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How to evaluate a SEO advisor

Posted on 2013-05-23
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Last Modified: 2013-11-18
Dear Experts,

We currently try to improve our website (IT Recruitment Platform) in SEO-Terms and are now at the point where we decided to hire a SEO-Specialist.

We would like your opinions about some points offered:

- creation of an urllist.txt for bing

Is bing big enough for the effort?

- keyword tag optimization

 Aren't those pretty useless now? Or am I wrong?

- Alexa submission

Is this useful? What does it do?

- photosharing on sites like flickr.com/fotki.com/fotolog.com to create backlinks

Is this sensible for an IT recruitment firm?

- videosharing on sites like youtube/metacafe etc to create backlinks

Again is this sensible?

- write articles for squidoo to create good backlinks

These backlinks won't have much relevance to our business, do they still help?

- submission into high pr directories (pr8 to pr3)

What do we have to know to be sure that those directories are serious?

- Make high-quality links through Yahoo! Answers

This site is garbage and home to internet-trolls as far as I know. Does it still make for a good link generating website though?

- Video Sharing back links (new videos in 100 different websites)

I don't see much relevance between those sites and our webpage. Or does any click count even if it's unrelated?



All in all I'm quite skeptical about the whole generating back links thing on all these unrelated websites. However I need more than a hunch to vote for or against this seo advisor.

Any feedback and maybe questions we should ask to find out if he knows what he's doing would be much appreciated!
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Question by:goldwynexe
6 Comments
 
LVL 8

Accepted Solution

by:
Matthew Nguyen earned 167 total points
ID: 39191440
Hello,

My first questions for you is to what is your goal for SEO?  What kind of traffic are you trying to gain?  What do you want visitors to do once they get to you website?

From an SEO standpoint, you can drive different types of traffic but not all traffic is beneficial to your business.  So I think that is important for you to know and for your SEO specialist to know.  You will need to have your goals lined up so that you can adequately determine if an SEO program is successful for you or not.  

Here are my notes on some to the points you outlined:

- creation of an urllist.txt for bing

Is bing big enough for the effort?

-  I think this would be helpful but would not require a lot of effort.  As you noted, Bing is smaller and captures about 30% of overall search traffic.  Though, I think they should be looking at implementing an XML Sitemap versus a urllist.txt.  That's more best practice.

- keyword tag optimization

 Aren't those pretty useless now? Or am I wrong?

Yep, that tag is useless, no point of putting effort there.

- Alexa submission

Is this useful? What does it do?

- This just gives you more exposure on Alexa, just like any website business listing.  You can do that easily yourself.  It will give you another link to you site but not very targeted.  This is really a SEO strategy point.

- photosharing on sites like flickr.com/fotki.com/fotolog.com to create backlinks

Is this sensible for an IT recruitment firm?

- You are correct to question if this is valuable to your business.  If your web site has a lot of photo assets, it may be helpful.  If you do not, this can be a wasted effort.

- videosharing on sites like youtube/metacafe etc to create backlinks

Again is this sensible?

- This could be helpful if your business used the video networks as a resource section for your business.  You could provide How-Tos, Tutorials, etc.  If you establish a useful resource to your visitors, those channels have the ability to drive some traffic.

- write articles for squidoo to create good backlinks

These backlinks won't have much relevance to our business, do they still help?

- Potentially but the articles should be focused.  It is probably best to be more granular in to article/guest blogging outreach.  Target industry related websites and blogs, not generic sites like Squidoo.


- submission into high pr directories (pr8 to pr3)

What do we have to know to be sure that those directories are serious?

- You are going to have to be very careful on this one.  Directories, as a whole, are not bad.  There are some very useful directories out there.  But Google has cracked down on this tactic and has penalized websites that have a large bulk of backlinks coming from bad directories.  You will want to ask for a list of directories they are submitting to so you don't get into trouble.

- Make high-quality links through Yahoo! Answers

This site is garbage and home to internet-trolls as far as I know. Does it still make for a good link generating website though?

- This can be beneficial to you if the poster is a thought leader in Yahoo Answers.  Though, if they are just adding links via comments and not adding value to the answer, this isn't a valued tactic.

- Video Sharing back links (new videos in 100 different websites)

I don't see much relevance between those sites and our webpage. Or does any click count even if it's unrelated?

- See video comment above

Hope this helps you!
Matt
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LVL 53

Expert Comment

by:COBOLdinosaur
ID: 39191597
I pretty much agree with the the comments already posted.  However I am concerned about the one dimensional approach to SEO.  The total strategy seems to be aimed at building backlinks.  That is fine if the backlinks are quality and authoritative.  However links are not the number one weighting factor for Google.  You will not get a high ranking without quality unique content, and that should be the central focus and intial task in SEO.

Other factors can quickly negate you efforts.  If the site is poorly coded, has accessibility issues, or duplicate content you will get killed in the ranking no matter how many links you have.  Many who pass themselves off as SEO experts are just scammers using voodoo and incantations to make is sound complex.  It is not, it is just hard work, common sense and respect for users that get a high ranking.

For the issues not address in your question, you might find it helpful to look at onsite SEO practices not just linking strategies.

Cd&
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LVL 52

Assisted Solution

by:Scott Fell, EE MVE
Scott Fell,  EE MVE earned 167 total points
ID: 39191934
- creation of an urllist.txt for bing
Using webmaster tools for google and bing is good.  However, on the sites I work with, google accounts for 80% to 90% of the search traffic.  Bing and yahoo are typically about even.


- keyword tag optimization
Useless. Just be cognizant of your written content and don't over use a keyword or write just to have the keyword.

- Alexa submission
Probably not worth the effort

- photosharing on sites like flickr.com/fotki.com/fotolog.com to create backlinks
Probably not but everything helps.  If you had an article on how to dress for an interview and you had images that support this, that would be good.

- videosharing on sites like youtube/metacafe etc to create backlinks
Video is good.  I would post videos both on sharing sites and on your own private cdn where the cdn is what shows up on your site.  That way you are minus the ads and suggested other videos.

- write articles for squidoo to create good backlinks
Don't over do backlinks or backlinks just to have them but they still are important.  Writing PR articles that can be published online to both regular media and some pr sites is still good.

- submission into high pr directories (pr8 to pr3)
You would have to ask why they would put your site on their page.  If it is for money or trade, then don't do it.  If it is a media site for instance that is promoting your job fair, that is good.

- Make high-quality links through Yahoo! Answers
If there are legit questions then answer with legit answers.  But linkedin is probably a better place for your effort although I find it

All of these things are mean nothing if you don't have content people want.
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:Tiggerito
ID: 39193920
Just to back up the previous statements. Don't hire these people.

Look for a firm that will look into what your business needs. Say it's sales. Then they put a plan to help you. Great on topic content, conversion optimisation, onsite SEO and link earning.
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Author Comment

by:goldwynexe
ID: 39194021
Wow guys thanks for the fast and extremly helpful answers!

So basically I have to questions what kind of content the want to create where, right?

Ah another thing that just came up:

They claim that they have brought up different firms to the top 1-3 places in google. Should I ask the references they gave us how they were?
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LVL 53

Assisted Solution

by:COBOLdinosaur
COBOLdinosaur earned 166 total points
ID: 39194856
I can put a site on top with no problem.  However they will get dropped from the index and get block by Google as soon as Google discovers how I manipulated the rankings.  There are all kinds of "black hat" methods, and there are degrees of bending Googles rules.  There was a time the this site came up at the top of the search results for almost any tech term.  That ended when Google discovered sleazy practices that broke the rules and de-indexed most of the EE content.  Some of the new content using "white hat SEO" are coming bac into the index, but EE will be in Googles radar for years.

One slimy trick can cost you a lot and put you in the Google doghouse for a long time.

So, yes talk to the people they claimed to have help.  investigate the methods used, and how long ago it happened.  SEO one year ago was totally different than SEO today and most SEO consultants, are still using directories, link building and keywords instead of concentrating on technical quality and content; avoid them.  

Based on the kind of recommendations these guys are giving you, they are not up to speed on the SEO required in 2013.

Cd&
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