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And the partner is not real! How agencies cheat ratings and clients

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From year to year, Internet promotion (and, in particular, SEO) is being treated more and more cautiously, in some professional chats the questions even slip: “Is SEO still alive? Are there still buying links? I’ve heard that PPC advertising is terribly expensive. ” In fact, everyone wants to promote their website, and the higher in the TOP, the better. However, few people know how to do it correctly and not “run into” an unscrupulous agency. Who’s guilty?

Partly – the agencies themselves. Or rather, that part of them that takes money and does nothing simply because the client cannot control the result of the work, and he sees the process of website promotion as dancing with a tambourine and regular monthly fees.

When choosing a contractor, companies increasingly refer to thematic ratings and look at the number of specified statuses on agency websites. Because it is much easier to choose from the “best” (which someone has already appreciated and selected before you). But even here a catch can await you: even the places in the official ratings and status icons on the site do not yet mean that you are professionals. Although some agencies are pretty professional wishful thinking. Want to know how?

They just lie that they are a certified agency

The simplest, stupid, but, unfortunately, a common way of cheating is to write on your website “We are a certified agency Yandex. Direct and Google AdWords” and post allegedly confirming jpegs with logos.

The specified status is checked for one or two times. It is enough to drive the name of the agency into the search for certified partners:

On Google: https://www.google.com/partners/#a_home

For the sake of interest, you can check our certificates on the links above, they are real:

Cheating ratings

Remember that one of the conditions for obtaining the status of a certified agency is a certain number of employees with certificates in the state? The same condition exists in various third-party ratings, according to which companies often select contractors for themselves. And in order to climb one line higher in these same ratings, agencies create accounts for everyone in a row – secretary, manager, cleaner. It seems that there are a certificate and a person, but does this show status and experience? We saw agencies that have 7 employees and 25 certified specialists. And it still works!

Of course, the number of people with passed tests in the agency’s staff is far from the only and main indicator with which you can get the status of a partner. But with other criteria, it is much more difficult to get around the system.

For example, an agency will not be able to lie about business intelligence indicators, which are made up of the number of customers, amounts spent, CTR, and others, from the analytics of the use of advertising methods, advertising strategies.

They cheat ready-made answers to get a certificate

Yes, just like in school, when you mechanically copy homework from your GDZ book. It seems that everything turns outright, but when you are called to the board …

To obtain certification, an agency must fulfill a number of conditions that are openly indicated by both Yandex and Google: the number of customers, turnover, the number of certified employees, and other criteria. Using this method, the agency can easily increase the number of certified professionals in the state and obtain a valid certificate that does not show or prove anything.

How does this happen? It’s simple: the answers to the tests have already been posted somewhere on the Internet, they just need to be found (or bought) and inserted into the required fields, and … the fake certified employee is ready!

Use a “figurehead”

Diplomas, term papers, tests, certification in Yandex … And for the completely lazy there is a way with a dummy: agencies pay money, give their login and password to a person who knows and can do everything, and he does the test for a specialist. Another fake certificate is ready!

Whom to believe and what to do next?

Trust only the official lists of certified partners Yandex and Google. If the agency is there, then this at least suggests that the advertising campaigns launched by it have good statistics, that the agency has a sufficient number of clients (30 for Moscow and St. Petersburg, 20 for the regions), and that these clients have advertising budgets. and they are wasted. Note, however, that this list is updated every quarter.

And why do you need the status of a certified partner/agency?

Status is status. And he is needed in order to confirm his knowledge and experience. In addition, the certificate is at least some kind of guarantee from Yandex or Google that the agency exists and works stably, that it does not have two clients (close acquaintances of the directors), and that clients pay for promotion, which means that the agency’s advertising works.

But in general, we would recommend paying attention not only to the presence of the contractor of your choice in the official lists but also to his own website or other sites where cases are posted – real stories of the agency’s customer promotion. Even without names or without exact numbers (often it is under the NDA), but written in such a way that it will become clear to you what specific work was carried out and what it led to.

Also, listen to the manager from the agency: does he speak clearly? Does it answer your questions? Does he understand advertising and can he offer adequate ways to solve your tasks? If so, this is already a good application for productive cooperation.

Good performance and honest contractors!

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