Any business owner worth their salt knows that an effective, or ineffective online advertising campaign, can make or break their company's bottom line profit.
What they might fail to recognise however, are the red flags associated with digital agencies that are more concerned with making sales rather than delivering ethical outcomes.
Noam Judah, founder of SEO Agency TopRankings and Web Design Agency Digital Rescue, sees it all too often - website design agencies and SEO agencies who are less concerned about properly improving a client's website and more focused on their own immediate revenue.
He says many digital agencies fail to act with integrity by asking their clients important screening questions like 'does your website already have organic rankings to protect?' or 'are you redesigning your website with any future online marketing goals in mind?'.
"Many businesses are already ranked organically on Google and some digital agencies often pitch new design concepts, but in the planning and execution, strip away all of that previous valuable content and metadata that Google has previously indexed them for," he explains.
According to Judah, agencies can also be too eager to sign on clients for an ongoing SEO campaign before checking the website's crucial functions, like whether it is mobile friendly. Often, sales executives are driven by pressing monthly sales KPI targets to achieve, which comes at the expense of what is in the best interest of the client.
"Even with all the traffic in the world, if you don't have a mobile friendly site, you are leaking at the bottom end of the bucket no matter how much you are pouring in the top," he says.
"A lot of agencies are very quick to sign on any client, unrealistically guaranteeing them results in 90 days, even though the client's website isn't mobile friendly.
"To me, that is both bizarre and unethical."
Judah's Digital Rescue is all about bringing integrity back into the world of digital marketing and SEO.
Digital Rescue only signs on web redesign clients once their past online activity, current organic Google rankings and future marketing goals have been thoroughly assessed.
"We carefully screen and that is part of the ethical stance we take," says Judah.
"We have that crucial discussion with clients based on where their business is today, who their key industry competitors are, and importantly, an outline of the vision of where their business seeks to be in the near future."
Among Digital Rescue's satisfied clients is Debitsuccess, one of Australasia's largest direct debit billing providers which works on behalf of companies including Goodlife, World Gym, Village Roadshow and Anytime Fitness.
Debit Success wanted a redesign of its historic website, which already had significant organic rankings to protect as part of the redesign.
"When they came to Digital Rescue, we had to protect them on the phrase 'direct debit' because that was among their top referring keyword that attracted the most traffic," says Judah.
"We took them through our 5 step web design process process to ensure that they enhanced their visual reputation, their messaging and their USPs through a brand new website, but they were also protected in the rankings against their competition to ensure their business continued to thrive."
When business owners are searching for a digital agency or web design agency, Judah encourages them to have a thorough conversation and ensure two key things.
First, that their website is properly configured before buying into an SEO campaign and second, their organic rankings will be safeguarded during the planning, build and post the 'go live' date of their redesigned website.
Top 5 Critical Questions to consider ahead of a Website Redesign
CMS: Proprietary or Open Source Content Management System: Will your web agency be designing your new site in WordPress which grants you full ownership, control & management over all content changes, without exorbitant website support fees? Wordpress is critical as many other proprietary CMS's have SEO task and access limitations.
Reach: Is your website currently attracting the maximum number of qualified prospective customers, each at varying stages of their buying process and through a wide range of buyer intent search phrases?
Persuasion: Does your website imagery and content accurately reflect and communicate your company's brand position and unique selling propositions against your direct competitors?
Conversions: Is your website utilising industry-leading practices to convert visitors into enquiring and buying customers?
SEO Migration Plan: Does your web agency have the critical in-depth knowledge and skills to jointly plan and deliver on an SEO Migration process, to protect your current rankings and business leads coming from Google?