Your advertising agency may be screwing you over, and you may not even know it. Alarming, isn’t it?
If you’ve been burned by an advertising agency before, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Plenty of others have been in the exact same boat. It’s a terrible situation that no one should have to go through. And that’s why we’re here, to help you avoid it.
Read below to learn the red flags to avoid so you don’t get screwed over by an advertising agency!
The Red Flags: How to Find Out if Your Advertising Agency Is Just Screwing You Over
The One-Trick Pony
What It Looks Like: The “One-Trick Pony” advertising agency will promise incredible results – on just 1 thing.
Mary hired a company that did the work, but didn’t understand why they were doing it. The agency was one-dimensional, focusing on only one aspect of SEO instead of the full picture. Thus, Mary’s business ended up with 0 results, 0 growth, and 0 leads. It was a huge waste of time.
Why It’s Bad: While it’s great to get one thing done well, it’s important to note that good SEO is not built out of simply 1 effort. It’s a combination of multiple efforts, takes hard work, and is built stronger over time. A good advertising agency should focus on the FULL PICTURE rather than just 1 small aspect of it.
How to Avoid It: Ask to see their portfolio or talk to them about how they have helped other clients succeed with online marketing. See their work in action before jumping in.
What It Looks Like: The “Speedster” promises results impressively fast – so fast that it seems impossible. Spoiler alert: it is.
Poor George. He signed on with an advertising agency after experiencing a downturn in his business, and they’ve done nothing but disappoint him. The team promised he’d start seeing results within 48 hours, but he’s still on the 15th page of Google, has no new leads, and isn’t getting any website traffic.
Why It’s Bad: If someone’s message sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Here’s the truth: Rome wasn’t built in a day. Great SEO work and impactful online marketing takes time. You won’t see your ranking jump to #1 overnight. Understand that SEO is a long-term process, and not a box to check off. A good advertising agency will understand the time and effort it takes to build and implement a solid marketing strategy, and won’t promise you things they can’t deliver.
Good SEO takes time, and with that time, your business will start to see the results you’re wanting and grow!
How to Avoid It: Ask about the long-term strategy for your business rather than expected “due dates.” If they give you any kind of unbelievable (super fast) due date, find someone else.
The Car Salesman
What It Looks Like: The “Car Salesman” puts on a big smile, promises you the world, and then pulls the rug out from under your feet. They’ll leave you feeling duped and thinking, “What just happened?!”
Huberto signed on a new advertising agency and was so excited about it. The agency mentioned that they have a “special relationship” and can “priority submit” to Google. They guaranteed Huberto’s business would receive a #1 ranking on not just Google, but every single search engine within the next month. Fast forward to next month – Huberto is not seeing his business as #1 on ANY search engine. What happened?
Why It’s Bad: Advertising agencies that guarantee rankings are not trustworthy. They overpromise and under-deliver. In fact, NO ONE can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google – even Google says this.
Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through our Add URL page or by submitting a Sitemap and you can do this yourself at no cost whatsoever.
How to Avoid it: Be wary of any sort of guarantee coming from an advertising agency. If they claim they can guarantee you a #1 ranking on Google, run far, far away.
The Secret Agent
What It Looks Like: The “Secret Agent” owns shadow domains, talks about their “secret” SEO strategies, and how their insider secrets will help you succeed in ways other businesses can’t!
Tiffany’s team was thrilled to hear about the new advertising agency she had hired. They mentioned a bunch of “insider secrets” and SEO strategies that would skyrocket Tiffany’s business to the top quickly. Her team was quick to ask what these secrets were, but Tiffany couldn’t answer. The agency wouldn’t actually tell her what they were doing! They assured her this was because they didn’t want anyone sharing their secrets, but as Tiffany began looking at the results they were getting, she started to wonder if they were actually doing anything at all…
Why It’s Bad: Good advertising agencies don’t keep secrets, but rather share their knowledge of best practices and help support the industry. Google says:
Ask for explanations if something is unclear. If an SEO creates deceptive or misleading content on your behalf, such as doorway pages or “throwaway” domains, your site could be removed entirely from Google’s index. Ultimately, you are responsible for the actions of any companies you hire, so it’s best to be sure you know exactly how they intend to “help” you. If an SEO has FTP access to your server, they should be willing to explain all the changes they are making to your site.
How to Avoid it: Ask questions if you don’t understand something. Don’t let them get away with telling you, “It’s an insider secret.” Demand answers so you know what your strategy is and why your advertising agency is doing it. In addition, make sure you know where your money is going and why.
While Google never sells better ranking in our search results, several other search engines combine pay-per-click or pay-for-inclusion results with their regular web search results. Some SEOs will promise to rank you highly in search engines, but place you in the advertising section rather than in the search results. A few SEOs will even change their bid prices in real time to create the illusion that they “control” other search engines and can place themselves in the slot of their choice. This scam doesn’t work with Google because our advertising is clearly labeled and separated from our search results, but be sure to ask any SEO you’re considering which fees go toward permanent inclusion and which apply toward temporary advertising.
The Jewel Thief
What It Looks Like: The “Jewel Thief” starts out great, but always has a rocky ending.
Leeland hired a new advertising agency last year, but things just aren’t working out anymore. He wants to move on to a different agency, so he tells his current agency. Surprise! Part of the agreement required that ownership of any and all content remains with the agency. Leeland panics. They’re going to lose everything! He’s stuck with a tough decision: stay with the company and keep the content, or leave the company and start from scratch? Yikes.
Why It’s Bad: If you pay for it, it should belong to you. A bad advertising agency may take that old content and sell it to a competitor, further hurting your business brand.
How to Avoid it: Make sure to carefully read your agreement before you sign anything. Ask questions about anything you don’t understand. Don’t sign over ownership of your content!
The Good News Is That There ARE Good Advertising Agencies Out There
While there are certainly plenty of bad agencies out there, rest assured that every advertising agency is not the same.
Want to know the things to look for in a good agency?
EWR Digital is a great advertising agency that’s been helping businesses grow since opening its doors in 1999. Get to know us better here. Interested in a 15-minute call with one of our marketing experts? Call us at (713) 592-6724 today!
5 Signs Your Advertising Agency Is Screwing You Over | EWR Digital – Houston, TX