We’ll start today’s blog by sharing one of the questions that we here at Seek Social hear pretty regularly on Facebook, on Twitter, or from a certain type of client… Those that are unhappy with their current SEO provider often get in touch with us and ask ‘how do I find a good SEO expert near me?’
It’s certainly understandable why a client that has been burned in the past would ask this – indeed we do completely understand, and we’re more than happy to tell these clients what they need to know – and yet we still feel bad because we were unable to help them before they had their bad experience… Today, we look to do something about that feeling with this very blog.
Blog Table of Contents
A Little Background Information…
The SEO industry is a fairly new thing, and as such it’s not as tightly regulated as a lot of clients might expect. There are a lot of self-anointed ‘SEO experts’ out there who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. That’s not to say that SEO companies are out to rip people off… Rather, the more common scenario in our experience is one of over-promising and under-delivering – one where the service provider isn’t intending to deceive their clients, but just doesn’t have the skills and knowledge needed to produce the results required.
Because of all of these factors, finding a good SEO partner is not just a case of typing ‘SEO expert near me’ into Google and picking whoever you like the look of. Just like with any other trade or service you really should be doing some research before making a choice as to who you want to provide it… You wouldn’t hire a builder just because they were the first name, or ad, or listing that you saw – and you should have the same mindset when you go looking for a quality SEO provider.
That said, there’s nothing wrong with starting your search by Googling ‘SEO expert near me’, and there’s nothing wrong with picking one of the companies that you’re presented with in the results… The key thing is that between typing ‘SEO expert near me’ and picking a provider, you ask questions – put everyone under some scrutiny, and take claims with a pinch of salt. Do that, and chances are that you’ll end up with an SEO service provider that can actually help your business in the ways they say they can.
What questions you should be asking, what checks should you be carrying out to make sure that that new ‘SEO expert near me’ is the real deal? Fret not dear reader, as the Seek Social team are about to explain five key questions that you should have answers to before you pick an SEO provider… Are you ready? Then lets get started!
Question One: Do they rank well for their own search terms?
Would you trust someone to be an SEO expert near you if they didn’t show up when you Googled ‘SEO expert near me’? Us neither. As a result, the first question you should be asking, the first check you should be making as regards your ‘SEO expert near me’ – especially if you’ve found out about them by some other means than a Google search – is whether or not they rank for search terms relevant to them.
This doesn’t mean that they need to be at the top of page one for every term you try, but if you try five or six terms that common sense would say are relevant to them, and you don’t see your SEO expert near me showing up on page one at least once – that’s a big red flag. Why? Because if they can’t get their own pages to rank for terms that are important within their own niche, how are they going to do it for someone outside of their niche, like yourself?
Finally, when checking these things, make sure that you’re not counting the paid ads in with the ‘organic’ rankings – after all, just because you see a name at the head of a list, doesn’t mean that they’re the page that’s actually ranking #1. It could be a paid ad, and the pages you see in these positions could literally be doing nothing more than paying Google to be there – thankfully though, when you look closer you’ll see that any paid advertising is clearly marked as such by Google.
Question Two: Are they using white hat or black hat tactics?
This ties in nicely with our next question. Google is not a human being, and as such it doesn’t have any kind of intuition, or a ‘gut feeling’. As a result – and if they know enough about how and why Google ranks pages where it does – an unscrupulous ‘SEO expert near me’ can use that knowledge and lack of intuition to exploit how Google works, and get a top ranking that by rights, they shouldn’t have.
These are so-called ‘black hat’ tactics. Bad faith operations that seek not to provide Google’s users with the information that they’re looking for, but to get to the top of the rankings by hook or by crook. The problem is that the humans behind Google know that such tactics and the pages that use them damage their search engine’s reputation – so they’re always on the lookout and when new black hat tactics are found, they’re patched out quickly via an algorithm update.
For you as a client this means that if they’re using black hat tactics, sure, that new ‘SEO expert near me’ might produce great results (at least at first) in terms of where your pages rank – but they won’t help your conversion rate, they won’t help you actually sell your products or services, because those rankings were earned by gaming the system, rather than actually improving the content, layout or marketing potential of your pages. In addition, gains made using black hat tactics never last – sooner or later whatever loophole or cheat the unscrupulous SEO expert near me is using gets found and closed off by Google’s humans, and then you’re all the way back where you started.
The only way to get SEO results that last? Do your due diligence, ask the questions we put forward here, and assure yourself that your SEO expert near me is one that’s using ‘white hat’ tactics to earn their rankings the right way.
Question Three: Are they adaptable?
It’s not just black hat tactics that prompt Google updates though – the humans behind the world’s most popular search engine are constantly tweaking how it works in an effort to get everyone exactly the information they want at the first attempt.
This means that at least every couple of weeks, there are subtle changes to how Google works, and where your pages rank as a result. For SEO providers however, it means that there are no real ‘guarantees’ as to what techniques will work and which won’t – on top of this, something that worked great last week might be ineffective, or even harmful just a few days later.
All of this means that your ‘SEO expert near me’ needs to prove that they’re adaptable, that they know multiple ways to get results and that they can develop new methods too. Without that knowledge, today’s SEO expert near me will quickly be left behind if they’re over-reliant on one SEO technique, and an algorithm update renders that technique ineffective.
Question Four: Do they measure success, and if so how?
What happens after an SEO campaign has run its course is just as important as what happens during that campaign. Everything that Seek Social do is guided by real-world data, and we take that approach because we simply don’t believe that it’s possible to deliver the kind of long-term improvement and lasting success that clients want these days – and the kind of progress that makes a lasting mark on the Google rankings, by the way – unless SEO providers go back and analyse the numbers after-the-fact.
So, our advice (and our firm belief) is that you should be looking for the same qualities in your ‘SEO expert near me’. They should be looking regularly at multiple analytics suites, drawing accurate conclusions about what the various data points and metrics are saying, and factoring them in to their next action plan. Beware any SEO expert that discards or discounts their own analytics in favour of ‘hunches’ and ‘feelings’ too, because the numbers are the facts of what’s really happening. An SEO pro’s intuition, is not.
Question Five: What makes Seek Social the best SEO expert near me?
Well, we’re very proud that when someone Googles terms like ‘SEO expert near me’ we show up in the results, but as we’re hoping you’d expect by now, there’s more to it than that!
We also use white-hat tactics, and we’re adaptable, but that’s not everything either. In addition to all of their practical SEO skills, the Seek Social team bring a high level of professionalism and transparency to our work. We’re proud of what we do, the results we get, and how we help people, so we want to show that off as far and as wide as possible.
What’s more, our team takes the mindset that even if we hit a few bumps in the road on the way to that #1 ranking, at least they show us what doesn’t work – so we’ll always be open and honest with you about what we’re doing and why, and always thinking of what we can try next should an approach not yield the results we want.