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Emma Louise Hartley
Creative Web Designer
Granada, Granada Spain
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How to know if you can trust your SEO?

It is the one question asked by every business that is looking to outsource SEO services and see if what they say they are is true.
Written May 27, 2011, read 2419 times since then.
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Here is a small guide as to how to choose the correct company and know they are not one of the thousands of sharks that the SEO industry has.

First of all take a good look at their website.

Their website tells you allot!

Spammy Content! Is one useful clue in the way they work. If their website is full of repeated spammy keywords or their content does not fit into proper categories then that is telling you something already right?!

Do they boast on their search positions? If yes take a closer look and check what they are saying is right. Remember that to get a proper reading of your search positions on your keywords you MUST log out of your Google account and clear all passed search history. Why? Because Google are very clever in giving you customised search that may include results from past visits from other websites and return them higher than they actually are! Big Mistake, and clearly shows they are an amateur. You maybe on page 1 on your computer but on the rest of the worlds you wont be!

Do they know their coding? Any optimizer should know how HTML and CSS work as a bare minimum.  If they know more great!  But the importance of knowing how to code is a factor that cannot be misplaced when optimizing a website. Why? Because if they cannot even read and understand the coding behind a website then how are they meant to optimize it!  Coders can breakdown and compact media elements that help a websites loading time. They can also find important errors and help in validating your web pages.

Do they promise the earth? Please please do not listen to the ones that promise you everything. There is no such thing as guaranteed 1st page in 3 months! Not unless you are an established brand or have thousands of Euros to spend. FACT… If Google cannot promise anyone 1st page positions they how can anybody else?

Do not get caught up in someone else’s technical jargon! The best way to see if they are capable or not is to ask them questions. If they cannot respond to you in simple terms that you can understand they may be sharks. SEO is not as technical as some make out. It is just a series of techniques to help a webpage improve. Research and ask questions.

Can they tell you what needs to change and why? No! Why not? Any real SEO will be able to tell you what needs to be done and why. They should also be able to tell you a rough time guide as to how long it will take for the changes. If they have nothing to hide they will be happy in discussing possible methods with you.

Blogging with relevance. Does your SEO company have a blog? If so look closely at the type of articles they write. Are the posts relevant to there categories? You don’t expect to click on the category “SEO” and come across a post about photography. Neither would you expect to have posts with lists of repeated keywords! It looks so spammy and probably they are!

Is their website built soley for search engines? Believe it or not,  a good SEO will not have a website built solely for search engines. They have to think of the websites users and visitors or the website will not convert into clients! You have to think about your user experience too or it will not work!

I hope this gives the readers of this post help when choosing a company for your website. They should treat it as if their own and work with you in sync to get the best possible outcome of the website.

Learn more about the author, Emma Louise Hartley.

Comment on this article

  • project & event pro with a client focused disposition 
Seattle, Washington 
Jason W Adolf
    Posted by Jason W Adolf, Seattle, Washington | Jun 11, 2011

    really great advice / article. Thank you!

  • Creative Web Designer 
Granada, Granada Spain 
Emma Louise Hartley
    Posted by Emma Louise Hartley, Granada, Granada Spain | Jun 11, 2011

    Thank you for commenting and enjoying my artiicle Jason.

  • Independent Online Media Professional 
Gladstone, Oregon 
Chas Wyatt
    Posted by Chas Wyatt, Gladstone, Oregon | Jun 11, 2011

    Thank you for your tips! One thing I do to see non-customized Google searches, is to go to the local library and use their computers to see honest placement, but, it also depends on what search terms you use. Wish I had thousands of Euros ;-)

  • Creative Web Designer 
Granada, Granada Spain 
Emma Louise Hartley
    Posted by Emma Louise Hartley, Granada, Granada Spain | Jun 11, 2011

    Hi Charles,

    Yes, I could not agree more with you, great idea thanks. We can always dream of those thousands of Euros!

  • Web and Marketing Manager 
Leamington, Ontario Canada 
Chris Labbate
    Posted by Chris Labbate, Leamington, Ontario Canada | Jun 13, 2011

    Hello Emma:

    I am one of those SEO experts who thinks this article is spot on! Although I have serious credentials in marketing (2 degrees + 4Certs) all in web and marketing, most of my time is not spent tooting my own horn or making outlandish claims, but spending SERIOUS time educating my clients on what is happening and why. In fact that is my favorite from your list "tell me what needs to change and why". Another biggie is the clearing of cashed results and logging out of google accounts to get an honest answer. In fact I have even seen very slight differences between browsers using the same search engine! Sheesh Google 200 signals could have been one too many. Now back to my SEO Efforts. Keep up the Good Work!

  • CEO 
New York, New York 
Andrew Williams
    Posted by Andrew Williams, New York, New York | Jun 15, 2011

    Good work Emma!

  • Creative Web Designer 
Granada, Granada Spain 
Emma Louise Hartley
    Posted by Emma Louise Hartley, Granada, Granada Spain | Jun 15, 2011

    Thank you for your comments Chris and Andy, it is so nice to see people reading it. See you both around Biznik.

  • Marketing Consultant, Trusted Advisor, Owner 
Bridgewater, New Jersey 
Roland Reinhart
    Posted by Roland Reinhart, Bridgewater, New Jersey | Jun 16, 2011

    I also spend a lot of time educating prospects and the small business entrepreneurs I counsel. There's so much outdated information still being circulated, and certainly no lack of scare tactics being touted. It's no wonder that we have to work harder to convince prospects how to build an effective web presence.

  • Creative Web Designer 
Granada, Granada Spain 
Emma Louise Hartley
    Posted by Emma Louise Hartley, Granada, Granada Spain | Jun 16, 2011

    Hello Roland,

    Exactly well said. The challenge is in educating the users and clients to become more SEO aware. There are many basic SEO techniques that only someone who blogs once a week can get better value out of their posts.

    Its all about educating your clients and been open with them. Show them you are up to date with SEO practises and give them information to show them why techniques exists and how it can effect a website.

    Thanks Roland

  • Web Designer 
Torrance, California 
Alan Takushi
    Posted by Alan Takushi, Torrance, California | Jun 16, 2011

    Great article Emma! Excellent points that I'll be adding to my own "manual" as I progress in my SEO education.

    Also, I didn't realize my own searches can affect what is shown on the Google SERP. I'll definitely keep that in mind when I'm doing my keyword research.

    Cheers, Alan

  • Creative Web Designer 
Granada, Granada Spain 
Emma Louise Hartley
    Posted by Emma Louise Hartley, Granada, Granada Spain | Jun 16, 2011

    Hello Alan, Glad that the article has been of some use to you. Thank you for your comments.

  • Business Coach For Therapists 
Amstelveen, Noord Holland Netherlands 
Monika Denes
    Posted by Monika Denes, Amstelveen, Noord Holland Netherlands | Jun 21, 2011

    Hi Emma and other SEO specialists, Thank you for the good tips! It's always useful to be well informed in advance.

    I'd like to know if it is possible for an English speaking person to do SEO for a website in another language?

    One other question: what is more practical: an old domein (URL), which Google knows, or a new one that reflects what the business is about?

    Thank you for your replies, Monika

  • Creative Web Designer 
Granada, Granada Spain 
Emma Louise Hartley
    Posted by Emma Louise Hartley, Granada, Granada Spain | Jun 21, 2011

    Hi Monika,

    Good question. I suppose someone who is fluent in the language of the proposed SEO project would be ok as long as they know the market and truly speak the lingo.

    As for the domain. Again depends on what is more important as a business. From a SEO point I would say that the old domain would be best but this also depends on the position the domain has in the SERPs and also whether the website of the current domain is converting or not.

    From a business point of view it is always good to have a name that reflects the business and personality of the service or product you are wanting to promote.

    Hope this helps.

    Thanks for your comments

  • Business Coach For Therapists 
Amstelveen, Noord Holland Netherlands 
Monika Denes
    Posted by Monika Denes, Amstelveen, Noord Holland Netherlands | Jun 21, 2011

    Holla Emma, Thank you very much, this really does help. I will stick to the old name - as I have been known by it for years. A great relief :-)

    Thank you so much, Monika

  • International Internet Marketer 
San Francisco, California 
Raunaq Rayait
    Posted by Raunaq Rayait, San Francisco, California | Aug 03, 2011

    Emma Louise Hartley these is the fantastic information you had shared.I am into the industry and know how important these article is for those who are not aware of any thing in Internet Marketing.I just want to say to all that please read the basic of Internet Marketing and keep questioning to all the point you are confused.It will help you to judge the depth of Knowledge,your SEO have.And yes reading a blog of your SEO is the best practice to trace.As blog is platform of information sharing not advertising.You can get the idea of there working Intention by reviewing there blog.

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