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How to hire best SEO
cyrus



 
Msg#: 4676926 posted 7:20 pm on Jun 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

I need the very best SEO expert for my website at a affordable price. Any suggestions will be welcome.

 

goodroi

WebmasterWorld Administrator goodroi us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4676926 posted 10:47 am on Jun 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

Welcome to Webmasterworld!

Before hiring a SEO expert you need to learn basic SEO yourself. If you don't know basic SEO you won't be able to accurately judge and manage your SEO. That lack of oversight can lead to hiring an idiot that can't do SEO or hiring a high risk taker that ends up damaging your rankings in the long term.

Let's say you already know the SEO basics so you can properly interview candidates and oversee their work. You need to set appropriate expectations. The best SEO experts make great money. If you know how to rank #1 on Google, it is easy for you to make a lot of money. You are going to need to pay them a lot of money to work for you instead. Your idea of "affordable price" is probably too low.

MrSavage

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4676926 posted 3:11 pm on Jun 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'm doing my best here to give a legitimate response. I would think the best SEO investment in today's world is Adwords.

LifeinAsia

WebmasterWorld Administrator lifeinasia us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4676926 posted 3:52 pm on Jun 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

I need the very best SEO expert for my website at a affordable price.

It sounds like a contradiction to me. Most likely, the best SEO experts will (because they can) charge prices far above what you consider "affordable." (On a side note, you don't say what is affordable for you- $500/month might be out of your price range, whereas other companies wouldn't blink at 10 times that rate.)

Before you hire an SEO expert, first you need to figure out what you want to accomplish. Do you want to:
- designing a new site (as yet unpublished) and incorporate a good SEO strategy from the beginning?
- get a new site to rank?
- fix an existing site that has been hit by any of Google's numerous updates?
- recover from the damage caused by the previous SEO "expert" you hired?
- take an existing site that is getting decent traffic and tweak it to make it better?

Second, once you have your goal(s), you need to determine what your expectations are in terms of measuring "success" and the timeline.

When you interview candidates, you should discuss these areas and see if each candidate feels you are being reasonable. (I've seen so many people hit by Panda and dropped out of the SERPs who think an SEO can get them to the top of the SERPs in a week.

(Note: this advice was offered on the assumption that you are asking for advice on how to go about finding an SEO expert. If you are simply looking for a list of consultants that work cheaply, that's not going to happen here.)

alika

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4676926 posted 4:27 pm on Jun 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

I would first start thinking about what you want to do:

- Architectural Audit
- Rank you for certain keywords (includes on-page optimization)
- Link building
- Content creation
- all of the above

The type of services you want will spell the cost of your engagement with the SEO. You can specify with the SEO the services you want so they can give you a tailor-made price. You don't need to engage the SEO for all the services they offer.

Maybe you already have the content, so they don't need to draft the SEO-optimized content for you. Maybe your link building is amazing on your own, so you don't need to engage them for link building.

Clarify their process as to how they will rank you for certain keywords. Some SEO companies have an X number of keywords they will optimize your site for, while some will work based on X number of topics you want to be optimized and ranked in the search engines (however many keywords needed for that topic to rank). In short, check if there are limitations as to the number of keywords they can help you rank.

I would then ask them for a list of referrals as well as sample clients.

One SEO company I contacted previously gave me the URL of one of their clients. Funny thing was that the client was keyword spamming in the footer of their site - the white on white text spam variety. I told the SEO firm about it, and they said that it was not something they recommended. Maybe, but if they're going to give me an example of a client so I can see their handiwork, someone spamming in the footer should not be one of them.

aakk9999

WebmasterWorld Administrator 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4676926 posted 4:41 pm on Jun 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

Maybe you already have the content, so they don't need to draft the SEO-optimized content for you. Maybe your link building is amazing on your own, so you don't need to engage them for link building.

This assumes that the client is defining SEO strategy.

What the client should define is what they are trying to achieve from the business point of view. For example eCom conversions if eCom site, traffic that leads to ad clicks if monetised via advertising, traffic that is being forwarded to affiliates or to members (in case of some not-for-profit organisations), vanity ranking for brand exposure etc.

SEO consultant should then look at the site and propose the strategy taking the aim into the account.

ColourOfSpring



 
Msg#: 4676926 posted 4:47 pm on Jun 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

The best SEOs don't offer their services - they utilise their knowledge on their own sites.

aakk9999

WebmasterWorld Administrator 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4676926 posted 4:49 pm on Jun 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

The best SEOs don't offer their services - they utilise their knowledge on their own sites.

I don't agree. Not everybody wants to run their own site and worry about monetising it or worry about building a real business behind. Sometimes it is easier just to sell your brain.

Chris_Boggs

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4676926 posted 5:53 pm on Jun 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

sorry I know this is lame but I had an interview with Todd Stuntdubl on this posted last year if you care to see my must-ask questions: [stuntdubl.com...]

In short "trust but verify" and make sure you understand what risk levels are associated with the proposed tactics. (Keep in mind that if you are in a tough "gun fighting" industry then a knife may not be enough).

Make sure the SEO can coordinate with your other marketing efforts (on and offline).

One thing I would add: don't forget to look within your organization if you have enough people that maybe a designer/coder or a marketing/PR strategist could be trained and educated. Over the course of a year working with outside help, you could shift towards reliance more on consulting for validation and non-execution strategic functions.

[edited by: goodroi at 7:24 pm (utc) on Jun 3, 2014]
[edit reason] fixed typo [/edit]

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4676926 posted 6:18 pm on Jun 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

The best SEOs don't offer their services - they utilise their knowledge on their own sites.


These are not necessarily mutually exclusive, either. You'll never get an unsolicited offer from anyone who really knows what they're doing, because anyone who really knows what they're doing is in such high demand that they don't need to go trolling for new business.

ColourOfSpring



 
Msg#: 4676926 posted 7:18 pm on Jun 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

I don't agree. Not everybody wants to run their own site and worry about monetising it or worry about building a real business behind. Sometimes it is easier just to sell your brain.


How can they know without really running sites that monetise? Being the BEST (or near "best" as can be) at SEO would require a very intimate knowledge of running well monetised sites - not just sitting on the sidelines and theorising.

LifeinAsia

WebmasterWorld Administrator lifeinasia us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4676926 posted 7:31 pm on Jun 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

How can they know without really running sites that monetise?

Getting traffic to a site and monetizing that traffic are often 2 different things. Both sides take a lot of time and effort. Someone can be great at SEO without knowing more than the basics of affiliate programs, e-commerce, direct ad selling, etc.

If an SEO person knows more about the various aspects of monetizing a site, it may give him a slight leg up on other SEOs without that depth of knowledge, especially in a particulat industry.

If I was selling widgets and looking to hire an SEO, I would be more interested in an SEO with a track record of helping other widget sites than an SEO who also sells widgets. (After all, I'd have to question how enthusiastic he is about creating/improving a competitor.)

ColourOfSpring



 
Msg#: 4676926 posted 9:24 pm on Jun 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

Getting traffic to a site and monetizing that traffic are often 2 different things.


A "best"-tier SEO will not see these as two mutually exclusive skills. Who wants to rank for keywords that don't monetise? How can you know which keywords monetise and which don't? What SEO is NOT interested in conversion tracking? What SEO does NOT think there's a relationship between ("buying") keywords and conversions? edit: whatever your "conversion" may be (purchase, signup, call, whatever).

LifeinAsia

WebmasterWorld Administrator lifeinasia us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4676926 posted 10:07 pm on Jun 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

Who wants to rank for keywords that don't monetise?

Valid point. But there can be a gap between keywords that CAN monetize and keywords that DO monetize for a particular site. It's the SEO's job to get the traffic to the site. It's the site owner's job to monetize it.

Of course, the SEO should not be optimizing a widget for gizmos. But if the SEO's work brings widget-related traffic to the widget site, it's the site owner's responsibility to monetize it.

Maybe a consultant who specializes in SEO and conversions is what you mean by a best tier SEO? Obviously, they are going to be even more expensive.

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4676926 posted 1:31 am on Jun 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

I think SEO is getting to be a very broad term these days, but...

Before hiring a SEO expert you need to learn basic SEO yourself.

+1 . This certainly helps. Get a simple book like SEO for Dummies or interact with these forums for a while as well.

SEO consultant should then look at the site and propose the strategy taking the aim into the account.

I like this. This way you get the buy in from multiple SEO consultants to add value during the proposal phase, kinda works like a reverse brief and does the familiarisation and learnings real quick.

Then you can cherry pick from those inputs as what stands out.

Some other thoughts / check points

- Aim to simplify your needs into silos of capability [ technical SEO, on site , off site , content , promotion etc ]
- SEO technical capability check list
- Client references [ look for long standing successful clients ]
- Make sure the references match your site size e.g. small , medium , large
- Length of experience
- Tactics - white hat / black hat .... make sure you are comfortable with your SEO's tactics. Building a business is about sustainable business, preferably that can scale.
- Are they familiar with your technology
- Do you gel with your SEO ? What's your communication like ? Will you work as a team ?

Some of the experienced SEO's here will probably be able to scrub this up better than me, but stay clear of wild promises, snake oil salesmanship and focus on those with a strong verifiable technical foundation and credibility behind them. Promotional SEO can then sit around this.

Often, technical SEO's are not much good at promotional tactics, so you may need to find separate persons to assist with those inputs. I would consider the promotional silo to include :

- UI/Design
- Written and visual content [ e.g. videos , reports , text ]
- Social
- Link building
- Community building
- Other business tactics that might have potential to be SEO'd, only known to the business, but necessary for discussion

Make sure you have a distinct plan, which I feel ties back into some of the opening quotes on this post.

aakk9999

WebmasterWorld Administrator 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4676926 posted 1:45 am on Jun 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

Who wants to rank for keywords that don't monetise? How can you know which keywords monetise and which don't?

A person does not need to run their own site to know which keywords can be monetised. The client can give the insight into web sales figures and in fact if arranged, SEO can see every purchase transaction made through the website as well as have the full access to analytics.

If you are running a business that is not selling traffic/ads/affiliates/drop shipping, it almost certainly involves bigger operational part. In fact you can do great on the web but still fail overall because of how the operational and fulfilment side of your web business is organised.

If you have a right arrangement with the client, I cannot see what kind of information you would have about your site that you would not have about the client's site.

ColourOfSpring



 
Msg#: 4676926 posted 9:19 am on Jun 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

Maybe a consultant who specializes in SEO and conversions is what you mean by a best tier SEO? Obviously, they are going to be even more expensive.


Exactly. Seeing the full path from search query to conversion is the insight the best SEOs have, and that typically means they're running successful sites themselves.

I think the difference in opinion on this thread MAY be that a lot of posters here seem to operate information sites, not straight-up e-commerce. A lot of my clients (as a web developer) run e-commerce sites and they can make good profits on relatively low traffic (as low as 50 to 250 uniques a day), but conversion is a hugely important factor, and how the site is discovered (which keywords are used) can be a big factor in how well a site converts.

deeper

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4676926 posted 11:52 am on Jun 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

According to my bad experiences several times, the most important things to consider:

1. Reliability and honesty
They "all" say and claim a lot of nice things. Most of them are able to have an interesting first conversation with you. Many have some good testimonials. But saying and claiming is ONE thing, when it comes to reality, practising and somethings doesn't run smoothly....

2. Your SEO should be able to identify with your topics and have some special experience with it.

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4676926 posted 12:26 pm on Jun 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

At the end of the day, it's still a channel you have virtually NO control over (and neither will the SEO) and no matter what you do, it could all disappear overnight. So whatever you end up doing - manage your expectations accordingly.

ColourOfSpring



 
Msg#: 4676926 posted 1:54 pm on Jun 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

Good point netmeg - and I think it's a point that a lot of SEOs are afraid to mention to their clients.

deeper

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4676926 posted 7:18 pm on Jun 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

@netmag, ColourOfSpring:
Sure, but in my eyes this EVEN MORE makes it necessary to ask for information and experience of others before.

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4676926 posted 7:39 pm on Jun 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

Oh sure. But whatever they tell you, they don't run Google.

deeper

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4676926 posted 11:15 pm on Jun 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

One year ago I phoned with a very successful and well-known German SEO. I couldn't afford him, but it was an interesting call.

We talked some minutes about my topics and branches and their special challenges for linkbuilding. I mentioned that I suppose to be one of only about 10%, who really works effective and trustworthy in my sector. He laughed and said, he is just one of about 5% in his SEO-branche. I don't think it was only a joke. Due to my own experiences (o.k., not very comprehensive) it could be right.

bwnbwn

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bwnbwn us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4676926 posted 11:37 pm on Jun 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

I would never disclose a client unless I asked permission (most sign a non-disclosure clause) if they don't bring this up right away walk away.


There is a bad misconception that all an SEO is good for is ranking. This is stupid thinking IMO. It is like SEO = number 1 = money, so if this is what SEO experts market. If that is what you market your on the path for a short time in this business.

What about site security hacks
What about duplicate urls
What about thin content
What about site navigation
What about good title tags
What about a 1000 other things you can help a site owner with to help them in their long term engagement.

A good SEO comes into a job to help build, secure and help the owner with a long term strategy of his website life, not only rank.

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4676926 posted 8:41 am on Jun 5, 2014 (gmt 0)

A good SEO comes into a job to help build, secure and help the owner with a long term strategy of his website life, not only rank.

I don't know too many SEO clients that would come with anything less than a sustainable traffic expectation set to some growth goals. ROI is a dirty word to some SEO's, but it remains a client expectation in most cases. Failure to a site owner is rarely an option. Managing those expectations is clearly a challenge for the SEO<>Customer relationship.

Interestingly, I have witnessed business' / sites that have managed a traffic plan with growth over as much as 10+ years. Who knows when Google will pull the switch on the "too much organic traffic" algo/button. Even the biggest players live on the edge IMO.

ColourOfSpring



 
Msg#: 4676926 posted 2:46 pm on Jun 5, 2014 (gmt 0)

There is a bad misconception that all an SEO is good for is ranking. This is stupid thinking IMO. It is like SEO = number 1 = money, so if this is what SEO experts market. If that is what you market your on the path for a short time in this business.

What about site security hacks
What about duplicate urls
What about thin content
What about site navigation
What about good title tags
What about a 1000 other things you can help a site owner with to help them in their long term engagement.

A good SEO comes into a job to help build, secure and help the owner with a long term strategy of his website life, not only rank.


I fully agree. Technically, traffic is a COST. Traffic alone is meaningless - it has to be the RIGHT traffic and then you have to do something with it. For an SEO to not have skills related to ranking (on-page optimization, navigation, call to action + content skills etc) is beyond me. If an SEO said to me "I can rank you, but don't ask me about content or conversions" I'd really wonder as to what service he provides. SEO is NOT only ranking.

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4676926 posted 7:57 am on Jun 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

Agree with netmeg.

Probably the best SEO would be a business consultant and not an actual SEO person. Someone who will help you understand your core competencies, develop your competitive advantage, and establish your key success factors.

Amazon has great SEO because they have a great business model.

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