Hiring an SEO?
If you want a serious and professional digital presence online and achieve your desired Business Goals, deciding to hire an SEO is a good decision. Of course, you can always do some work yourself and it wouldn't cost that much, but if you are not an SEO expert it will be killing time-consuming and a huge knowledge discovery even starting to approach the way to your Goals online.
Deciding to hire an SEO is a Big and Important Decision. It can potentially improve your site, save your time, build professional digital presence, establish online business reputation and credibility and - Achieve your Goals! - but you can also risk damage to your site and reputation. Make sure to research the potential advantages as well as the damage that an irresponsible SEO can do to your site.
Many SEOs and other agencies and consultants provide useful services for website owners, including:
Search engine optimization Audit (SEO Audit) - review of your site content and structure
Technical advice on website development like hosting, redirects, error pages, etc..
Optimized content development
Management of online business development campaigns*
SEO training & workshops
Expertise in specific markets and geographies.
*Advertising with Google won't have any effect on your site's presence in Google Search Results. Google doesn't accept money to include or rank sites in its search results, and it costs nothing to appear in its Organic Search Results. Therefore, be sure to understand where the money goes.
Choosing an SEO
If you're thinking about hiring an SEO, the earlier the better. A great time to hire is when you're considering a site redesign, or planning to launch a new site. That way, you and your SEO can ensure that your site is designed to be search engine-friendly from the bottom up. However, a good SEO can also help improve an existing site.
1. Be committed to implementing the recommended changes. Making the changes recommended by an SEO takes time and effort; if you aren't going to take the time to make these changes, it's not worthwhile hiring a professional.
2. Interview your potential SEO. Some useful questions to ask an SEO include:
Do you follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines?
Do you offer any online marketing services or advice to complement your organic search business?
What kind of results do you expect to see, and in what time frame?
How do you measure your success?
What's your experience in my industry?
What's your experience in my country/city?
What's your experience developing international sites?
What are your most important SEO techniques?
How long have you been in business?
How can I expect to communicate with you?
Will you share with me all the changes you make to my site, and provide detailed information about your recommendations and the reasoning behind them?
Can you show me examples of your previous work and share some success stories?
See if the SEO is interested in you and your business. If they're not interested, find someone who is. Your SEO should ask questions such as: What's your Goal online? What makes your business or service unique and valuable to customers? Who are your customers?How does your business make money, and how can search results help? What other advertising channels are you using? Who are your competitors?
3. Check your SEO's business references. Ask past clients if they felt that this SEO provided useful service, was easy to work with, and produced positive results.
4. Ask for a technical and search audit for your site to learn what they think needs to be done, why, and what the expected outcome should be. You'll probably have to pay for this. You will probably have to give them read-only access to your site on Search Console. (At this stage, don't grant them write access.) Your prospective SEO should be able to give you realistic estimates of improvement, and an estimate of the work involved. If they guarantee you that their changes will give you first place in search results next week, find someone else.
5. Decide if you want to hire.
While SEOs can provide clients with valuable services, some unethical SEOs have given the industry a black eye by using overly aggressive marketing efforts and attempting to manipulate search engine results in unfair ways. Practices that violate Google guidelines may result in a negative adjustment of your site's presence in Google, or even the removal of your site from our index.
When your SEO comes up with a set of recommendations for your site, ask her to corroborate these recommendations with a trusted source, such as a Search Console help page, Webmasters blog entry, or Google-sanctioned response in the webmasters' forum.
Here are some things to consider:
One common scam is the creation of "shadow" domains that funnel users to a site by using deceptive redirects. These shadow domains often will be owned by the SEO who claims to be working on a client's behalf. However, if the relationship sours, the SEO may point the domain to a different site, or even to a competitor's domain. If that happens, the client has paid to develop a competing site owned entirely by the SEO.
Another illicit practice is to place "doorway" pages loaded with keywords on the client's site somewhere. The SEO promises this will make the page more relevant for more queries. This is inherently false since individual pages are rarely relevant for a wide range of keywords. More insidious, however, is that these doorway pages often contain hidden links to the SEO's other clients as well. Such doorway pages drain away the link popularity of a site and route it to the SEO and its other clients, which may include sites with unsavory or illegal content.
Finally, avoid getting involved in link schemes, such as buying links from other sites to increase your ranking. This is against Google's quality guidelines and can result in a manual action against some or all of your site, which will negatively affect your site ranking.
Questions & Anwers Guidelines
There are questions you can ask an SEO expert that will help you determine if an company or agency, he or she, is worth hiring or just making promises they can’t keep. This helpful guide will not only tell you the questions to ask an SEO company you are considering hiring, but also the answers you want to hear and the rationale behind them.
1: Can You Guarantee Specific Results? No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google. Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a "special relationship" with Google, or advertise a "priority submit" to Google. There is no priority submit for Google.
2: How Long Will It Take to See Results? The simple truth about SEO is that it takes time. It will take time for you to see results: typically from four months to six months, it might tale a year from the time you begin making changes until you start to see the benefits.
If an SEO guarantees quick results, walk away.
However it may sound like a prospective SEO company is stalling when they tell you that it may take three to six months to see results, but it helps to understand that SEO is not some sort of dark magic — there are measurable metrics at work that need to be influenced in order to improve your ranking.
3: What Do Your Reports Look Like, and Can I See One? They are open to give you an example of what they send out clients and let’s talk through it. You want to see a report that’s clearly explained in a language you actually understand. Graphics are great, but they should make it easier to see what’s going on — not just more colorful. This is your chance to get an inside look at how the agency presents their results, outlines their recommendations, and showcases the metrics that matter.
4: What Will the Process for Implementing SEO Changes Look Like? Be careful if a company is secretive or won't clearly explain what they intend to do. Ask for explanations if something is unclear, they should be willing to explain all the changes they are making to your site. If an SEO creates deceptive or misleading content on your behalf, such as doorway pages or "throwaway" domains, your site could be removed entirely from Google's index. Ultimately, you are responsible for the actions of any companies you hire, so it's best to be sure you know exactly how they intend to "help" you.
5: What’s Your Link-Building Process? The sources of links must be relevant to your specific business and links need to be accrued naturally over time, not blasted out. Link-building procesas should be a content-first approach to attracting links while also capitalizing on safe, proven outreach and content promotion methods. Avoid SEOs that talk about the power of "free-for-all" links, link popularity schemes, or submitting your site to thousands of search engines. These are typically useless exercises that don't affect your ranking in the results of the major search engines -- at least, not in a way you would likely consider to be positive. Be careful with tons of backlinks.
6: Be sure to understand where the money goes. While Google never sells better ranking in its search results, several other search engines combine pay-per-click or pay-for-inclusion results with their regular web search results. Some SEOs will promise to rank you highly in search engines, but place you in the advertising section rather than in the search results. A few SEOs will even change their bid prices in real time to create the illusion that they "control" other search engines and can place themselves in the slot of their choice. This scam doesn't work with Google because its advertising is clearly labeled and separated from its search results, but be sure to ask any SEO you're considering which fees go toward permanent inclusion and which apply toward temporary advertising.
Choose wisely. While you consider whether to go with an SEO, you may want to do some research on the industry. Google is one way to do that, of course. While Google doesn't comment on specific companies, there are companies calling themselves SEOs who follow practices that are clearly beyond the pale of accepted SEO and business behavior.
🎯 Make an Informed Decision!
While it might be intimidating to interview different SEO providers, asking the right questions at the beginning of the relationship will only set you up for success. Be bold, ask questions, listen closely, and don’t be afraid to walk away. Those who know what they’re doing will be remarkably open and friendly about their processes, while those who aren’t will reveal themselves as the unqualified options they are.
If you are interested in what an up-to-date SEO strategy for your Business can look like, Let’s talk.
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