Hello. I am looking to build the presence of my website but to do it only through legitimate means. I am thinking of hiring someone experienced in SEO and SEM to do this. I was wondering what are the important considerations when looking for someone. I have read about link packages but I don't think that is the way I want to go.
Thank you for any tips.
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The most important thiings would be the same as hiring any consultant.

1. Look at their credentials - who have they helped?  Are they in your same industry?
2. Talk to their references - Most people ask for references but never actually take the time to talk to them, and more importantly, plan out some significant questions before you talk so that you get important information.

Now, for SEO specifically -
1.  Make sure that they fit into your risk profile.
There are many levels of SEO, some more risky than others.
Find out where they perceive themselves in the SEO spectrum - conservative, middle-of-the-road, agressive.
2. Find out who will be working on your account?  Will it be the "headlining" person who is on the conference call?  Or will it be an intern that they supervise and come in for some last minute hand-holding.  You don't need to have the SEO-conference presentation person doing your actual SEO, but you need to know that they've looked at your specific situation, examined what is going on, and made their own recommendations for their team to research and implement.
3. Make sure you or your team are capable of making changes suggested/needed from the SEO firm.  If you ask the SEO firm to do a site architecture audit, make sure that you are able to affect HTML page structure, meta description tags, and other content-related changes that might be needed.
4. Make sure they don't buy links - JC Penny, the major USA retailer had artifically high rankings because of links bought by their SEO firm.  Make sure to make any potential SEO firm aware that you don't want this (assuming that you don't want it).

Let me know of any other questions you have -

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onyourmarkAuthor Commented:
THANKS! I guess more important than anything else is to avoid blacklisting.
To avoid penalties from Google/Bing (blacklisting) be sure to let any SEO firm that you want only "white-hat" SEO techniques.

If you are clear that you want to be conservative and avoid search engine penalties, most SEO firms will be able to respect that clear communication.

Any other more specific questions?

James MurrellProduct SpecialistCommented:
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