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Questions To Ask Your Potential SEO Or Internet Marketing Company

May 10, 2008
There is no secret that there is a SEO boom. There are so many providers and firms claiming to be the right one for you and could fulfill all your needs, like a cheesy line out of a romantic movie. Common experience tells us that with Internet industry booms there are always providers and firms who are bound to be either cherries or lemons. Once you've decided to avail SEO services, how can you then decide which one can suit your needs and at the same time trustworthy with your money?

First you must know that SEO providers do not have carte Blanc authority to adopt every possible means to increase traffic to your website. Even though the SEO industries does and don'ts are still undefined by any authority (as with almost everything in the Internet), this does not mean there are no prohibited practices for SEO firms. What may be considered as the primary factor in proscribing an SEO's practices is probably the major search engines' Terms of Services (TOS).

Major search engines are concerned with pairing with a particular search item to a site which contains relevant content. Anything which misleads search engines in pairing up a search item with unrelated website content may be considered as a violation of the TOS as this may degrade their service's reputation of providing quality results. Therefore, if your SEO adopts questionable practices which misleads search engines to unrelated search results, this may lead to a penalty upon your website which entails to decreased ranking or even removal from search results.

There are several forms of this prohibited practice which violate TOS of the major search engines, namely cloaking, doorway pages, and hidden links, etc., to name a few. These practices (malpractices, if you will) have their own ways of working, but they have one common purpose, which is to go around a search engine's function of pairing up search items to websites which contain relevant content. It is important to know whether a SEO provider resorts to these practices and if they do, it is up to you to decide if you're willing to accept the risk of a penalty. If you're not up to that, then it's probably for the best to pack up and look for another SEO provider.

Second, determine your SEO provider's competency from the methods they adopt in raising your site's stats. Mediocre SEO providers often resort to superficial means of raising stats, which result only to a temporary boost on your rankings and page views and does not result to returning patrons which do not convert into profits for a company. This may entail little work from your side of the contract because your company would not be required to produce new content coupling the optimization. Such practices can also be considered as indicators of laziness and lack of proper work ethic on part of a provider. As has already been said, such practices often fail to convert into additional revenue for your business, which is the primary reason you have gotten the SEO service in the first place.

Third, as with any other competent service provider, quality SEO firms give their client several guarantees to assure the quality of their work. Common guarantees SEO firms provide their client include increase in site-traffic, service retainer agreements which prevents them from providing their services to a particular competitors, and the handling of content revision themselves. For the latter guarantee, companies are only required to provide the SEO with a resource person from the company and they would be to handle the content revision themselves with little work and bother to the client.

Finally, it is prudent on your part to know the history of a potential SEO provider. Relevant facts include whether a client of theirs have ever been penalized and past client references. Generally, even good SEO providers have had a client or two penalized because of certain and abrupt changes of a major search engine's TOS. Hence, if your potential provider's last penalty was a year or two ago, consider that as ancient history. Anything later should be treated as a red flag. As for client references, providers that reason their clientele have preferred to be anonymous this cannot provide any reference should be taken as a sign of caution. Clients who have reaped benefits from SEO often are eager to brag about their site's success. Claims that an SEO firm's clients prefer to remain unknown should then be taken as incredulous and if any there is any truth behind that claim then the client probably had less than stellar results from their services.

Choosing the right SEO firm may either spell win or fail for your online advertising campaign. Be very careful in choosing your provider, taking the points mentioned above upon deciding on the right firm. Keep in mind that your choice may result into a happily-ever after or an operatic tragedy for your company.
About the Author
Moe Tamani is a consultant with Dallas based Internet Marketing Company specializing in organic SEO.
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