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Selecting a Search Engine Optimization Company


Selecting a Search Engine Optimization Company


A Search Engine Optimization Company can be an invaluable

asset in your Internet marketing campaign. They specialize

in knowing how to raise your search engine positions,

monitoring those positions on the regular basis, and

adjusting their strategies to account for undesirable

results in any given month. Since this takes a lot of time,

effort, and specialized knowledge, it can be in your best

interest to go to an outside source rather than try to

maintain high search engine positions on your own.

However, like every business, there are good companies and

there are lemons. Knowing the right questions to ask and

the criteria to look for will help you in choosing an

affordable, effective search engine optimization company.

When looking at different companies, begin by considering

the approach they employ to raise your search engine

positions. Steer clear of companies that use cloaked,

doorway, or bridge pages to raise your positions. These

techniques violate most search engine policy, and in the

worst case scenario, will only get your website severely

penalized, if not removed entirely from a search engine's


A cloaked page is a page that is created which is invisible

to the regular visitor to your website. The cloaked page is

coded to detect a search engine spider and divert them to

this special page, which is set-up to artificially boost

your search engine position. Doorway or bridge pages

utilize the same concept, but often reside on an entirely

different server. Google, one of the largest and most

important search engine on the Internet, will remove your

website from their index if they detect you have cloaked

pages. Never, never employ any company that uses this


Another important element is to get a guarantee that the

company you hire will not work with your competitors while

they are working for you. Obviously, this would seriously

compromise the effectiveness of the search engine

optimization campaign. Be aware that some companies will

use the success they achieve for your website to sell their

services to your competitors. So get your guarantee in

writing, and make sure it is legally binding.

Of course, one of the most important factors you want to

check out is the company's track record of results.

However, don't take the company's word for it. They will

undoubtedly be slanting their results in order to sell

their services to you. To go beyond their simple statement

of success, ask them a few pertinent questions, and verify

their answers.

Ask them which engines they have achieved the best results

on. The ones that are important are the most popular

engines, and these are the ones you want to see good

results on. Since the popularity of search engines can

change with the landscape of the overall Internet, check

out the Nielsen Netratings page at Search Engine Watch. You

can access this at

Next, find out what keywords and phrases they are claiming

great results with. It's easy to get high rankings with

unpopular words. For instance, the keyword "cat leashes"

will get high popularity ranking because no one else would

think of using it. What you are looking for is good results

using popular keywords. Check out the software Wordtracker,

available at You can order a free

trial, or a subscription ranging from 1 day to 1 year. This

software rates the popularity of keywords and phrases based

on actual search engine use.

Next, look for good results over an entire site that the

company claims to have successfully worked for. You want to

see a wide range of positions over a number of different

search engines using different keywords or phrases for the

entire site. Request a report for any client the company

claims to have done well for. This report should show good

positions on a number of the most popular search engines

for a variety of different, popular keywords and phrases.

When you are checking out search engine optimization

companies, make sure they have actually done the work they

are claiming to have done. Some companies will use other

company's results in order to get you to sign on with them.

If you are in doubt, call the company they are showing you

results for, and ask for the name of their search engine

optimization company.

It's important to keep in mind that a successful search

engine optimization campaign will result in maximum

exposure across a wide range of popular search engines

using a variety of keywords and phrases. This is the

formula for a successful campaign, and you should keep it

always in the forefront of your marketing strategy.

Ask the search engine optimization company you are

considering for a report that shows you rankings across a

number of popular search engines for a period of at least

six months. Remember: search engine marketing is a process

that is continual, and you need a company that not only

understands this, but keeps constant tabs on your search

engine positions. That company must also be able to adjust

its strategy in the event that search engine rankings drop.

Since search engine marketing is an on-going process, your

positions must be constantly monitored. If you want your

search engine optimization company to do this for you,

request a sample of a monthly report. It is essential that

this report should show rankings for the most popular

search engines. Don't be impressed by a report that only

shows great results for a limited number of small search

engines. These are fairly easy results to acquire. Also

confirm that the popular search engine results they are

showing you are indeed the popular search engines


Be sure the sample report the company shows you is in a

format that you can easily understand. For example, it

could be in the form of a chart that covers a period of at

least six months and presents data such as the top 50

positions broken down on a monthly basis or the top 5 pages

each month. Then, ascertain that the company you are

considering actually monitors these positions or pages

every month, and that the sample report they show you

includes findings and recommendations for the specific

site. This insures that the company will actively monitor

and make adjustments to their strategy on a continual basis

rather than simply gather statistics on your positions. You

need a company that is actively participant in your search

engine marketing campaign, not just an information


Obviously, your finances have to figure into your choice of

company, but bear in mind that a search engine optimization

company is crucial the success of your marketing campaign.

It is not just a casual accessory. If you cannot afford a

company that will do a thorough and reliable job for your

website, you might consider waiting until you do have the

finances in place.

If you have to find a company and can't wait for your

finances to catch up, you may be able to find an affordable

company that will also be able to supply quality, reliable

work, such as a fairly new company. Just remember that

there are risks involved with using a company without a

proven track record - and that risk is your money! Don't

take that leap unless the company can supply you with a

least a few references.

References are the most reliable indicator of a good

company. Don't use a company that won't show your

references because of any reason, confidentiality included.

Remember - even doctors will provide references! The firm

you choose should provide you with a minimum of two

references, one that is from the past, and one that is


When you contact these references, be prepared to ask

precise, specific questions so that neither of your time is

wasted. Ask them what their experience was like with the

company, such as their availability to answer questions and

deal with problems and their ability to meet deadlines. Ask

the reference to rate the overall performance of the


Find out if the company requested that the reference make

significant changes to their web pages that affected the

visitors coming to their site. You are looking for a search

engine optimization company that can balance the needs of

both search engines and site visitors without compromising


The most essential question to ask is whether the work of

the search engine optimization company resulted in higher

profits for the reference. Without profits, it doesn't

matter whether your positions are at the top of the list or


About the Author: Charles Preston is President of Click Response a website marketing firm that focuses on better ROI for small businesses and affordable search engine optimization solutions. Search engine optimization and compelling marketing copy is the key to small business success online. Visit

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