I received an email last night from a reader who’s interested in having some [tag-tec]SEO[/tag-tec] work done. I won’t go into too much detail but the reader asked a typical question that SEO’ers probably hear everyday, I’m paraphrasing here but it was something like this:
Can you get me on the front page of Google?
I replied that that was a pretty dangerous question to ask and that sure I could get them on Google’s front page, and I could do it today! How? Why, [tag-tec]Google Adwords[/tag-tec] of course.
Now, I realize that’s not what the visitor was asking for, but it reminded me of just how easy it is for unscrupulous would-be SEO’s to scam someone who’s just getting started.
Just for the record, I’m not knocking legitimate SEO’s. A good SEO absolutely has an edge over the rest of us when it comes to [tag-tec]organic search engine placement[/tag-tec]. And, assuming the clients site is in order (sales process, landing pages etc) – an SEO can be well worth the expense.
The point is NOT everyone is honest and above board. Here’s a few things to watch out for it you’re in the market for an SEO:
Guarantees! No one, I Repeat, No One can guarantee organic search engine placement. The search engines (especially Google) are constantly looking for and hiring the best and the brightest minds in the world whose sole purpose is to find ways to serve up only the most relevant SERPs possible. —That $19.95 special …”Ain’t gonna get you top placement in anything”
[tag-tec]Vanity SERPs[/tag-tec] – Too many businesses feel that their company name needs to come up first in the engines. So they plunk down their money and tell their “SEO”, I want to rank for “The XYZ Sucker Company”. Now there is really nothing wrong with ranking for your company name – the problem is unless your company name is also a competitive money keyword, it’s probably pretty easy to rank well for. Heck, they may even be ranking for it already. SEO’s know this and the good ones will point that out for you.
Website Submission is NOT SEO. This is something that should have died a long time ago but it’s still lingering on. I’m talking about “SEO’s” that promise to submit your site to 99 search engines and directories. First off, there are really only two or three engines that matter – so the other 96 “engines” are really just irrelevant and most are probably spam. Use common sense, when you’re searching the web you’re probably using Google – your friends are probably all using Google also right? So, if everyone uses Google, why pay someone to submit your site to FredsSearchEngine.com? Anyway, the point is – your SEO needs to be paying attention to optimizing your website, if he or she starts talking about how they’re going to be submitting your site to engines for an additional charge (or even if they’re throwing it in for free for that matter) – walk away!
This list could go on but the point is before you hire an SEO, you ought to have an understanding of what’s it all about. SEO is NOT some magical black art that can only be practiced by enlightened gurus. SEO is work, it’s a systematic process and it takes time and money to get good rankings for competitive keywords. And what most people don’t even realize is that the most important part of the whole process is NOT the optimization it’s the keyword research. If you’re optimizing for the wrong keywords top placement on Google won’t make a bit of difference.
Anyway if you’re still here and want to learn more I recommend you download Aaron Wall’s SEO Book. It’s a $67 download and it’s well worth ten times the price —it’s the Bible of the SEO world and it’s the #1 Ranked SEO Book available. You’ll not only learn everything you’ll ever need to know about organic optimization techniques, you’ll also learn about PPC optimization. There’s even a chapter on hiring an SEO. Have a Look!