5 questions to ask SEO Consulting Services to ensure you choose the right one
What are SEO Consulting Services for? If your site does not appear on the first page of search results from Google, Bing or Yahoo, your potential customers may not even know they exist. Improved visibility of search engines can be critical to driving traffic to your site, increasing brand awareness and driving revenue and profits. But what if you have the time and the technical know-how to improve the search engine ranking of your website? It would make sense to hire an experienced, reliable search engine optimizer (SEO).
Here are 5 key questions you should ask yourself when considering SEO Consulting Services:
1. Can I have a list of current and past customers?
A reputable SEO consultant should be prepared to share a short list of current and former customers and their contact information, says Vanessa Fox, Google-era marketing author (Wiley, 2012) and founder of Nine By Blue, a Seattle-based provider, of SEO software. These credentials can help you evaluate the candidate’s effectiveness and verify that the person has actually worked on specific SEO campaigns. According to Fox, customers could not provide specific scans, but at least they should be able to tell you if they have a positive impact on their rankings, especially in terms of conversions and a hearing as a result of the consultant’s direct efforts.
2. How do your SEO Consulting Services improve my ranking in search engines?
Avoid SEO consultants who do not freely discuss their methods in detail, warns Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz, a Seattle-based Internet marketing software company and co-author of the Art of SEO (O’Reilly, 2012). You should explain the strategies you would use to increase your site’s search engine rankings and how long it might take to reach the goals of the SEO campaign you agree with.
Make sure the candidate’s offer includes a first technical review of your website to avoid any issues that could affect your search engine’s ranking, including broken links and error pages. Consultants should also offer “on-page” optimization, a process to make your website as user-friendly as possible. It’s about improving your website’s URL and internal link structure, and developing titles, headers and tags for web pages. Also ask consultants if they offer “off page” SEO strategies to publish your content on other websites, often via blogs, social media platforms and press releases.
3. Do you follow the instructions for search engine webmasters?
You want a consultant who strictly adheres to the best practices of Google’s publicly published webmasters that specifically prohibit 12 common SEO tips, including automatic generation of spam content and addition of fake text and hidden links. If a candidate does not follow these guidelines, your website may be referenced in a bleak search ranking. Or, worse, Google could banish it completely from the search results. Bing and Yahoo also publish best practices for webmasters that need to be approved by consultants.
4. Can your SEO Consulting Services guarantee that my website achieves a top ranking on Google, Bing and Yahoo?
If the candidate answers yes, Fox warns, “Turning in the other direction as fast as you can. While it’s impossible to guarantee a top ranking in a search engine, some unethical SEO consultants say such false guarantees. Think of it as a red flag if the candidate claims to have an insider relationship with Google or any other search engine that gives you priority ranking of preferred search results. Only Google, Bing, and Yahoo can control how websites display in their search results.
5. Do you have experience improving local search results?
Especially important for small companies trying to attract customers in the area is the presence in the top results of local search engines. You need a consultant who has knowledge of local SEO techniques.
If your site is optimized for so-called “local SEO,” it should appear when a nearby person searches for relevant keywords for your business. To achieve this, a consultant must add the title tag and meta descriptions of your website to the city and status of your business, and display your website in the local directories of Bing, Google, and Yahoo, which are English directories online.