A few weeks ago, one of our clients contacted us because they had been approached by another SEO agency claiming that their website was poorly optimized for search. After reviewing the advice from the other agency, we discussed our thoughts with the client, who then told us that they weren't actually concerned about our work, just wanted to inform us.

This hasn't been the first time one of our clients has received such claims of poor SEO on their website. So why are they receiving such emails?

Quality SEO Advice or Unsolicited?

New and established SEO agencies alike are resorting to a variety of tactics to gain new clientele, even if that means trying to acquire clients from industry peers. If you're the client of an SEO agency, can you tell the difference between a legitimate SEO concern, and unsolicited SEO advce? We've established a list of 3 factors that you should consider if you're in this situation.

1. Automated SEO Audit?

Automated SEO reports are a dime a dozen, and deliver very little value or insight. One thing you should check for is to see if the program is automated (we've seen some from Website Grader) and if so, can you generate the same report with a free or trial subscription? If you can, then take the results with a grain of salt. Many SEO agencies (like Three Deep) conduct a thorough SEO audit of a prospective client, using a mix of tools and proprietary methods. Automated reports from a single program suggest that the agency may be generating a large volume of reports to gain more business. If they're not taking a personal approach to you during the sales process, what makes you think that they'll give you personal attention after closing the sale?

2. Geo-Targeted Keywords?

The first thing our project manager pointed out to the client were that the keywords the SEO agency proposed were entirely irrelevant to their campaign. Each keyword was very generic, and not related to their location (they are a brick-and-mortar business with a physical location). They were high-grossing in traffic, and our client certainly was not on page 1 of Google for those keywords, but those keywords would not gain them any additional revenue, which the client knew as well .

If you are provided a list of keywords that you don't rank for, ask yourself: Do these keywords adequately describe one of our products/services and your location? Would your ideal customer use this term when searching for your business? If so, then talk with your current agency to understand their strategy before enlisting a third party for advice.

3. Traffic Declines & Algorithm Changes

With search engines like Google changing their search algorithms on a regular basis to refine their ranking system, it's easy for SEO agencies to try to attract new clients by promising the best new solutions against such changes, especially if they know your site may have experienced a traffic drop with this change. Take a look at your recent reports (or your analytics software if you have access) If your site has seen a recent drop, your agency can help explain if an algorithm change has occurred or if new strategies are needed to improve traffic.

Pro Tip: Want to find out yourself if an algorithm change has occured? All you need to do is search on Google for "Google algorithm update", and check for the latest date.

Where Do You Go From Here?

While there are plenty poor performing SEO agencies, if you've been satisfied with your SEO agency's work, there's usually no need for concern. Chances are, you're just the target of an agency seeking new business. Think about how your current agency got in contact with you and what made you choose them. Most quality agencies don't have to solicit clients, the work speaks for itself.

Have you ever been targeted by an agency for business with surprising research? Are you still with your original agency, or did you follow one that sent you unsolitcited SEO advice? We'd love to hear your stories of agency proposals that made you change ways, or stick with your original agency for the long haul!