Monday, February 8, 2010

Choosing the Right SEO Consultant

By: Aya Wilkinson

The term SEO consultants may be unfamiliar to many people that don’t have a web site or aren’t selling or building a business online. However, if you are thinking of creating one or would like to start an online business you will greatly benefit from Search Engine Optimization. What a SEO consultant does is basically make your web site pop up on the first page of a search engine. They do this by using certain terminology in your site and tag words. By doing this you increase your chances of your site being viewed.

Over time as SEO Consultants got popular online, they started using various techniques that were not approved by the search engines. They would use excessive and irrelevant keywords and fool the customers into clicking on their sites when in fact they weren’t really what they were looking for. This has caused some problems between the search engines and the Search Engine Optimization process and this has caused many sites to be banned of certain search engines. However, some search engines such as Google and Yahoo have reached out for a truce and showed interested in Search Engine Optimization and try to work together in order to keep web site owners happy as well as increase their own popularity. They have provided different tools in order to optimize their clients’ web sites without using deceitful techniques.

Over time two different types of Search Engine Optimization techniques have surfaced. These types are now known by two separate terms, the White Hat Technique, and the Black Hat Technique. SEO Consultants that use the White Hat Technique are known for their proper use of techniques of listing and optimizing web sites. They follow the guidelines and rules set by the web sites and therefore their customers web sites thrive and are online long-term. On the other hand the Black Hat Technique is basically spamdexing, in short, web spamming. By spamdexing they try and get attention to their customers’ web sites by using deception.

There are many different types of Black Hat Methods that SEO Consultants use. Some use hidden text to optimize the views on their customers’ web sites. They create hidden text by either making the text the same color as the background, posting it off-screen, or in an invisible div, which is a basic block level element in HTML. Another method that Search Engine Optimization is used is cloaking, with this method the page that you see isn’t really the company that is hosting the page, it’s a fake web site for this company. Also, when a site is searched it depends on if it’s searched by a human or the search engine, at which point a different site comes up depending on who searched it. The above sites are very dangerous as they are used in order to download software into your computer or get you to enter in personal information which leads to identify theft. Sites using these methods are penalized depending on the level of dishonestly and broken rules, the penalty ranges from reducing the web sites rankings to total removal of the listing from the database.

Of course before choosing to use SEO Consultant you need to understand that there are Search Engine Optimization techniques used that will help or affect your web site negatively. By using a SEO Consultant you will get your web site to the first couple of pages if not the first of search engines, however it all depends on the people you would like to attract. Recent studies show that most people visit sites through advertising on other web sites instead of search engines. This shows that you need to reconsider where it would be best to spend your money, on advertising or on a SEO Consultant.

After reviewing the positive and negative positions of a SEO Consultant and still want to hire on, make sure you know how to find the correct one. By hiring an SEO Consultant you will get a specialist that will use their knowledge of different strategies and techniques to increase visitation to your web site. It’s important that before choosing the company that will work on your web site has good references, like with any other specialist you hire. You should look for the following things in the references, work ethic, success rate, strategies and techniques, and of course other companies that have hired them to do Search Engine Optimization. Prior to requesting the references though, you can do a simple search in a search engine, this will bring up information as well as customer reviews, articles, and news.

A fairly strange request that will also assist you with verifying if this SEO Consultant is for you is by requesting some of the keywords they use for their own web site. You can use these keywords and by plugging them into a search you can see where they rank, this will show if their Search Engine Optimization techniques are to your liking. Also, make sure that you don’t just stop on the first SEO Consultant that you like. Like with anything else it’s important to shop around and review a couple of different consultants. It’s also very important that you find a way to communicate directly with someone from the SEO Consultant team, as their sales department reads off a script, while, someone directly in the team will be able to answer more questions specifically pertaining to you.

In conclusion, it’s important to research any specialist you are going to be spending money on. Make sure that you don’t stop on the first one and go through at least a couple of SEO Consultants, and review their Search Engine Optimization techniques if the longevity of your web site is important. Also in your research make sure that they don’t use and Black Hat techniques and use good ethic and properly assist you to increase visitation to your web site.