A few weeks ago Stephan invited me to their motley crew and though I start with great enthusiasm, I’ve had many sleepless nights considering how to make a firstÂ impression. I’m Paul O’Brien and while I, as do many, write a blog of my own at seobrien.com, I am grateful for the opportunity to share, amongst the tremendous SEO experience that Chris, Stephan, and Brian bring to the table, my natural search perspective and experience from Yahoo! and HP. My background lies in advertising, paid search, comparison shopping, and brand and demand gen advertising; SEO is only a part though it consistently remains the most beneficial. I’m a practical SEO, heavy in analytics and science, dependant on resources and support, and light on the technology; hopefully, I can share with you something of value.
At the risk of not delivering to your expectations, or perhaps merely my own, I thought I’d start simple. I noticed that over a year ago Stephan posted a great series of questions for SEOs, questions about the industry, the practice of SEO, and our future. Missing from NaturalSearchBlog is a discussion of the appropriate questions to ask an SEO when seeking support. Here are my thoughts:
- What techniques do you use to achieve rankings?
- Avoid companies that focus on getting you links or promise you top placement
- What risk is involved with the methods you suggest?
- Every technique has risk, get an answer and weigh it against the benefit.Â Consider that risks include a wide variety of hurdles and challenges such as IT intensive projects, adverse impacts on your brand, or withdrawal of your site from natural search results.
- What will happen if our relationship is dissolved?
- They should be able to get in, do some work, and get out, leaving you with the experience to maintain your optimized site
- Yes, you might want a full time, ongoing SEO but you don’t need one
- Can you show me examples of past work?
- You bet they can
- What was the clientâ€™s ROI?
- Sure, SEO is “free” in that it doesn’t have a marketing cost but good SEOs know the cost that went into their service, IT/engineering resources, copywriting, etc. Don’t be sold on just the improvements in traffic, position, or the growth in revenue, what was required to deliver that?
- What increases in traffic are reasonable to expect?
- This is tough because it depends on your site, but that’s why you should ask, expect an answer that is relative to your site and details that show how your experience is unique
- How long until I start to see results?
- What would you expect from OUR end to aid your work?
- Important because the answer is NOT ‘nothing’
- What were some of your top search ranking achievements?
- Do you offer any other internet marketing services to supplement your SEO offerings?
Look for a company that understands your business, marketing, technology, and the internet extensively.Â Most importantly, do not shop around based on price. You don’t want a deal as you need expertiseÂ while at the same time,Â SEO isn’t really expensive rocket science (it is alien for most people but not rocket science).
Find a professional that meets your needs, start with these questions, let us know what works for you, and what you look for from an SEO.
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Filed under: Best Practices, General, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, Tools, Worst Practices agencies, black-hat-seo, choosing-seo-firms, SEO, SEO-consulting, SEO-worst-practices, SEOs, support, vendors
This article just out on MarketingProfs.com is an entertaining rant about Nike.com’s search marketing mistakes, which include…
- Missing out on long-tail terms
- All-Flash sites with no alternative version
- Nothing from the searcher’s query is reinforced on the landing page
- Not developing a descriptive meta description tag
- Putting “Cool” over helping the user find stuff on the site
- Driving a user with a very specific query to the homepage can waste parts of pay per click (PPC) budgets.
- Bad landing pages that hurt PPC rankings
- Flash sites with no alternative version can suppress natural rankings
- Flash shopping cart = no love from Froogle/shopping search
- Investing in great tools and not driving traffic to them
As I was perusing the article and the included screen captures, I couldn’t help but think that a critique like this would be well-suited to being produced as a screencast, using Camtasia Studio or similar.
Maybe I should produce my monthly SEO Report Card column as screencasts? Would that be valuable to you folks?
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