Let’s take a moment to analyze what or who I should say makes up the entire SEO industry. If you are going to compare one vendor to another it is important you are apples to apples with the companies or consultants you are comparing. Let us take a moment to compare some the individuals and companies that you put your trust in every single day to help build your business online.
1. Fly by Nights – With the economy the way it is right now you are going to see more of these random “SEO” websites popping in the search results. It doesn’t take much to get a website up and running. Don’t let some trust badge or Google logo on their website fool you. Many are taking one day training courses maybe a webinar and all of a sudden they are an expert. Search for their name and see what you find online. Are they good at marketing themselves? They should be. Do you they have some sort of client list or resume? If someone is classifying themselves as an expert they will be more than happy to go over their resume with you if it is a matter of getting you as a client.
2. Web Designers – Many web designers are starting to offer SEO on their websites but that doesn’t mean they know search engine optimization. Web design and SEO are two very different things. That is not to say that every web designer out there is not capable of properly executing search engine marketing efforts but it is a different type of animal that requires a different type of experience. A web design company that decided to throw up an SEO page during slow economic times should not be your first choice unless they clearly have a department that knows what they are doing and is established.
3. Software – Software does not grow a business. I cannot stress this enough. A large portion of SEO is marketing which requires some sort of human element or touch. You need to be able to put yourself into the shoes of your audience and no a software program. There are some programs that can shed light on certain holes in your marketing approach but that is most likely the extent of how the data should be used. There is no magic pill or easy way out with SEO. It takes time and patience along with human brain monitoring and executing all efforts.
4. Offshore – It is ok to work with someone offshore if your website is targeting the audience where that person exists. Why would you want to hire someone to conduct SEO in a foreign country for your business if you are targeting the U.S and they have English as maybe a second or third language? There will be some disconnect on what types of words should be used when conducting keyword research and optimizing your website. You want to work with someone that is English speaking if you are targeting a U.S audience. Yes the inexpensive prices of going with someone oversees can be very appealing but you will pay for it in the long run.
5. Experts – These are the individuals and firms that have been around for quite a while. They have a generous amount of visible clients, come with years of experience, and clearly offer a healthy organic approach to search engine optimization and marketing. These are the entities that clearly offer their resume for potential clients to view along with client references that have nothing but good things to say about them. They also know how to market themselves. Have you seen them in multiple areas online? Are the search results for their name filled with nice juicy related content? Is their address clearly visible portraying that all work is done on U.S soil? These are the individuals and companies that stand out and very well should from the above type of SEO’s.
It is important to take the time and analyze what type of SEO person you might be speaking with. Make sure you get it right the first time because the last thing you want to do is have to switch vendors six months down the road when it could have just been avoided right from the start.