5 Signs of an Ethical SEO Company

5 Min Read

Many business leaders misunderstand search engine optimization. While SEO does involve manipulating search results to improve a business’s visibility online, it should not utilize disrespectful, dishonest or otherwise unethical practices to do so. In fact, many shady SEO practices are more than obvious to Google’s algorithm, and businesses participating in them will be punished with lower rankings or worse.

Unfortunately, many SEO companies take advantage of inexperienced business leaders and charge high prices for shady SEO services. Business leaders need to be careful to partner with SEO providers that will prioritize long-term, ethical and effective practices, and here’s how:

They Set Realistic Expectations

Savvy companies tend to have a good understanding of the needs and wants of their target audience, which allows them to attract more leads and complete more conversions. This is true for SEO agencies as well; they know their business clients want to rocket to the top of the search results page, and they know that if they tell prospective clients that they can achieve that goal faster than any other SEO provider, they will likely receive some business.

However, the truth is that SEO is not a fast and easy digital marketing strategy. Effective SEO takes time — months if not years of diligent work — and Professional SEO service providers know this. Thus, business leaders should look for SEO partners who avoid the temptation to dazzle with unrealistic opportunities and instead set expectations logically based on what can actually be achieved.

Their Prices Align With the Industry

In a similar vein to the expectations set through SEO agency marketing, business leaders should assess whether an SEO provider’s prices align roughly with the rest of the industry. Low-quality SEO is cheap for providers and clients alike; it doesn’t cost much to train an SEO professional using outdated information and techniques, and stuffing a webpage full of keywords takes an hour or less. Therefore, companies using these unethical practices are able to attract more clients with pricing structures that seem too-good-to-be-true, because they are. Business leaders should avoid becoming so blinded by the opportunity to cut costs that they waste money on a worthless SEO partner.

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They Have Reputations as Industry Experts

Reputation isn’t everything. Plenty of small businesses have benefited from partnering with young or unproven firms, which despite their lack of experience can offer high-quality services at rock-bottom prices. However, by relying on reputation, business leaders can quickly and efficiently find the best SEO providers in the business. Ratings and reviews — as well as recommendations from other business leaders — can be the easiest method of finding an ethical SEO partner. Business leaders might also take into consideration the age of an SEO firm, as the longer an SEO agency has been in operation, the more likely they are to generate positive results and maintain productive client relationships, like this Phoenix SEO company with nearly 20 years of experience.

They Communicate Honestly and Transparently

Communication is everything in business, and it is even more important from a critical service provider. Business leaders need to know that their SEO partner is telling them the truth, from the very first contact to the latest report. It might be wise for business leaders to vet a prospective SEO company’s communication practices by reaching out frequently well before reaching any kind of contract agreement. Then, not only can business leaders assess whether an SEO agency’s communication methods integrate well with their business’s communication culture but they can also determine whether the agency seems to communicate with honesty and transparency, as an ethical service provider should.

They Achieve Impressive Results

It is perhaps inconsequential whether or not an SEO company is ethical if they cannot come close to meeting client goals. Business leaders should look into SEO agency portfolios to find ample evidence of successful campaigns, and they should interview both providers and past clients about how they achieved their results. Ethical SEO providers should be more than happy to share information about their successes, and they may even be willing to explain how they overcame a few failures to deliver results to clients.

Ethics in SEO matters. Business leaders would do well to prioritize partnerships with trustworthy SEO companies, even if that means compromising on their hopes for idealistic SEO services.

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