Did your organic traffic recently plummet due to black-hat strategies that were implemented by a shady content marketing agency? When the agency reached out to you about their services, did their email look similar to this pitch I received just last week?

Hello Fractl,

We provide only high quality, 100% natural guest posting services to promote the websites of our clients. Google has become extremely ruthless and if you wish to protect your website from the wrath of Google Penguin, you need to strengthen the link profile of your website. And, our guest posting packages are intended to deliver just what the doctor ordered!

We never make use of any private networks or black-hat SEO tactics, and believe in only adopting the natural approach. And, that's why our guest posting service is completely Penguin-proof. We place the link of the client's website in the author bio section so that their online business gets authority back-links, brand exposure, as well as referral traffic!

Every week I receive dozens of pitches from agencies promising to improve my Google rankings through shady link-building tactics, including author bio links, keyword-stuffed content, footer links, hidden links, over-optimized anchor text, and dozens of black-hat strategies.

Fortunately, white-hat SEO is what Fractl specializes in, so these gimmicky emails are easy for me to spot. Unfortunately many startups and business professionals are unfamiliar with SEO landscape and fall victim to these pitches.

So, we developed a content marketing agency evaluation checklist to help you, and we've broken down the four warning signs that you're dealing with a shady content marketing agency: