Editor’s Notes: This post was originally written on our blog (What Are True SEO Companies?) on June 8, 2009. It has been edited, revised, and outdated information has been updated to be current and relevant while still preserving the original content.

The rat race of Google’s page rankings has considerably reached an extreme level. Improvising on a regular basis is being tested in practical ways by both Google and search engine optimization (SEO) experts. Google is trying to figure out the best way to provide the most accurate results to the end user. They are also watching to see what SEO’s are doing to try to get the websites they work on to rank higher in Google’s search results. SEO experts are trying to figure out what they have to do to please Google and get higher rankings.

This results in a vacuum or a scope of SEO scams taking place. These “Instantly Rank #1 for Any Keyword” offers give people false ideas of what search engine optimization truly is. It, also, leads to many people having a “bad taste” left in their mouth after poor results from these fly by night companies taking their money and never providing results. If you are a prudent client, you have to be a bit more alert and aware while looking for the true authentic search engine optimization experts and agencies out there.

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Do not fall for scam offers of quick guaranteed results by black hat SEO companies.

Nowadays, it is very easy to find SEO companies that offer such quick result and lucrative deals. However, mostly cheap deals may leave an adverse impact on your site; and, they will ruin your business because their cheap deals use cheap work. They use “black hat” SEO tactics which appear to bring quick results for their customers at first, for a short period of time. When the search engines catch on to the spammy tactics being used (which they always do) the sites will get penalized. Sometime the penalties may include being blacklisted from the search engine results altogether!

Below are the nine things to watch out for when hiring an authentic SEO expert:

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  1. Never entertain advertisements regarding search engine optimization services that fill up your spam box.

    • There are plenty of legitimate companies that offer SEO services and market through email. Do not forget to do research to make sure that these “too good to be true” offers are a legitimate thing. You do not want to get black listed by the search engines. It is even harder to get out of being penalized then it is to get a site listed.
  2. Never pursue an appealing offer like instant high rank for your websites.

    • Anyone offering instant high website rankings will certainly be using tactics that are not up to par with industry standards. Instant results can only be created by “black hat” methods that will get a site in trouble. These results will not be permanent either.
  3. Low price may incorporate cheap quality works, so avoid it.

    • Just like with anything else you buy, cheaper is not always a better route to go. Remember, your website and how it is ranked online is a business in itself. You need to have a good reputation and presence online. Search engine optimization should be considered an investment in your business. “You don’t know expensive, until you have hired cheap.
  4. Do your research on the search engine optimization company you hire.

    • Just like any business decision you make, you want to research to find the best product or solution for what you need. Hiring an SEO company should be no exception. Interview the company like you would a new employee. Look for referrals, past experience, and anything that might provide you insight into their ability to get the job done the right way for you.
  5. Try to setup a meeting with the team involved directly in doing the SEO work.

    • Even if the company is remote from your location, you should still be able to talk to who is doing the on-page and off-page search engine optimization for your site. With technology being what it is nowadays, you can video conference or, at minimum, talk on the phone with any one any where in the world at any time of the day. This helps you see the legitimacy of an authentic digital marketing agency or expert and put a face to the project.

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A new business that does SEO work is not a bad thing. All companies start from the ground floor and work their way up. If they meet all the criteria that a company should have and can prove results, give them a go! If you are not comfortable or familiar with all of the ins and outs of search engine optimization do not let that hold you back. Google has some guidelines that can help you find an authentic digital marketing agency that knows how to do it properly.

Below are a few more tips of what things to watch out for when hiring an authentic SEO expert:

  1. All meta tags are not important. Search engine prefer content over meta tags.

    • Depending on the search engine, depends on how they use meta tags that are listed on your website. Over the years, people would try to force website rankings by stuffing in keywords to meta tags. Search engines caught on quickly to this tactic; and, they have put the necessary steps in place to prevent this from helping a website rank. It is still very important to use meta tags on your site, just make sure it is done in the right way.
  2. Website submissions on monthly or weekly basis is not necessary.

    • Website submissions are important to build backlinks and increase credibility for a website. These citations will help visitors and search engines find your site. It is critically important to make sure that the information listed on these sites is kept up to date and is the same across all platforms. However, you do not have to continuously resubmit to new directories every week or month. Once you setup the required and important citations in the beginning, you only need to monitor the listings for accuracy. It is only necessary to build new ones every couple of months to increase backlinks. Just like traditional link building, you do not want too many, too often or it will look spammy to the search engines.

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  1. Organic search engine optimization is cost effective and more focused on results rather than sponsored or banner advertising.

    • Organic SEO puts your site into the long game. The results do take some time to see the full potential; but, the results last a lot longer. Unlike advertising, you continue to get website visitors from your search engine optimization efforts for free! With advertising, when you stop your ads you receive no more traffic or exposure. SEO has long term benefits that can be seen for longer periods, too.
  2. Both on-page and off-page search engine optimization need to be utilized for a page to rank.

    • If you have a great site that has good user experience and you do not have any backlinks or citations pointing to your site, people and search engines will not be able to find you. If you have a ton of backlinks and citations and a site with poor quality, search engines and people will find your site and leave right away. Both on-page and off-page SEO is important to get the full benefits of your digital marketing campaign.

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An authentic SEO company is recognized by their abilities to “solve” the search engine’s algorithmic puzzles. The algorithm’s even look for the complete search engine optimization package, both on-page and off-page. This shows them your site is a legitimate, authority in your niche or industry. They use user experience, citations, backlinks, social media profiles, et al to rank your site in their standings. Having accurate facts and good media on your site are very important, if they are done in the right way; otherwise, all of that work will be for no use or simply worthless.

All of these things are important to keep in mind when evaluating a digital marketing agency’s ability to run efficient search engine optimization for your company. The SEO company will truly understand “survival of the fittest”. Give them time and patience to show you the true value and return on investment (ROI) that search engine optimization can provide your company. Columbus Web Consultant has been through all of the “ups and downs” of the search engine’s ever changing algorithms. They focus on proven steps and techniques that withstand the test of time and the changes in the future.