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There are a lot of people out there who are of the opinion that there must be some sort of SEO secret which the top ranked websites use to secure their number one spots in the search results returned from Google and other major search engines.

They look at the success others have achieved and assume that there has to be some way to quickly get to the top of the search results and reaping the rewards: a massive amount of targeted traffic.

They're half right; there are ways to get your site to the top, though it's not necessarily something that's going to happen overnight. Effective SEO consists of a complex set of tasks and it's something which is best left to a reputable SEO firm or consultant who has an in depth understanding of the process.

The end result of these methods is often a rapid rise in search engine rankings, followed by a drop all the way to the bottom as the search engines blacklist your site, ignoring it completely! That is, if these unscrupulous methods even manage to benefit you in the first place.

Choose an SEO service provider carefully

It's important to choose an SEO service provider carefully. You should be looking for a service which uses proven and ethical SEO methodologies to improve the search engine rankings of their clients. You can find out about these businesses by asking former and current clients and asking the SEO firm themselves about their methods.

Word tends to get around fast if a company is using black hat methods, since the outcome is never a good one for their clientele. It's simply a matter of applying the same caution you would with any other type of service you plan to use.

When you hear promises from an SEO company that they can get you into the number one spot in the search results overnight or that they have an "in" at Google or Yahoo, this is your signal to turn around and walk away - quickly!

In fact, no reputable SEO consultant or firm is going to promise you that you'll secure the #1 spot in search results, let alone overnight. The algorithms used by the search engines are constantly changing, meaning that there is no way to absolutely guarantee these kind of results.

What is your estimated SEO budget for your project?

If you're looking for an SEO expert whose services are a good fit for your budget, you may want to begin your search with Google (of course). A talented SEO firm should be able to get their site listed relatively high in the results, though it's important to remember that this may not universally be the case as this is an intensely competitive field; an SEO firm which is able to get into the top couple of spots may also be beyond the means of your business.

You can also look on business forums, asking around with other business owners you know and even with bloggers whose sites are highly ranked - these are usually people who know a bit about SEO themselves and may have some recommendations for you. It's best to gather information from a variety of sources so that you can make a truly informed decision about SEO services.

You should keep your budget in mind as you determine how much you can realistically afford to spend on SEO efforts. You shouldn't contact any SEO firms or consultants before you have at least a rough idea of your SEO budget. The work they do for you will be largely determined by your budget.

What does a campaign of SEO cost?

That all depends - how large is your budget? You can spend as much or as little as you want on this service and it's not necessarily true that the price tag and results will always have a direct correspondence; it depends on how skilled the provider is.

You do need to know how much you can comfortably allocate in your budget before you'll know exactly what you'll be getting. The most important thing is to work with a reputable provider SEO services who can improve your site's ranking in the search results while working within your SEO budget.

About this SEO article

This article was written by John S. Britsios (aka Webnauts), Search Experience Consultant at SEO Workers and was published September 17, 2009.

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