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SEO is Not a Magic Trick

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SEO is the magic word, but unfortunately it is not a magic trick. More search engine optimization companies and SEO consultants are promoting their services every day. Industry is growing which is good. But SEO world has its own bad apples just like in any other industry.

So called SEO Consultants who try to show SEO as a magic trick are actually damaging the industry on purpose or not. The people in the industry can easily understand the difference between real, knowledgeable SEO’s and the bad apples. But, how about the prospective clients who don’t know anything about SEO?

If you keep hearing about the importance of SEO, and not sure about whom to hire, and how to interview an SEO consultant, here are some “red flag” tips for you.
Stay Away Warnings in SEO World

1. Guaranteed Search Results: Stay away from any, so called, SEO Consultant who guarantees organic search result rankings. There is absolutely no way to guarantee a ranking on search engines. If they promise they will make your website come up #1 or on the first page within X days, they are lying or they are talking about paid traffic sources (PPC, etc.)
2. “Too good to be true” Promises: If it is too good to be true, probably it is not true. So if they are quoting you ridiculously low on their consultant fees, it is either a short term ripoff, or many more extra charges are on the way. Quality SEO is NOT cheap. It needs long hours of hard work by smart people. Smart people will cost more. Just to keep in mind.
3. SEO is all about Organic Traffic: If you are hiring a consultant for SEO work, make sure that it is for organic search engine traffic. Many bad apples provide dirt cheap, unrelated paid traffic to show the increase in traffic. Make sure that you will be receiving pure organic search traffic.
4. Secret Recipe: There’s no secret recipe in SEO. There’s hard work, know how, and experience. Ask them anything you like. Don’t expect them to explain you every single detail about their SEO plan (it might be time consuming, and too technical), but if they start talking about a secret recipe, and proprietary techniques, it is a red flag. They should be honest and open about every technique they use to help your site improve its search engine traffic.
5. We only bring traffic: SEO is search engine optimization. It is not conversion optimization, or landing page optimization, but any good SEO is more knowledgeable than you are about conversion optimization. It might not be in the contract, but you might need help to increase your conversions. So make sure that they will help you to increase your conversions. Tell them that they will not be only working on bringing in the traffic, you will need help to increase your conversions (sales or leads).
6. $$$ Per Keyword Ranking: Some SEO Companies will quota you $$$ per keyword ranking. For the keyword “XYZ”, if your site gets ranked on the first page, you will pay us $10/month. This is a big NO in my book. Why? This strategy is not a whole in itself. Instead of working fully on a site with its SILO structure and domain authority, they will only focus on easy to rank keywords and landing pages. Even though the idea might sound right from business perspective at the beginning (pay only if you get results), this is not a long term SEO strategy.

These are only a few of the “red flags” you have to be careful about choosing the right SEO consultant for your project.
seo long term
SEO is Long Term Hard Work

You did your research, you have learned the basics of SEO before hiring the right consultant for your project. What happens next?

Remember, SEO is not a magic trick. You don’t just turn on the button, and the traffic starts pouring in. From basic keyword research to advanced SEO techniques, every step needs hard work.

If you need fast, urgent traffic and ROI, you might be better with PPC Traffic. If PPC is the 100 meters track race, SEO is the cross country race, or even the marathon. SEO needs hard work, discipline, long term planning and strategy.

So, do your homework, and make sure you understand your needs and expectations before hiring an SEO Consultant. It will only help you in the long term process if you know what your expectations are.

SEO has become an industry. There are many honest, hard working, smart and great SEO companies and consultants, do not judge the whole industry if you haven’t had a great experience with a bad apple.

P.S. If this article was any interest to you, you might also read what I wrote about the Job Description of an SEO Consultant. You will find some more in depth information about hiring an SEO consultant from both sides’ perspectives.

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Seo is Easy: Search Engines

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Seo is Easy: Search Engines

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Getting Open Directory Project (ODP) Listings

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The Open Directory Project (ODP), http://dmoz.org, is the most important taxonomic directory on the Web. Formally hosted and administered by the Netscape division of AOL, the ODP is run along the lines of an open source project with the belief that "humans do it better."

The ODP believes that web-automated search is ineffective, and getting worse, and that the small contingent of paid editors at commercial web search engine companies cannot keep up with the staggering rate of change on the Webdecaying stagnant sites, link rot, new sites, sites intended as search spam, and so on.

The ODP is run and maintained by a vast army of volunteer editors. These editors follow internal checks and balances to keep the integrity of the directory. See http://dmoz.org/guidelines/ for more information about the ODP review process and guidelines for site inclusion.

You, too, can become an ODP editor in an area of your interest and expertise. See http://dmoz.org/help/become.html for more information about becoming an ODP editor. This is a partially facetious suggestion, but one of the most effective ways to use SEO to promote your sites is to follow the patterns and practices of the ODP to get your sites included. You'll find an FAQ about how to add your site at http://www.dmoz.org/add.html (this FAQ is also available via a link from the ODP home page).

The ODP taxonomy (categorization system) and the sites included in the categories are freely available as data for use by anyone who wants to run their own search engine as long as the terms of the ODP's free-use license is complied with.

Google, and most of the major search engines, do use information derived from the ODP, but each major search engine uses it in their own way. With Google in particular, information from the ODP is used to form the Google Directory, http://directory.google.com.

Most significant, inclusion within an ODP category means that your site is very likely to be included within the Google Web index (as well as the Google Directory, and in other major web indices) as a high-ranking result for searches within that category.

So it's worth submitting your site to the ODP, if only because it's the best way to get indexed by search engines, including Googleand, to a significant extent, to manage how your site is categorized.

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Search Engines

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If your page (or site) has inbound links from sites in a search index, then Google (or any other broad search engine) will most likely find you pretty quickly. However, it's peculiar but true: different search engines index different portions of the Web. Also, at any given time, it is impossible for any search engine index to include the entire Web!

To avoid being left out, it makes sense to manually add your URLs to search engines. (In early times there might be more of a delay before your sites were found, and it really made sense to make sure you were listed!)

To manually add your URL to Google, go to http://www.google.com/addurl/. You can get listed at Yahoo! at http://submit.search.yahoo.com/free/request.

Getting listed is, of course, only the beginning of the battle. One of the key goals of core SEO is to get both highly ranked and listed in reference to some specific search terms. Achieving this goal requires taking affirmative control of the information that the search index may use to make ranking decisionsand that it will use to understand the quality of your pages.

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