Choosing an SEO Company - Part 2

On and off page SEO focus - test questions for SEO professionals

On Page SEO

Keywords and more so now keyphrases, are the focus of on page SEO integrated into quality content that is well structured.  Once upon a time you could target a single keyword and rank highly for it, the web has moved on and 'authority sites' own these single targeted keywords.

Ask the SEO company you are in talks with what their main ten keyphrases are, Google them and have a look on their website to see if they really are the keyphrases they target.  Home page description, headings and menu items will tell you if they really are their targeted keyphrases.

Off Page SEO

Backlinks, search engine submissions and directory submissions.

Do not be tricked by big numbers, when it comes to submitting your site to search engines, do not go for an automated submission service, if this is suggested to you from the SEO company - SEO professional, walkaway.

Do they know any tricks to get an immediate boost? if they say yes be very careful, if your site is badly optimised there are ways to get a huge boost, if anyone reads this and thinks 'no there's not' I will tell you how, any expert reading this will know it's correct.

'Some websites do not have any other sites linking to them, simply linking to this site from a powerful website will get this site noticed by Google and give it a huge boost.'

This only works because the site had no other sites linking to it, if an SEO company or professional tell you there are other ways, I would be very, very careful and most probably walkaway.  They might get some results for a week or two until Google ban you for using 'black hat SEO'.  To find out what black hat SEO is click this link: black hat SEO explained on Wikipedia

Backlinks are one of Googles major ranking factors, 'where do they collect backlinks from?' if they come from link farms and other similar sites, this can cause a lot of trouble.  Make sure the SEO company collects links from reputable sites only.  Directory listings must be relevant to your industry.

SEO Company Test Questions

Ask the prospective SEO company several test questions to gauge their professionalism and skills.

If you do not have SEO experience, or your knowledge is not quite there, here are some suitable questions and their answers for you to use:

Question 1). What is the best way for me to come up with my keywords/keyphrases?

Answer ). This should be a joint approach with you and the SEO company/professional, you know your industry and they know SEO, you suggest words and/or phrases and they research the best terms for your site.  They should know this is not up to you.

Question 2). I have four different URLs for my home page ( http://www.example.com - http://example.com - http://www.example.com/index.php - http://example.com/index.php ), giving me four possible links in Google, is this the best way for me?, four links are better than one?

Answer ). If possible you should only have one URL for each page in your site, Google can see this as duplicate content.  Page rank and other 'link juice' are spread out across four URLs instead of just one.  Nobody who works in SEO should be unaware of this.  Content management systems may through up some issue with this as it relates to category blogs but 301 redirects can be put in place to sort this issue.

Question 3). I've been told that 'long tail search terms' might be best for my website within my industry, what is long tail?

Answer ). Some words are search for millions of times a month, others tens of thousands of times a month and some just ten - fifty times a month.  Long tail refers to a graph showing a tail-off of search queries hence 'long tail'.  SEO companies rightly aim at these 'long tail search terms' for certain clients as this will bring them the best conversion rate, it is not always about high traffic but sometimes low volume - high quality bringing a higher probability of conversion.

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