Being on Page One of Google is vital for most businesses. Very few people click onto the second page or lower in the search engine rankings so dropping off the first page can make a huge difference to the number of enquiries you receive.
I receive junk email every day from companies promising that they will get me to the top of Google – often for sursprisingly low prices. Some of them can be quite persuasive but I don’t feel confident in hiring such a service without a personal recommendation.
But if we do wish to hire an SEO expert what should we ask them? Stephen McTaggart, Director at Build Business Online Ltd. an SEO business in Edinburgh provided me with some answers.
“Do they eat their own cooking? Can they show you where they are ranking themselves? If you can’t find them in the search engines then how confident can you be that they will get you to the top?
“Make sure they start with an analysis of your chosen keywords. This is fundamental. Often business owners think they know what their customers are searching for, but often they are surprised when they see the actual figures.
“How does your existing website shape up for those keywords – is it well-optimised? Is it over-optimised?
“Ask the company about Panda and Penguin. These are the names of two recent Google updates. If they don’t know what they are then find another SEO company.
“Do they use automated tools to build links? If so, where do these links go? If they say “yes” and they go directly to your site then walk away. This is exactly the kind of link-building that Google penalises.
“Ask how long will it take to get you to Page One. If they give you a time figure before carrying out any research then walk away. If they give you a time frame of less than 2 weeks then it may be that they will be using methods that could jeopordise the long-term health if your website, so again walk away.”
Making a bad decision on SEO can have a devastating impact on your website rankings so be sure to do you due diligence on the compaany you choose.
It would appear to me that you should look for slow, steady results, and if a service appears too cheap compared to most other companies it could be that the methods they use will land your site in trouble.
Recovering a website from a Google penalty can be very difficult and it is better to avoid getting into trouble in the first place. Stephen says that on occassions it may be better to scrap a domain name and copy the website onto a new one, but he has successfully breathed new life into sites that were previously penalised.
As is often the case, it’s probably best to leave it to the experts and for us to concentrate on our own business strengths.