A client recently pointed me over to Website Grader's podcast area, so I took a listen to the SEO 101 podcast.  I was particularly interested in hearing what they had to say about hiring an SEO.

Mike Volpe went over things such as what qualifications an SEO should have, what they should charge, what they should and shouldn't do, and what they should wear.  Ok maybe not the last one.

Two particular things stuck out to me as wrong, and maybe its just me.  I'm going to cover one now and another in a few days.

Mike said: "You should also make sure that their own website is optimized..."

He went on to add, "I would ask them what their URL is, I would take that URL and plug it into website grader, and run the report.  And if they don't get at least an 80 or 85, at least that, then you know what, they really don't know what they're doing - or they just haven't decided that its important enough for them to optimize their own site... And if they aren't one to keep their own house in order, I just wouldn't bother to engage them..."

Well, I couldn't disagree more.  In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if 80-90 percent of the "good" SEO's out there couldn't even be found online without a bit of work.

Why?

Well, first lets back up.  I've only been doing SEO going on three years, so I'm no veteran.  I will say, though, that some of the men and women in the industry that I've met have a very basic website and sometimes a blog.  They don't tout their skills online because they don't have to. Personally I've been doing it for a few years now and this is my real first attempt at really promoting my SEO skills online (and even then, this website is also to help my current clients to learn things about SEO, not just 100% self-promotion).

A good SEO is busy. And by busy I mean busy.  Too busy to worry about optimizing their piddly little website that isn't bringing in many new customers.

You see, anyone willing to spend $2000+  per month isn't going to make that spending decision by reading website copy.  They are going to want to get references, talk to the person and get that 'feel good' feeling about the person.  Whether or not their website ranks for (whatever) is not in their realm of thinking.  They are concerned with results.  And results are where it's really at.

Instead of worrying about the SEO's ranking, customers should focus on what that SEO is doing for his/her customers.  Ask for phone numbers to their customers (if they can share them).  Talk to their clients and ask about their results and their rankings.  That's where the meat is. Ask about increased revenue, sales, and leads.  Are they producing or just taking their money?

Now for years when I didn't understand SEO, I always thought that a good SEO company would rank for 'SEO' or related terms.  But now I have changed my thinking.

I think most of the good SEO's are invisible.  And they can be, because they're kickin' ass and growing businesses.

About 

Will Hanke owns Saint Louis' top independent Internet Marketing firm, Red Canoe Media. In addition to helping some of St Louis' most recognizable brands with their online marketing strategy, Will also is an Amazon bestselling author, speaker and teacher.