How to Hire an SEO Expert for Top Search Engine Rankings

by Baba

By now it should be no secret that high rankings in the search engines will provide the most targeted, relevant, and motivated visitors to your website. With the attention being paid to SEO over the past few years, it’s no surprise that the industry is filled with Search Engine Optimization providers lacking in skill, ability, and follow-through. It can be a minefield navigating the marketplace as you search for a qualified expert SEO provider, but the following bits of wisdom will help make your decision that much easier.

Ask for Examples of Past Results

This may seem like common sense when hiring any service provider, but most buyers still skip this important part of the process. As you’re interviewing SEO experts, rather than focusing your inquiries on individual skill-sets, place more emphasis on results already achieved for clients. Having knowledge of all the Internet acronyms in the world doesn’t matter one bit when it doesn’t produce the results your business is looking for. The SEO provider should be able to identify prior issues that a client came to them with, and the unique way in which the situation was resolved for top rankings. Every business has different needs and it’s important that the SEO service provider you’re looking to hire is capable of deciphering your business’ unique needs.

Understand What’s Involved

Most Search Engine Optimization providers would like you to believe that their work is all black magic. The more they keep their activities secret, the less educated you are about what is really involved. When you’re putting your business marketing in the hands of a third party, that can be dangerous, and in the worst of cases, it can absolutely destroy a business. There are definitely some unscrupulous techniques that some SEO’s use in order to rank a website, which can prove detrimental, if and when the search engines find out. Google, in particular, is known to give penalties to websites which appear to be artificially optimized for the sole purpose of “gaming” the system for higher rankings.

The SEO provider you hire should be completely upfront and transparent about the processes involved. Additionally, they should be able to clearly define the scope of the project and identify specific strategies and tactics to be used through the course of your campaign. Since linkbuilding is a major component of quality, off-site SEO work, you’ll want to know exactly how your service provider will go about finding, acquiring, and building links. Because the search engines rely heavily on the volume of inbound links you’ve got pointing to your website to determine rankings, it’s important that the links you receive are from quality, relevant sources.

Know the Difference Between On-Site Optimization and Off-Site Optimization

This one catches many people off guard, so arm yourself with the proper information now to avoid any pitfalls down the road. SEO has received quite a bit of bad press due to providers selling services for high prices and no results. Many will claim that all that’s needed is the addition of a few meta tags, proper placement of keywords, a nice and clean URL, and you’re well on your way to dominating the search engines. While this overly simple strategy of On-Site optimization may have been enough five years ago, that’s no longer the case now.

You need to realize the SEO is a multi-step process that involves On-Site Optimization as the foundation. In order to achieve long-lasting results, especially in competitive keyword environments, your provider needs to move beyond your website itself and focus primarily on activities external to your site, otherwise known as Off-Site Optimization. This includes such strategies as link building through content syndication, forums, blog comments, videos, social networks, etc. It’s fair to assume that most of the time and effort spent on your campaign will be focused on all of the off-site elements.

Stay in the Loop

Because SEO is a multi-step process that should be spread out over weeks, if not months, it’s vitally important that your chosen SEO expert offers you regular reporting. Typically, reporting is done weekly or monthly, but anything more than that is simply not enough to allow for your best measurement of results. Here are some of the most important metrics to keep track of:

  • What links have been built and from where? Again, knowing the source of your links is important in understanding the quality of the service you’re receiving. It’s easy enough to build a big volume of garbage links from websites that exert no quality control, but a true SEO expert will strategically build backlinks from trusted and relevant sources.

  • Any accounts created for the syndication of content and the related login information so that you can administer these properties down the road. Don’t allow yourself to be held captive by an SEO who won’t give you access to profiles and accounts that are rightfully yours. If you don’t get access to these key components of your campaign, you’ll be held hostage to a provider who will continue charging you for changes and updates you could be easily making yourself, at no cost but your own time.

  • Changes in rankings by keyword. How will you ever know if the SEO work being done is paying off if you don’t see a steady increase in rankings? Granted, high rankings will never be achieved overnight, but weekly reporting should provide you with enough confidence to know that your investment is providing you the returns you originally sought.

  • Competitive Intelligence. In more competitive keyword markets, your competitors will also have an SEO program in place. It’s important that a qualified SEO service provider keeps a keen eye focused on this, and keeps you informed of the progress they’re making as well.

Well, there you have it! By now, you can speak with confidence when you’re interviewing potential SEO experts for your campaign. As long as you stick to the plan outlined here, there should be no surprises when you make your investment, and you can rest assured that everything is smooth sailing from there. Now, go out and get yourself some top rankings!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Suresh Khanal May 18, 2010 at 9:27 am

Its a well written full of most useful and practical suggestions for anybody to hire SEO experts. In fact the suggestions here are equally applicable to the other areas of human endevour where you need to hire experts!


Suresh Khanal May 18, 2010 at 9:29 am

Baba!it was most disappointing to get an error message when I tried to digg this post. The error message is as follows. I guess you need to look upon the matter and solve issues:

This URL has been reported by users to be in violation of Digg’s Terms of Use and cannot be submitted at this time. Please refer to our Terms of Use ( for more information.


Baba May 18, 2010 at 10:01 am

Suresh, the digg problem will be solved in New Digg. May be after few months.

Meantime, you can check this out :


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