SEO – search engine optimization – is one of the most important tools in terms of making your mark on the online world. If you have a business, it is vital not only that you have a website, but also that you engage in stringent SEO practices so that people actually find it. While most people now know this, very few understand what search engine optimization really is and how it works. This is a problem, because it gives you a very poor frame of reference when looking for an SEO expert.
The harsh reality is that, because the profession is not protected, anyone can call themselves an SEO expert, and many people do. The skill is very much learned, and not everybody learns the right lessons. The problem for you is that, if they do the wrong things, your site may not just be hard to find, it may actually be banned from the search engines.
Education is key. This is true both for your SEO expert, but also for you. They must be learned in their trade, and you must learn how to recognize true experts. Below are two questions that you need to ask anyone claiming to be able to manage your SEO before you hire them.
Will You Be Able to Get My Website to the First Page of Google?
The goal of SEO is to achieve that. However, anyone who says that they can guarantee that they will get you to that first page doesn’t know what they are talking about. There simply aren’t any guarantees in life. Instead, they should answer your question with a few questions of their own. They should ask what keyword you would like to see on the first page of Google. They should also ask whether anyone in your competition is achieving what you want to achieve.
Based on that, they should tell you what their track record is of achieving success. It is impossible to rank on the first place of Google for every keyword that is relevant to your industry, but it is possible to make your presence be known on Google – and the other search engines. A true expert will be able to show you what they can do, and what their limitations are.
Once I Have a Website, How Will You Get it on Google?
This is another very important question that will show true expertise – or not. Many times, SEO experts also offer web design services and this could be very useful, as you will know things are done right from the word go. Some of the things they should talk to you about include:
- Backlinks, meaning other websites send their visitors to your website.
- Webmaster tools.
- Site maps.
If they start talking about submitting your website to search engines again and again, avoid them. Doing this is considered spam and may work for a short time, but will actually mean your website will be penalized after a short period of time. It really isn’t worth it.