Hello, Nick Ponte here. I own an SEO company in Maui. Every day, we help Hawaii businesses optimize their digital content and boost their online rankings. We’ve been talking about qualities to look for in a reputable Hawaii marketing agency. I want to continue that conversation by talking about how to spot a questionable SEO agency.

When doctors work to diagnose a disease, they look for a certain set of symptoms. If a patient checks off several on the list, the doctor orders tests to confirm his suspicions. Likewise, you can look for a certain set of qualities you DON’T want to see in a Hawaii SEO agency—and test for them to confirm any suspicions.


I want to help you know what to look for BEFORE you invest your money in Hawaii SEO services. Do you know how to identify red flags when you see them? 

Also Read: Hawaii SEO — How to Avoid 4 Common Optimization Mistakes

Not Every Hawaii SEO Agency is Created Equal

Inexperienced digital marketers don’t always know what they’re talking about. They either provide underwhelming results, at best, or they create problems that take years and loads of money to correct.

Sometimes an SEO agency claims to have expertise, but their lack of a full team exposes their limits. Watch out for single-person agencies. Reputable, qualified SEO agencies in Hawaii have a team of experienced experts, each with deep experience in their own fields, like web design, social media, and digital advertisements.

Your business deserves better than untrained computer whizzes masquerading as professional marketers and SEO experts. Do you know which red flags to look for, so you can avoid the unfortunate results of inexperienced SEO companies in Hawaii?

Also Read: Equip Your Website as a Powerful Marketing Platform with On-Page Optimization

How to Spot an SEO Company You DON’T Want to Partner With

Watch out for these warning signs:

1. Bad Communication

What if you try to contact your Hawaii SEO agency, but you hear the sound of crickets chirping? That should never happen. If you constantly feel like you have to chase them down for a response, or you feel like they don’t see you as a priority, look for another Hawaii SEO company. 

The relationship between you and your SEO company should foster trust. Poor communication leads to conflict, even if that’s as mild as constant misunderstandings. If they don’t tell you about concerning issues immediately, it’s a problem. You shouldn’t get passed from person to person while you try to troubleshoot. If you ask a question, you should get a straight answer. When you work together as a team with a Hawaii SEO company, you should feel confident in the relationship. Communication builds the foundation of a thriving team that produces results.

An SEO agency in Hawaii should continually update clients about changes they make and the progress they gain. The client should maintain a sense of control of their digital assets. The agency exists to assist and optimize. They need to know how to interpret data, drops in traffic, losses in landing page visits, algorithm updates, and ad success, and communicate that to the business owner.

2. They Don’t Make Your Success a Priority

With a bad SEO company, you may regularly face unmet goals. Your stats don’t improve. You invest money that doesn’t see a return. You feel like they push off your requests.

Your Hawaii SEO company should function as an extension of your own team, and you should feel their drive to see your business succeed. Your wins are their gains. They ought to have thorough plans to optimize your website, drive traffic through ad campaigns, and gain warm leads.

You want results and high returns out of your SEO company. It’s your budget on the line, after all. If you don’t see results, and you feel like they push your concerns off while they still rake in your money, you have a problem. 

3. They Always Blame “Other Problems” When Failures Arise

Speaking of failures, you’ve noticed them coming up often. When you bring them up with the agency, it doesn’t go well. They get defensive when questioned. They don’t take responsibility for negative results. Instead of fixing the issue, they blame your business, or other unrelated issues. They defer to the ever-changing algorithms and updates to search engines.

A good SEO company in Hawaii makes it their business to stay on top of updates. They run consistent audits to make sure systems and links function and stay up to date. They will be proactive towards future issues, not reactive.

4. They Over-Promise

We’ve all felt the disgust and annoyance of listening to politicians make huge promises they can’t possibly keep. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is

If an SEO company makes large claims with no support or data to back it up, no evidence of past success, and no trustworthy game plan, you can definitely take that as a red flag. Don’t count on promised shortcuts—you know they aren’t reliable. If the discussion of your SEO success sounds like it sits on shaky ground, look elsewhere.

How to test a Hawaii SEO Company BEFORE you hire:

If the company you’re investigating has a free consultation, take advantage of that! It lets you test out how they communicate and interact with you. The SEO company should provide quality, in-depth information you can use to make an informed decision.

Pay attention: Do they give explanations for what they do and why? Do they provide solutions to real issues? Ask for referrals, check out their portfolio, and read reviews. Look over their content, like blogs, podcasts, and articles. Check out the conversation around their services on sites like Angi and Better Business Bureau.

If you’ve ever experienced any symptoms of a bad SEO agency, don’t let those negative experiences stop you from getting more information and making a more informed decision. Your investment in digital marketing should turn right around and feed back into your business.

We offer a FREE, high-quality audit. Contact us to see if our team is a good match for your business’s needs. If you want to learn more or want help, reach out to us today!

Further Reading: Why Maui Businesses Should Invest in Expert SEO Services

Photos Courtesy of Vidi Drone, National Cancer Institute, & Artem Beliaikin

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