#1: Use the Word Secret. There are trade secrets in every industry, but there are no magic tricks in SEO. If your agency is a quality one, they will go out of their way to tell you that there are no secrets when it comes to ranking your page well.
#2: Forget About the Social. Social networking is tough, and there are some companies out there who earn a lot of money working only the social networks day-in and day-out. Then there are others who dont even touch it. Ideal SEO Agencies should be somewhere in-between those two extremes.
#3: Build Links From Nothing. For a site to link back to you (and increase your search relevancy) they need a reason, and good SEO Agencies should help you provide it. Content creation or help with freelance article work ought to be at the top of the list.
#4: Quickly Pushing More Services onto You. Having you pay extra for big projects and web design is one thing, but if you sign up for SEO and realize youre going to have to pay for ten other services on top of it, whats the point? Differentiating between honest, paid help and aggressive sales tactics is fundamental.
#5: Never Be Reachable Outside Business Hours. While SEO is a process involving hard work, and doesnt have to always be to-the-second, theres no reason your SEO company should stick to old-style 9 to 5 hours. Theyre an internet-based business and should take advantage of that fact.
#6: Spam. Especially when it comes to commenting on blogs and posting to forums. For the bad SEO Agencies, this is often their entire social media strategy: post generic text, link back to customers site. Buyer beware, indeed.
#7: Learn Nothing About Your Business. The reason SEO companies are like yesterdays ad agencies is because they are promoting your business online. If they make no effort to learn about your company and do research, and instead sell you a one-size-fits all plan with no customization, move on.
#8: Refuse to Change. This is built into the business plan of the best SEO Agencies. Search algorithms and consumer behavior change constantly. Look at all the new forums of communication that pop up in a single year online. If your company cant keep up with them, get a new one who can.