Over the last 6 days, we've given you Black Hat SEO discussions and examples of how to avoid them. Unfortunately there are a lot of SEO "professionals" out there that want nothing more than to take your money and promise you results.
A quick Google search for "link building services" returns 35,300,000 results and tons of ads, meaning there is big business in link building. Do you think all those paid link building services will openly tell you that they use Black Hat techniques? Remember that Black Hat SEO refers to anything you do that will trick the search engines into ranking you higher in the SERP.
If you're not doing your own website SEO you will eventually need to hire someone to do it for you. Between today and tomorrow we're giving you 9 very blunt directions that will make working with your SEO professional much more rewarding.
Directions 1 through 4:
1. You should educate yourself on the process. http://jwag.biz is a good source for jewelry stores to learn about SEO, but you could also get a few books or read websites like seomoz.org, seobook.com, or read any of the Google blogs.
Be wary about any physical SEO book you buy. Good books should take more than 12 months to write, but SEO techniques change daily and any printed book will be out of date before the ink dries.
2. Don't beat your SEO guy over the head with the stuff you learn, and don't name drop books, blogs, and other SEO-related material. Instead, use your knowledge to determine if the person is qualified. Call it a secret interview if you'd like, and ask questions if they say something that contradicts something you learned.
Experienced SEO Pros will be able to give reasons why they do what they do instead of simply doing something based on suggestions from some book or blog.
3. You need to understand that the design of your jewelry website is not as important as the need to pay bills, pay your staff, and put food on your table. Better yet, nothing should get in the way of having that two week vacation every year, and that includes a website design that looks nice but does not convert.
Your SEO Pro should be able to make recommendations on improving your website's customer acquisition or conversion. You will probably have a few arguments with your SEO Pro *if* you find yourself attracted to fancy websites like David Yurman and Tissot, or if you find yourself using the words "clean" or "sleek" to describe your website.
You will forever be frustrated with under-performance of your SEO Pro if you are strict with your website design.
4. Speaking of being strict with your website design, you should never let your print media marketing company get involved with controlling your website.
Many jewelry stores, and even large companies, will trust the initial ideas from a traditional marketing firm even when that firm doesn't have a proven internet record. If you truly want to have a balance between design and conversions, you could start with design ideas from the marketing guy, and then give that design to the jewelry website designer. During the early deployment or approval of the website, you should give the working design to your SEO Pro for final design input.
The most important jewelry website design input will come from your SEO Pro.
Think of it another way; you pay your marketing agency to brand you and make you look good, but how often do they show the ROI of their work? Seriously, ask them for an ROI report and they will think you are nuts. The web designer is a middle man that only cares about getting paid. The SEO Pro is the only person with a long term goal to make you money and prove their work through ROI reports.
Be willing to let your SEO Pro gain your trust, otherwise they will eventually fire you as a client.
We try to keep these nuggets under 700 words, so this will continue tomorrow.