SEO Expert Or Just A Cowboy

SEO Expert Or Just A Cowboy

As a​ website owner it​ is​ perfectly natural to​ expect your website to​ rank near the​ top of​ the​ search results. After all,​ with all that fantastic content that you’ve just spent days and weeks fine-tuning,​ how could it​ not be immensely popular?

And as​ sure as​ night follows day,​ when your site fails to​ make the​ first page it’s tempting to​ blame Google,​ because,​ how could your beautiful new website be the​ problem?

So,​ take a​ deep breath and read the​ next line.

It’s not Google’s fault,​ it’s not your website’s fault: it’s your fault.

Sorry,​ but you​ haven’t finished the​ job. Your next task is​ going to​ be challenging,​ but in​ this new world,​ competition is​ fierce,​ and to​ finish the​ job you’ll need to​ pay careful attention to​ the​ various ways you​ can claw your site up the​ rankings.

But don’t despair. you​ can get help,​ it​ even has a​ name Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and there are plenty of​ consultants and companies offering SEO services,​ the​ only problem is​ sorting the​ wheat from the​ chaff. Luckily for you,​ you​ are just about to​ read the​ Six Golden Rules for Choosing an​ SEO consultant.

Golden Rule Number 1: Contacted by an​ SEO firm? Keep your wits about you!

Although it​ does not automatically follow that all SEO firms that contact you​ are just out for a​ quick buck you​ should keep your wits about you​ and be wary of​ any that do. the​ majority of​ good SEO consultants will rather react to​ an​ inquiry than spend time trawling the​ Internet looking for poorly optimized websites.

Golden Rule Number 2: Guarantees are lies – spurn them and the​ companies that offer them

Okay,​ as​ Golden Rules go it​ is​ not fair to​ say that all guarantees are lies,​ there are a​ few genuine guarantees that are offered in​ good faith and as​ a​ sign of​ confidence,​ nevertheless err on​ the​ side of​ caution and treat them all as​ you​ would a​ suspect standing over a​ dead body with a​ smoking gun.

SEO consultants have no control over how the​ search engines search; they have no influence over the​ competition and so no matter how much you​ want it​ they are not in​ any position to​ offer you​ meaningful guarantees with regards to​ the​ results that can be achieved.

There are no "special relationships" or​ "tricks",​ if​ you​ are offered a​ guarantee,​ or​ think yourself covered for insisting on​ one,​ it​ is​ quite possible that the​ guarantee offered will be worthless.

Guarantees that are freely offered are generally not what they seem. Anyone with a​ basic knowledge of​ SEO will be able to​ rank you​ high for an​ uncompetitive search phrase; being ranked number one for a​ search phrase that no one is​ using is​ as​ useful and expensive as​ erecting a​ billboard in​ the​ middle of​ the​ Sahara Dessert.

Golden Rule Number 3: Secretive SEO's should be shown the​ door

Your relationship with an​ SEO consultant should be similar to​ that you​ would expect from your accountant as​ you​ are ultimately responsible for your website and the​ actions of​ the​ people that you​ employ to​ build and maintain your website.

There is​ no reason for an​ SEO consultant not to​ explain why and what they are doing and they should be prepared to​ document all that they have done. They should not insert undocumented code and you​ should be careful of​ those that want to​ install their own software; give consideration as​ to​ what will happen if​ you​ decide at​ a​ later date to​ end you​ relationship with them.

Golden Rule Number 4: Treat references with a​ pinch of​ salt

References are useful but will not always tell the​ whole story. Ten years is​ a​ lifetime in​ SEO,​ and it​ is​ a​ subject that is​ more to​ do with understanding the​ "now" than the​ "then".

Search engines in​ their current form first started to​ appear in​ the​ mid 90's and a​ lot has changed in​ search engine technology which gave birth to​ the​ SEO consultant. as​ the​ search engines have become more adept at​ spotting and penalizing websites that achieve prominence by stealth rather than merit,​ so SEO techniques have had to​ evolve.

Despite the​ SEO basics being the​ same for any website how they are applied and to​ what degree is​ very dependent on​ each specific website; its design,​ maturity,​ market,​ purpose,​ objectives,​ the​ type and size of​ the​ organization as​ well as​ how competitive the​ market. Some SEO techniques that are relevant and effective for some websites will be irrelevant and ineffective for others.

Golden Rule Number 5: Prepared to​ be disappointed

Limit your expectations. No matter how good the​ SEO consultant they will not be able to​ take you​ from 'nowhere' to​ a​ number one listing overnight. There is​ no magic bullet that will allow a​ one page website to​ permanently out rank a​ large multi-national,​ if​ you​ believe those that say there are,​ expect to​ be disappointed.

SEO takes hard work,​ time and patience.

Golden Rule Number 6: Are they worthy of​ your trust

The most important quality to​ look for in​ an​ SEO consultant is​ trust,​ as​ more often than not you​ will be entrusting your SEO consultant with your business and reputation.

if​ you​ are not familiar with SEO speak you​ need someone who is​ not going exploit your ignorance,​ isn't going to​ shift blame on​ to​ others and is​ going to​ do things right,​ with long term objectives,​ and not implement solutions that offer immediate rewards followed swiftly by long term and serious pain.

A good and trustworthy SEO consultant is​ worth their weight in​ gold,​ like good neighbors; when you​ have found one,​ think twice before moving.

Have you​ got a​ Champ or​ a​ Chimp?

The following is​ a​ questionnaire that can be used as​ an​ aid to​ ask potential SEO consultants a​ number of​ questions.

Based on​ how they respond to​ the​ questions it​ will help you​ root out those that lacks the​ basic knowledge,​ expose those that are willing to​ tell you​ what you​ want to​ hear and identify those that are prepared to​ tell you​ what you​ should hear.

It is​ not recommended that the​ information you​ gleam from the​ questionnaire is​ used as​ the​ sole criteria for evaluating an​ SEO consultant but it​ will help identify the​ SEO cowboy,​ saving you​ time,​ money and heartache.

SEO Expert or​ Just a​ Cowboy?

SEO Expert Or Just A Cowboy

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