“Should I do SEO myself or hire a firm to do it? If so, which one?” After my post If You Don’t Know About SEO, Start with Pre-SEO, I got that comment from Jo. My answer is: if you can afford it, hire the right firm to do it. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is too complex and technical to accomplish much by yourself. But how do you choose an SEO provider?
There a many companies selling these services, and it’s important to know what you are buying. SEO can involve:
Optimization of existing web pages
Creation of new web pages
Submission to major search engines
Submission to major directories
Web page revisions
Tracking of website traffic
Mark Jackson of SearchEngineWatch, in his post How to Select a Search Engine Optimization Firm, says you need to consider four factors:
1. Your goals, like brand building or measurable revenue growth from the process over time
2. Special challenges with your firm, like you or your staff’s ability to write copy, spend time building links or implement technical changes to website copy
3. Experience of the SEO provider, including years doing SEO and examples of satisfied clients
4. Transparency about their services, so you understand what they will do and how to help and evaluate them. Selecting a Reputable SEO Consultant (ClickZ) provides an excellent outline if you are trying to nail down the scope of SEO services.
Here are oft-sited lists of providers whose SEO techniques, business practices and services are peer-reviewed.
There are likely other good firms, but you need to talk to principals, examine contracts and check reputations to know what you are buying. Read on.
Beware of SEO services from companies that promise you will be “on page one of Google,” or will “rank in the top ten on search engines.” These promises come with many caveats in the fine print.
And watch for SEO scams . Check these links to learn how to avoid them.
More FAQs on choosing the right SEO provider
SEO Consultation is Ruining the Reputation of the Entire Industry Read this before you choose the “consultation option” to save money.
In soliciting comments on this post, I find that SEO consultants differ widely on what they think works and what they term hogwash. I’m providing a variety of links so you can make up your own mind.
It takes time to see the results of SEO-type changes. Pros say that at minimum, you should wait two or three months to evaluate results. But year-over-year evaluation is more meaningful. What does it take to succeed? Here’s the opinion of Mat McGee (Small Business Search Marketing): SEO Success Pyramid.
Headstand Media‘s Randy Birkey:
Your post is pretty straight forward, and true. We would add that if the firm can’t teach what they’re doing, then something isn’t right. SEO can feel complex, but it is always explainable. We routinely explain it to our customers, and even train many of them to do it themselves.
Also, SEO shouldn’t feel like a bunch of “quick tricks”. Everything done in an SEO strategy should benefit the user’s experience. The attitude should never feel like “sly techniques” used purely for search engine ranking.<!–[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 <![endif]–>
Do you agree with this advice on SEO? I know it’s a very controversial topic. Fire away in a comment.
See other posts in my Online Marketing Series, which has 20 link-rich posts on 18 online marketing techniques.