Many people can learn general SEO and local SEO techniques to properly optimize their websites or blog on their own - but if you feel the need to hire a professional, there are some gimmicks to watch out for.
A major red flag is if an SEO consultant provides you with definite end dates or immediate results. According to Search Engine Watch, the only thing that an SEO can guarantee in a specific time frame is an ad placement through a program such as Google AdWords. However, if you're given a promise of a No. 1 keyword ranking "within 30 days" or the like, you're probably either going to get "spammed to the top" with results that will be short-lived, or the consultant may be running a dishonest business.
Linkbuilding.com adds that a quality SEO consultant will provide you with the methods he or she plans to implement to help you up the rankings. Some experts may try to fool you with "tech-speak," especially if they suspect you're not educated in the ways of SEO. However, a trusted professional should be able to walk you through his or her approach in layman's terms.
One method you should avoid signing up for is auto-generated content, Search Engine Watch adds. This process places an article into software that spins it into multiple - maybe 10, 20 or even 100 - similar ones, and submits them to article directories.
This process is frowned upon by Google because it's not creating quality content. The search engine's Panda update was installed in an effort to lower the effectiveness of auto-generated content, and you may not want your company's name attached to these pieces, as they may damage your reputation.
The news source notes that quality content is the most important aspect of link building, and can consist of detailed infographics or videos, or something as simple as a regularly updated blog. The more interesting material a webmaster has to link to, the more quality links you're likely to obtain.
Lastly, Linkbuilding.com notes that you should be able to receive a comprehensive work report from the SEO consultant once the process is finished. Setting up a Google Analytics account for your site can help, as you can view traffic related to a certain keyword phrase from the start of your SEO campaign to present day to determine if the terms are working, Search Engine Watch explains.