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SEO Advice > Choosing an SEO Consultancy

More and more "SEO experts" are appearing online every day and it's increasingly difficult to be able to differentiate between those organisations that talk a good game and the SEO consultancies that can really deliver results.

Successful website optimisation requires a high degree of specialized knowledge. Search engine optimization takes time and expertise. As businesses focus on their core competencies it is usually wise for them to partner with a professional SEO company that can optimize the site to its maximum potential and manage and offer ongoing maintenance for the site's online visibility.

When searching for an SEO expert, there are a number of things to bear in mind:
Google search results often include paid advertising as well as free Organic Search Results. It's free to be listed in organic search results, and advertising with Google and other engines don't improve ranking. It's wise to become an informed consumer and become familiar with the principles upon which search engines work.

Timing is an important factor when considering hiring an SEO, preferably, the earlier the better. Perhaps the best time to employ an search engine optimisation consultancy is when you're considering a site redesign, or planning to launch a new site and a good SEO  consultancy can give design and technical input in designing the site in a search engine friendly way. That said, a quality search engine optimisation consultancy would also be able to assist with an existing site.

First and foremost the SEO-MAMA should have a Proven Track Record. They should be able to give you examples of jobs they have done for previous clients, and the search engine terms and rankings that they achieved for those clients. Beware if SEOs claim to guarantee rankings or infer any sort of preference from the search engines. If they offer to "priority submit" to Google, bear in mind that there is no such feature. You can, in fact, submit your site through the "Add URL" page or by submitting a Sitemap to Google at no cost at all.

It is perfectly fair that companies looking to hire an SEO consultancy request references before committing to an SEO campaign. References will best highlight likely highlight ethos, customer service, strategies, techniques, success and other aspects of previous SEO projects. If a search engine optimisation consultancy's current and past clients won't vouch for them who can?

Similarly, do your homework on the company and give them a good Internet search. Look for comments, reviews, press releases, articles, affiliations, and other informative resources that might reveal how the company is viewed both by clients, those within the industry and people who interact with them.

Request and search their keywords and see on how well the SEO ranks for the keywords they have chosen to go with. See how they rank within their own industry by the terms that they wish to be ranked on. Basically, ask yourself how good the SEO consultancy is at SEO.

Be sure the Search Engine Optimisation consultancy is 'White Hat' and won't risk your organisation's web presence with deceptive practices. Here are a few of the tricks used by rogue SEOs to look out for.

The use of shadow domains that funnel users to a site by using deceptive redirects
The use of links to other clients on doorway pages. Doorway pages can drain away the link popularity of a site and route it to the SEO consultancy and its other clients.
Offers to sell keywords in the address bar
Some SEO consultancies don't distinguish between real search results and ads that appear in search results.
Some SEO agencies guarantee ranking - this is simply not possible
Some SEO consultancies operate with multiple aliases or falsified WHOIS info
Acquisition of traffic from "fake" search engines, spyware or scumware

Try to talk with more than one contact at the company. Sales people are there to sell and are adept at talking up the services and success of the organisation. Ideally try to communicate with someone in the SEO consultancy team, as typically they will provide more realistic answers to questions regarding strategies and techniques related to success rates and overall expectations.

Good quality and successful companies tend to associate themselves with good quality and successful companies. What affiliates does your prospective SEO consultancy have? What industry organisations are they involved with or members of? Questions to ask yourself are: Is the SEO consultancy associated with industry organizations such as SEMPO or SMA-NA? Do they use 3rd party service providers? If so, are they reputable?
You should ideally be offered variety of different SEO packages, making it possible for you to find the one that is best for your business needs. One final thing to look for is whether the SEO consultancy is willing to give you the option to be trained in search engine optimization so you can do the work yourself should you wish. To see if SEO-MAMA would meet your needs

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