(Ping! Zine Web Hosting Magazine) – Hiring a good SEO is tough especially if you don’t know what to look for. Since we live in an age where people can type anything they want and post it on the internet; we have to be extra careful on who we choose to handle our SEO for our online business. Choosing the wrong SEO can easily empty your bank account and cause you lots of headaches in the coming years. In this article I will be discussing some red flags you should carefully consider before hiring any company, what a good SEO will focus on, and some common problems you might see which indicate you need to hire someone else to work with.
Red Flags Of A Fake SEO?
Upon hiring anyone to do SEO work for you, you should pay attention to these red flags. To hire the correct person for the job doesn’t necessarily mean you need to know the ends and outs of SEO, but you should be able to decide if your spending your marketing money wisely. These red flags can show you why you might not want to hire someone for your search engine optimization needs. Furthermore, if you have hired a company and you see any of these flags you might want to consider taking your business elsewhere.
- First page guarantees. These are one thing a lot of SEO’s will try to promise you. They can work on building links to your site and promise that you’ll be on the first page of Google within 6-8 months. However, what they don’t tell you is the keywords you’ll be targeting won’t actually pull in any substantial amount of visitors. Also, just because you’re on the first page of Google doesn’t mean your going to get lots of traffic. It’s the number 1-3 spots that get the most clicks. So, being number 10 on Google doesn’t really generate any noticeable traffic gains. However, since their fine print stated that they would get you on the first page of Google they did what they said they would, but in reality you’re not going to see any ROI.
- Testimonials. A lot of people actually frown on testimonials because a lot of times they’re made up or paid. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) is actually starting to crack down on testimonials by regulating “fake” testimonials which are written to mislead potential prospects. This is actually illegal and if you notice a SEO doing this you might ask to contact some of the people that wrote their testimonials to check to make sure they’re valid. Just because a SEO company has testimonials doesn’t mean they know their SEO. It would be highly advisable to get a reference from a business that has hired a SEO to help them achieve search engine traffic, rather than going with a company solely based on testimonials.
- Time frame. Be aware of unrealistic time frames. If a company or SEO states they can get your site ranked on Google in a matter of days or weeks chances are they don’t have your best interest in mind. SEO takes time and you’re not going to get instant results from any legitimate SEO work. Chances are if you see promises for “fast results” they are utilizing some blackhat tactics, which will only allow your site to be boosted up in Google for a small duration of time. Google is very good at finding out about those sites that try to “game” their search engine algorithm. When they do find out about it your website will be penalized, and in many cases this can mean you need to start over or even deal with legal reprocussions.
A Good SEO Will Focus On?
A good SEO is competent and doesn’t focus on working with as many clients as possible. A lot of companies will make the mistake of taking on client after client without making sure their current clients are happy with their work. SEO is a vital skill that needs to be done correctly.
- Quality. A good SEO will always focus on building editorial links from trusted authority websites. Several authority backlinks can easily beat tons of low value links. It’s not just about the number of backlinks you have link to your site; it’s all about quality. They’ll take the time to contact webmasters, mix up your link diversity, and built links in a steady and slow velocity. Any link that looks like it could be seen as a “paid link” or from a dodgy site will be ignored. They’ll have the experience to spot low value links, link farms, bad neighborhoods, etc. They won’t build any backlinks to your website using automated programs, link exchanges, or from sites that are deindexed from Google.
- Link Structure. Google is actually leaning towards less SEO and better internal linking structures. They need to have a clear understanding of both internal and external linking structures. For instance, Wikipedia is a site that all experienced SEO’s have learned to mimic. Let’s say you run a eCommerce site that sells shoes; a good SEO will know how to evaluate what your competitors are doing, and do it slightly better without sticking out like a sore thumb. They’ll be able to tell you what anchored text you should mix up, so you don’t get slapped for the dreaded over optimization penalty that Penguin rolled out over a year and a half ago.
- Careful Planning. Your SEO will be well organized and be able to put together a realistic plan with a timeframe, in which you can expect to see results. If your budget only allows you 15k dollars and your targeting keywords that would cost you 50K to get into the game your SEO should be able to target less competitive keywords in order to build up momentum. Obviously, if you’re targeting keywords that get hundreds of thousands of daily searches that are highly competitive; you can’t expect to get any ROI for years. Evaluating what others are doing in your niche and focusing on content marketing strategies, quality content, link bait, etc. will be implemented and executed by a knowledgeable SEO.
Been Working With A SEO Company – Should You Continue?
Obviously, you as a business owner should be able to make the decision to work with someone with your online business or find someone else. However, a lot of owners don’t know how to really evaluate if their SEO is really worth the money. Is your SEO providing you with monthly reports showing you exactly what was done? When you login to your GWT (Google Webmaster Tools) are you seeing a steady influx of impressions each month? If the answer is no to the above questions than you might want to consider firing your SEO. They should be able to provide you reports that show the search engines are crawling your site more frequently, and after a couple months you should see signs of movement in the search engines.
Indications That Your SEO Sucks?
- Unnatural Link Building. This is one of the most common things novice SEO’s will do to get you in hot water with Google. For instance, if you login to your GMT and see a substantial amount of “sitewide” links pointing to your site this means that your SEO is just buying links. Also, since Penguin was rolled out your anchored text could trigger this unnatural link building message. Google has announced that these messages are algorithmic, but within 2 weeks if you see a massive drop in traffic your site has been penalized. 60-70% of your links should be your links url or brand because this is the way that real links would be obtained. If your trying to rank for a number of keywords and 60-70% of your anchors are the exact phrase your trying to rank for, this tells Google that you’re building links artificially.
- Constantly Blaming Algorithms. Google is always improving their algorithm so that people can find the best content. If Google wasn’t always making adjustments to provide the user with the best results we would have no reason to use their search engine. Experienced SEO’s don’t really sweat these changes because they know they’re doing SEO ethically. In fact, a good SEO will look forward to the algorithmic updates because sites that are trying to “game” Google will be kicked out of the top searches.
- Lack of Communication. A huge part in business is communication. Without communication it makes it very tough to conduct business online. If your SEO doesn’t answer emails or return your phone calls you might want to look elsewhere. The big problem with a lot of SEO agencies is they employ a number of different people so you want to make sure you’re talking to the same person each time. For instance, a phone receptionist wouldn’t have the same technical know-how that your link building engineer would have. Your SEO needs to tell you what they are doing in order to improve your sites rankings in Google. All to commonly, people fail to communicate which decreases the customers loyalty. Getting in contact with your company shouldn’t feel like work and it’s very important that you can contact them within reason.
Fixing Potential Problems
Let’s say your site has been hit with a penalty or a issue that is causing Google to can your rankings. Good SEO companies have all kinds of tools at their disposal that can check your site for over optimization, bad links, 404 errors, errors in coding, or any other issue Google would see as problematic. For example, there is an issue that SEO’s have to deal with constantly, and that is fixing other SEO’s work. A company that can quickly identify what’s wrong with your site is very valuable. A lot of SEO’s are making a small fortune from using a simple tool put out by Google, called the disavow tool. This is a tool which you can use upload a text document to Google that will tell them to ignore the links from sites that could be problematic.
If your SEO fails to give you some explanation on why your suddenly taking a nose dive in Google it would be wise to start searching elsewhere for a new company.
Lastly, once you have a clear understanding of what to look out for, and how a good company should conduct business you’ll be able to make an educated decision about continuing to work with them. There are an absolute ton of SEO companies floating around on the internet, but the problem is a lot of them are just in it to make a lot of money and then pack up and change their name when Google catches on to what they’re doing. Once SEO work is done it should last and if you slip down a little they should be able to help you jump back up. Do your homework and don’t leave all your online presence in the hands of a SEO company. You always have options when working with SEO companies and should be free to seek out others if you don’t feel they’re a good fit for your company. SEO work shouldn’t evolve switching up your strategies after every Google update. You should have a number of failsafe ways in which your company can check for site problems.