There are many ways to do SEO but there are a lot more ways to get yourself penalized by the search engines just because you outsourced the link building part to the wrong guy. When you are interviewing SEO specialists, understand the fact that many so called experts are just new people testing the water to see what will stick. This mere fact can pose a huge problem for your SEO efforts if you hire the wrong guy.
Here are some questions that you should ask them along with some answers which should make you run in the other direction:
1. How do you undertake link building?
While there are many different answers, some of them are just plain horrible. Link building can take many forms, but spamming forums and blogs to death is one of the least productive techniques.
Right answer: Well, we normally try to get high quality, anchored links form established websites along with undertaking social bookmarking and sending out timely press releases.
Wrong answer: I will provide you with 1000 links everyday. The links will be generated by submitting to (pronounced spamming) forums & Dofollow blogs and you will see 1000 visitors everyday in no time.
2. How can you tell if a link is valuable?
No two links are equal. The value of the link (among many other factors) is related to where the link is placed, how relevant the link is to its target, and how many outbound and inbound links there are on the source page.
Right answer: An in-context, anchored link from a high PR page is more valuable than a direct link from a low PR page (or something to that effect).
Wrong answer: We think links are more valuable if there are plenty of them therefore we use specialized software to create links for you. Do not worry, you get a choice of 2 anchored texts!
3. How many links do I need in order to rank number 1 for my keyword phrase?
If an SEO consultant tells you the exact number of links you need, get a new consultant. There is just no way someone can tell you how many links you need, unless they are controlling Google`s algorithms.
Right answer: It is difficult to give you an exact answer, but if we copy the strategy your top competitor is using and try to play the whole game better, you will rank number one in the long term.
Wrong answer: I have calculated this answer using my specialized algorithm and you need exactly 1,200 links from PR 3 websites to rank high.
4. How many submissions do you plan to do for my website?
Although you can do as many directory, article and press release submissions as you want, the majority of traffic and benefit comes from only 1-2% of the submissions. It is a sheer waste of time and money to submit to every directory out there. Seasoned SEO specialists will also know that if you submit to too many directories, you can actually get penalized.
Right answer: Well, it is always a good approach to submit websites MANUALLY to only quality directories. We plan to submit to the top 100 directories out there.
Wrong answer: We plan to submit your website to 2000 search engines, 5000 web directories and will ping 1000 services to give you a flood of targeted traffic in no time. This will be completed in 5 days for a total cost of $439!
I hope this article helped in teaching you how nearly everything in SEO is grey, but there are some techniques which just sound too questionable.