The search industry is growing rapidly, and new search engine optimization (SEO) companies are appearing almost daily. However, whether or not they are actually skilled is open to debate. It can be very hard to really remain up to date with everything SEO. Plus, you don’t know for sure whether the ‘experts’ use safe or unsafe practices. Unsafe practices may work, but they will also incur heavy penalties if – when – you get caught.
So how do you know whether the search engine optimization company you are considering is good or not? The following questions may help.
Can the Search Engines See Anything That a Visitor Does Not?
Cloaking is technique that a lot of SEO companies will use. Essentially, this means that there is a piece of software on your site that recognizes whether a visitor is an actual visitor or a robot. If it’s a robot, they show them different content that would make it rank higher. If you are caught cloaking, the penalty may be as severe as a lifetime ban from all search engines.
Are All Pages Built In to the Site’s Navigation?
This is another sneaky technique known as ‘doorway pages’. A door way page is very similar to a cloaking page, although even worse. Expect to get caught, because they hide even less well than cloaking pages, and expect to be banned for life. If your chosen SEO company doesn’t clearly state that they do not use doorway pages (or targeted entry pages, bridge pages or gateway pages), you need to look elsewhere.
A good SEO company will work incredibly hard on making sure that the inbound links you receive are of really good quality. This is because much of your ranking will depend on how popular your links are. Link building should be one of the essential elements of any SEO package, and this should not be an automated service. Rather, links should be submitted manually for maximum results. While automating link building won’t get you penalties necessarily (although you could end up linking to or from a penalized site and this could spell trouble for you), it simply won’t give you the results you are looking for.
One of the most time consuming elements of SEO is link building. As a result, a lot of SEO companies look into optimization methods for this. At present, no automation exists that can build links as effectively as what manual building can do. Automate reciprocal linking is one tactic often used by poor quality SEO companies, and the chance of entering a so-called ‘bad neighborhood’ (linking to or from a penalized site) is very high.
Hopefully, the above will give you a general idea of what to look for in a company. If nothing else, it will have shown you what to avoid. Most SEO companies, however, will not be entirely honest about whether or not they use black hat (unsafe) tactics. This means that you do also have to delve a little deeper before signing up.