If you have SEO on your mind and are looking for an SEO professional then it is important to ensure that you get the correct solution, the first time. Like any service enquiry, you should a) communicate clearly what you need and b) ensure that you understand what services are being offered, and what the expected results are going to be for the price. In short you should make sure that both parties have the same expectations. “Website top of Google” is a vague comment to be made by either yourself or your supplier. “To rank on the first page of the Google search results for [phrase X]” is much better: it is very clear and can form an excellent objective for the SEO work about to be undertaken. But you need to be careful here too: if your potential SEO professional starts making guarantees about Google rankings, then that is not good. Google itself states that no one can guarantee rankings in the Google search results. Identifying the keywords for which you want your website to rank in the Google search results is essential and this list should be agreed by both parties. It is easier to get a website ranking well on Google for more specific, targeted phrases (e.g. “seo sunshine coast”) than more generic phrases (such as “SEO”). In addition to this there are a number of technical aspects about your website that make your website more “friendly” to Google, and easier for your SEO supplier to optimise. These are things that should be discussed and understood prior to getting started with the search engine optimisation of your website. Here’s what I recommend you consider and discuss with prospective SEO suppliers, during those crucial discussion stages.
How you can help your SEO Supplier Do you know what the phrases you need to rank highly on Google for are? Or do you need your SEO professional to find this out for you? Your SEO professional will have a number of specialised tools available which allow him or her to research what keyphrases your target market actually uses on search engines to find your services and products. These phrases often differ from the ones you might intuitively think of, because you are thinking from your own perspective as the seller, you naturally use terminology and jargon related to your industry, and in general it can be difficult for you to really put yourself in the shoes of your potential customer.
However your SEO professional will welcome your thoughts on what keyphrases to start with, and will be able to research and develop a pool of keywords for which you need your website to rank well on Google. Also look at your competitors and see what keyphrases they use, or are found to be ranking well on Google for, and generate a list. Provide these lists and ideas to your SEO supplier.
There are a number of other factors that contribute to this, but it is important information that you should give to your SEO professional. It is also important to ensure that your website is not hosted in a “bad neighbourhood”. This can be with a webhosting provider or on servers that also hosts poor quality, or dodgy websites such as spam sites, or link farms. Being associated with these types of website can be detrimental to your success on Google. What domain names point to your website? Do you have just the one, or are there several domain names pointed to your website? If there are several domain names for your site and the management of these is not done correctly then Google may impose a penalty against one or more of the domain names. These are frowned upon by Google and if penalties have been imposed or the website held back on Google because of them, then that makes your SEO Professional’s job much harder, and results more difficult to achieve.
What you need to ask your SEO supplier You will want to ensure that you hire an ethical SEO Professional who will undertake only proper and above board SEO work on your website. Unethical or bad SEO work, where efforts are made to unnaturally or falsely increase the success of your website on the Google search results are absolutely frowned upon by Google leading to penalties, or worst-case-scenario, being banned from Google. Regular progress updates, or questions from your SEO supplier contribute to your understanding of the work achieved and is valuable, as is your considered response to questions and feedback when requested. An effective SEO solution is one where the SEO supplier and the client work together.