Your agency is not going to like this post. Because I’m outing them.
There is a deep, dark secret in the world of SEO. We all know this secret. And staying silent is what’s enabling hundreds of agencies to continue operating regularly, generating significant revenue, and “delivering quality SEO work”.
The secret is this: Most SEO agencies (maybe yours) have no idea what the hell they’re doing.
Maybe this is you:
You hired a cheap (maybe international?) SEO expert to “hack” your SEO to get you ranked on the first page of Google. They even guaranteed “90 days or less!”. You didn’t have a large SEO budget, and they offered to do this for only a few hundred bucks a month.
What did you have to lose? Now your site is falling, and you don’t know why.
Or maybe this is you:
You invested a larger budget (+$2,000/month) and hired a USA SEO agency to use white-hat methods to get you ranked on the first page of Google. However, once you signed the contract, the agency failed to deliver on their promise. You were delegated to poor account management, and no one at your agency seemed to know why your site wasn’t improving.
Why did you choose that agency? They sold you, but they didn’t serve you.
Does any of this sound familiar?
- Account managers that seem disorganized and unknowledgeable; can’t answer basic questions about your SEO campaign.
- Strategists are hard to reach and only available intermittently; your account manager blocks your access to strategy leads.
- You aren’t given the freedom to approve or monitor deliverables like backlinks; sometimes links are wrong or inaccurate.
- Reporting is filled with vanity metrics that show your website’s “growth”; real metrics like traffic and total keyword growth are stagnant.
- There are no real KPIs or goals; Your SEO agency claims “expected results aren’t possible with SEO”.
- You feel like a small fish in a big pond; Your agency is too big to care about your SEO intricacies, let alone your overall dreams and goals.
Reality check #1: If you’re unhappy with your agency, give notice. Today.
This is not how your experience with an SEO agency should play out. If this is your story, it’s because you’ve hired an agency like one of these (which sounds like yours?):
“The Goliath” – You picked this agency because they’re one of the largest SEO agencies in the United States. With a hoard of sales reps and an impressive list of past customers, they whisked you away with open-ended promises to “transform your SEO” and improve search results faster than anyone else. And why wouldn’t you believe them, with their Fortune 100 customers and massive corporate partners? If they can do great SEO for XXX, then your mid-sized company will be a walk in the park. Wrong. Since the day you signed the contract, you’ve felt under-cared for, under-communicated with, and under-satisfied with your results. You’re not receiving attention (mostly because you’ve been delegated to some junior account executive who hasn’t managed a campaign before) and you’re injecting significant capital into a failing SEO campaign. You want to make a change, but if this “award winning” SEO behemoth can’t get you results, can you really trust someone else to do better?
“The Old-Schooler” – You picked this agency because they’ve been doing SEO “since before Google started”. As if that says anything about their current ability to do good SEO today. While they certainly weren’t the cheapest option, you picked them because they’ve been in business for 15 years – so they must be doing something right…right? You’ve tried to understand what exactly they’re doing to improve your SEO, but every time you ask they respond with “it’s very technical work” and “I can’t explain this because it’s our secret SEO sauce”. This not only leaves you completely out of the loop of the campaign, but also makes you feel like you have zero control. Isn’t there someone who can explain SEO in a way you can understand and become involved?
“The Offshore-er” – You picked this agency because they were the cheapest. And they promised you the best results. What’s better than that?! You saw so much value when they mentioned the hundreds of links they’ll be building for you. Little do you (nor they) know – those links come from a link farm, are unnatural, violate Google’s quality guidelines for backlinks. Suddenly your site is penalized – and they claim it wasn’t their fault. You agreed to the contract, didn’t you? You should have known. But what your agency doesn’t know about Google’s algorithm updates only hurts you in the end. You’ve dropped thousands of ranks and it’s put you in the painful process of disavowing the very work you invested in. Are there any reputable SEO agencies that you can actually afford?
Picking the right SEO agency is hard. We get it. It’s not easy differentiating who’s legit and who’s blowing smoke.
Plus, most agencies talk in broad terms when discussing expected results, deliverables, and timeline. They claim it’s impossible to predict SEO growth.
Fortunately for you, this isn’t true.
Reality Check #2: You don’t need to compromise when choosing an SEO agency.
The new world of SEO is being revolutionized by agencies that use data-driven campaigns to predict SEO growth. You can expect these qualities from your SEO agency:
- You can get expected results; Data can, and should, be used to drive SEO campaign strategy and predict overall SEO growth.
- You can get the attention you need; Account managers should be trained as SEO experts with full knowledge of campaigns.
- You can have control over your campaign; Direct relationships with backlink owners means you can see, approve, and modify your backlinks.
- You can understand the process; SEO strategists can explain to you what the activity is and why it’s helping your SEO.
- You can hold your agency accountable; This is no longer a subjective activity with no foundation. SEO is now data-driven, and you can see the benefits.
Your agency doesn’t want you to know this. If they aren’t held accountable, they can claim “expertise” without explaining their processes, and hand your account off to low-cost junior executives while still receiving your recurring revenue, then they have no incentive to improve.
Again: IF YOUR AGENCY ISN’T HELD ACCOUNTABLE, THEY HAVE NO INCENTIVE TO IMPROVE.
Which brings us to another point: Do you really want to work with an agency that has to be forced to innovate and improve, or one that drives innovation and improvement?
I’d like to think that you and I are on the same page – SEO is a critically vital component of any core business strategy. If this is the case, why are you compromising with your agency?
I challenge you to consider the alternative.
The alternative is an SEO agency that is driven by values that supersede profit margin and comfort. An agency that doesn’t sit on its heels, but forces innovation and excellence in the industry with tenacity and willpower. An agency that genuinely puts the customer’s needs as a priority and takes time to educate, empower, and explain.
I’m tired of making excuses for other agencies’ poor performance. I’m tired of telling prospective customers that “we aren’t like your old agency”. I’m tired of picking up the pieces after another agency took everything but the kitchen sink and left the customer with an ass-backwards SEO campaign and hundreds of crappy backlinks.
We’re ready to show you that there is a different way.
I’ll never say we’re a perfect agency. We’ve made many, many mistakes. But we have grown our agency on a foundation that values learning from mistakes and innovating better ways to service customers as a result.
I challenge you to see for yourself.
If you want to know what it’s like to work with this kind of agency, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can personally discuss your situation.