Hiring an SEO consultant or Search Engine Optimizer (search engine optimizer) is an important decision that can improve your website and save you time , although you also risk damaging its performance and reputation .
Make sure you understand the potential benefits of hiring a professional SEO , as well as the downsides of irresponsible or amateur SEO on your site.
You can review the SEO Guide to position your website for free in Google to see what the job of search engine optimization consists of .
Take a look at the Google Webmaster Channel video that goes over the recommended minimum qualifications to look for in an SEO expert , the right questions , check references , take a technical interview, and stay on top of best practices to follow.
Differences between advertising and SEO positioning
When considering paying to get visibility on Google , you should be clear about the differences between Google advertising (SEM) and (SEO):
- On the page of Google search results include organic search results in addition to paid advertising Ads
- Advertising on Google Ads does not influence the position in which your website appears in organic search results
- Google never accepts money for including or ranking sites in search results; inclusion in organic search results is free
That is, you can pay for advertising to Google Ads or an agency that manages your advertising campaigns on Google and / or you can pay an SEO agency to help you position your website in organic search results .
The main differences between SEO and SEM are:
- The SEM has complete control of the investment , immediate results with the possibility of rapid optimization, it can be segmented beyond the user’s search and anyone can create ads with the platform’s facilities.
- In SEO there is no investment for positioning , results are produced and maintained over time , it does not allow segmentation beyond content strategies and requires technical knowledge .
When to hire an SEO?
A good time to hire an SEO is when you are going to change the design of your website or when you are going to publish a new site .
In this way, you can ensure that the website has been designed according to search engine optimization requirements .
However, good SEO can also help improve an existing site .
In any case:
If an SEO has access to the FTP of your server, he must explain all the changes he is going to make.
Many SEO and other agencies and consultancies offer useful services for website owners, such as:
- Review of the structure of your site , making it more user-friendly
- Development of content optimized for search engines
- Management of online business development campaigns
- Research on keywords
- SEO training
- Experience in markets and geographic regions specific
If you are considering hiring an SEO, the sooner you do it the better.
Useful questions to hire an SEO
Some useful questions to ask before hiring an SEO are:
- ¿ How long do you spend you into this business?
- Can you show me examples of your work and let me know about your clients’ experience ?
- Do you have experience in the country and city where my company operates?
- Do you have experience in the sector of my company?
- Do you have experience developing international sites ?
- Do you offer any online marketing services or advice to complement the organic search business ?
- Do you follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines ?
- How is the correct functioning of the site measured ?
- What are the most important optimization techniques you use?
- What kind of results do you hope to get and in what time frame ?
- Will you inform me of all the changes made to my site and provide me with detailed information about your recommendations and their justifications ?
- How will we communicate ?
Analyze their answers to these questions and make sure you understand what you are paying for with your money .
However, the most important questions in deciding if he is a true professional are what he (or she) will ask you!
To begin with, your objectives or specialties do not have to be the same as those of your competitors , and an SEO professional will worry about finding out more about your project and your expectations before making a definitive proposal , which must be adjusted to your project.
Your project has particular characteristics that make it unique!
Choose with common sense
When you decide for SEO it makes some inquiries in the sector.
Of course googling information is one way to do it, but you should also ask their other clients for references .
How to detect bad SEO practices?
Although they can provide invaluable services, some unethical SEOs have hurt the industry and their clients with aggressive strategies and attempts to manipulate search engine results illegally .
The malpractices that violate Google guidelines may adversely affect the presence of your site on Google or even cause penalties to eliminate it from their index.
Ask for explanations if something is not clear to you . If an SEO creates misleading or false content on your behalf, your site may be permanently excluded from the Google index .
Ultimately, you are responsible for the actions of the companies you hire . Thus…
You must make sure you know exactly how they intend to “help you”!
Be wary of SEOs who claim to guarantee rankings , who claim to have a special relationship with Google, or who claim to have a priority transfer system to Google .
In fact, the only way to submit a site directly to Google is through the Add URL option in Google Search Console or by submitting a sitemap , and you can do it yourself at no cost.
Google does not make any distinction between SEO agencies . Be suspicious of a company that is secretive or does not clearly explain its intentions .
No one can guarantee you first place in Google’s rankings.
A common type of fraudulent practice is the creation of shadow domains that redirect users to a site through deceptive redirects .
Usually this class of domains are owned by SEO , who claims to be working for the benefit of the client .
In this case, you will be paying to develop sites owned exclusively by SEO and, if the relationship deteriorates, SEO could point those domains to a different site or even to your competition’s website .
Another illicit practice is placing keyword-laden door pages somewhere on the customer’s website.
In this case the SEO alleges that this process will make the page more relevant to a larger number of queries , but this is completely false because individual pages are rarely relevant to a wide variety of keywords .
However, even more malicious is that such gateways often contain hidden links that also point to other SEO clients .
This type of page reduces the link popularity of a site and redirects it to SEO and your other customers , which may include sites with unsavory or illegal content .
Wary of SEO that talk about the efficacy of free links for all , schemes link popularity or sending your site to thousands of search engines .
These are useless actions that do not affect your site’s positioning on the results page of major search engines, at least not in a way that you might consider positive.
Distinguish between advertising and SEO
Although Google does not sell improvements in a site’s ranking in its search results ranking , other search engines combine pay- per-click or pay-per-inclusion results with their normal web search results .
Some SEOs may promise you a high position in search engines , but put your information in the advertising section instead of in the results.
Some malicious SEOs even change their bid prices in real time to create the illusion that they control search engines and can place you where they want you.
This trap does not work with Google , as their advertising is clearly marked and separated from the search results.
However, be sure to ask SEO which fees will go towards permanent inclusion in search results and which ones will go towards temporary advertising .
What else should I look for?
There are signs that may warn you that this is unscrupulous SEO , but if you have any doubts, trust your instincts .
In any case, break the relationship if the SEO :
- You own shadow domains
- Place links to your other customers on door pages
- Offer to sell keywords in the address bar
- Does not distinguish between actual search results and ads that appear on results pages
- Guarantees a concrete position , but only for weird and long keyword phrases , which you would get anyway
- Works with multiple aliases or spoofed WHOIS information
- Get traffic from fake search engines , spyware, or scumware
- You have domains that have been removed from the Google index or are not included in the Google index
You should never have a link to an SEO
Be wary of SEO companies and consultancies or web agencies that send you unsolicited emails , such as ” diet pills that burn fat while you sleep ” or requests to help transfer funds from deposed dictators .
Surprisingly, Google also receives these types of messages :
“Dear google.es: We have visited your website and we have verified that it is not included in the main search engines and directories …”
Report fraudulent SEO practices
If you think you have been a victim of SEO fraudulent practices , you may want to report it.
In the United States , the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) handles complaints of deceptive or unfair business practices.