Finding an SEO consultant to work on your website should be easy, there’s tens of thousands of websites and individuals selling SEO services, but with no official SEO qualifications it’s easy to hire a snake-oil salesman!
If you ever decide to hire an SEO consultant to advise on how to search engine optimize a website, why not test them with the following basic SEO/HTML question:
I’m interested in your SEO services, could you describe how you optimize title tags and title attributes for better Google rankings?
This question will confuse your non-HTML experts who believe they are SEO experts, they will know what a title tag is, but won’t be familiar with the title attribute. To be an effective SEO consultant you really need at least basic HTML skills, sadly there’s a LOT of self proclaimed SEO experts who are great at marketing their SEO services to potential clients, but don’t know what they are doing SEO wise!
Many SEO experts talks the talk, but can’t walk the walk!
I’ve been researching SEO for about 20 years and it never seizes to amaze me the number of employees of SEO marketing businesses with flashy websites who will ask the most basic of SEO questions on forums etc! Show me almost any business offering SEO services and I can all but guarantee I can find 5 basic SEO mistakes on their website.
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of good SEO consultants out there who are available to work on smallish business websites on a restricted budget.
Anyway, let’s break the question down to two questions.
How to SEO Title Tags
The title tag (correct HTML name the title element) is one of the most important on-page SEO factors any SEO worth their fee will know how to optimize. If an SEO consultant gives you no advice on title tags, they are NOT worth their fee, they aren’t SEO experts.
The title tag HTML is found near the top of a webpages HTML code and looks like this when you are viewing the HTML source code:
<title>Title Tag Here</title>
The title tag is so important I’ve lost count how many times I’ve covered it’s SEO in various articles! Here’s a few of my articles:
- Title Tag SEO Tutorial
- Title Tag SEO
- WordPress SEO Title Tag Tutorial
- SEO Analysis of the Amazon USA Website Title Tag
- Title Tag Length, Short or Long, Which is Best?
A potential SEO hire should know the title tag is important SEO wise and advise adding the most relevant phrase for a particular webpage with maybe the brand name included.
I was checking out a site I SEO reviewed in 2018 to see if my SEO advice (see the full Marcus Lemonis SEO review) had been followed.
In 2018 they’d made the error of not optimizing the title tags correctly. The basic title tag format was “Keyphrase – Brand Name”, but they’d used part of the domain name instead of the actual brand name.
Should have been:
Article Title – Marcus Lemonis
What they used instead was:
Article Title – marcuslemonis
The webmaster fixed the above mistake, but have recently added a new mistake on the home page.
The home page title tag is now:
Landing Page – Marcus Lemonis
Landing Page isn’t a keyphrase and has no value to the user, it’s a mistake. What’s probably happened is the webmaster created a new Landing Page for the home page and didn’t realise they’d added the wrong title tag. The home page title tag would be better as just:
It’s an easy mistake to make and very easy to fix, a true SEO expert wouldn’t make these types of errors, I assume Marcus Lemonis doesn’t have an SEO expert working for him and this is a web designer/webmaster who doesn’t know much SEO: to be fair, SEO isn’t a web designer/webmasters core job, same as web design isn’t my job (I’m not very good at web design, I make ugly looking sites with awesome SEO).
When you are considering hiring an SEO consultant look through their website for these types of basic SEO mistakes. A good tip is run the domain through a Google site: search. Search Google for the line of text below and you’ll see everything Google has indexed on this website:
Do most articles ‘speak’ to Google, see what Google has indexed as the titles, do most pages tell you what the site is about or are they poorly written?
Most titles should read in a way it’s obvious what you’ll get when you visit them from Google, if not consider rewriting them.
How to SEO Title Attributes
How to optimise the title attributes of text links is a bit of a trick question, Google completely ignores the content of title attributes.
The title attribute which is the hoverover text of a text link has no SEO value in 2019, Google ignores it (Google has never used the title attribute as a ranking factor), but does have a role in user accessibility for some visitors.
Below is the code for a text link to this sites home page:
<a href="https://seo-gold.com/" title="Title Attribute">Anchor Text</a>
The Anchor Text is VERY important SEO wise, it passes SEO relevance to the linked to page. Basically if you want a webpage to rank for SERPs related to Guerilla Marketing, link to that webpage with links with Guerilla Marketing as part of the anchor text.
The title=”Title Attribute” content though is ignored by Google. There’s no point optimizing it for Google rankings, if you plan to add title attributes (you don’t have to) add text for your visitors. In some browsers the title attribute is a hoverover tooltip.
Hoverover the Guerilla Marketing link above and a tooltip should pop up with this text Guerilla Marketing Test to Gain the Attention of Multimillionaires. Remember this has ZERO Google ranking benefit, if you add anything it’s for your visitors, NOT Google.
If your potential SEO expert hire doesn’t know this and gives you some sales spiel about optimising title attributes you can be pretty confident they don’t know what they are doing. This is basic SEO 101 for a knowledgeable/experienced SEO consultant.
These are two very basic SEO tests for a quality SEO consultant, if a potential job candidate can’t answer these two easy questions what other important SEO ranking factors etc… aren’t they aware of? Google reportedly has over 200 ranking factors, even the best SEO experts don’t know them all since Google hasn’t released a list of ALL it’s ranking factors.