they sign up with an SEO company or when they conduct SEO. This poses three main problems:
- • It sets an unrealistic expectation in the minds of business owners about how quickly their SEO efforts are working. If they don’t see immediate results, they often sign up with one of these amateur companies offering overnight success, thinking that’s what they should be able to achieve. Then they fall victim to the black hat or unethical SEO tactics often used by companies who deliver very fast results.
- • They make reputable SEO companies look slow or unreliable since they aren’t offering these “quick” fixes.
- • They undermine the SEO efforts of their clients.
They Make SEO Seem Easy
Most people who do something well make it look easy, and that’s not an issue. What is an issue is when someone makes a complicated thing seem like something that can be done quickly by virtually anyone. If you’re being told that you can hand your website over to someone and within a week or a month they’ll return these outstanding results for you, chances are they aren’t involving you in the process, usually because they’re using less than favorable methods to create that quick success. If you sign up one day and 30 days later you’ve got these outstanding (at least ostensibly) results and you’ve never been let in on the process, it would lead you to believe the process is quick and simple.
A reputable SEO agency, on the other hand, will walk you through the majority of the process and be a partner instead of merely providing a service. You’ll be in on the finer points of analytics, see how your site is behaving, and maybe even have access to online reports. But if you’ve been to an amateur company, you might see this as too complicated or too much information, leading you right back into the arms of the people who may make the numbers look good in a short amount of time, but who will ultimately undermine your SEO efforts. This is a serious problem.
They Cause People to See SEO as a Quick Fix
Another way that these amateur SEO agencies hurt the concept of SEO overall is by causing people to see it as a quick fix. This is similar to the point regarding the fact that they give people unrealistic time frames, but slightly different. Seeing SEO as a quick fix goes way beyond harming the business of reputable agencies. By seeing SEO as a quick fix – since that’s how they sell it – people start to attempt to work on their own SEO in a manner that will yield fast results. Unfortunately, the only way to obtain fast results (which won’t last) is to follow black hat SEO methods, which are essentially unethical in the world of SEO.
SEO is meant to be a long-term strategy that should be constantly built upon and tweaked in order to obtain the best results. When these companies promote fast results, they undermine that concept. When people go to a company or attempt to do SEO for their website on their own, they should expect to have some trial and error, to spend a good deal of time finding out what works, and to see slow but measurable and consistent results. But if these business owners have been listening to the amateur companies, that’s not what they’ll expect at all.
The Biggest Problem
Amateur SEO companies cause people to see SEO as a quick fix, to expect nearly immediate and drastic results, to distrust reputable SEO companies, and to mislead people about what SEO is intended to do and how it should work.
But all of that points to one problem, which is perhaps the biggest blow these companies give to the overall concept of SEO, and that is that by misleading people about what SEO should be, many people are changing SEO strategies that will actually work because they’ve been misled.
For example, let’s say you’ve only dealt with or heard about the amateur agencies that promise fast results, dramatic growth in a short period of time, and an easy quick fix. Assume also that you’re currently using content marketing, organic SEO tactics, and other reputable “white hat” SEO techniques.
If you don’t see results within a month or two, or you don’t think those results are drastic enough, you may be tempted to change what you’re doing, thinking that dramatic and fast results should be expected. You could very well be throwing away a system that will produce wonderful results over a year or two just because someone misled you about how SEO works.
Undercutting and misleading happens in all industries. In the handmade or artisan crafts arena many artisans sell their work at extremely low prices because it’s just a hobby, making artisans who sell their work at reasonable prices for the handmade sector seem overpriced. In real estate, law, banking, and other industries, unethical practices can be used or simply poor practitioners who don’t have an understanding of how their industry work can easily lead to misconceptions about how the industry functions.
In SEO the same is true, only the result can be that many people avoid the SEO agencies that can help them and toss aside tried and true methods in favor of the glamour of overnight success. Fortunately more and more people are learning about SEO and how it really works, but these amateur agencies are still causing significant damage and harming the overall concept of SEO in the meantime.