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Hiring an SEO Consultant? Ask These 5 Important Questions

Hire SEO Consulting The world of SEO is both amazing and often times perplexing to most marketers. That fact is if you don’t rank on the first page of Google, Yahoo, or Bing, your target customers won’t even know that you exist. Better search engine visibility is vital to boosting your sites traffic and lead potential.

And let’s face it, as a small or medium sized business owner, you don’t have the time to figure out SEO all on your won. Therefore, the next logical step for you is to hire a trustworthy SEO consultant to lend hand. Solid SEO consultants are professionals that offers years of hands on experience and can help with a variety of SEO needs, spanning from keyword research and strategy development to generating links and building authority in your site.

Before you hire just any self-proclaimed SEO expert, it’s best to educate yourself on basics of SEO. A little bit of knowledge can be of great help when prospecting for potential SEO consultants, as you will be in a much better position to understand the industry jargon and the nature of SEO best practices.

Here are five essential questions to ask when considering investing in SEO consulting services and programs.

1. How Long Have You Been Doing SEO?

It’s important to ask your prospective SEO consultant about his/her industry experience. It’s better to hire a consultant who’s years of hands on experience in SEO as they have access to necessary techniques and tools that can get you desired results within a short time.

2. How Do You Approach Link Generation?

Just as SEO consultants in US can vary in expertise and quality, even individual SEO strategies can also vary. Link generation is an important part of SEO as it directly affects ranking of a website. Some link generation strategies might strictly fit with Google or Bing guidelines while others may not. This can even harm your website in the long run.

Therefore, make sure you fully understand the plans of your consultant about your website. There can be many long term ramifications of poor SEO work. Transparency is important, and if your potential SEO consultant cannot describe their strategies in terms which you can easily understand or can’t explain you rewards and risk that come along with each of these techniques, you might want to continue your search.

3. How Do You Price Your SEO Services?

You should be clear right from the beginning on how much you’ll be charged and in what way. Some consultants like to be paid hourly, by project or by retainer. Most contract projects range between $1000-$10,000 according to Moz’s 2012 pricing survey of more than 600 SEO firms. Project based payments are popular in the SEO consulting industry, and they can vary widely. The exact amount depends on project’s complexity and size.

In SEO consultant industry, the most common retainers range between $200-$800 a month on the lower end and $2,000-$6,000 a month on the higher end, while the hourly rates range between $60-$240.You should clarify everything beforehand.

4. Do You Outsource Any Of Your SEO Work?

Sometimes even reputable organic SEO consultants outsource some of their work (usually link building) to other SEO companies, or in the worst cases, to cheap labor overseas. In such a scenario, you will have less control on the quality of work that is being done on your website. Make sure consultant you’re talking to will be the one that’ll actually be doing the work.

5. How Do You Stay On Top Of Changes in the SEO Profession?

Search engines constantly make adjustments to the way they determine keyword rankings. Sometimes large amount of changes can happen without much notice. For instance, Google kicked up its war against spam into high gear and released various updates to their algorithm- in particular, several versions of Panda and Penguin.

These major updates would continue for years and you need to know that your Traverse City SEO consultant knows all this and can build a strategy that won’t get you penalized by any of these updates down the road.

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Negative SEO: 4 Common Link Building Techniques

Negative SEO Link Building For those who have been in the SEO profession for awhile, it’s easy to remember the good old days of link building. You just had to submit your article, name, address or website to get numerous links within a day.

Unfortunately, the scenario has completely changed. For some people, the bad link building tactics are still lingering. In this post, we discuss four far too common link building techniques that can actually have a negative impact on SEO (or are simply just a waste of time.)

1. Keyword Specific Anchor Text

Back in the old days of SEO (okay, so maybe just year or less ago,) the primary goal of keyword specific anchor text was to let the search engine and users know what they could find on a page.

Experts of organic SEO believed that if the links were placed on the target keyword text, websites would rank better. Thus, they added keyword specific anchor text almost everywhere. However, everything changed when the Penguin update was introduced.

Since search engines have evolved, they can easily correlate words with websites. They don’t need webmasters telling them what can be found on a page. Similarly, they don’t need links to know that a mention is about a specific web page.

It is important to understand that links are still valuable. If you have an opportunity to use a keyword focused link, you should just take it. However, you won’t often get a straight up URL or branded link. Just remember that if it’s an authority or relevant website linking to you, there’s no need to be concerned about what the link says.

2. Directory Submissions

It is important to understand that not every directory is bad. The problem is with placing the site in directories that aren’t related or relevant to your industry or business. Until a few years ago, the primary purpose of directories was to help search engines find websites. The links used to help websites get ranked.

In the modern age, search engines don’t need directories anymore. Moreover, websites with too many directory links get penalized. A webmaster should only submit to a directory when it’s being used by the target audience or potential customers. Unless directory will hold some real business value for your company, you should learn to say No.

Although directories are no longer the optimal source for links, they do retain value in building citations for local SEO.

3. Generic Outreach Emails

We are living in a world of digital footprints. Social media, blogs, search engines and other such platforms make it easier to find information about a person. While conducting outreach, it is important to take your time to find out who you want to reach out to.

Before sending a generic outreach email, you need to gather information about the site’s owner, his or her interests, preferable medium to be reached and so on. Most importantly, you need to make sure the concerned person wants to be reached.

4. PageRank

PageRank is used by popular search engines like Google to measure the page’s value. Link builders need to find pages with high value to link back to the website. Most link building services charge by the overall PageRank of a link.

If the PageRank is higher, the cost of the link is also higher. In order to get better results, you need to focus on the overall website versus the PageRank. Although PageRank plays an important role, the overall quality of the website can’t be overlooked.

Lastly...

So are you still stuck in these ancient ways of generating links? Perhaps you've been penalized and need backlink portfolio assessment? Hop on over to ClickCentricSEO.com for a free SEO audit. They will assess you're current situation and provide insights as to how to get your site ranking (and build links more meaningful.)

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