SEO ProfessionalsFrom the Better Business Bureau to almost every Spartanburg website developer around, people claim to be legitimate SEO professionals that can drastically improve your site’s overall rankings.

As they say in boxing, however, “Talk is cheap”, and any search optimization specialist worth his salt should have a steady stream of results to prove their self-worth…starting with their own website.  After all, if they can’t get their own business to rank in Google’s top slot for a term like “upstate search optimization,” then they definitely won’t be much use to you either.

As we’ve pointed out in on other pages, search engine optimization is an extensive subject that a lot of businesses misrepresent…and that’s putting it politely.  So before you hire an expert, there are five all-important questions that you have to ask.

1)     Show Me 25 Keyphrases you Have Ranked on the First Page of Major Search Engines.

This one question alone will separate the pretenders from the SEO professionals that actually have some skills, because there are fewer and fewer ways to bluff Google nowadays.  So just flat out ask for proven results on domains that are owned by the Upstate web developer or another local business, because getting their Facebook or any 3rd party website profile ranking high doesn’t count.  For non-competitive key phrases, people literally do that by accident all of the time.

2)    Tell me exactly how you will get my website to rank well on Google.

The response you get to this question is equally important because you want to make sure that the SEO professional is using strictly “White Hat” tactics.  The only legitimate answer to this question is –

  • Great page optimization (meta data, titles, etc.)
  • A thorough keyword analysis
  • Site-wide content optimization
  • Building quality backlinks
  • Posting blogs and fresh content
  • Guest posting on other sites
  • Lots of new, legitimate traffic

Also, avoid any SEO professional that mentions automation software, buying backlinks, posting comments on forums or other methods that sound shady.  Getting a site to rank well is hard work and there are not any shortcuts that will provide long-term results.

3)    What was the last Google Panda/Penguin update about?

The search engines constantly change their algorhythms to better spot sites that are breaking the rules, so every Upstate SEO expert should be able to tell you about all the changes that have taken place over the past few years.  If they can’t, then they are not keeping up with the latest trends and there is absolutely no way that they will be able to help you.

4)    What software do you use to track SEO campaigns?

This one is sort of a trick question because there are at least a half-dozen acceptable answers.  A real search optimization professional will almost always start by saying, “Google Analytics” though and then add in a software suite like Moz, SEO Powersuite or Web CEO.  Even though you probably won’t know what these programs are, be sure to ask what each of them does and how it helps the SEO professional make sound decisions.  If they struggle to answer, then they’re not the one for you.

5)    Show me a few writing samples so I can know what to expect.

If you take away one thing from this SEO tutorial, then understand that well-written content is Google’s primary concern.  Because at the end of the day, that’s what will make your customers return to your site, visit additional pages and eventually visit you in the real world.  So even if the Upstate SEO specialist aces every other question on this list, he can’t do a thing for you if he’s not a great writer that understands how to connect to your consumers.

At Upstate Synergy, our staff has over 25 combined years of writing search optimized copy for local Spartanburg, SC websites.  We also have the long-term results to prove our expertise as well, and we will be happy to educate you and your staff about anything SEO-related.  So if you have any questions, then feel free to call or email us, because we definitely have the answers.