SEO companies that send your business unsolicited e-mails about the quality of your website are more than likely lying to you! Run!

From a business owner’s perspective, hiring an internet marketing consultant can be overwhelming. The industry is inundated with jargon — search engine optimization, search engine marketing, local search engine optimization, Pay-Per-Click (PPC), H1 tags, title tags, meta descriptions, 301 redirects — the list goes on. Just figuring out which type of search-aid your business needs can be difficult in itself.

Finding the right search engine optimization specialist in Reno, Nevada can make this task much easier, and the guys at Google have laid out some guidelines on what criteria to look for, as well as some things that should send you running the other direction. Here are suggested questions from Google to ask before hiring an SEO:

  • Can you show me examples of your previous work and share some success stories?
  • Do you follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines?
  • Do you offer any online marketing services or advice to complement your organic search business?
  • What kind of results do you expect to see, and in what timeframe? How do you measure your success?
  • What’s your experience in my industry?
  • What’s your experience in my country/city?
  • What are your most important SEO techniques?
  • How can I expect to communicate with you? Will you share with me all the changes you make to my site, and provide detailed information about your recommendations and the reasoning behind them?

Any reasonable internet marketing company or SEO specialist should be able to answer all of these questions without issue. Absolute transparency in all search engine optimization methods used is key – if the SEO agency you hire uses “blackhat” techniques, your business’s website may be penalized in search rankings, or, in more serious cases, de-indexed (removed) from Google altogether. Just look at what happened to JC Penney.

So, what things should you watch out for?

  • Unsolicited e-mails, cold calls, and general “spam” from SEO companies.

It’s not uncommon for me to receive an e-mail starting:

Dear Whitefield Group,
I visited your website and noticed that you are not listed in any of the major search engines…

I wouldn’t recommend hiring any SEO company that is sending you unsolicited messages about the quality of your website – they’re nothing more than junk, and completely untrue nine times out of ten.

Another extremely important issue to watch for:

  • No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.

If your business encounters an SEO company guaranteeing a #1 ranking for XZY keywords, the meeting should be over. There are far too many variables to guarantee #1 results in a given search area. SEO’s that do this are generally the ones most likely to violate other Google Webmaster Guidelines, and will not have the long-term interest of your local Reno business in mind.

Google also recommends that you avoid an SEO if they engage in any of the following practices:

  • owns shadow domains
  • puts links to their other clients on doorway pages
  • offers to sell keywords in the address bar
  • doesn’t distinguish between actual search results and ads that appear on search results pages
  • guarantees ranking, but only on obscure, long keyword phrases you would get anyway
  • operates with multiple aliases or falsified WHOIS info
  • gets traffic from “fake” search engines, spyware, or scumware
  • has had domains removed from Google’s index or is not itself listed in Google

If your Reno, Nevada business is looking to increase its web presence, call or text anytime. I’ll analyze your website for free and let you know what you can do to improve your search rankings, as well as answer any questions about search engine optimization you may