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SEO Red Flags – How do I tell whether an SEO offer is legitimate?

We often hear from clients who have received an email from an SEO company claiming there are severe problems with their website and they urgently need SEO services. Most of these are templated emails blasted out to thousands of recipients. Their salespeople then follow up on any leads brought in by reply emails. But how do you tell which ones are low quality scams and which are legitimate and well respected companies?

For someone in the industry it’s pretty easy to tell the difference but by keeping an eye out for certain red flags you can learn which emails to simply ignore.

Submission to a certain number of search engines

This one is very common surprisingly. The number varies from sales pitch to sales pitch but is usually at least fifty and sometimes in the hundreds. Whilst these companies probably do submit your site to that many search engines it won’t do anything for you. There’s only a handful of search engines worth targeting (you know them already) and these can almost always find your site just fine without submission. Google webmaster tools allows free submission to the most important search engine anyway and this provides numerous other benefits.

Unsolicited sales emails

If you’ve received an email that looks templated and is not personalised for your business then there’s a good chance it has just been blasted out to thousands of recipients. If you didn’t request to be contacted then you probably didn’t give them your contact details and it’s probably just a piece of software that emailed you. It’s not a good sign if a company hasn’t even allocated a human being to speak with you.

Overuse of technical terms or jargon

If the email lists off a whole bunch of technical information without any kind of explanation or simplification then it’s just going to confuse you. The goal here for many of these companies is to make you confused and/or frightened so you will purchase their services. The main factor you need to consider here is what SEO ultimately boils down to. Are your search engine rankings high for your important keywords and are you getting lots of business through the website? If not maybe you should look around and find a respectable SEO company that can help you with this. Don’t trust people who try to scare you.

Well below average prices

Although low prices can be tempting it’s a simple fact that good SEO takes time and money. If you saw a car advertised for a very low price you’d be skeptical about why it’s so cheap. The same principal applies here. If a company is far cheaper than the industry standard then there’s a probably a good reason for this and you should steer clear. It may not cost you a lot, but it’s still a waste of money you could spend on legitimate and effective marketing methods.