Signs If Your SEO Provider Is Actually Harming Your Website

SEO is a complex and time-consuming journey. Many businesses work with professionals to stay away from the hustle. However, the reality is that not all SEO providers are created equal.

While a reputable SEO expert can work wonders for your website’s visibility and organic traffic, a less scrupulous provider can end up causing more harm than good.

As SEO remains crucial for your website, we’ll help you break down some signs where your SEO provider might actually harm your website’s prospects in the digital platform.

Unclear SEO Strategy

A clear and well-defined SEO strategy is the backbone of a successful SEO campaign. The first red flag of an untrusted SEO provider is that they lack transparency in their analysis and the strategies they aim for.

You should know what they are doing, why they are doing it, and how it fits into your broader business objectives. If your SEO provider doesn’t regularly update you on their progress, discuss their plans, or address your concerns, it’s a sign for you to be suspicious.

Moreover, you should receive the progress report regularly. If the reports are too generic or unclear and don’t show the impact of their work, you won’t be able to gauge the effectiveness of their strategy. Your SEO provider should establish clear and measurable goals.

Declining Organic Traffic Overtime

SEO aims to enhance your website’s effectiveness in search results and increase organic traffic over time. However, if you notice a gradual decline in organic traffic, it can be a sign that your SEO provider’s efforts are not yielding positive results.

Google updates its algorithms regularly. You may think that the change in algorithms affects your website’s rankings. While it can be partly true, a skilled SEO provider should adapt to these changes and find new ways to maintain or improve your organic traffic.

Moreover, your SEO provider should encourage you to produce in-depth and optimized content. For example, if your business is a voiceover agency, you may produce content related to the industry and market.

If your provider doesn’t encourage you to craft high-quality, relevant, and engaging content, it can lead to a drop in traffic. They should also be proactive in adjusting strategies to remain competitive.

Sudden Drop in Rankings

Although you work with an SEO provider or hire an expert like Erik Emanueli, you still need to monitor your website performance regularly. If you notice a sudden, significant drop in page rankings, it can be a cause for concern.

A sudden drop can indicate harmful SEO practices or violations of search engine guidelines. The worst result of this is getting penalties. Search engines penalize websites that violate their policies, resulting in a sharp drop in rankings.

Some causes of getting penalties include keyword stuffing, link farming, and cloaking. Another case is your website might be targeted by negative SEO attacks, where competitors or malicious actors attempt to harm your rankings.

Inadequate Content Quality

High-quality content is the bloodstream of an effective website. Consider creating content like in-depth blog posts, infographics, and book reviews, or hire Explainerd to create animated videos for you, to educate and show your expertise.

Producing subpar content can adversely affect your website’s performance and cause a poor user experience. So, ensure your content is well-researched and informative to readers to build authority in your industry and encourage engagement.

Moreover, optimizing your pages impacts your ability to convert visitors into customers. Valuable and engaging content can drive conversions, while subpar content can hinder this process. So, work closely with your SEO provider to ensure this matter.

Backlinks have a crucial role in defining your website’s online presence. You can think of backlinks as “votes” from other websites relevant to your niche or page topics. However, irrelevant or low-quality backlinks can harm your website in several ways.

For instance, link building with irrelevant backlinks from unrelated or spammy websites can damage your site’s credibility and reputation. So, check your backlinks and avoid getting backlinks from low-quality and untrusted websites.

Some SEO providers perform black hat techniques to acquire backlinks. The most common practices are link farming and paid link schemes. In turn, these practices can result in search engine penalties.

Overuse of Keywords

SEO is mainly about keywords. But, overusing keywords in your content can lead to keyword stuffing, which is a frowned-upon practice. Google, as the giant search engine, has encouraged content creators to produce natural content for readers.

Keyword stuffing results in content that sounds unnatural and spammy, providing a poor user experience and high bounce rates. Users and search engines prefer content written for humans, not just search engines.

Moreover, overemphasis on keywords can detract from the overall quality of your content. It may make your content less informative and engaging. Ensure that your SEO provider focuses on natural and user-friendly content that incorporates keywords seamlessly.

Frequent Algorithm Penalties

The most common results of search engine penalties are ranking drops and declining organic traffic. You can imagine it as your website vanishes from search engines, no matter what keywords you input to search it.

There are several types of algorithm penalties caused by black hat SEO practices. Here are brief explanations of penalties you should be aware of:

  • Panda Penalty: Targets websites with low-quality or duplicate content, leading to a significant drop in rankings.
  • Penguin Penalty: Focuses on link quality and penalizes sites with spammy or unnatural backlink profiles, resulting in a ranking drop.
  • Fred Penalty: Targets aggressive monetization and low-quality content. It can result in a loss of organic traffic.
  • Mobilegeddon Penalty: Websites without mobile optimization may receive penalties in mobile rankings.

When you notice a drop in page rankings or declining organic traffic, you should check your content and backlinks. Ensure you address these issues immediately to rebuild your SEO strategy.


Even though you work with an SEO provider, it doesn’t mean you should completely hand over the reins. Continuously monitor progress throughout the collaboration and check if you’re witnessing improvements in your website’s performance.

If the points mentioned above persist over the long term, it may be a sign that you should terminate your partnership with your SEO provider. Make sure you work with the right professionals so your money isn’t wasted in vain.

You can also invest in robust SEO tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush. They have plenty of useful features to help you conduct keyword research and optimize your content. With data-driven reports, you can act more accurately in building an SEO strategy and improve your website performance.

About the Author

Andre Oentoro is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award-winning explainer video company. He helps businesses increase conversion rates, close more sales, and get positive ROI from explainer videos (in that order).

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