Update on Nov. 2, 2011 by Ali Husayni.
One: Trusting Your Web Designer
92% of Web designers claim they are SEO experts while in fact they only know bits and pieces about SEO. They read a few articles, make some changes to the site’s meta tags and claim your site is ready for Google. A few months later, you are frustrated at the lack of progress and what your Web designer tells you is that you have to wait as it takes longer for Google to rank your site.
The truth is your site may be “optimized” properly, but optimization is only 10% of the overall SEO work. The rest is hard-core link-building efforts to make your site popular on the Web.
Two: Not Looking At the Rankings of the SEO Company
If an SEO company knows its game, it ranks very well on Google for their important keywords. These keywords vary for different SEO companies; nevertheless they must have a strong organic presence on Google. If they don’t, you basically trust a cow-boy to fix your airplane.
Some important keywords for SEO companies include: SEO, Google SEO, SEO Company, SEO Services, Free SEO, Cheap SEO, Google Ranking, Top of Google, etc. (Millionairium ranks on the first page for Top of Google, first page of Google, Google SEO guaranteed and many other keywords.)
Three: Not Looking At the Proven Results
Each SEO company should be able to show you at least ten local and international clients they have helped rank at the top of Google with the permission for you to contact them. The keywords they show you must be the most competitive for such clients (and not merely long-tailed keywords).
Four: Not Contacting the References
It is essential for you to pick up the phone and call a few of those clients listed as successful by the SEO company. You should ask them about the SEO company’s timeliness, its effectiveness, its ethics, and anything else you can think of. Conduct your interview carefully and then trust your hard-earned money to the SEO company.
Five: Focusing on Yahoo!, Bing
Yahoo! and Bing have a very long way to go to be able to compete with Google. Google has taken over 67% of the global search market. You could rank #1 on both Yahoo! and Bing and still lose a big chunk of your business to your rivals that rank well on Google.
From the SEO point of view, ranking on Yahoo! and Bing is much easier than ranking on Google. But those that rank well with Google also rank well with the other rivals.
When the SEO company shows you their successful SEO campaigns, be watchful. If they show you results from Bing and Yahoo!, then ask them what they have done in respect to Google. Tell them you care less for the other engines and you want your site to be at the top of Google.
Six: Not Having Guarantees in Place
If you sign up with an SEO company which does not guarantee your money back in case they fail, you’re wasting your investment. No one can guarantee your site’s ranking on Google, but good SEO companies guarantee to refund all or a portion of your money if your site is not ranked on Google within a specific time-frame.
An average time-frame for an SEO campaign to be fully successful is about six months. Low competition keywords can be placed at the top of Google within three months and international keywords could take up to one year to have the best results.
Seven: Paying in Advance
Never pay in advance for more than one month of work. Paying for a full-year of SEO work discourages the SEO company to put extra efforts in the beginning of the campaign. Therefore, your results will come later in the year. As a result you’ll lose valuable business in the first few months.
The best thing to do is to pay your SEO company on a monthly basis.
Eight: Not Seeing Ranking Reports
Most SEO companies have tools that generate automatic ranking reports. These reports show where your site is listed on Google for your specific keywords.
We provide weekly ranking reports, but you can ask your SEO company to send them to you daily, biweekly, or monthly.
Nine: Not Requesting Google Analytics
Analytics is a free tool provided by Google, which monitors your site’s traffic, its origin, the keywords visitors used to find your site and many other pieces of information. Google Analytics helps you track the traffic improvements to your site as well as monitoring the success of the SEO company you are working with.
Ten: Not Asking for Solid Link-Building Tactics
The most important Google SEO technique is link-building. Although Google prefers that your links are generated naturally, but in today’s world very few successful sites are blessed with such links. For the rest, a successful organic link-building campaign is needed to boost your site’s popularity and thus your ranking on Google.
Ask your SEO company what they do to increase your link popularity. They may not share all the details as that could jeopardize their edge over their competition, but they can give you general ideas about what they do.
The SEO company should have at least two or three different ways of getting natural links for your site. You can read my post on some of these techniques.
As always, we appreciate your feedback and questions.