Resorting to black hat (unethical) SEO methods to obtain a higher search engine ranking can cost you dearly down the line. Search engines such as Google punish violators by sending them far down the search results ranking or even outright blacklisting them. If you’re new to SEO, here are things to bear in mind.
1. Credible Brand Image. Do not base your trust solely on what the company presents to you. Interview some of the agency’s present and past clients and get feedback as to how the agency fares as a business partner, e.g. are they able to deliver results?
2. Ask them about their methods. A good SEO agency can explain well how SEO works and won’t keep it a secret if the methods they use are legitimate. If they say, “It’s too technical for me to explain”, (or other responses of the same nature), chances are, they don’t really know what they’re doing.
3. Check their communication platform. A reliable SEO provider must update you on their work progress. Ask them for some deliverables, which can stand as their sample work, such as articles with backlinks to your site published in those owned by industry influencers and experts, performance reports, and the like.
4. It’s not true if it’s too good to be true. SEO takes months before it shows results, so don’t believe those who say they can level up your ranking overnight. Learn about white hat vs. black hat SEO practices, and if an agency shows signs that it employs dubious methods, then walk away.