As a website owner it is perfectly natural to expect your website to rank near the top of the search results. After all, with all that fantastic content that you’ve just spent days and weeks fine-tuning, how could it not be immensely popular?

And as sure as night follows day, when your site fails to make the first page it’s tempting to blame Google, because, how could your beautiful new website be the problem?

So, take a deep breath and read the next line.

It’s not Google’s fault, it’s not your website’s fault: it’s your fault.

Sorry, but you haven’t finished the job. Your next task is going to be challenging, but in this new world, competition is fierce, and to finish the job you’ll need to pay careful attention to the various ways you can claw your site up the rankings.

But don’t despair. You can get help, it even has a name Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and there are plenty of consultants and companies offering SEO services, the only problem is sorting the wheat from the chaff. Luckily for you, you are just about to read The Six Golden Rules for Choosing an SEO consultant.

Golden Rule Number 1: Contacted by an SEO firm? Keep your wits about you!

Although it does not automatically follow that all SEO firms that contact you are just out for a quick buck you should keep your wits about you and be wary of any that do. The majority of good SEO consultants will rather react to an inquiry than spend time trawling the Internet looking for poorly optimized websites.

Golden Rule Number 2: Guarantees are lies – spurn them and the companies that offer them

Okay, as Golden Rules go it is not fair to say that all guarantees are lies, there are a few genuine guarantees that are offered in good faith and as a sign of confidence, nevertheless err on the side of caution and treat them all as you would a suspect standing over a dead body with a smoking gun.

SEO consultants have no control over how the search engines search; they have no influence over the competition and so no matter how much you want it they are not in any position to offer you meaningful guarantees with regards to the results that can be achieved.

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There are no “special relationships” or “tricks”, if you are offered a guarantee, or think yourself covered for insisting on one, it is quite possible that the guarantee offered will be worthless.

Guarantees that are freely offered are generally not what they seem. Anyone with a basic knowledge of SEO will be able to rank you high for an uncompetitive search phrase; being ranked number one for a search phrase that no one is using is as useful and expensive as erecting a billboard in the middle of the Sahara Dessert.

Golden Rule Number 3: Secretive SEO’s should be shown the door

Your relationship with an SEO consultant should be similar to that you would expect from your accountant as you are ultimately responsible for your website and the actions of the people that you employ to build and maintain your website.

There is no reason for an SEO consultant not to explain why and what they are doing and they should be prepared to document all that they have done. They should not insert undocumented code and you should be careful of those that want to install their own software; give consideration as to what will happen if you decide at a later date to end you relationship with them.

By Haadi