• Colby

    Nice post Trond. Another way to help spot quality SEO is to consider what kind of questions the SEO consultant asking you as the business owner? Is the SEO expert asking about your overall business as well as online goals, how you envision your website (and SEO) supporting your goals, who your target customers and competitors are, what industry trends might be affecting your market, etc.? Or are they just asking you which keywords you want to rank for and how many pages you want them to write title tags for? An SEO consultant who wants to truly know your business in order to become a strategic partner and develop the right SEO strategies and tactics will be worth much more in the long run.

  • opedmkt

    Great post Trond, too many times we’ve had to pick up and rebuild SEO programs from these cheaper “cookie cutter” companies that do little more than build spammy links.

  • Petur J Petursson

    Very good post Trond. On the education note: I am not an expert, merely following what’s going on in SEO from a business perspective but I dare guarantee you that anyone fresh out of school will probably be sitting on 18 month old information at best. These things move so fast that if you’re out one week it takes you a full day to catch up. Problem is even track record might not prove to be sufficient, what worked well 6 months ago wont work today. I agree with Colby, there must be an interest in what the business is all about, a display of business understanding. Obviously being published on Search Engine Land doesn’t hurt either ;-) – Joke aside, could be a good question to ask, ‘- Are you published somewhere?’. Maybe also always seek second opinion, and make sure compensation is tied to FINANCIAL performance?

  • Brad Krupkin

    I would argue that being published is not a good indicator of SEO success. Many of us that do in-house SEO have a team of writers at our disposal that publish our suggestions. There is no need to publish my own work, especially in the vertical I work in, that would lend any credibility to our consumer base.

    There are so many facets to strong SEO that go well beyond publishing content that should be considered when deciding on an SEO partner for your business.

  • Petur J Petursson

    Valid points Brad. And yes, it was primarily meant as a pun directed towards my friend Trond. The ‘being published’ thing really boils down to authority and trust (Real Life SEO). And is obviously not a singular point of failure or success. From my side, the buyer side, it is for most of my peers an absolute nightmare picking the right supplier and I am frequently being ask, pro bono, to have a look due to my at least wannabe levels of knowledge. I want to thank Trond again for at least trying to give some hints to a lot of mere mortals out there grappling to get their heads around this so important subject.

  • Rajesh_magar

    Hi Trond,
    That was truly magnificent and all mentioned scenario are the 100% truth. Seriously for me some times it’s get so disrupting to tackle with the clients like these.

  • http://www.thoughtwiremarketing.com Larry Betts

    Very good post! My only suggestion would be to rephrase “Links from authoritative sites are worth their weight in gold”…exactly how much does a link from an authoritative site weigh? :D

    I really dig the fact that you brought up User Intent. My question is do you have any idea how to convey to a client that user intent is more important than anything? I have tried a few different tactics, and feel like they’ve all kind of fallen flat. Some of them are used to the spammy backlink world, others are used to seeing how many keywords can be stuffed above the fold. When we explain that we do things differently, we tend to lose a client’s interest, even though they’ve seen the old tactics not working.

  • Kathy Long

    Really great post, Trong. It’s so important that businesses understand this. SEO, done right, is not quick, nor is it easy. And I totally agree with your list of qualifications and honestly can’t imagine doing SEO without all those skills in my resume and tool belt, and I’m sure any good SEO will say the same. In fact, I think you just described an SEO Masters Degree curriculum, if there were such a thing, although I would add marketing and good old English (or other language) grammar and copy writing to the mix. Oh, and maybe calculus. Why that? Because SEO requires great deductive reasoning and problem solving skills as well. It’s not hard to imagine some serious returns if that’s the SEO you had working for you.