I’ve been taking a look at some of my competition lately and seeing their bragging about achieving first page ranking for keywords, and in some cases top position ranking for keywords.  Well, for people who are looking to get SEO services from a company or an individual, be sure to keep some things in mind before being impressed by achievements such as these.

There’s a good list of things to double check (or to ask) when you see rankings like this in a portfolio:

  1. How many results do you get for that keyword in the search engine? If you do a search in Google and get under 200,000 listings, there’s a good chance it’s very easy to rank for that keyword.  There are exceptions to this rule, but for the most part, if no one’s competing for the keyword, it’s easy to rank for.  But again – if no one’s competing for the keyword, chances are it’s not worth ranking for.  We’ve got a few clients with keywords that are ranked on the first page that have search results numbering over 6,000,000.
  2. What kind of traffic does that keyword get? There are different ways to learn about this, but you should see if the keywords that are being ranked highly actually get good traffic.  You may have a number one position, but if it only gets two searches a month – is it really something that’s worth it?  As always, there are exceptions to this rule (if you can close on one of those two searches and it’s worth six figures, that’d be worth it), but usually getting no traffic means the keyword is not worth as much.
  3. What other keywords are ranked for that site? So they have shown a single keyword phrase for their SEO’d site.  Is it the only one that’s ranked?  A good SEO should be able to rank highly for multiple keywords.  Ideally, multiple targeted keywords.
  4. Is the SEO company’s site ranking for keywords? If the company claims to do SEO, it would make sense that they would rank for keywords themselves, correct?  If you ask and they can show no good results for their own site in the search engines, be very cautious about trusting them with your own site.

When you hire someone for SEO work, they should be able to provide information on what keywords they are targeting and show you the results that it’s bringing.  Having a particular ranking is worth nothing if you don’t see results from that position in the search engine listings.  Check this list to see what those results are really worth, and if it’s good SEO or just easy SEO to put something into a portfolio.

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