Have you hired an SEO specialist to optimize your website for search engines? If so, one primary question you need to ask yourself is if the person or agency you hired is sending regular reports that show the work that they have done. Whether that is on-site or off-site optimization, transparency in SEO is one of the most important aspects of the Internet marketing field of work.  

Beware of Red Flags

The first step of hiring anyone to do work for you is for them to fully explain the scope of work they can offer. There are several red flags to notice when an SEO is explaining the work that they do. At any point in the conversation they promise to get your website to the first page of Google, RUN. As mentioned in Jake Bohall’s article about Avoiding Scams in SEO, he goes over several red flags such as a promise of #1 (or first page) rankings in Google. Other red flags to be on the look-out include cheap SEO services, showing off lists of past clients, and saying that they have an “in” at Google.


SEO isn’t rocket science, nor is it snake oil. Transparency in SEO is important if you want results, but it is also important if you want to keep traffic from Google. Many SEO service providers tout that you can pay them $100 and get your website listed in thousands of places. Regardless of what they tell you, obtaining that many links in a short amount of time can land you with a penalty from Google, resulting in very low rankings and traffic. Avoiding red flags is the first step, but you also want to choose a reputable company or freelancer that will provide detailed reports, either weekly or monthly.

Building Trust via Reports

Trust is the foundation from which any relationship is built. To bolster trust,  monthly reports are a must-have in an SEO-client relationship. Whether you have hired an agency to implement technical SEO fixes, off-site optimization, or something else entirely, you want to receive reports of the work that is being done. The last thing any business wants is a rogue SEO company doing low-cost work that can lead them to the penalty box. If you do happen to land in the penalty box, these monthly reports will serve well in showing Google the type of work that was done, and is an easier way to get out of the aforementioned penalty.

Reports can be gathered in a variety of ways, such as organic visitor statistics and keyword reports from Google Analytics. Here is a guide by Google about Analysis Techniques for Google Organic Search and SEO. Detailed, written reports of the on-site work that is performed is also a viable method by which to receive reports. Whatever method is preferable, communicate that to your SEO, and make sure they report to you in such a way that you can understand. If there is a lack of understanding, you may want to seek out education on the subject. Hiring an SEO based upon a sales pitch is not the best method by which to choose a SEO. Become educated in their subject matter so you can better interpret and understand the work that they do.

Become Educated in SEO There are tons of free resources available such as webinars, written guides, and other forms of media to study which will bring you up-to-speed with the various ways to interpret the work that SEOs perform. Transparency in SEO can start with a basic understanding of SEO in and of itself. Without that knowledge, many reports can look like a foreign language to the uninitiated. Moz has one of the best guides out there for beginners in SEO, check it out if you have not already done so!

If you cannot get your current SEO to provide any reports, explanations, or reasoning behind the work that they do, hire someone who can! Buying cheap SEO services will provide you with cheap results. SEO is not as easy as it once was, and you need to invest money in doing it right the first time, rather than going back and having to do it over and over again. Here at Hive Digital, we pride ourselves in being transparent and forth-coming with our work, as well as providing the highest quality services. Search ethics is making a steady comeback in this industry, but there are still many companies and freelancers out there than are morally compromised. Choose the right company when seeking SEO services, one that is moral, ethical, and most important of all, transparent. Review our Search Ethics standards, as any and all companies should be help accountable for the work that they do.

Questions can be addressed below in the comments section, or you can find me on Twitter: @Tripp_Hamilton