Beware of SEOs which claim to guarantee ranking websites, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way a site is submit to Google search engine directly is through our Add URL page or by submitting a Sitemap and this can be done yourself at no cost at all.
Be careful if a company is secretive or won’t plainly explain what they intend to do.
Ask for explanations if something is unclear. If an SEO generates deceptive or misleading content on your behalf, such as doorway pages or “throwaway” domains, your website could be removed entirely from Google’s index. Ultimately, you are accountable for the actions of any companies you hire, so it’s best to be sure you know precisely how they intend to “help” you. If an SEO has FTP access to your server, they need to be prepared to explain all the changes they’re making to your site.
You should never have to link to an SEO.
Avoid SEOs that talk about the strength of “free-for-all” links, link popularity schemes, or submitting your website to thousands of search engines. These are typically useless exercises that do not impact your ranking in the results of the major search engines — at least, not in a way you would likely consider to be positive.
When you consider whether to go with an SEO, you may want to do some research on the industry. Google is one way to do that, of course. You might also look for some of the cautionary tales which have appeared in the press, including this article on one particularly aggressive SEO: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2002002970_nwbizbriefs12.html. While Google doesn’t comment on specific companies, we’ve came across firms calling themselves SEOs who follow practices which are clearly beyond the pale of accepted business behavior. Be careful.