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SEO Expert Recommendations

Ann Wylie

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I’m finally, belatedly, working to optimize my Web site for search engines. Have you worked with an expert you’d recommend? If so, please let me know whom you recommmend and why. Do you have any tips or resources for me as I move forward?

Note: As I gather info, I’m talking to Dave Meyer at Bizzy Web (www.bizzyweb.com). He uses WordPress to streamline SEO, integrate social media functions and make Web updating easier.)

— Marsha Petrie Sue

If you want to hire the best, look at Dan Shlifer (dan@virtualsupportsystems.com). He is a miracle worker.

— Shel Holtz

I highly recommend Stephen Turcotte and Backbone Media. www.backbonemedia.com.

— Karen Post

I think Ford Saeks is good: www.primeconcepts.com

In addition to finding a person, go to slideshare.net and download SEO 101 from HubSpot Inbound Marketing University.

— Jay Arthur

We’ve worked with and like:

— Joan Stewart

I highly recommend Jason Saeler (pronounced like “sailor”) (520/721-6385, Jason@Saeler.com). He’s been my Web guy for about 10 years and is fabulous at TEACHING me SEO, plus doing whatever tasks I need him to do.

— David Portney

In short, watch out: There are lots of SEO consultants that charge a LOT of money who don’t really know what they’re doing, or doing “black hat” techniques, etc. I have busted my a** to learn SEO over many years for my sites — I paid one guru $6,000 for a year-long course that was very helpful, but overpriced and missing some critical pieces.

I guess you’re looking to outsource for this but I do recommend you learn SEO yourself so you know whether your outsource is doing what needs to be done or not.

I don’t know what you already know, but here are some tips about SEO that were quite hard-won and expensive to get:

  • SEO is highly complex. SEO boils down to on-page and off-page factors: THE most important on-page factors are your URL and title tags, period.
  • Off-page, backlinks (high-quality links to various pages on your site) rule the day.
  • SEO is highly complex. I was hoping for simple answers but there are none; there are a lot of factors to consider, but seriously — this info I gave you above is more than many so-called SEO consultants even really know.
  • You HAVE TO do natural SEO, DO NOT under any circumstances buy links, do mass directory submissions, etc. Some will tell you it’s okay, it is NOT okay. Run away from anyone who says so.

CRITICAL: I threw myself to the ground crying when I found out that my existing Web sites, ones that I’d had for years, were not going to work and that I would have to start completely from scratch. I’m very sorry to have to tell you this, but unless your URL is ALREADY a phrase that people are searching for you will have to start from scratch if you expect to rank on the first page of the search engines — and by the way, if you don’t, forget about getting any decent visit counts to your Web site.

I fought and resisted this fact for months, and when I finally accepted the truth, I abandoned my existing Web sites THAT I CREATED MYSELF AND SPENT COUNTLESS HOURS ON OVER THE YEARS (CAPS to emphasize my extreme chagrin at having to do that) and started from scratch. Now I have 2 Web sites ranking on the first page of Yahoo and Bing, one at #5 or so on Google right now. Trust me, do NOT resist this. I know you’ll want to cry too if you’ve put time and energy into “YourName.com” (for example) but unless large numbers of Web surfers are searching by your Web site name, you can kiss that Web site good-bye. Sucks, but it’s true.

And that brings up a VERY important fact of SEO: you MUST do your keyword/keyphrase research ahead of time BEFORE you reserve a URL, build a Web site, or do a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g.... especially SEO.

BTW: I’m assuming you don’t want to do pay-per-click; if you do that and you’re willing to tear up $100 bills starting today, you can start ranking on the first page (in the sponsored results) but unless you’ve got a killer way to convert those leads it’s a great way to lose money.

Go to Google.com/keywords and use that tool to start doing keyword research right now, you're looking for phrases that have at least 100 searches per month. Type your name, your URL, and whatever other keywords you have in mind and see what *reality* is.

Keep the Kleenex nearby.

A great forum for a TON of FREE info is WarriorForum.com — lurk and search on various topics, that site is simply great. You can learn a ton of info about SEO for free there so that if you hire someone, you can know what they should — and perhaps more importantly should NOT — be doing for you.

SpeakerNet News is produced by Rebecca Morgan and Ken Braly. It is not affiliated with the National Speakers Association. Send comments or suggestions

SpeakerNet News is produced by Rebecca Morgan and Ken Braly. It is not affiliated with the National Speakers Association. Send comments or suggestions