#AskaMarketer: How to Know You Found the Right Search Marketing Partner

search marketing partner

Work and play often go hand-in-hand in Dallas. Whether we’re drinking coffee at The Wild Detectives, eating dinner at Common Table, or walking the Katy Trail, talk of business arises.

It’s in these moments my friends often ask me things related to marketing. Some of the most common questions I get are in regards to hiring. In particular:

“How do I know I’ve found the right SEO?”

I’m not surprised how often I’m asked this.

A lot of us have been burned by working with the wrong SEO. If it wasn’t us personally, it was a friend or colleague that hired an inexperienced or dishonest search marketing agency or contractor. We’ve heard the horror stories. So much so that–for a lot of us–hiring an SEO is one of our biggest recruiting fears.

When it comes to marketing mistakes, people have the memory of an elephant. They never forget. (Tweet this quote.)

So especially if you’re the one advocating to start digital marketing within your company, you’re going to be under enormous pressure to beget positive results. That requires the right team.

A Search Marketing Conversation with Eric McGehearty

As more people asked me, “What do I need to know to hire the right SEO?” I reached out to my friend Eric McGehearty. (You can watch / listen to our conversation in the video at the end of this blog post.)

Eric is the CEO of Globe Runner, a full-service search and digital marketing agency in Dallas. We met earlier this year at Tech Wildcatters’ pitch day and immediately hit it off because of our shared passion for science fiction, entrepreneurship, and marketing.

I asked Eric, “How hard is it to find a legitimate SEO?”

“It can be really challenging,” he said. “I was trying to hire SEOs, and the frustration of trying to find someone is what got me into the business.”

“What makes it so difficult to find an SEO?” I asked.

“The main challenge, I think, is knowing what you’re getting when you sign up for someone’s services. There’s a huge range of services you might be buying. You may accidently be buying a slice of the service rather than the whole package, or, you may be buying a service that will do you more harm than good.”

“What do you mean, ‘an SEO service may do more harm than good?’ ”

“There’s a lot of SEOs out there who will use what’s called black hat or gray hat tactics. Some of those tactics can be effective in the short-term, but some of them have pretty serious long-term consequences because they violate Google Webmaster’s guidelines. This leads to potential penalties from Google.

“Generally these services are cheaper and automated. They are not done by real people but are done by robots. That’s the reason Google can detect them. Robots leave patterns. Those patterns are like footprints,” said Eric.

3 Things to Understand about Your SEO Partner

With that being said, what should you be asking a potential SEO new hire? How do you know you’ve found the right partner for your business?

Eric pointed out three (3) crucial things you should understand about your search marketing service provider:

  1. Comprehend what the services are. It’s easy to sign up for SEO services thinking you’re getting one thing, but really are signing up for another thing. Have the service provider present to you his or her strategy. Have them outline exactly what they will be doing and how it works.
  2. Know the risk involved. What is the risk level you’re engaging? Is it a no-risk, low-risk, or moderate- to high-risk strategy? Remember that high-risk is often a red flag for black hat SEO services. As Eric says, “It’s not really a question of if it will backfire. It’s a question of when it will backfire.”
  3. Understand their language. If the person you’re looking to work with doesn’t explain things in a way you can understand, it’s probably a sign you shouldn’t work together. The best search marketers will act as a consultant, educating you on the industry and advising you on your marketing strategy. They are a partner and a confidant. Communication is everything.

I highly recommend you listen to our conversation to get the full gist of what we’re talking about.

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