Having observed many forum threads of how some SEO companies use ‘black hat’ tactics to rank their client’s websites, I got thinking about the types of questions I’m commonly asked by a range of business owners.
SEO is very tricky in terms of understanding which providers are true SEO providers, and not a snake-oil salesmen. Here’s some questions you should be asking SEO companies to try and weed out the genuine companies from the fake.
1. What do you do on my website?
When you ask this question, a lot of the fake companies will respond with a thousand and one answers. The simple fact of reality is that onpage optimisation is rather simple to understand but can be complicated to implement based on a number of variables.
But any reasonable SEO provider will focus on these points:
- Website architecture: is your website easily navigated to deep inner-pages; or important pages of content which a user should easily find if they’re looking for it.
- Titles and Descriptions: whilst the META keywords tag isn’t overly important in Google, they do still put some weight on the META Title and Description tags. Other search engines such as Yahoo & Bing still do use the META keywords tag though.
- Content should make use of headings: H1, H2, H3 etc tags are rather important to search engines as it shows the importance of that body of content on the page. Making use of the headings also give you the chance to use a keyword of your desire which Google will add some weight to when the algorithm is deciding whether or not to rank your website.
- Content on important pages: the pages that you want to rank should contain relevant & useful content for the search engines. Keyword density used to be a huge factor however these days Google is smart enough to be able to read your content as a human would.
2. What link building will you be conducting?
SEO relies on links as “votes” to your website to increase it’s search engine ranking. Rewind the clock a few years, and SEOs used to throw thousands of dodgy links at their sites in hope it would rank – and back then, most of the time it worked.
These days are different though. If you were to do that, it’s a massive red flag and Google would throw an “unnatural links” penalty your way.
Avoid any SEO company that focuses on acquiring links from blog networks, blog comments, forum profiles or any other “user-generated” link schemes. Some SEO companies even have their own private blog network which they have built – if you catch onto this, run the other way immediately.
Link building used to be the key to ranking, and to some degree it “sort of” still is. But not in the way it use to be.
You need to focus on quality, as opposed to quantity. Having your business mentioned by a major news site and gaining one link from them for example, is worth thousands of dodgy links.
So the best method to attract links is by offering useful and good content to the audience; chances are you will attract natural backlinks from that.
Content marketing is also very useful to generate good backlinks. If you were a plumber, you could draw up a blog post with images which illustrates common-fixes to some basic plumbing issues – this could get the attention of many blog owners, and even media sites as they like to promote useful “tutorials” their readers.