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Mike Isaac

Catfish: Is Your SEO Agency Who They Say They Are?

Mike Isaac
Catfish: Is Your SEO Agency Who They Say They Are?

If you are a company who has contemplated outsourcing your Internet marketing efforts, you have most likely been approached by multiple agencies to work with them. You could have very well have had some sort of dialogue with one of these agencies and had trouble committing because you do not know enough about them.

It is basically like starting a relationship with someone online but you can’t commit because you have never met them before or even know if they're real. This is very relatable to the Internet marketing industry and SEMrush can help you figure out if you have a true match with an agency or if you have fallen victim to the work of a catfish.

Depending on what service you are looking to outsource, some agencies have told you that they specialize in that service or that they are experts in the field. But does their agency reflect that?

Sure, you can do a Google search on the agency to see what other people have said or see if any reviews have been posted. However, one thing to keep in mind is if this company is telling you they specialize in, for example, getting your website ready for search, shouldn’t their own website reflect that?


Well, we can find out exactly where these agencies stand within SEMrush. To find out this information, we will want to create a new project. This will then ask us to set a Project Domain and a Project Name. Once you add this information, you can then set up a Site Audit project. This will allow you to see the errors, warnings and notices SEMrush finds with the website within your project.

Take a hard look at this report and see what you find. What are they showing up for? Take a look at their overall health score. This will be shown to the left of your screen on the Overview page.

When we look at if a website is a quality site or not, it is important to look at this metric. You should try to interpret this percentage metric the same way you would for grading in academic systems:

90-100%: A

89-80%: B

79-70%: C

69-60%: D

59-0%: F

How did the agency perform? Did this give you a little bit better of an idea of where this agency stands on your list? You don’t want to work with an agency that promises you results when they score an F in your Site Audit project. This does not provide you with enough assurance. That is why it is important to know who you are “getting in bed with” before making any decision.

Just like with other websites, using the backlinks reports can also assist you with determining the validity of a website. If these websites have highly authoritative links coming to them, this could support the validity of their business. By navigating to the backlinks report, you can view all of the pages linking to this domain.

The metric you will want to focus on here is the Page Score. This will tell you on a scale from 0-100 how authoritative the listed page actually is. You can then go through this list of backlinks for this agency and see how authoritative their backlinks are. If these backlinks are relatively low, we can then determine that they may not be as prestigious as they may appear.


Once you have gathered the research on your agency, you may have come up with a few questions you would like to ask them. There is never any harm in asking them for clarification on their practices as a result of the research you have found. With all of this newfound data, you can now properly asses your potential agency choices and make the smartest decision for your business.

By taking necessary precautions you are setting yourself up for success. Make sure that you compile the necessary research so that you don’t fall victim to an SEO “catfish.”

Have you used SEMrush for a similar reason? Is there another report within SEMrush you have used to find the same type of information? Let us know in the comments!

If you still have questions about any of this information, please feel free to reach out to our Customer Success Team at: (855) 814-4510 or by email at mail@semrush.com. You can also contact us on Twitter by using the #semrushcare hashtag.

Mike Isaac is the Customer Success Content Manager at SEMrush. He has been working at SEMrush for over a year and is constantly pushing out new content to keep users engaged. Feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.

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