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Selecting an SEO Company

Selecting a Search Engine Optimization Company

(C) Michael Rasmussen
All Rights Reserved

A Search Engine Optimization Company can be an invaluable asset in
your Internet marketing campaign. They specialize in knowing how to
raise your search engine positions, monitoring those positions on
the regular basis, and adjusting their strategies to account for
undesirable results in any given month. Since this takes a lot of
time, effort, and specialized knowledge, it can be in your best
interest to go to an outside source rather than try to maintain high
search engine positions on your own.

However, like every business, there are good companies and there are
lemons. Knowing the right questions to ask and the criteria to look
for will help you in choosing an affordable, effective search engine
optimization company.

When looking at different companies, begin by considering the
approach they employ to raise your search engine positions. Steer
clear of companies that use cloaked, doorway, or bridge pages to
raise your positions. These techniques violate most search engine
policy, and in the worst case scenario, will only get your website
severely penalized, if not removed entirely from a search engine’s

A cloaked page is a page that is created which is invisible to the
regular visitor to your website. The cloaked page is coded to detect
a search engine spider and divert them to this special page, which
is set-up to artificially boost your search engine position. Doorway
or bridge pages utilize the same concept, but often reside on an
entirely different server. Google, one of the largest and most
important search engine on the Internet, will remove your website
from their index if they detect you have cloaked pages. Never, never
employ any company that uses this technique!

Another important element is to get a guarantee that the company you
hire will not work with your competitors while they are working for
you. Obviously, this would seriously compromise the effectiveness of
the search engine optimization campaign. Be aware that some
companies will use the success they achieve for your website to sell
their services to your competitors. So get your guarantee in
writing, and make sure it is legally binding.

Of course, one of the most important factors you want to check out
is the company’s track record of results. However, don’t take the
company’s word for it. They will undoubtedly be slanting their
results in order to sell their services to you. To go beyond their
simple statement of success, ask them a few pertinent questions, and
verify their answers.

Ask them which engines they have achieved the best results on. The
ones that are important are the most popular engines, and these are
the ones you want to see good results on. Since the popularity of
search engines can change with the landscape of the overall
Internet, check out the Nielsen Netratings page at Search Engine
Watch. You can access this at http://www.searchenginewatch.com/article.php/2156451.

Next, find out what keywords and phrases they are claiming great
results with. It’s easy to get high rankings with unpopular words.
For instance, the keyword "cat leashes" will get high popularity
ranking because no one else would think of using it. What you are
looking for is good results using popular keywords. Check out the
software Wordtracker, available at www.wordtracker.com. You can
order a free trial, or a subscription ranging from 1 day to 1 year.
This software rates the popularity of keywords and phrases based on
actual search engine use.

Next, look for good results over an entire site that the company
claims to have successfully worked for. You want to see a wide range
of positions over a number of different search engines using
different keywords or phrases for the entire site. Request a report
for any client the company claims to have done well for. This report
should show good positions on a number of the most popular search
engines for a variety of different, popular keywords and phrases.

When you are checking out search engine optimization companies, make
sure they have actually done the work they are claiming to have
done. Some companies will use other company’s results in order to
get you to sign on with them. If you are in doubt, call the company
they are showing you results for, and ask for the name of their
search engine optimization company.

It’s important to keep in mind that a successful search engine
optimization campaign will result in maximum exposure across a wide
range of popular search engines using a variety of keywords and
phrases. This is the formula for a successful campaign, and you
should keep it always in the forefront of your marketing strategy.

Ask the search engine optimization company you are considering for a
report that shows you rankings across a number of popular search
engines for a period of at least six months. Remember: search engine
marketing is a process that is continual, and you need a company
that not only understands this, but keeps constant tabs on your
search engine positions. That company must also be able to adjust
its strategy in the event that search engine rankings drop.

Since search engine marketing is an on-going process, your positions
must be constantly monitored. If you want your search engine
optimization company to do this for you, request a sample of a
monthly report. It is essential that this report should show
rankings for the most popular search engines. Don’t be impressed by
a report that only shows great results for a limited number of small
search engines. These are fairly easy results to acquire. Also
confirm that the popular search engine results they are showing you
are indeed the popular search engines currently.

Be sure the sample report the company shows you is in a format that
you can easily understand. For example, it could be in the form of a
chart that covers a period of at least six months and presents data
such as the top 50 positions broken down on a monthly basis or the
top 5 pages each month. Then, ascertain that the company you are
considering actually monitors these positions or pages every month,
and that the sample report they show you includes findings and
recommendations for the specific site. This insures that the company
will actively monitor and make adjustments to their strategy on a
continual basis rather than simply gather statistics on your
positions. You need a company that is actively participant in your
search engine marketing campaign, not just an information gatherer.

Obviously, your finances have to figure into your choice of company,
but bear in mind that a search engine optimization company is
crucial the success of your marketing campaign. It is not just a
casual accessory. If you cannot afford a company that will do a
thorough and reliable job for your website, you might consider
waiting until you do have the finances in place.

If you have to find a company and can’t wait for your finances to
catch up, you may be able to find an affordable company that will
also be able to supply quality, reliable work, such as a fairly new
company. Just remember that there are risks involved with using a
company without a proven track record – and that risk is your money!
Don’t take that leap unless the company can supply you with a least
a few references.

References are the most reliable indicator of a good company. Don’t
use a company that won’t show your references because of any reason,
confidentiality included. Remember – even doctors will provide
references! The firm you choose should provide you with a minimum of
two references, one that is from the past, and one that is current.

When you contact these references, be prepared to ask precise,
specific questions so that neither of your time is wasted. Ask them
what their experience was like with the company, such as their
availability to answer questions and deal with problems and their
ability to meet deadlines. Ask the reference to rate the overall
performance of the company.

Find out if the company requested that the reference make
significant changes to their web pages that affected the visitors
coming to their site. You are looking for a search engine
optimization company that can balance the needs of both search
engines and site visitors without compromising either.

The most essential question to ask is whether the work of the search
engine optimization company resulted in higher profits for the
reference. Without profits, it doesn’t matter whether your positions
are at the top of the list or not.

Michael Rasmussen is a successful Internet Marketing Consultant and
author of many top-selling eBooks. Michael has been marketing online
since the early days and he knows what it takes to make money and
succeed online. Stop by his Web site and subscribe to his Free
monthly newsletter full strategies and techniques for successful web
site promotions that can help YOU!

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