So you decided to outsource your SEO, or maybe just some of it because of a lack of time. Where do you start for finding a reputable SEO service that will not break the bank?
For starters, there are a lot of great SEO services provided by capable Warriors for hire in the Warriorforum that offer honest services. However, there are always going to be discrepancies with what SEOs anywhere on the web offer and what you get. So how can you tell if an "SEO Expert" can really put his money where his mouth is?
This is the most important factor for gauging the honesty and effectiveness of an SEO service. Is it working for other people? If there are a lot of other individuals or businesses having great success with the service then you can probably assume the same results for yourself. However, things are not always this clear-and-cut. You'll still want to look deeper in case the reviews were mostly by newbies or if there were not enough reviews to base your judgment off of.
Proof of the SEO service's results goes hand-in-hand with testimonials most times. Where is this "SEO Expert's" own site in the SERPs? They should have sort of evidence that they can rank a site highly in the SERPs, otherwise how can they rank yours? Testimonials and case studies are definitely the most powerful form of proof since you can not guarantee that the service provider ranked his sites with only the method described.
3. Do they Index the links?
This is actually a pretty effective way of picking out the pros from the joes. Building backlinks alone is fine, but the links need to get indexed. Any SEO professional worth his two cents is going to have some sort of indexing process built into his / her service. If you are looking at a service that does not even mention indexing the backlinks then it is likely that you are not looking at a service offered by a professional. Having an indexing process integrated into the service is a must-have for SEO outsourcing, and it's an aspect often overlooked or ignored by less savvy SEO service providers.
4. Be Wary of Profile Link Services!
I'm not saying that profile links can not be effective for ranking or that everyone using profile backlinks is shady. Far from it in fact, there are many excellent SEO services that use profile backlinks. That being said, most of the lower quality, ineffective backlinking services that you'll find will be primarily profile backlinking services. Think about it from their perspective: it is very easy to do with the right software and takes next to no real knowledge to automate and fulfill. Just be cautious when approaching a service that is offering only profile backlinks for rankings.
5. Do They Address Nofollow Links?
Not every SEO service is going to do this, but a lot (not all) of the successful and effective services will address nofollow links and their presence or admission in their service. A lot of great services will not reference this issue, but many will. Just keep it in your mental checklist of things to check for when picking out an SEO service.
6. PR Confusion
This is most common with SEOs selling link packages and profile link services. They (purposely?) Confuse the issue of PageRank and exactly how it works. For instance, they'll tell you that you're going to get high PR backlinks because you're going to get profile links from high PR forums. This just is not true. The homepage of the forum might be high, but the page that your profile link is going to be on is a brand new page with a PR 0. Your link is not going to get any of the homepage PR. I would steer clear of anyone confusing these concepts, they're confused themselves or being deceptive to make sales.
Take your time selecting SEO services. Make sure that there are plenty of testimonials and proof of success. If there are not, refer to some of the other points made to see if it will be a reliable and effective service. SEO is a big topic and it's easy to get confused or overwhelmed by the sales copy if you're still new to it. Just follow this checklist for gauging the credential of a service and you should have no problems getting the results you want. The difference between two similarly priced services can be drastic, make sure you get your money's worth!