The Google Guide To SEO Part 1: Choosing An SEO

May 23rd, 2010 by

While wrapping up a meeting last week regarding a project I am working on, I got into a bit of a disagreement with an internet marketer that is being subcontracted by the development firm working on the project. Not wanting to argue in the middle of a meeting, I let him give his input, and ultimately told the one’s coordinating the project that it was their call.

In the end they opted for my recommendation, but I could tell that because of the conflicting points of view they were wary. It was in that moment that I realized how difficult it must be as an SEO client to really identify what the best practices are for optimizing their website. They look to the company providing SEO services for answers, but all too often they have another person or company telling them the complete opposite.

In this particular instance I was able to provide documentation from Google that supported my recommendation, and ultimately put everyone at ease. It also inspired me to write a series of posts outlining recommendations in regards to SEO and your website that come directly from Google.

Choosing an SEO

One of the first things Google recommends when it comes to finding someone to market your website is, “…become an educated consumer and get familiar with how search engines work.” I like to compare this to auto repair. Obviously not all of us know the ins and outs of how a car works, but we know enough to make decisions when it comes to our car repairs. We know that if your car doesn’t start and the repairman tells you that you need new tires, something isn’t right. The same applies to SEO. Learn enough to understand if something doesn’t seem right.

Some great starter resources include:

Ask Questions

The Google Search Engine Optimization page provides some useful questions that you can ask an SEO whom you are considering doing business with. But more importantly you should ask the questions that will help you truly understand what you are getting for your money. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Things To Watch Out For

“Be wary of SEO firms and web consultants or agencies that send you email out of the blue.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. If you own a website, you’ve seen these e-mails. They are usually e-mails from someone saying they were on your site and noticed you were in the search engines or that your site doesn’t rank for a particular keyword.

Google warns of this as do I. I would go a step further and say that if it comes from an @gmail.com, @aol.com, @yahoo.com, etc. e-mail address, then delete it immediately. If they are reputable they will most likely have a branded domain name and e-mail address that they are writing from.

Finally if the SEO you are considering mentions any of the following it’s time to look somewhere else:

  • Guaranteed Rankings
  • Excessive inbound links or Link Schemes
  • Cloaking
  • Keyword Stuffing
  • Copying content

The bottom line is that if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. It’s important to understand how SEO can benefit your site and in some instances hurt your site so that you make the most knowledgeable decision possible when choosing an SEO. What seems like a cheap quick fix for rankings now could cost you a lot more in the long run.

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4 Responses to “The Google Guide To SEO Part 1: Choosing An SEO”

  1. [...] Instead of being riddled in theories, buzzwords, and craphat techniques, the search engines offer guidelines on what the best practices are to help you find an SEO and help your site rank.  Gain a basic [...]

  2. Rebecca Gill says:

    Thank you for reiterating that a quality SEO consultant will not guarantee ranking. I had a self titled SEO expert comment on my blog that he could guarantee ranking and that I was a loser because I would not. He then proceeded to write a blog entry about me continuing his rank.

    Real SEO consultants know it is impossible to guarantee ranking and that you can only set obtainable goals with realistic expectations. Hard work and attention to detail will win the battle, not unsupported claims on a limited geography and keyword scope.

  3. Don Kowalski says:

    WOW some straight forward poop about SEO, you bleepin trader! I love it actually! There are a lot of hacks out there who “know a guy”. It doesn’t matter what industry your in, as a customer and a professional its hard to sort them out. I like that you mentioned the BIG indicator of a domain branded email address, a huge pet peeve of mine with I help people start their new business.

  4. […] I pointed out when I wrote about choosing an SEO a few years ago, Google specifically points out that no one can guarantee search engine placement […]

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