A Beginner’s Guide to Finding the Right SEO Company, Part 2: Why Red Flags are Red Flags (or not-exactly-best-SEO-practices)

Telling someone what they should watch out for is valuable information, but not nearly as valuable as the explanation of what the “watch out for…” indicates.

When it comes to SEO, the red flags indicate that an SEO company may be unequipped to properly provide SEO services, is approaching SEO in a way that could get your site penalized or is just plain out to get your money. Let’s walk through them one by one:

Red Flag: An SEO company whose website is not SEO’d


  1. The company is not keeping up with SEO strategies, which are always changing in response to changing search engine algorithms.If an SEO company isn’t keeping up with the times, not only is their website obsolete, yours could be too.
  2. The company is too busy with other things to update their website.If an SEO company is too busy to effectively maintain their own internet presence, how do you know they aren’t too busy to help you improve or maintain yours? A too-busy business could mean that your SEO company isn’t able to provide a timely response to your questions, concerns or maintenance issues.
  3. The company just may not know what they’re doing.Unfortunately, some SEO companies aren’t really SEO companies. They’re web design firms that know that SEO is a buzz word. But there’s a lot more to SEO than an attractive web site.

Red Flag: An SEO company who promises ranking results


  1. An SEO company that is likely using “black hat” SEO strategies that produce quick results, but not sustainable ones.
  2. Black hat SEO tactics are often “read” by search engine algorithms as spam. If tagged as a spammer, your website may be penalized—i.e., taken out of ranking consideration, making you invisible to internet searchers.

Red Flag: An SEO company who says they’ll “submit” your site to search engines


  1. The company may not really understand how search engines work.Sometimes, people confuse directories with search engines. And you do have to submit content to directories…but not to search engines. This may be one of those tell-tale signs that a design firm is overreaching its expertise.
  2. The company may be trying to take advantage of your not knowing how search engines work.If a company says they’ll submit something, it makes it sound like 1) they know the process and 2) they have connections to get your website ranking well. It can be a way to keep the internet a mystery to you so that you feel powerless to get your website up and indexed by major search engines.

    Truth be told, if you publish your own website, the search engines take care of the rest. Their “crawling” algorithms recognize new content and “read” it to figure out what to do with it.

Red Flag: An SEO company who gives strict limits on what they’ll do

Red Flag: An SEO company who parses out parts of the SEO process into different marketing packages or contracts


  1. Both of these red flags are signs that an SEO company may be trying to maximize their profit potential without any concern for how their packaging or keyword phrase/paragraph/page/inbound link limits affect your site’s performance (odd, considering your performance reflects their performance).We realize some limits need to be set. An SEO company can’t develop and optimize a 200-page site at the same cost as a 50-page site.

    But if an SEO company is really interested in helping your site perform better, they should offer service that reflects the understanding that effective and lasting search engine optimization only happens when all parts of your site (i.e., text with strategically incorporated keywords, coding, design, inbound links, etc.) are the best they can be for both human viewers and search engine crawlers. “Optimizing” individual paragraphs or a few pages here and there isn’t effective.

One Last Thing

Like we said in the last blog: bad SEO really upsets us because we’re passionate about helping you get more clients through improved website performance by doing SEO the right way. And in Part 3, we’ll tell you exactly what that looks like.

But you don’t have to wait for the final installment of our Beginner’s Guide blog trilogy to find the right SEO company and start improving your website’s performance. Contact SonicSEO.com today!