So you’re on the market for that extra kick that will put your site in the top results of a relevent Google search. You’ve done a bit of research and decided that it would be best for your business to hire a SEO provider. Where do you start? How do you know you’ve found a quality consultant? Their demeanor seems to be overall professional and they have good reviews from their past clients, but something may be awry under the surface. After reading these four causes for alarm, you’ll be arming yourself with important knowledge that may end up protecting the reputation of your business.

1. Not Adhering to Search Engine’s Webmaster Guidelines

There are common tricks that a search engine optimization consultant is aware of, but shouldn’t be exploiting. For example, Google has written explicit  webmaster guidelines for ethical practices in SEO. If these practices are found to be used by your site you risk losing credibility, or even worse, Google may ban your negligent site from even appearing in their search results!

2. Zero Knowledge of Google Analytics

Google analytics is a service provided by Google that provides extremely detailed information regarding traffic, sale conversion rates, and everything else pertinent to your sites past success and future prospects. If your SEO provider is not well versed in these resources you are missing out on key information remaining unutilized to further your company’s goals.

3. Lack of Clearly Defined Payment Planning

There’s nothing worse than hiring someone with poor communication skills, especially when payment is involved. A clear basis for exchange needs to be established before any SEO work is completed. If not established early, either party may have unfulfilled preconceived notions and almost all conflicts involving money will most likely not end well. Your provider needs to be the party who clearly states how they will charge you, be it by hour, project, or website traffic. Your new hire also needs to include a preferred payment method.

4. Cannot Show you Examples of their Past Work

To show off their technique and expertise, a working artist is always eager to display the hard work they’ve accomplished. A potential SEO provider should be proud of their past clients as well. They should be eagerly showing specific details where they positively impacted another company who was once desiring the services you currently need. If these work samples are not provided out of the gate or not supplied when asked for, that’s a red flag. Your provider in question may have violated the above stated guidelines in the past and may do the same with your site! Make sure you can trust your SEO provider, the prestige of your work may be on the line.

So, now you have a few more hints about some things you should look for in firing a search engine optimization provider. You can now use this knowledge to have an efficient and effective search engine optimization campaign.

David Hook is a burgoning voice in the SEO community, who works for Fahrenheit Marketing. David has two years experience in print media.