How Do You Know If An SEO Specialist Is Legit

Photographers and business often ask me about SEO experts and whether or not they are credible. In many cases the business owner received a phone call from a “concerned expert” letting them know that their site did not show up anywhere in the search engines, and naturally this “expert” could fix that. This is actually pretty common and many small business owners are caught by surprise.

Typically they promise quick number one rankings, lots of traffic and all sorts of things for a monthly fee. The fact that they are soliciting you should be the first red flag. There are a lot of so-called experts out there, and unless you are familiar with SEO it’s hard to know what’s legitimate or not. The sales pitches are really good, and enticing when they promise overnight results and fast number one rankings.

Many small businesses find out the hard way however what happens when you take the quick and cheap route. They find out later that their site has been severely penalized and the costs to recover from that are substantial. Below are a list of strategies and tips to help you distinguish a high quality SEO specialist from a low quality one.

In general, you get what you pay for and if something sounds too good to be true it probably is. Like a good photographer, a good SEO specialist does not come cheap, nor do they promise fast results. No one can guarantee number one ranking.

At one time some of these tactics below may have worked. Now however they are considered outdated and can hurt your rankings.

Tactics to avoid

  • Article “spinning” – low quality rewritten articles
  • Link exchanges or reciprocal links
  • Buying links from other sites
  • Automated Low Quality Directory Submissions
  • Link Farms
  • Stuffing keywords in page titles and content
  • Posting blog posts on your behalf to low quality sites
  • Promises for quick results

The tactics above can get your site penalized by Google.

Good SEO Specialists and Agencies focus on creating ongoing content, natural links and relationship building along with good user design. Some of those things include:

  • Creating a content and social marketing strategy that attracts natural links
  • Creating ongoing content for your blog and social media that engages your followers and encourages sharing
  • Building your brand online through partnerships and building relationships with other websites, integrating offline and online events, and organic link building
  • On Site page optimization
  • Good user design and conversion optimization
  • Collecting data and research to find opportunities to improve traffic and sales
  • Manual submissions to local and industry directories
  • Fixing common issues that will prevent penalties for things like duplicate content and url structure

A good SEO strategy takes time to build. Results don’t come overnight and there are no shortcuts. A good content and SEO strategy however can do great things for your business.

About Nancy Nardi

Founder of HiFi Social Web, Co-Founder of Seniors Ignite, website maker and entrepreneur. I help photographers and entrepreneurs leverage the power of the web with WordPress.