Because of the fluid nature of the internet marketing industry, it is easy for business owners to be taken advantage of by companies or individuals who only want to make a quick buck without providing anything of real value. In order to help you protect yourself from shady dealings, here are some things for you to watch out for.
1. Watch Out For Fast-Talkers
Most industries have their own unique lingo, and in all fairness, it is difficult to remember that not everyone understands the acronyms and terminology specific to individual industries. However, people providing service to you should be able to explain what they do so that a layperson can understand it. If they can't, you should wonder if they actually know what they're doing, or if they're simply parroting "tech-speech" to you.
Ask questions. Just like with any other field, you should know what you're paying for. You wouldn't expect to pay for plumbing services without knowing what your plumber is doing. Same thing with your internet marketing company. Know what you're paying for!
2. Watch Out For Guarantees
This is an area where the internet marketing industry differs from other industries. If you hire an HVAC contractor, you expect your heating system to keep your house warm when they're done, and rightfully so. However, marketing of any sort is a much more ethereal practice, because success is totally dependent on human behavior and decision-making. Internet marketing is even more difficult to nail down, because there are SO MANY FACTORS at play. No one can guarantee Google results, and Google itself says to be wary of individuals who claim to be able to do so.
You should, however, expect measurable results from your digital marketing company's strategies and tactics, and this is what you should be spending money on. Pay for actions which yield measurable results, but don't buy into guarantees!
If you come across an individual who says he can get your site to the number 1 spot in 2 weeks, WALK AWAY. How he is going to do that? Oh sure, there are practices that can accomplish high rankings in a short period of time, but these are practices that Google will catch quickly, and they will get your site completely removed from Google posthaste.
Getting blacklisted is a Big Deal. Google has gotten really good at identifying bad SEO practices, and you will receive heavy penalties when they catch them, up to and including being kicked off Google permanently. You, as the website owner, are ultimately responsible for your site activity, so it's important for you to be aware of what is going on.
4. Watch Out For People Who Tell You That SMO Is The Same As SEO
While it is true that social signals are becoming increasingly significant to search results, social media optimization is only a piece of the SEO puzzle. Yes, you need to have optimized social pages and yes, you need to be active on a variety of platforms, but the purpose of that is to engage with your customer base and provide relevant, authoritative content that Google and other search engines will recognize as providing valuable information about your industry.
Google algorithms look for over 600 factors when compiling search engine results, and anyone who focuses solely on managing your Facebook page is not truly performing search engine optimization for you. And while we're on the subject of SMO...
5. Watch Out For Bad SMO PracticesIf your SMO manager considers joining every industry-related page on every social platform to be "social media optimization", you are wasting your money. Social media is about engagement. Joining every "group" and throwing a link to your site in every discussion thread is terrible SMO. So is sending unsolicited private messages to every company you can possibly connect with. This will get you unfollowed and unfriended on every platform you join, which completely defeats the purpose of doing social media work in the first place.
At the end of the day, you are responsible for the activity that takes place on and around your web properties. If you are a company who acts with integrity, then you need to make sure that your internet marketing strategy is developed with integrity as well. Your website, your social profiles, and your SEO tactics are all representative of your business, and your livelihood, and the livelihood of your employees, depend on that representation. Don't take chances, and don't waste your money on companies who won't represent you accurately.
Download our whitepaper, 10 SEO Mistakes To Avoid During Your Next Website Redesign, to learn more about good SEO practices.