Are You Qualified to Hire an SEO Agency? A Simple Test

Think you have the experience to hire a good SEO Agency?  Read the next two bullets before you go any further:

  • Search engines have difficulty distinguishing URLs in paginated results.  CMSs address pagination in different ways – from parameterized URLs to completely unique pages.  You  can solve this problem by using rel=canonical in the <head> or HTTP header of paginated pages that have a “view all” page.  If you don’t have a “view all” content page, use rel=next/prev to specify a paginated series.
  • NAP (name, address, phone number) consistency across  trusted directory sites is a key ranking factor in local search.  To address problems caused by tracking phone numbers, specify NAP values using the GREP command in your XML sitemap.  Alternatively use a 301 permanent redirect to proxy your canonical number.  Note:  The GREP command only works for single location businesses.

One of the paragraphs above explains a fairly simple concept in confusing technical terms.  The other is utter gibberish.  In English it makes as much sense as:  “helicopters use pancakes to shingle doghouses moonbeam excellent.”

This morning I’m doing some research in preparation for a kick off call with a new client.  These guys have gone through 4 agencies in the past three years (in general a huge red flag) – but as I look at their site it seems that it was created by the 12 year old nephew 5 years ago and never touched.  The technology is problematic, the link profile is anemic, the content stale, basic fundamentals have not been addressed.

Selling SEO services to lawyers is drop dead easy; its easy to confuse and intimidate with technical lexicon to make the sale.  Delivering on results is entirely different.  As my new client today has demonstrated, the web is full of search charlatans eager to hook law firms on lucrative monthly contracts.

If you can’t identify the balderdash in the examples above, you shouldn’t hire an SEO agency without input from someone who can.


  1. says

    I absolutely love this! What you describe is exactly the kind of confusing, convoluted and often meaningless language sleazy SEO agencies use to bamboozle unsuspecting clients. I think lawyers may be particularly susceptible because, like many smart people, they feel intimidated when outside their area of expertise. Rather than risk looking foolish (they think), they nod their heads and sign on to contracts they don’t understand.