If you have had no luck driving traffic to your website, you may want to employ an expert in Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
When you start your search for an expert, there are several things you should consider:
1. Start by interviewing the expert. Find out if their style and philosophy will suit your purpose. Give them information about what you want to accomplish and ask them WHAT THEY WILL DO to help you achieve your goals.
Ask specifically how they will address your objectives. Are you interested in increasing website traffic, increasing brand recognition, or increasing online sales?
Are you planning to push one product or service over another on your website? How will they help you accomplish these goals?
2. Ask for examples of their previous work. Visit the websites they have already worked on and look at the sites. Perform searches with search engines to see where these sites rank on the search engine lists.
Do they come up in the top ten? Look at the keywords they are using on the sample websites and compare those to the sites that come up in the first, second and third position on the search engine.
Is the SEO expert giving the right advice to his/her clients?
In addition to sample websites, see if you can get actual references to call. Contact names and phone numbers for clients who have already worked with the SEO expert can be quite valuable.
How did the client feel about the SEO expert services? Were they timely in delivering their services? Did they deliver what the promised in additional traffic?
3. Find out who will be working on YOUR project. It may not be the person who sells you the service. You want to be sure that you have a good team of people assigned to perform various tasks.
One person isn’t going to be expert in all aspects of search engine optimization. How many projects have these team members worked on for this employer and what success stories can they tell?
What reports will they produce?
At minimum, their documentation should include:
Your current web traffic results
A list of issues they feel you should address, and what they will do to resolve these issues
Progress reports on your project
Post-Mortem reports to demonstrate positive results for website traffic, etc.
4. Ask for white papers, reports and any documented processes the SEO expert has to offer. What exactly does the SEO expert do for his fee? Is his or her process logical and thorough? You may not be a search engine expert.
Nevertheless, if you look at the sequence of their processes, and the activities listed in the SEO process, you may find that your prospective SEO expert is using poor business practices to get information.
Or perhaps he or she is recommending unrealistic methods or unscrupulous methods to deliver good search engine ranking.
If this is the case, your initially good search engine ranking may rapidly change to NO search engine ranking when you find yourself booted off search engine lists for bad business practices.
Make sure you know where your prospective SEO expert firm stands on business ethics.
You may want search engine optimization but you certainly don’t want ‘keyword stuffing’ without content or logical association to the topic that brings the customer to your website.
You don’t want false keywords to attract clients and you don’t want cloaking or doorway pages.
You don’t need to know all the details of how these things work; you just need to get a statement of ethics from your SEO and have a value discussion with the SEO firm and its team members.
While it may seem that no online business practice could be THAT unethical, your business reputation and your status on search engines WILL be damaged, if your website uses artificial or misleading techniques to attract customers.
5. What will the SEO expert charge for your project? Is it based on a fixed price project or an hourly rate? Will you have to pay travel expenses or other associated expenses?
What is included in the price? You should get a detailed accounting in writing, so that you KNOW what you can expect.
Don’t buy into the explanation that the price is higher, but there is a ‘guarantee’ of results.
Even the BEST SEO firms will find it hard to guarantee rankings and results when they don’t know what your competitors are doing next and whether new keywords and action will be necessary next month to keep your rankings high.
A guarantee of ranking and traffic can, at best, only guarantee results for a particular day or time period immediately after the project is completed, and even THEN it is unlikely the guarantee will be exact in terms of results.
There are many other personal considerations you may have when hiring an expert in SEO.
However, if you do nothing other than ask these five questions and get the information included in this research, you should be very pleased with the Search Engine Optimization expert you hire.
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