When you're thrilled with the results your SEO program generates, you might not ask many questions about how it's done—and let potentially problematic practices go undetected until it's too late. "Companies may not realize [when] employees may be taking shortcuts," writes Douglas Karr at the Marketing Tech blog. "And companies who invest in SEO consultants or agencies may be totally ignorant of how the consultant is getting them the ranking they need."

How can you make sure your search optimization is pure and clean? It's easy to find SEO cheaters, Karr argues, by taking a few simple steps. Among them:

Take note if an employee or consultant never asks for adjustments to your site or content. Any above-board SEO expert will want to regularly tweak all of your content as the search engine landscape continues to evolve. An optimizer who never makes such requests might be boosting short-term rankings with blackhat or otherwise shady techniques like paid backlinking from other domains.

Approve your content—and where it's being submitted. "Don’t allow your content to be published on sites that are not relevant, [are] full of ads and other backlinks, or [are] generally low quality," he advises.

Karr offers this advice for dealing with optimizers who cheat:

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