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Should You Hire an SEO Expert?

Jan 8, 2008
Because there are so many factors to consider in the search engine game and because search engines are constantly changing the rules about optimization, you may want to hire an SEO expert. Only you have to be careful who you hire. Some SEO companies may use "black hat" techniques to get your site ranked high in the results pages. That means they use methods the search engines do not approve of, and your site could end up being banned from from search results.

You won't put your business in jeopordy if you hire an SEO expert who uses "white hat" techniques or those techniques that search engines recommend. These people follow the rules and do not attempt to deceive the spiders.

One example of white hat verses black hat is in content creation. With a white hat method, the content that is indexed by the spiders is the same content that searchers see. Nothing is hidden, and no type of deception is implemented. With a black hat method, content is created for the spiders in order to get the highest rank possible. Text is hidden by making the text white on a white background. Or the page is "cloaked" by sending the spiders to one page while redirecting users to another page that is human friendly.

If you get caught using black hat methods, the consequences are reduced rankings or banning from being listed altogether. SEO experts can be helpful by writing your copy, advising you on your design and submitting your site to the directories that are best for you. So if you want to hire someone who will improve your site rather than improve your chances of being banned from this source of traffic, here are some tips to consider when hiring an SEO expert:

--If they guarantee you a #1 ranking on Google, stay away. In Google's own words: "Beware of SEO's that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a 'special' relationship with Google, or advertise 'priority submit.' There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through our Add URL page or through the Google Sitemaps program, and you can do this yourself at no cost whatsoever."

--If they are link happy, stay away. If their main method for getting you ranked high is by linking to them or getting you involved in a link farm, you'll waste your money. Linking to irrelevant sites and having them link to you will actually hurt rather than help your rank.

--If they won't explain their tactics, stay away. Be wary of those who claim to be great at optimization but won't tell you how. They may be using black hat techniques, and you are the one who will pay the price when the search engines block you. The SEO guy will just find another client, and you'll have lost an important traffic stream.

--If they won't expain the use of their fees, stay away. They may get you a high ranking but be using pay per click rather than the free organic traffic. This is an important distinction to make as the PPC could end up costing you a lot of money if you aren't aware of what's going on.

--If they won't sign a contract, stay away. At the beginning of the working relationship, protect yourself. Have a contract in writing between you and your SEO expert. The contract should include costs involved and require the expert to stay within the search engine recommended guidelines. Also make sure it includes a refund policy if you are not happy with your results or if your SEO's actions get you kicked out of the search engine systems.

Whether you choose to optimize your site yourself or have someone else do it for you, you need to know the keywords you're trying to win on in the search engine results pages and how to optimize your pages using those keywords. If doing this yourself, just start with your main pages, learn how to optimize them, then branch out to your other pages, always adding new content with focused keywords and phrases.
About the Author
Glen Hopkins is a Best-Selling Author, Information Marketer, Speaker and Consultant. Glen specializes in teaching struggling entrepreneurs how to turn their small Online businesses into thriving money machines using specific systems that will allow you to work less and earn more. Get his List Building Report and Web Traffic CD (valued at $97) for FREE at: http://glenhopkins.name/>http://GlenHopkins.name
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