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What to Look for In an SEO Consultant?
[box type="info"] In this post our guest blogger Andrew Sherer points out twelve points we should consider about your SEO consultant before hiring him/her. [/box]
If you have a business online, no matter what the size or the volume of converting traffic you need, search engine optimization is the life blood of your site. You have two choices: either become highly efficient at SEO yourself or bring in a professional. Few people have the inclination to dive into these themselves.
SEO entails a vast array of knowledge and skills, and fortunately, there are many companies offering professional SEO services. When you decide to employ a pro, you must first know what to look for in an SEO consultant.
Important Characteristics of a Skilled SEO Consultant
1. Many Years of Experience
It takes years of dedicated experience to understand and master effective SEO. Plus, constant study is required to stay current with ongoing search engine changes. Every website is different, with unique goals, problems and challenges. Experts can look at any website and recognize its individual needs. One size does not fit all.
2. Good References that are Fairly Recent
An SEO consultant whose work actually increases ranking and traffic will be happy to provide you with client references. Ask for at least three and investigate them well. Be sure that you are satisfied that their work actually produced results.
3. They won’t Guarantee You Page One Ranking
Now that may sound like the opposite of what you look for. But actually, Google itself says on their webmasters’ blog that “No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.” They urge you to be wary of anyone claiming a “special relationship” with Google or charging you for a priority submit.
4. Adherence to the Google Webmaster Guidelines
An effective SEO consultant will have made it a priority to fully implement Google’s standards. And they will be up to date with the constant changes.
5. Offer an In-Depth Review of Both Your Site’s Structure and Its Content
They will thoroughly assess what your site already has in place and tell you what you have done that works, and also what is ineffective or even harmful.
6. Show You Examples of Their Previous Work
In addition to client references, they will be happy to let you see examples of their work and tell you what they did and why. They should have a good number of sites to show you.
7. A Reliable System of Communication
You will be able to reach them easily, and get return calls promptly. They will keep you informed and offer details on what they recommend and why and never treat you as too uneducated to understand what they are doing.
8. They Stick to “White Hat” SEO
Stay very far away from anyone who uses gray or black hat methods, no matter what is promised. This will only destroy your site’s ranking, maybe permanently. Every technique a reliable SEO implements is legitimate and complies with search engine guidelines. They avoid loopholes or tricks, and operate with above-board, accepted business methods. They have a strong set of ethics.
9. They have an Understanding of All Three Phases of SEO
a. The technical aspects of your site, which determine how accessible your content and content structure, is to the search engines.
b. Your on page optimization such as keyword density, alt tags, and internal and external linking.
c. Off page SEO, like backlinking, use of social media, and article distribution
10. Expertise in Marketing
They will advise you about how to improve the marketing strengths of the content that you already have and how to write new content that will lead to sales. They will show you how to do this in a way that makes your site attractive, helpful, and able to keep the interest of your targeted traffic. They will never advise you to load your site with hype or hard sell.
11. Upfront about Exactly where Your Money Goes
There will be a clear agreement about their rates, with no unexplained charges. You will be told why each expense occurs and how it will help your SEO. The cost for the job and all possible additional charges will be clear at the start.
12. They Love the Challenge
They will show a genuine interest in you and your project goals. They will have curiosity about your site and how to make it shine, and they will demonstrate professional perfectionism.
[box type="bio"] Andrew Sherer is a SEO consultant and has contributed this article on behalf of the SEOM Company, whom you can consider for all your internet marketing requirements, including SEO. [/box]