As the owner of an online business, you’re going to have to utilize some digital marketing tactics to drive more traffic to your site and the most common and effective method of doing that is through SEO. Now,  unless you’re just experienced in SEO, you’re not going to know all of the ins and outs and tricks that come with SEO, so what do you do? Well, you do what most e-commerce business owners would do… seek SEO services.

SEO is just a sign of how much the times have changed. There was once a point in time where in order to be a business owner, you had to have a brick-and-mortar store and use the traditional marketing methods but ever since the invention of the internet, the e-commerce market “blew up!”

These days, if you can find a web-based website builder and have a great product to sell, you can be a business owner, just like that! But then you hit the issue of getting more traffic to your site… that’s when you start to search for SEO services to help you in that department.

Upon looking up different companies, and even having a few consultations with a few companies, you’re probably hearing some of the same things repeated over and over again… things like keywords, conversion, blogging, and so on and so forth… you don’t know hat all of that means! You want to put your trust in a reliable and honest SEO firm that has your business’ best interest at heart.

Unfortunately, there are tons of SEO companies out there that claim they can help your business in “this” way and “that” way… so much so that it can be very overwhelming trying to pick which one to go with, especially if you’re unfamiliar with SEO. Luckily, there are ways to find out if your SEO firm is doing more harm than good, and you can find this out pretty quickly whether you’re familiar with SEO or not.

If you’re in the market for SEO services for your business, here are some tell-tale signs that will let you know pretty quickly before you waste any more time or money in them.

Red Flag 1: The Firm Isn't Requesting Any Information From You

In order for an SEO firm to help your business, they’re going to need your help in obtaining helpful information to better serve your business. It’s like going to the doctor. In order for the doctor to give you the right diagnosis, the patient is going to have to tell the doctor some of the symptoms they’re experiencing and that same logic applies to SEO firms.

An SEO firm trying to help your business should be asking you what target keywords you want to use and more importantly, they should be asking you for access to every inch of your site and anything associated with your site. In order to help your site, they’re going to need admin access to everything from social media accounts to Google Webmaster Tools and Analytics.

If they’re not asking you for anything at all, or even a fraction of that, there’s a pretty high chance that the firm is doing harm to your site.

Red Flag 2: The Firm Doesn't Have Anything to Show You That They're Working

Whichever SEO company you choose to go with should be able to have proof or something to show you the progress of their work. Now, they’re not going to be able to show a rise in your rankings… that’s going to take a few months before seeing results there but a few weeks to a month into your contract, they should definitely be able to show you things like articles that have links to your site that are published on other sites or even a simple audit of your site where you can clearly see where your site started to where it’s going.

If they don’t have anything to show you, or can’t even suggest an action plan on how to improve your social media with a content calendar, you want to start looking into other firms.

Red Flag 3: They Can't Tell You What They're Doing to Help Your Site

As the owner of your business, you’ve entrusted your site to a firm in which you believed to be experts in their field. As an expert in their field and you being the business owner, they should be able to share with you what they’re doing to help you and if they can’t it could be a major red flag of a potential scam.

If you were to ask that firm what their techniques are and they tell you that their practices are confidential or that they can’t disclose that information, then whatever you’ve invested in that “company,” you can probably count it as a loss because their intentions were never to help your business in the first place… it was only to scam you.

Red Flag 4: You're Guaranteed to Rank On the First Page

According to, if an SEO firm guarantees your business will be ranked on the first page, you should run immediately! Don’t even give them any more of your energy! The great news about this red flag is that it’s a red flag that can be caught from the very beginning before you even think about investing money into their “company.”

The funny thing about this particular red flag is that, with the previous red flags, you have to do a little digging; ask questions after you’ve invested money into the company… but with this red flag, you typically don’t even have to ask a question at all. They use guaranteeing your business the first-page ranking as their marketing tactic to lure you in.

So as soon as you see anything like that, don’t call or even click on that business… they’re no good. Why? Because there’s a lot that goes into getting ranked on the first page and even with all the efforts taken, there’s still no guarantee. For instance, what if you and another business are having a bidding war with a particular keyword… who will get it? The bottom line is that first-page ranking is something that just should never be guaranteed.