Update as of February 2020:
Google’s Advice on How to Hire an SEO – Search Engine Journal
Google shared a three-step guide on hiring an SEO for businesses who may be doing so for the first time.
Step One: The Interview
When interviewing an SEO to work on your site, Google recommends listening to make sure they’re focused on the right things.
Step Two: Check References
The second step of the hiring process, as recommended by Google, is a reference check of past clients.
Step Three: Technical Audit
After checking references and narrowing down your candidates, it’s time to request a technical audit. The SEO should come back with a prioritized list of what should be improved to make a site more search-friendly.
The full guide
The Original Post
Search engine optimization (SEO), is not just a marketing tool that is used with varying degrees of success.
First and foremost, It is an “engine,” and later, “optimization.” What do you do when your car is having problems?
You can call a friend or neighbour “that understands engines,” but eventually, you’ll find yourself seeking an expert mechanic.
Most SEO companies are the “friend or neighbour” that just so happens to understand search engines. Not really. If your problem isn’t resolved and your website doesn’t end up in the top 3, at the end of the day, you need an expert.
I would like to thank Search3w Inc., especially Mr. Rotstain CEO, for providing a solution in our search-engine positioning needs. Your efforts have assisted ICE.COM achieving top-ten positioning within 3 pace months, even with Google! We contacted several companies and spent money for nothing. Those “optimization” services did not diagnose Ice.com search problems and therefore they failed. Definitely Mr. Rotstain is “the search-engines doctor”, I guarantee that any company working with Search3w will not be disappointed. ~ Shmuel Gniwisch, Ice.com’s co-founder and CEO. Montreal, Quebec.
There are a multitude of reasons why you aren’t getting your anticipated results with search engines. Have you ever heard the terms, ‘Penguin‘ and ‘Hummingbird‘ bandied about and didn’t understand what they meant? Those terms are simply the names of Google’s algorithm updates, so everyone can keep track and understand the way the search engine is going to find information.
Here is a go-to list that will help business owners and marketing professionals discern whether their SEO pros are doing their jobs on an on-going basis.
1 Excuses – “There was a Google update.” “It takes several months until…” “My team is working hard on…” “This is because you earned bad reviews. Please fix this first.” “Remember that you ordered the cheapest plan. If you choose the premium plan…”
2 Too much time – 3 months passed with no dramatic position change.
3 No leads – The keywords that go up are useless and gets you no leads. Does your SEO guy really care about your sales? When was the last time he asked you?
4 No Access – The SEO company provides you with their own report and marketing system. You have no owner access to Google Analytics, AdWords, MOZ, or SEMrush, and even worse, not even your own website (using FTP or WordPress admin).
5 Ambiguousness (non transparency) – The SEO guy always shows you the “nice picture.” He never shows you the truth and takes you behind the scenes. Do you know when the last Google update occurred and what it means? Have you been told if this update increased or decreased your position? Is it because of something you did or what the SEO did? Has he warned you to plan ahead?
6 Competition Analysis – When was the last time, if ever, that you were provided with a comprehensive Competition Analysis? Certainly, you know your competitors, but do you know your Google competitors and why they rank higher than your business? At the very least, your SEO guy should provide you with an excel spreadsheet that includes these competitors parameters, and give you the “ahah” to understand your web position:
⁃ Design architecture, flow, and layout
⁃ Web Protocol they are using
⁃ MOZ PA
⁃ SEMrush score
⁃ Number of map locations per competitor and Google status for each location (e.g. is it verified?)
⁃ Mobile speed and mobility comparison
⁃ AMP score
⁃ Content Quality Score
⁃ Content update frequency
⁃ Social likes and shares
7 Who is your SEO guy, really? – Do you speak with the salesman, “account manger,” do you speak with the engineer, or the expert? What is his background? Does it go back to web-design or computer sciences (and can he really understand how Google operates)? When was the last time your SEO provider updated their tactics and strategies along with Google formula to stay on top and bring you leads?
If the answer to one or more is “yes”, you may want to Change your SEO guy.