How to Tell if a Search Consultant/Agency Sucks

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It’s easy to get confused and frustrated when you’re looking for a search consultant/agency to hire. The best way to know if they suck or not is by asking them these five questions: Do they have a contract? How long do their contracts last? What are your rates? Will you provide me with references from previous clients? What services will you offer me as the client? If an agency can’t answer all of those questions clearly and confidently, that should raise some red flags. The SEO consulting/agency you eventually hire should be able to answer all of these questions without hesitation. There shouldn’t be any confusion about what is being offered if they have a contract or how long it will last. The only way you can get an accurate feel of who’s good and who’s not is by asking them the questions aboveā€”and then comparing their responses to other SEO consultants/agencies.

If they have a contract, ask them what the terms of the contract are. If it’s anything more than one year in length, run in the opposite direction; because, in this industry, one year is essentially an eternity. The best contracts are usually six months in length or less, preferably even shorter than that. Some SEO consultants/agencies will offer contracts that are as short as 30 days. These types of contracts usually work the best for both sides involved because they allow you to get a feel on whether or not a particular individual or agency is a good fit while being able to test them out at the same time.

Integrity is a huge part of any business, and SEO consulting is no different. If they won’t give you references, then that’s a red flag right there. There’s no reason why an SEO consultant/agency should have a problem with agreeing to give you the names of people who have hired them before. However, if they give you names, you should do some research to check out those references. This is why they need to be able to provide you with names and numbers of past clients.

Without a doubt, the worst thing that can happen when hiring an SEO consultant/agency is if they don’t give you pricing information upfront. If that happens, then you should run away as fast as possible. The worst thing that can happen when hiring any type of consultant or service provider is to be left in the dark about what you’ll end up paying. If they’re reluctant to give you pricing information, then that should raise some serious red flags. If you don’t get accurate quotes and information on their services, that’s a good way to waste your money.

If they answer all of those questions without hesitation, that should indicate that you’re probably dealing with an excellent SEO consultant/agency. If this is the case, then congratulations are in order because at least you didn’t make a mistake by hiring them. You can chalk it up as experience and move on. On the other hand, if they answer those questions with uncertainty, then you should stop right there and cut your losses as soon as possible before you make a serious mistake. The whole point of this is to avoid mistakes. And the best way to do that is by cutting your losses as early as possible by abandoning any SEO consultant/agency that can’t provide clear and concise answers to those questions.

On the other hand, if things go wrong with your SEO consulting/agency or their services, then you should follow these five steps:

  1. Don’t panic
  2. Do your research
  3. Know what you’re looking for
  4. Keep calm and carry on
  5. Next steps

With that said, let’s go ahead and look at the five steps you should take if things go wrong with your SEO consulting/agency or their services:

Don’t Panic: Don’t allow yourself to get upset over something that might end up being something simple. Instead, take a step back and review everything that’s been done or not been done, for that matter.

Do Your Research: Take some time to research the SEO firm/agency you’re dealing with by checking out their reputation online. If they have good reviews, then there’s a good chance you’ve landed yourself with an excellent SEO consulting/agency.

Know What You’re Looking For: This one ties in directly to number three, but the key is knowing what problems you face and if they were solved by your current SEO consultant/agency or not. If they weren’t, then that should raise some red flags right there.

Keep Calm and Carry On: Many people are guilty of jumping the gun way too soon when things are not going well with their SEO consulting/agency. Don’t be that person who does this because you’ll more than likely come across as desperate, which isn’t good for your reputation.

Next Steps: If everything was done correctly and you’re facing some small issues, then there’s no reason why you can’t recover from them simply. You might need to tweak a few things, but that’s more than feasible for even beginners if they know what they’re doing.

However, if this doesn’t turn out to be the case and your SEO consulting/agency is way off their mark, then it might be time to cut your losses and start looking elsewhere. In the grand scheme of things, you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches if you do this sooner rather than later.

In closing, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t at least try to avoid hiring a bad SEO consultant/agency for a small project, but if they completely screw things up for you, then there’s no reason to panic as long as you know what your next steps are.

What should you know about SEO Consultants?

Search engine optimization is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial”, or “natural” search results on search engines. In general, this refers to SERPs provided by Google, Yahoo and other search engines like Bing. SEO covers a range of activities that help your site rank higher in organic rankings. The higher your site ranks, the more traffic you’ll receive from search engine users.

SEO can be complicated, but it’s an essential part of any online marketing strategy. By getting your site to rank high in organic search results, you’ll have access to thousands of potential new customers that are looking for exactly what you offer.

If you want to get more traffic, leads and sales from search engines, here are some guidelines on hiring the best SEO consultant for your business.

1) Check out their portfolio.

Today’s SEO world is competitive. With so many options available to businesses looking for professionals to help them gain visibility online, it can be difficult for a consultant to stand out from the rest of the pack. Their portfolio is one of their best sales tools, so they should put it to good use.

Don’t just look at what’s been done on their current site — check out some of the other companies that have been worked on throughout their career. Look into some social media profiles to see if they’re active there too.

2) Prepare some questions ahead of time.

If you’ve ever worked with an SEO consultant before, you know how important it is to ask the right questions upfront. You want to make sure you don’t waste your money on an expensive service that won’t deliver results — but at the same time, you don’t want to ask too many questions and make the consultant annoyed with you.

Here are some good examples of questions to ask before signing a contract:

– How will you promote my site?

– What’s your strategy for attracting new visitors to the site?

– How do you keep track of your progress?

– How often will you update me on the work being performed?

– What is your success rate compared with other clients?

3) Do they listen to your concerns?

If you’re hiring an SEO consultant, it means that you’ve probably had some bad experiences in the past — and you’re looking to change your luck with a new person or company.


While all of these factors are important, it’s also important to ensure that the consultant you hire is a good fit for your company. A great consultant might have a terrible portfolio or charge you too much for the work they do — but if you feel like they understand your company and will listen to your concerns, it might be worth it to give them a shot.

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