View Full Version : How do I find a good SEO?
I am a web designer. I'm looking to establish a working vendor relationship with an SEO who is capable of bringing my client's site to the top five in a particular search. My question is: how do I really know that someone is good at what they do? Where do I find a capable person to do this?
11-05-2004, 06:11 PM
Most SEO's should have no problem showing you previous clients and there rankings. Most SEO sites will actually have a list on their website of past clients and rankings.
11-08-2004, 11:00 AM
I've carried this question for years as the marketing director of a financial services company. I've found so much garbage in the SEO world that sifting through the mess and finding treasure is a worthwhile adventure. Let me rant about it a bit and then offer some suggestions. First off, I have worked with 18 different SEO's in 5 years. Usually a handful at a time on different sites. I've found two that worked for my company. I found just a few others that seemed to be effective just not for me. The rest were just learning experiences.
Let me discuss some of the trash I have found.
My least favorite are the SEO's who use ridiculous language to describe their services, goofy acronyms, and by the end of the pitch I'm pretty sure I am more confused than ever.
Next are the big companies. Lots of employees in my experience spells trouble. That often leads to getting lost in the shuffle, or scammed. And sales people calling me. If you own an SEO make sure the people doing your cold calls are smarter than I am when it comes to SEO.
Anyone who wants to show me their online results with other businesses bug me. I've learned that no two accounts, two keywords, are really comparable. With all the variables when it comes to search engine ranking, I don't care how well you did with "pink meatcleavers in bangledesh".
So if I set the ranting aside, here is what I look for and how I have found 2 effective companies.
1-They speak a language I can understand. Content, Linking, Visitor Retention. If they say much more than that my stomach starts to heave.
2-The purists will disagree but I love the seo's who make "guarantees". I'm tired of that weenie response you all know and love "no one can guarantee top ten rankings" blah blah blah. Of course not. You know what, The milk people can't guarantee a delivery but I'm certain they will find a way. I want to work with someone who says, "I will find a way." Someone says that, and talks to me in my language, they have only one more test to pass.
3-Negotiations. I don't want to work with anyone who isnt willing to work out a mutually agreeable program. I see us as partners and our success is tied together. I like to add performance based incentives in my seo program.
The bottom line answer is, YOU CAN'T KNOW ahead of time who is going to do the best job. But you can identify who is going to make sure your content, linking, and retention is a priority and you can work with someone who is willing to aggressiveley pursue your web goals. Don't settle, trust your instinct, and find someone who wants success as bad as you do.
Would you tell me who the two companies you found are? I only have one day left to make a decision. Making a mistake could mean losing a valuable client.
11-08-2004, 02:16 PM
IMO, look for someone who has less overhead but a proven track record. SEO can be done just as effectively by a lone professional who doesn't pay for office space, multiple computers, staff, fish tanks and secretaries.
Ask for references you can talk to personally, and don't be afraid to keep them on the phone for a while and ask for pros and cons.
11-08-2004, 04:26 PM
If anybody has recomendations I would really appreciate them also. I am in need of a proven SEO professional, but it's hard to know where to start. I would do a search, but how will I know if they are for real. If anybody has any real world experience I would love to hear about it.
11-08-2004, 06:54 PM
Here is another point to consider. Some seo's are more succcessful on certain engines, depending on their techniques.
Also, time frame for significant rank increase can be extended. 4-6 months it could take, especially with the volatility of the search engines, constantly changing their "algorithms".
I use 2 different companies with 2 different methods. They do not optimize the same site though. One has more "aggressive methods, and the other more conservative.
I optimize about 15 sites on my own these days as the bottom line is content, linking, and time for ranking.
You could also list the companies you are considering in a PM. Chances are I have talked to them ;)
11-09-2004, 04:02 PM
Use any search engine to search for "find someone for free anywhere in the world" My site and others of mine are all number 1. Even 2, 3 and 4 on
Yahoo. On google, nr1 and nr6
On mamm 1,2,3,4, and 7
As a dating site affiliate, that was my chosen search term. A hit every 25 seconds on any of my sites, and an average signup rate of 4% speaks for itself. Average time onsite is 25 minutes. Cry you professionals. Anyone who wants some of this, turn on your sound and head for any of my sites.
I do it for fun, just to annoy the pros.
Anyone want to come to any sort of arrangement, just PM me.
Use any search engine to search for "find someone for free anywhere in the world" My site and others of mine are all number 1. Even 2, 3 and 4 on Yahoo.
There is both truth and a problem in what you say. The more finite you specify your search criteria, the higher you would tend to place, based on organic search.
However, the real question is how many people actually use that particular phrase when conducting a search? Test it on one of the on-line services. They report that in the last month no one did a search for "find someone for free anywhere in the world." They also report the same results for a much shorter "find someone." Could it be that other search phrases are what's really driving the business?
(I'm not being critial, here. Just asking.)
11-09-2004, 09:51 PM
Very well said, Jason. Sounds like you've been through the bender with SEO. SEO has certainly become a large and important part of the Web and navigating through the land-mines of hype can be daunting, no doubt.
DanF, there are some good people here. If you've had a chance to read their posts, you may have an idea of who knows what they're talking about.
Drop them a line and open a chat session.
11-10-2004, 02:12 AM
Look, with Google your clients can expect 6 to 9 months for SERP results using standard SEO white hat techniques. Period, End of story.
Just review the term "Sandbox" in any SEO forum and most will point it to inbound links. (what I believe is a direct result of google bombing to rank high for terms by stupid SEO pranksters and the selling of high PR links to the highest bidder among other serious link related spam techniques.)
I believe this is googles response.
You must focus on quality back links, on site optimization and page specific optimization for Google. High quality back links are the most important, however, you cannot "fake" the maturity time aspect that any new links will require. I do, however, believe the higher the quality inbound link the longer the maturity time due to PR selling.
While google cannot legally stop you from selling it, they can most certainly extend the amount of time you have to pay for it to recieve any benefit...lol I'm surprised many of you SEO haven't figured that one out. (Yes it is a theory, but we all know google does not want to tangle in the courts over this nor do they want you selling PR and making a mockery of their PR based algo - which many have been doing!)
You should be able to do well in Yahoo and MSN very quickly (depending on your targets). Though each engine has different focus weight points from b/ls to site theme and page specific elements. You should have no problem blending them together to rank in the top for whatever phrase you want in each engine.
I am not a SEO expert, I build my own sites, but I do know what is important. There are several capable SEO professionals within this forum that can help you. (I know this having read there posts and being quite impressed with how they handle themselves.)
You simply need to identify them by looking at there techniques. White hat takes time but lasts, black and gray will get quick results but kill you in the long run.
You need someone who understands what it will take to get ranked, how to analize competition for all the engines and compile a combined on site optimzation percent for you to work with as the developer for copy based on your targeted market and phrases.
While you're working on your copy and page development, your SEO professional can begin the hard work of developing a quality link campaign based around your clients target and marketing goals.
It's actually not that hard. Analize the SEO's current clients, current sites, current site internal and external links, current sites structure, the SEO clients targets and age of account Vs. current site rankings.
Look for the trademark of Quality VS ranking. You want quality back links first. If what you see smells like spam, well.... Otherwise, if the SEO is willing to invest the time, and your client is willing to pay for that time, the rankings will always follow quality. You simply may need more time and more back links to achieve your client goals the right way.