How to Tell If a Digital Agency Is Faking Their SEO Expertise

SEO FAKER

As an expert in online marketing, I am always amazed how few clients and prospects take the time to vet the technical SEO skills of their agencies and consultants before hiring them to work on their website. This is a very important consideration, even if you are not specifically hiring the firm to work on your SEO. Over and over again marketers hire agencies and designers to redesign a website with very little thought on the impact of SEO. This can turn out to be a absolute disaster if you rely on search to generate leads or ecommerce sales.

Digital agencies that are inept in SEO can wreak havoc on your search rankings very quickly.

Evaluating an agency’s search engine optimization (SEO) expertise is a fairly straightforward process. All you need to do is to take a look at the performance of the websites they have worked on in the past with a tool like SEMRush. SEMRush is an inexpensive SEO competitor analysis tool that gives you insight into the keywords your competitors use. While it’s not as good as having full access to the website’s Google Analytics account, it can give you a pretty accurate picture of how a site is performing with SEO. It's what I like to call an SEO  “sniff test”.

The gist of analyzing the SEMrush data is simple: if the volume of search engine traffic for a site has increased, that’s a good sign that the agency has a handle on SEO.

An increase is in search traffic over time is good:

On the other hand, if the amount of search traffic has decreased, that’s a bad sign and should prompt you to take a deeper dive into analyzing the agency's SEO track record.

A decrease is in search traffic over time is bad:

Now that you understand the basic concept that UP is good and DOWN is bad in SEMrush, let's take a look at some real-world examples of SEMrush Data from the DMZ Interactive portfolio of clients.

Buyhookandloop.com BEFORE we worked on the site:

Buyhookandloop.com AFTER we worked on the site:

Search Engine Traffic Increased by 76%.

twinstrata.com BEFORE we worked on the site:

twinstrata.com AFTER we worked on the site:

Search Engine Traffic Increased by 857%.

Accurev.com BEFORE we worked on the site:

 

Accurev.com AFTER we worked on the site:

Search Engine Traffic Increased by 228%.

surgi-careinc.com BEFORE we worked on the site:

surgi-careinc.com AFTER we worked on the site:

Search Engine Traffic Increased by 1,350%.

In full disclosure, these graphs give you a partial picture of the sites' SEO performance over time. There are several factors which can impact search marketing for a website such as new competitors, PPC budget changes, data sampling methods, and changes to Google's ranking algorithm.

If you like to do a deep dive into how we've helped our clients improve their SEO performance, take a moment to read our Case Studies.