How To Tell If Your Website Designers Failed You

My team and I have conducted hundreds of website audits for local service businesses. So much so, we’ve even put together examples of the sites we’ve audited, so we can hold website developers and agencies responsible.

And from all this work we’ve come to a simple conclusion:

“SEO people” are clinically bad at their jobs. And just like a doctor performing a surgery without training, it ends in disaster.

If you’re reading this you’re probably not an “SEO” person.

You’re a business that does good work in a select area and have positive reviews.

But you’ve always wanted to get better at this whole “digital marketing” thing.

So what do you do?

You hire someone online to build your website.

They probably sold you some $3k/month package promising to get you more website visits and calls for your service.

Then, what happened?


“Oh this service takes 6 months to start taking effect with SEO!” they claim as they continue extracting money from your bank account like a parasite.

To Be Clear: We’re Not Saying All SEO Agencies Are Scammers

What we’re saying is that most are incompetent. And as a result, fail to drive more visits to your site and calls for your service.

We have a saying called the #1 VA mistake.

The mistake is not properly understanding client goals.

It always starts with the business goal. I help X achieve Y via Z. 

If it’s our job to help local service companies, we must deliver them more quality calls in the area they service from people who need their help.

Let’s take the example of Brandt HVAC.

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Brandt HVAC Website Example

Do I understand heating, air conditioning and fireplaces? I need to understand that.

And then if I know about SEO, I know about ads, I know about Google, then I can help them.

We do this by following SEO Checklists and our website generation standards.

But if I come into this thinking, “I’m a Facebook ads expert and I know exactly what to do at first glance” then it falls apart.

If you have a hammer, everything’s a nail. You think: “They’re in HVAC so they need Facebook ads.”

They may or may not need Facebook ads. The only variable is if that would be the most efficient way to make the phone ring. Most times it isn’t, which is why we recommend starting with LSA and PPC ads.

If I was a doctor and prescribed every patient that visited me adderall before even checking their blood pressure, that would make me liable for damages.

Yet somehow in the agency space, marketing agencies forget this.

On that same site, if you were to scroll to the bottom you’d find a link to the site builders. 

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Parasitic Link Example

This is called a “parasitic link” and a few years ago it used to have some power with SEO. Now it’s garbage.

We show you this just so you can grasp at the insane amount of tell-tale signs there are of bad work.

Following that link we get to the site of the agency who did this work called, “Select On Site”.

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Digital Marketing Agency With 74 DR Score – No Real Backlinks

DR score of 74 is impressive… right?

Let’s look deeper at their keyword rankings.

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Despite a High DR Score, Little Credibility With Google

Their keywords are a mess. Having a DR score of 74 but failing to come within the top 10 of your most searched terms?


Moving over to their referring pages, notice anything interesting?

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That’s right – almost every single reference they have from other websites they included themselves.

Meaning their entire SEO ranking is a result of parasitic links, and therefore, fails to make much of a difference even with an impressive DR score.

Let’s use another example of how they’ve failed at increasing the SEO power of Brandt HVAC.

If you were to right-click on any of the images on their site it’s apparent that it’s all stock art.

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There are thousands of HVAC companies using the exact same image on their home page.

If it wasn’t such a bad practice it would be almost comical. Take their stock art of a heater and cooler for example.

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The Same Cooling Copied to Hundreds of HVAC Websites

If you’re Google and see this, it doesn’t scream confidence does it? That almost every image in your site has been posted to others and nothing is original.

Whenever You’re in Doubt Ask Yourself – “Could a Scammer Recreate This Site?”

If the answer is yes it’s because of a distinct lack of authoritative, real content taken by you or your technicians.

It’s not just us saying this either.

As a result of their site builders unintentional incompetence, they’re ranking on DR score of .20.

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You might as well just advertise to Google. “Yep. We have no trust. We’re just replicating the same thing over and over again.”

Want More Proof?

They’re barely even ranking on their own name for keywords!

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Brandt Air Conditioning Keywords

On top of that, you can check out their referring pages.

These are the pages that are linked to the main site. If a site is well known and has a high DR score, this benefits the website they’re being linked to.

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Whenever it says “301” or “nofollow” this means the links are essentially worthless.

In other words, just like the parasitic link mentioned earlier from their website designers, it carried no weight.

It might seem like these are complicated problems that require massive changes to fix.

Here’s the good news:

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Any new website renovation should follow the example Google has put out called E-E-A-T.

Expertise – Experience – Authority – Trust.

Experience: This refers to the practical knowledge or skill gained from direct involvement in or exposure to events or activities related to home services.

For example, a blog post on a home services website detailing a step-by-step guide to fixing a common plumbing issue, written by a licensed plumber who has been in the field for 20 years, would demonstrate a high level of experience.

Expertise: This is the level of knowledge or skill in a particular area. In the context of home services, expertise could be demonstrated by a website that provides detailed, accurate, and helpful information on various home improvement topics, written by certified professionals or experts in the field.

For instance, an HVAC technician with certifications and years of experience writing articles on how to maintain your heating and cooling systems.

Authoritativeness: This is about the reputation of the website or content creator among peers and the audience in their field.

A home services website could establish authority by featuring testimonials from satisfied customers, endorsements from reputable industry organizations, or by being cited as a source by other authoritative websites in the home improvement niche.

Trustworthiness: This refers to the credibility and reliability of the website and its content. For a home services website, trustworthiness can be demonstrated by providing transparent contact information, clearly stating qualifications and certifications of the service providers, and offering guarantees or warranties for the services provided. 

Additionally, having a secure website (HTTPS) and clear privacy policies can also contribute to trustworthiness.

Everything on your website should be answering these criteria. 

The easiest way to do that is by using real images of your technicians in the field. Have real reviews from real customers.

Let’s use another example of Thermal Spray Depot.

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Thermal Spray Depot Site

You can tell this site is older, but that alone isn’t the problem.

The problem is just like the last website – little demonstration of E-E-A-T.

The good news is that Bob McDemus, the owner of the site, has contacts with the companies whose products he helps sell.

Right now the site is set up to resemble an ecommerce store with the amount of equipment he lists.

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Thermal Spray Depot’s Meny

Let’s use the example of plasma.

When we click on that, what appears is another generic image which if put into Google search – confirms it being stock art.

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Thermal Spray Depot Product Description

Bob mentions himself that he has friends involved in different parts of the construction of these materials.

Why not interview them and put that on his site, instead of hiring a podcaster from Fiverr?

The same applies for you.

What’s stopping you from interviewing clients?

Websites should also utilize Google’s “People Also Ask” (PAA) feature to enhance their website’s SEO by identifying relevant questions that potential customers are asking.

For example, a plumbing service company might find PAA questions like “How to fix a leaky faucet?” or “What are the signs of a blocked drain?” By incorporating these questions into their content strategy, such as creating detailed blog posts or FAQ pages that address these issues, the company can align its content with the needs and interests of its target audience, improving its relevance and visibility in search results.

To increase their chances of appearing in the PAA section, local service companies should focus on creating quality content that directly answers these questions.

Using clear headings, bullet points, and concise language can make the content more reader-friendly and easier for search engines to understand.

For example, a landscaping company might create a blog post titled “5 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Lawn in Summer” that answers common questions related to lawn care, using structured headings for each tip to improve readability and SEO.

Implementing schema markup, such as FAQ, can also help search engines recognize and feature the content in the PAA section.

For instance, an HVAC company could use FAQ schema on a page that answers common questions about air conditioner maintenance. Additionally, regularly monitoring the PAA questions and updating content to stay relevant is essential.

As user queries evolve, so should the content on the website, ensuring that the company remains a go-to source for information in its industry.

Using unique and authentic images can reduce bounce rates and increase engagement, signaling to search engines that the website provides valuable content.

This can lead to better visibility in search results, especially in local searches where relevance and credibility are paramount.

Overall, incorporating real images into a website is a strategic move that can boost a local service business’s online presence and search engine rankings.

In short, prove to Google that you do what you say you do, in the area you say you do it in.

This is groundhog day for us. Everyday we audit local service companies and offer solutions to their SEO woes.

So much in fact, we even have a free training on it you can take on how to audit your site!

Every local service business has different needs but the same end goals – to make the phone ring.

Once you know what to change, you can implement digital plumbing.

If you want us to show you exactly what’s wrong with your site and how to fix it, get your audit here at

Dennis Yu
Dennis Yu
Dennis Yu is co-author of the #1 best-selling book on Amazon in social media, The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads.  He has spent a billion dollars on Facebook ads across his agencies and agencies he advises. Mr. Yu is the "million jobs" guy-- on a mission to create one million jobs via hands-on social media training, partnering with universities and professional organizations.You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel.You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.