Search Engine Experts

Search Engine experts are usually able to 'talk the talk'. Here's a way to check whether they can 'walk the walk'.

Search Engine experts are everywhere on the Internet, so if you're sick and tired of all the hype and junk mail about website promotion from so-called 'search engine experts', you may find this article refreshing.

There is no doubt that your web site is useless unless the right people are able to find it. It doesn't matter how great the site looks, how great your deals are, how much money you have spent on development - unless your web site is visible it's all a waste of time and money. 

When trying to figure out what to do about a 'dead' site, non-technical people assume that because someone can develop a web site they are also a search engine expert and can make the invisible visible. 

But this is like assuming that because someone can fix your car that they are also a Formula One racing driver. Conversely, because someone is a search engine expert, do not assume they are great at graphics design or able to fix your hard disk. It's a matter of horses for courses.

So how can a non-technical person easily figure out who to deal with when it comes to search engine promotion and placement?

The obvious approach is to ask them about their search engine marketing successes. 

Ask them to show you some ranking results search engines - but remember that their ability is RELATIVE to the number of people searching for that particular term, the number of sites competing for that term, and the level of competition for that term. 

And bear in mind that there are only 10 search engine experts who can claim that they have a client on the Google 'Top 10' for an extremely popular term such as 'MP3'. 

On the other hand it is likely to be very easy to get a search term like "MP3 of monks singing in a Gothic church' at the top of a Google search. 

We have seen so-called experts beating their chests about the most arcane search terms and how they got a site to the top of Google - we consider people who do this to be nothing more than charlatans preying on the gullible.

Something else to bear in mind - the 'search engine expert' you are talking with may not have been able to build any sites from scratch - i.e. they may have only 'saved' sites and have been able to to do little more than 'tweak' the site you are discussing. 

In this case, ask about the before and after - what impact did their work have and how long did it take to see the results - rather than just the volume of traffic.

One quick way to gauge the 'before and after' is to look at the statistics for the web site on www.alexa.com. Alexa.com shows you the change in web site traffic over a period of time. (Alexa.com rankings are relative - not absolute - but they they will give you a good idea of whether the self-appointed search engine expert you are dealing with knows their stuff.). 

To summarise:

  • Make sure that your search engine expert shows you how they fared with a reasonable competitive search term.
  • Make sure you look at 'before and after' examples via alexa.com to gauge the effectiveness of people calling themselves search engine experts.

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