pumpkins with a trick or treat sign in front

Trick or Treat: Which Are You Getting From Your Marketing Agency?

Trick or Treat! But no feet smelling here. Instead, we’ll teach you how to sniff out a quality content marketing agency from a Shadency. That’s right. Some marketing agencies are shady, and they don’t actually want to help your business. They want your bucket of Halloween candy. Wait! No. They just want your money. And that’s even worse! Take a peek at the spooky differences between marketing tricks and treats.

Tricks vs. Treats

When you know how to decipher the good from the bad, you’re less likely to rely on untrustworthy “marketing” companies, and you can protect your business. Working with a shadency is a lot like letting The Sanderson Sisters turn your business into a black cat. It won’t do you much good.

Trick: Guaranteeing SEO Results in a Certain Timeframe

A Shadency promises things that are too good to be true. If an agency promises increased visibility in record time — they’re a shadency. SEO is not predictable enough to ensure improvement within days, weeks, or even months. Grandiose promises are a bad sign. Run!

Treat: Knowing SEO Works When Done Correctly

A great agency will care more about doing things the right way, not the fast way. Speed is not the goal. Increased organic traffic is. Good things really do take time! Organic search tactics are simple, ethical, and the safest route for your business.

Trick: They Don’t Ask You for Anything

If a marketing agency asks for your credit card information and a green light from you, that’s not enough. They simply don’t have what they need to help you. Red flag! Real agencies ask for a lot of information pertaining to your business goals, audience, and current SEO strategy. If they don’t ask these kinds of questions, don’t let them near your business! Shadency alert!

Treat: They Involve You in the Process

Your business is your business. A genuine agency that wants to help will involve you in every part of the process. They will need information about what you want to accomplish, target keywords, your closest competitors, and your social media accounts. You shouldn’t be left out of the improvement process. Secretive behavior is suspicious.

Trick: They Talk Above You

A shadency will make it seem like what they’re doing for your business is some kind of magic or sorcery. Since SEO is already intimidating to many people, it’s easy for them to convince you that they know what they’re doing. A few well-placed buzzwords can go a long way (ask us about content siloes sometime–that’s a funny story!). 

But if they can’t explain it to you in a way that you understand, they probably don’t know what they’re doing.

Treat: They Educate You

An agency that’s a real partner will explain exactly what they’re doing for your business and what results they want. They don’t keep secrets or pretend they’re working voodoo magic. They teach you as they implement strategies for your business.


Trick: They Plagiarize Content

Plagiarizing content is “A bunch of hocus pocus!” It’s also lazy and disrespectful. Plagiarism is a tell-tale sign that your shadency isn’t actually interested in helping your business. Your content is valuable, not dismissable. Double-check that the words they’ve written for your content are original, not used repeatedly, and related to what your business offers.

Treat: They Create Relevant, Original Content

Your SEO company should create content that is valuable to SEO and your site visitors. Content is for people first, bots second. Your customers can tell when content isn’t meant for them because it doesn’t meet their needs. Don’t allow a shadency to embarrass you by just slapping some words on a page. You want your content to be unique and specific to your audience.

Trick: They Won’t Give You Admin Access

Holding your site hostage is never good for your business. There’s no reason for you not to have proper access to the things you own. After all, they’re supposed to help your business, not own it. If you feel scary vibes about access to your content, tap into your inner wizard and abracadabra yourself far away from those folks!

Treat: They Understand that You Own Your Site

Trustworthy agencies understand that you should always be able to see and edit your own site. Not that you’ll get into your accounts and mess around, but you should own them. There are no secrets or hidden passwords with a legitimate company. You hire them to help bring your goals to fruition, not control aspects of your business. It’s a business relationship that should be equally positive and helpful.

Trick: They Won’t Show You Your Data 

If your SEO agency is hiding your data, likely, they’re not tracking or improving things as they should. Shadencies love to mask their promises with urgency and care. Underneath the mask, they’re just money-grabbing monsters or incompetent. Data is proof of results. If they can’t prove any results or explain the progress, they’re not actively working on helping your brand. 

Treat: They Openly Share Your Data

Sharing data with you means your SEO company is doing work that delivers real results. They’re making data-based decisions that are meant to actually improve your SEO. When you ask about the status of your rankings, they give you straightforward answers. They don’t beat around the bush, and they offer solutions for any problems you have. They should willingly and proudly share the magic they’re creating for your business!

Ultimately, if you aren’t the owner of you analytics property, this is the worst trick and offense! They are using your data, not the other way around. 

What to Do If You’re Being Tricked

The most terrifying parts of being tricked by a shadency are calling them out and potentially firing the shadency. But it’s necessary for your success and peace of mind. So, what do you do? Take a deep breath, understand that we all trust the wrong people sometimes, and move forward. They took advantage of you. Not the other way around.

If you’re working with a shadency:

  • Have a Difficult Conversation. Think of firing your shadency as a breakup with a terrible ex. The relationship was a learning period when you discovered what you don’t want. They failed you, you took up for yourself, and you left the rest up to the gruesome witch we call “karma.” It’s morbid but true.
  • Gather All the Access and Data You Can. Try to change passwords, remake accounts, or do whatever you can to claim your data. Take back what’s rightfully yours. Don’t leave it in their hands.
  • Find an Agency That Respects You. Say a hearty “good riddance” to the bloodsuckers that are shadencies. You deserve to partner with a company that shares their favorite candy instead of stealing all of yours. Trust your candy-filled gut. It’s usually able to separate the Caspers and Ghostfaces of the world. 

Toil and Trouble

It’s haunting and daunting to navigate the best marketing agency for your business. But you don’t have to do it alone! Content Journey wants to help you avoid shadencies and find a caring and consistent agency. If you’re wrapped in the tangled web of a shadency, we can help you too! Knowledge is power, so send your shadency away on their broomsticks and download our Shadency e-book. You will learn how to avoid and correct the effects of shadencies in your business.

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