Hire an SEO Expert article updated April 2014.
Are you looking for a trustworthy SEO expert to hire to help achieve high search engine rankings in Google, Yahoo and Bing?
Here’s how you find that SEO Expert, your own SEO Guru who won’t rip you off with worthless SEO guarantees of easy long tail keyword SERPs that any idiot with a computer and Internet access could achieve.
I worked as an SEO consultant for around 10 years (no longer offer SEO services, so you can’t hire me) and you would be surprised how many people especially from countries like India and Pakistan are offering SEO services BEFORE understanding basic search engine optimization!
I see comments (on this site) from “SEO Experts from India” who are asking me to teach them search engine optimization!!! So be careful when hiring an Indian SEO expert, there’s a high probability they know less about search engine optimization than you do. Although this is probably true for 90% of SEO’s no matter where they are from, take a read of my Ode to an ethical Canadian SEO expert which I think is quite funny.
What is an SEO Expert?
Before we find an SEO expert, we first need to decide what an SEO expert is. There are many self proclaimed search engine optimization experts on the Internet, some call themselves ethical SEOs, others white hat SEOs, a few even admit to being black hat SEO practitioners and the rest just plain old SEO consultants, a few even call themselves Google SEO consultants!
Since search engine optimization is a relatively new industry there are no regulations covering the SEO sector like there are for say electricians or plumbers, anyone with no training and no clue can setup an SEO company and start offering SEO services overnight. So there’s no official body to check the credentials of a self proclaimed expert.
SEO Training Course
As you can see from my official University of SEO Training Degree certificate above I’m an SEO Expert, have an SEO degree and everything :-)
Watch out for the made up SEO training credentials, I know more about search engine optimization than 99% of the world, I can argue I’m an SEO expert, but I have no SEO training, it’s ALL self taught. I studied genetics at University and couldn’t build a website until I was around 30 years of age (I’ll be 44 next month) and didn’t know what a meta tag was or anything about search engine optimization until I HAD to learn about it to run an online business.
For this reason you have to be very careful who you hire to advise you about which SEO techniques to use because at best you are going to waste your time and money and worst destroy your online presence in the various search engines!
As there are no recognized qualifications for becoming an SEO consultant you’ll have to use research and commonsense to determine if a particular ‘SEO guru’ is indeed legitimate and will treat your business ethically.
Guaranteed SEO Rankings
Guaranteed SEO services is a trick employed by many unethical SEO businesses. An SEO consultant can’t guarantee any search engine results, it’s not in their remit, they don’t own Google so can not force Google to place your site at number 1 for any SERP (search engine results page) unless you are paying for AdWords: those are not organic search results, you don’t need an SEO expert for AdWords, you need an AdWords expert.
However, almost anyone can guarantee easy long tail keyword SERPs. The site you are reading now has thousands of easy long tail SERPs, they are so easy I don’t target them. But when presented correctly as “SEO proof” it looks like I’m an awesome SEO expert because I have all these number one SERPs.
Here’s three that at first sight appear to be good Google search results:
What is the Stallion Responsive Theme
Stallion Responsive WordPress Child Theme
How to Create a WordPress Alphabetical Sitemap
Number one in Google for those three as of April 2014. Can find thousands of SERPs like these, a site would either have to be Google penalized or have practically no content to not have easy long tail SERPs.
Those SERPs are really easy and have ZERO competition OR more importantly Google traffic. I’m not even going to check, but I bet they won’t generate one visitor a month each. They prove nothing about my SEO skills.
Run for the hill if an SEO consultant guarantees easy SERPs, it’s SEO snake oil.
Guaranteed Competitive Google Rankings
An interesting SERP for this site is AdSense (one word), in google.co.uk this site is number 9/10 for the AdSense SERP (not doing so well in google.com around 50th). Now that’s a really competitive hard SERP that if I could get in the top 5 would be money in the bank, because it’s ranked 9/10 there’s thousands of impressions (thousands of Google searches COULD click my link), but because it’s so low down they don’t (lucky to see a few clicks a day).
That’s why top 5 and ideally top 3 is so important, search engine users rarely click results below the 5th result.
I’ve had the top 10 AdSense SERP for about a week for a post about clicking your own AdSense ads as I update this article (April 2014): this article used to be on another site (wrote it originally in 2006!), I started a new site (this one) and have been moving content over to consolidate my SEO and money making type content onto one domain so it’s easier to manage and promote.
A couple of months ago when I started this site I could no more guarantee a top 10 ranking in google.co.uk for the one word keyword AdSense than I could predict the next lottery numbers. And if I did try to predict one word SERPs, I’d have not thought AdSense as a top 10. Here’s a list of the top 10 single keywords for this site (from Google Webmaster Tools).
4. plugin (3 variants)
5. theme (3 variants)
6. review (4 variants)
7. responsive (2 variants)
9. google (3 variants)
10. tutorial (2 variants)
If I were predicting the future I’d guess SEO, WordPress or Stallion based on how often I use those keywords. Let’s check Google UK.
SEO not top 50
WordPress not top 50
Stallion just inside the top 40
Would have been surprised had I got another result.
I had no idea this site would be top 10 for AdSense and have no idea what will happen in 12 months time. AdSense is a really hard SERP, slightest change in Google’s algorithm and my top 10 could drop to top 100. There are 28 million pages that use the word AdSense, even being in the top 50 is quite good.
Looking at the other pages in the top 10 I can not see my page going any higher than 7th in Google UK, most of the top pages are owned by Google and are Google products related to AdSense, not a cat in hells chance my page is going to rank above the main AdSense pages.
What this SERP shows is I’ve built a site and page that’s capable of ranking top 10 for a really hard one word SERP.
Maybe it’s luck, maybe it’s SEO skill… Probably a bit of both :-)
If an SEO company came to you and guaranteed top 10 for a one word SERP like AdSense (any of the words above), you can pretty much guarantee they are full of shit. But SEO experts don’t guarantee hard SERPs like AdSense, they guarantee SERPs like my three examples earlier which are worthless.
I suppose easiest way to deal with an SEO offering guaranteed rankings is ask them why they aren’t number 1 in Google for SEO and Search Engine Optimization. If they can guarantee competitive SERPs why are they selling SEO services, go get the SERPs for sites they own or affiliate sites, they’d be billionaires in no time with that power.
My SEO Expert Rankings Suck
I used to have good rankings for SERPs like SEO Expert, SEO Consultant, SEO Tutorial etc… good money SERPs, but over the years I’ve neglected my search engine optimization sites and if you don’t look after your websites (I own 130 sites, too many to care about one) they tend to loose rankings.
Search engine optimization was a relatively low traffic niche that’s highly competitive: worst combination possible, note I said was, the number of Google users interested in SEO has grown significantly over the years. So I put my time into higher traffic niches and it paid off, but I now want a site (this one) that ranks high for a lot of SEO and money relevant SERPs (to promote the sales of Stallion Responsive: there’s so little traffic from SERPs like WordPress SEO Theme, WordPress AdSense Theme etc…), so I’m slowly pulling all my relevant content from other sites (have it spread very thin) so I can concentrate on it here.
It’s early days, but it’s beginning to show the early signs of potential high rankings that with effort almost anyone can emulate.
Signs Your SEO Expert uses Black Hat SEO Techniques
Some black hat SEO techniques are very easy to spot, others are far more subtle. When viewing source look for the following-
Commented out keywords, see something like this-
<!– SEO Expert, SEO Consultant, 20 other SEO keywords –>
I’ve been doing search engine optimization research for over 10 years and if you find the above in source it’s a sure sign not only does your expert not know much about search engine optimization (the above black hat technique NEVER worked), they are willing to break the Google webmaster guidelines.
I used black hate SEO techniques many years ago and learnt a valuable lesson, NEVER RISK A MONEY SITE which I try to pass on to and anyone who will listen. When you use the “right” black hat SEO techniques like comment spamming, SEO becomes easy, but the risk to reward ratio on a site you care about just isn’t worth it. Yes you can get away with it for a year, maybe two, but you want your online business site to be successful for ten, twenty plus years, a legacy to your children and your children’s children.
Black hat techniques can destroy a sites organic search engine traffic and some never recover!