In our previous blog about “is my SEO working” we explored some of the reasons you would want to fundamentally call it quits and an overview of good indicators that support your decision. From strictly an SEO standpoint, you could argue that traffic, impressions, and rankings are quality indicators of progress, which are most likely needed before you even get leads.  Should none of these factors be trending upwards, it is safe to say your SEO simply isn’t adequate.

If you want to end your relationship with that company and either give it a go yourself, delegate to an employee, or work with another agency, you have to make the transition smooth and receive the many different logins/passwords that they created on your behalf during your relationship. You could say this is going to be one of the first times you’ll find out if the SEO agency has any intent other than a civil and respectful conclusion of their services.

A general list, or perhaps checklist, of info you should get from your SEO company post-relationship (assuming they set up absolutely everything for you online):

  • wordpress login screenAccess to social media platforms
  • Access to the files of your website (hopefully zipped up and sent to you as well)
  • Login for the website hosting (they may be hosting you – should not pay a ridiculous amount like 150/yr to host afterwards)
  • Login for the domain registrant (keep in mind domain names are roughly 10 dollars a year)
  • Login for the website itself (if it is a WordPress or some other CMS, the login to get into the backend)
  • Login for Google Analytics or at least granted access
  • Login for Google Search Console or at least granted access

These are the basic items that an SEO should be required to present to you – some of these may be suspended if you have a specific arrangement such as renting your website/domain name or your website was hosted from another vendor in the first place. If the agency is giving you a hard time about handing you the files for a website you purchased, or your Twitter all of the sudden is locked out and passwords are changed, I wouldn’t lose my cool yet but I would completely understand the notion of malicious intent if there wasn’t anything contractually outlined concerning these key points.  Other items to look out for that should be back in your possession:

  • Logins for any directories they set up on your behalf (YP, Yelp etc.)
  • Google My Business login if they set you up on Google Maps
  • Access to YouTube channel if you had one for business
  • Emails for vendor reps/account managers they were communicating with on your behalf

Again, if all of a sudden you aren’t on directories you were on before, that’s something to question. Most companies will move on it (should you call them out). Others will argue it was never there to begin with. Documenting their work will likely help you in different ways later on.

All of these items are components to making the most out of your website and your online efforts.  They are also superficial, meaning it is easy to tell they are missing from the surface. You’ll know if your Facebook followers dropped by 40%, if your maps listing was deindexed, or your Yelp page with 12 5-star reviews was deleted.  Presenting this data to an SEO agency will typically result in the reversal of their harmful tactics, or urgency to move when proposed with negative reviews on important sites like Yelp, Google+, YP, or even the BBB.

The point of this blog is not to instill the idea that ending a relationship with an SEO company is going to result in any one of these things happening at all – in fact, by far the majority of relationships end on good terms.  It is more to educate business owners that there is a meaningful level of closure to the relationship – you should be in control of your website and important digital assets afterwards. It is your right to have the logins, passwords, and access to everything mentioned before.  Any reason to have no or limited permission is likely not a good reason.  So now that we know the scenarios where something can be deemed harmful or malicious on the front-end, how do we know if the SEO agency took it another step and sabotaged or undid work on the back-end?  We’ll explore this in the next blog.

If you are thinking of parting ways with your current SEO company, consider hiring the experts at Market My Market. We have years of experience helping a variety of clients advance their SEO success. We are eager to aid you in enhancing your digital presence to increase conversions. Contact our team at (800) 954-9441 for a free quote.