Black Hat SEO

SEO Consultants

10 Questions to Ask When Hiring an SEO Consultant

By | Black Hat SEO, Google, Search Engine Optimizaion

Search engine optimization is a never-ending process. Therefore, before hiring an SEO agency one needs to go through its various aspects thoroughly and ask some important questions. Asking these simple yet vital questions will reveal a lot about your potential digital marketing partner. Furthermore, gathering extra information about a probable SEO partner will allow you to make a well-informed decision. Below are the top 10 questions to ask when hiring an SEO consultant. Make sure you don’t forget to ask these questions to your SEO agency.

1. May I know your former and current clients?

Experienced SEO companies usually have a wide range of clients. Normally, these companies encourage you to contact their former and current clients. Actually, this is one of the best practices that search engine optimization agencies follow. If you are not encouraged to contact former clients, you can ask your potential SEO partner to give a list of their clients. If the agency agrees, then that is a good sign.

Go through the list and select the businesses that are relevant to you. Try to contact at least two clients and know their experience. Yes, reading reviews is also a good method. However, a client tends to write a short review. He might miss some important points. So, it is good to talk to former clients to know the pros and cons of a search engine optimization company in detail.

2. How will you improve my visibility?

This is the most important question to ask an SEO consultant before hiring. It is fundamental to know how your potential digital marketing partner is going to improve your search engine ranking. Knowing the work process will make it easy to judge the cost of the service. You can do the same thing for a couple of SEO agencies and judge them on the basis of both cost and SEO service.

Make sure the proposal includes an initial technical review of your site. This can avoid the issues that lower your search engine ranking. Furthermore, ask the details of both on-page optimization and off-page optimization. Go through the process carefully. Search engine optimization is huge. Each and every company follows its own process. Therefore, it makes sense to know the SEO process before joining the hands.

3. Read online reviews.

In the first point, we have discussed that asking questions to the former clients will help you know the subtle details of a company. However, it is not a good idea to depend solely on a couple of ex-clients. Furthermore, it is not viable to contact all the former clients. So it is good to read several reviews, along with contacting a couple of former clients.

Reading online reviews is one of the best and most favorite methods of people to do research on a company. You can know both positive and negative points of an SEO company in one place. Do not form an opinion just by a reading couple of reviews. Make sure you read enough reviews before making an opinion.

Furthermore, read the response of the SEO company to the online reviews. Rude, duplicate or no reply shows the unprofessional side of a company. In addition to that, do not expect an SEO company to have a clean online image. No matter how good a company is, it tends to have a couple of negative reviews at least. So, read both positive and bad reviews and make a well-informed decision.

4. Do you follow search engine guidelines?

There are two types of search engine optimization. They are black hat SEO and White hat SEO. Blackhat SEO involves aggressive SEO strategies, that usually violate search engine guidelines. Such techniques normally give quick results initially, but later become a cause for Google penalty. So it is a good idea to ask whether an SEO company follows search engine guidelines.

Never opt an SEO agency that does a black hat SEO. Normally, online reviews will let you know whether a company follows Google guidelines or not. Furthermore, a company which promises guaranteed results within a short period of time is more likely to use black hat tactics. Search engine optimization takes time. Do not expect a company to deliver the result in a week.

5. How will you improve local search results?

Having a top place in the local search engine results page is critical for small-business owners. So, if you own a small or local business, you should not forget to ask this question. Contact your SEO consultant and try to know who holds the expertise in the local search engine optimization, and how he or she is going to enhance local search results.

If you are going for local search engine optimization, you should expect your business to appear when someone nearby is searching for the products and services you sell. This is done by adding your town, and state to your site’s meta description and title tags. This is just one among several steps that an SEO firm takes to place you in the top position for a specific geographical area.

6. How does pricing work?

Normally, SEO is not a low-cost digital marketing method. The amount you spend on SEO will get multiplied and come back to you in form of sales. In order to get good results, you have to spend some money. However, it does not make sense to pay the amount for the SEO service without knowing its pricing structure.

Since the pricing of SEO is unpredictable, you may end up with a surprise bill. To avoid this ask the below questions regarding pricing:

  • How much do you charge?
  • Do you charge hourly, monthly, or do you have a package?
  • When should we have to pay?
  • Can you provide the details of work done and its cost?
  • Do I need to pay the amount in advance?
  • Can I pay at the end of every month?

7. How will you optimize content?

You might already know content is the most important ranking factor. It has two important jobs to do. Those are engaging visitors and impressing search engines. Rightfully, optimizing the content is the top-most aspect of the search engine optimization process. Below are the five important questions you need to ask.

  • Will you create new content?
  • How will you optimize our content?
  • Why content optimization is important?
  • Is it possible to use the existing content?
  • Will you create new landing pages and add content to it?
    The above-mentioned five questions will give all the details that you need to know about content optimization.

8. Can I meet the SEO, team?

Before choosing an SEO agency, one must make sure that his or her online presence is going in the safe hands. Usually, SEO companies send their top team to win new clients. This is done to make a good impression.

Ask if you can talk to the SEO team that is going to handle your project. You can establish a relationship with them so that you know what work is being done, and who is doing it. The other advantage of knowing the team is that you will not be in the dark. In some cases, projects are handled by not so good SEO team of an excellent SEO agency. So, make sure you are getting the best team. You can judge the team by the previous projects and work experience of the team members.

9. Are you working for our competitors?

It is not unusual for an SEO company to handle the project of the two competitors. This can be good news or bad news based on the orientation of the SEO agency. If the agency is inclined towards you, then you are going to beat your competitors. And if the agency is inclined towards your competitor, then you are going to lose the battle at the beginning itself.

This is because an SEO agency knows what works for you and your competitors? In most of the cases, the SEO firm will take the side of the party which pays more. So, it is better to not to opt an SEO agency which is already running an SEO campaign for your competitors.

10. How do you measure the success of an SEO campaign?

In the end, you want to know how successful a search engine optimization campaign was. However, it is not good to expect quick results. White hat SEO does not violate search engine rules. Hence it takes time to give fruitful results.

There are multiple ways to measure the success of a campaign. In most of the cases, an SEO firm uses search engine optimization metrics to measure the progress of an SEO campaign. Do not aim only for organic traffic. Aim for more conversions and sales too.

Black Hat SEO

10 Black Hat Techniques to Avoid

By | Black Hat SEO, Search Engine Optimizaion

Black hat techniques are the unethical techniques that go against search engine guidelines to achieve higher search ranking. It is not that easy to cheat the search engines as many black hat tricks promise. Google constantly improves its algorithms to provide better search results and to identify black hat techniques.

Google’s panda and penguin update are the best example. These algorithms are added for the sole purpose of penalizing sites that use black hat tactics. It is not possible to cheat search engines. Many people fall for these techniques and suffer penalties. Below are the most common black hat techniques.

1. Link Exchange
Basically, Link Exchange works on the policy – If you link my site, then I will link yours. Usually, beginners consider Link Exchanges as a mutual help and are not aware that it is considered as a black hat technique. Unnatural links are usually irrelevant and possess low quality. They can hamper your SEO efforts.

Links are the key factor to rank a website and are considered as a vote to site. A website should concentrate more on building natural links. Generating unique high-quality content is the best method to attract links naturally. Read Google guidelines for link building and follow them.

2. Cloaking
Cloaking is a practice that violates webmaster guidelines, and shows different content to web users and Google, to rank high on the certain keywords. For example, your web code tells Google that you provide news and show users a wide range of furniture instead. Such activity spoils web experience.

Google has officially announced cloaking as a black hat SEO technique. Sophisticated and advanced algorithms of Google can easily catch cloaking and penalize your website by lowering search ranking or ban it completely from the search engine.

3. Invisible Text
Invisible text, popularly known as hidden text or fake text, is used for spamming search engines. Here, in order to stuff extra keywords, texts are made invisible by using same color for the text and background. For example, purple text on a purple background can be invisible for any human being.

This method can trick humans but not Google bots. These search engine bots are equipped with an automated system, that goes through your source code, and traces every single detail of your website. Don’t use any tactics, which can risk your online presence.

4. Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing is a practice of overloading a content with keywords and making search engines believe the page is relevant for the particular keywords to attain a higher search engine ranking. This black hat technique can do more harm than good.

Search engines are well aware of such practices. They can penalize your website for keyword stuffing or remove it completely from the index. Write content keeping audience in mind and not solely for the search engines. Always remember that a content should look natural.

5. Page Swapping
Page swapping is also popularly known as Bait-and-Switch. It is a black hat SEO technique, where you get a page indexed & ranked, and then change the entire content to something else, which has commercial value.

The work of a search engine is to send users to the content which they are searching with the help of keywords. Page swapping takes a user to a page that is totally different. Search engine can aggressively penalize or ban your website for swapping of a page.

6. Buying Links
Paid links are usually irrelevant and have low quality. Nowadays, you can buy a bunch of links from the sites like Fiverr. Trust us, buying links is nothing but spending money on something, which is going to hurt you badly.

Search engines are smart. Google’s penguin update can catch a website when it gets a lots of links over a short period of time, even from relevant sites. Link building takes time. Be patient and focus on natural methods to avoid search engine penalties.

7. Duplicate Content
Wondering why we are mentioning duplication of a content as a black hat trick? That’s because even today, it is popular and people copy paste the content from others. The main goal of a search engine is to present unique and high-quality content, and that’s why copying content is rightfully considered as one of the worst black hat techniques. Moreover, stealing content is a waste of time. Search engine can catch duplicated content almost instantly.

8. Content Automation
Today we have plenty of tools and softwares to generate the content for any particular topic. The process of creating such content is called content automation. Content generated by such method may be unique, but it’s poor quality spoils the readability.

Hence, search engines do not entertain content automation and penalize websites, which uses any such content. It is sensible to hire a content writer, who can create unique and quality content to convey the correct message to your audience.

9. Doorway Pages
Ever experienced a search result taking you to some unexpected and irrelevant page? That is due to a doorway page. They are also known as jump page, gateway page and bridge page. Doorway Pages are the pages which are designed solely to attain higher search rank for specific keywords and send visitors from a chosen result to a different landing page. Search engine algorithms can easily pick doorway pages and penalize aggressively.

10. Comment Spamming
In order to generate bulk backlinks to your website in a very short period a black hatter uses special software to leave links in comments of various blogs with the intention to elevate search engine ranking. Just like every other black hat tactic, even comment spamming is identified by search engines. Doing honest and ethical commenting may take time, but it provides quality backlinks.

Closing Note:
There are numerous black hat tactics, we have mentioned the most common ones. Most of the people opt these black hat strategies to attain higher search engine ranking in the shortest period of time for free. As a result of which they get penalized and spend money on penalty recovery.

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