Common disappointments from SEO agencies and how to avoid them?

 As online presence becoming more and more valued by companies in all sizes, SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, has become a major strategy that businesses try in order to reach more potential customer by ranking higher in search engines, especially Google.

Worked in a SEO Agency in Melbourne for quite some time, I have heard weird experiences from a variety of customers that made them scared from doing SEO again or thought SEO is not effective. Rounding up all their previous experiences, here’s the breakdown of the common disappointments and how can you choose a better agency.


  1. No updates from a long while

SEO is not something that can see its effect in mere weeks. It takes a long period, usually months and sometimes years, to see a significant growth in the ranking of your website on search engine results.

Not that it is not possible to reach great heights in a readily short period of time, most of the techniques used to boost ranking in a short period of time are described as a “black hat” strategy. These non-traditional strategies will often face a sudden drop in ranking in events of an algorithm update or being identified as a malicious website by Google.

More common and effective techniques like outreach articles and content update require time that can span across months. And agencies which use such strategies are very likely to be able to provide a regular update on the work that they have done. And, more often than not, you can see the ranking of your website begin to rise, albeit just a few places.

  1. Ranking dropped when the contract ends

As mentioned in the last point, it is not highly common that the ranking of your website can jump from the fifth page to the first result overseeing others in just a month. It might be that your product is very unique to every other alternative or the industry has a very low competition.

But, in most likely cases, the agency is using some kind of “black hat” techniques. While the result is very promising at start, these techniques are unlikely to stand over time as the ranking of your website will drop sharply very soon.

Agencies using such methods would still offer a contract that usually last for half-year or more to earn “free lunch” in the beginning months. In the final month of the contract, the “black hat” techniques will be on full deploy to hurry up the ranking. And as the contract ends, the consequences of “black hat” will soon become obvious. On contrast, “white hat” techniques are able to hold the position longer until the competition catch up.

Other than looking for regular updates, if you encounter agencies offering contracts for only three months, or not seeing an improvement of at least one page, you should make a reconsideration.

  1. They are outsourcing all the work

Despite outsourcing work is not uncommon in the Information Technology industry, some agencies fully outsource their SEO service to a company in the other part of the world.

While outsourcing is not unjust or unreasonable, having someone who understand SEO and can perform tasks that are required for SEO in an agency not only offer more confidence, but they will be able to help with related problems instantly.

Agencies that outsource all the SEO efforts are hard to find out, especially with experienced sales techniques. However, questions on how they work to improve the ranking of your website can show their expertise and the support that they have.

General support required for SEO includes an experienced website developer who can amend the content on your website and optimise the readability and loading speed of the website, a copywriter to write the content and outreach articles and a specialist to build backlinks.

Because of the experience working with Google, reputable SEO agencies should also be able to help with Search Engine Marketing, particularly Google Ads, and likely to have a Google Partner badge by finishing courses in advertising on Google.


In the end of the day, one of the most visible errors with a SEO agency is the failure to push up the ranking of your website for at least 1 page or 10 results over three months. This is a clear signal that the agency is not working the way it should have been.