In my post When to hire an SEO virtual assistant, I tried to answer this question:
Would you recommend hiring those expensive SEO companies that charge $150-500/ month? Is it worth doing and would it be faster?
I was speaking from my experience and my dealings with people who came to me for help.
But I really wanted to get more insight on this issue so I got in touch with a few SEO professionals, or shall we say experts, that I admire and get their ideas about SEO and this issue. The first one on my list is Sean Si, author and editor-in-chief of SEO Hacker. I watched his presentation during iBlog8 and was amazed at how he made on-page optimization easy to understand for bloggers, especially those who were just starting out.
In this interview with Sean, you’ll find out what SEO tools and resources he recommends as well as idea of why it would be better for you to hire an SEO agency rather than a VA.
Q1: Hi Sean! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview. Let’s get down to business. Can you share your best analogy concerning SEO?
Hey Nica, it’s my pleasure and privilege to do this for you. I think SEO is like a zero-sum game. When someone’s going up, someone has to go down because there’s place for only 10 results in the search engine results page.
It’s a game in the sense that you have to play it by testing out what techniques and strategies work best to win and rank higher than your competitors.
Q2: What are your favorite SEO tools and resources?
I would say that my favorite SEO tool would be Cognitive SEO which is a Yahoo Explorer alternative. It deals with backlink checking as well as the quality, anchor text and placement of that backlink. This helps our team a lot with gauging a website’s off site optimization – which is really a huge part of the site’s entire SEO score.
About the resource, well there are a humungous variety of blogs and sites where you can draw SEO resources from. The best SEO resource for me, is of course what I know now – which is all in our SEO School (http://seo-hacker.org). It’s an online school where there are free tips and tricks and SEO fundamentals you can learn. We also have our own forums where you can freely ask and freely get an answer from our team of SEO specialists.
It’s quite funny that most of the sites I follow do not directly deal with SEO but with copywriting, user experience, content strategy and analytics. So there really is no ‘favorite’ SEO resource with me but I’ll be happy to share the blogs I’m following – and I’d recommend you to follow them as well. At least sign up for their email newsfeed.
Nica’s Tip: Add these sites to your bookmarks or set up your browser to open these pages on startup so you can see do some reading at the beginning of your day.
Q3: Suppose someone is to launch a web site and would like to do her own SEO, what SEO best practices should she follow.
I would strongly suggest that he or she follow on site optimization guidelines to back-up that website from its conceptualization to its furnishing. This is the foundation of your entire SEO structure. Of course, this is already with the pre-notion that the person knows what keywords he or she wants to target.
Q4: A Facebook connection asked me this question about hiring an SEO agency vs a virtual SEO assistant. What are your thoughts on this?
An SEO agency with a proven track record is always the better choice. Why? They can show you right away who their clients were, what their rankings are now, what they did and if you want to call their clients for reference, you can freely do so – at least the ‘real’ SEO agencies let you do this. I think this kind of background checking is very important.
While with a virtual SEO assistant – they can claim anything and everything that they’ve done for any company they’ve worked with and it’s usually not just their own effort but a co-effort with the company’s internal team. Which means you need to have a great internal team to work with that virtual assistant too. Plus, more often than not, a virtual assistant will not be able to let you in on a complete background check for previous works they’ve done.
Q5: If you are to hire an SEO virtual assistant, what tasks would you assign to her on a daily, weekly, and/or monthly basis?
Definitely copywriting tasks on a daily basis because copywriting only requires minimal quality control. Plus if there are any bad quality copywritten content, my editors can fix it. I’m really a guy who likes to have an exceptionally high quality control over my team. Hiring a virtual assistant does not let me have high quality control over that person’s output. So I wouldn’t risk outsourcing our delicate linkbuilding process to virtual assistants. I’m not saying that virtual assistants don’t give out quality work, I’m only not willing to take the risk if ever they don’t.
I live by the principle “If the process is right, the product is guaranteed” – hiring a virtual assistant will mean that me or my team will not be able to check the process. Consequently, if we can’t check the process, the product will not be guaranteed – and I only guarantee best-quality service to all my clients.
Connect with Sean
If you would like to get in touch with Sean or learn SEO from him, you can connect with him in the following social networks. Or, you can also join his SEO School. I enrolled as a White Student last May and now enjoys learning some practical SEO tips from him.
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/group.