And why wouldn’t one want to do that?
The average salary for an SEO specialist per Glassdoor.com is projected at just over $56,000 as of June 2023. And, with the overall SEO market valued at $77.6 billion by the end of 2023, there seems to be plenty of money and opportunity to go around.
Unfortunately, that rise of opportunity, coupled with the minimal barrier to advertising oneself as an “SEO consultant”, comes with inherent risks. This is especially true for those looking to hire qualified SEO help for their blogs, websites and campaigns.
Unlike most professional fields, search engine optimization (SEO) does not have:
So how do you know if the SEO consultant you are hiring is competent, ethical and has your interests at heart in their approach?
It helps to see the warning signs.
As a successful SEO consultant who has run his firm for 20+ years, trained SEO teams on five continents, and helped clients hire their SEOs, here are my top nine warning signs to help you make the most qualified decision for your business.
SEO is not a black box. A competent SEO should be able to explain their strategies and approach to the client without hesitation or cajoling.
You plan to provide me with a content strategy? What does that involve?
You mention a need to make design changes? Why, and what is the end result of those changes?
You want to increase my authority and backlink profile? What strategies does that involve?
If the consultant is secretive about any or all of the above or shows a clear lack of transparency, those methods should be questioned.
My wife and I like to kid each other by saying that we have been married 23 years, and “at least” 13 of those have been happily. We disagree as to which ones, though.
The point is that we are realistic in that marriage is not always easy or expected. And it’s the same with SEO consulting.
Any consultant who promises “first-page rankings in x period of time or extremely fast results in a short or finite amount of time” raises a red flag.
SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Unrealistic timelines fly in the face of the learned belief that SEO requires patience, trial and error, and consistent long-term optimization.
I’ve been extremely fortunate to accumulate hundreds of reviews on Linkedin, Facebook, and my own website.
This kind of “social proof” is mandatory for outward manifestations of competency and trustworthiness.
An SEO consultant who is soliciting your business should be able to provide multiple referrals to current and existing clients when asked and/or show case studies from past clients that confirm the legitimacy of their expertise.
Competent SEO consultants are always going to need the help of their clients!
The simplest way to ensure that cooperation is to ask for and receive access to all appropriate accounts that will provide the data needed to conduct a competent SEO campaign. At a minimum, that includes
Detailed onboarding should also be done to determine a simple SWOT analysis, a competitor profile, and a quick overview of client products and services.
If none of the above is done, that’s a huge red flag that the SEO consultant may be out of their depth.
Get the daily newsletter search marketers rely on.
One of the many great things I love about SEO is its ever-changing and dynamic nature. But that also requires a huge time commitment to continuing education.
I personally have subscriptions to over a dozen industry newsletters, have a curated reading list I go through every morning, and stay up-to-date on best practices that require dozens of hours of study each month.
Your SEO should clearly be up-to-date on accurate announced (and unannounced) Google updates, be intimately familiar with Google Search Essentials, Google Quality Rater Guidelines, and understand fully how to comply with SEO best practices.
SEO is never about one issue or one focus. SEO is honestly “all the things.”
An SEO consultant who focuses their energy on one area (i.e., backlinks) over the complete exclusion of other areas (like on-page optimization) is not taking a “holistic approach” to your site or needs.
Unless you hire an SEO for a specific finite task, that SEO should take a full and complete look at your site. That means content, site design, UX, technical issues, etc.
I’ve been doing SEO since 1998, and I probably have less insight into how Google works now than I did back then.
Google’s Paul Haahr, one of Google’s top engineers, stated as far back as 2016 that they know how RankBrain works but not what it’s doing. This is important because RankBrain, along with BERT, is still a running AI in Google search results as of today.
The point is that SEOs can experiment and make correlations based on specific data, but nobody has inside information on Google. Don’t believe them.
Nothing screams incompetence faster or louder than a consultant’s inability to maintain regular contact with clients.
If you find that you are chasing down your SEO consultant to get campaign updates or status reports or that more than one email is required to get a response, this is a problem.
A competent SEO should provide regular updates on the efficacy of all campaigns and continued suggestions for improvement. Regular updates to show milestones have been met or reporting to show what is and is not working should be the norm, not the exception.
In all the audits I have with clients, I am clear about one thing: this is a partnership. Your success is my success, and I want you to be successful.
If your existing SEO consultant is not taking a similar approach, that’s a problem.
Your SEO consultant should be invested in your success. The relationship should never be just transactional. They celebrate your wins, and they also accept shared responsibility for losses.
My goal with all of my clients is to provide them with the best options for their needs. Sometimes, that’s not me. I have a vetted list of referrals and professionals to call upon.
SEO consulting can be a lucrative career with few entry barriers, no required experience or education certifications and common gaps in competency between practitioners.
In other words, not every SEO consultant will be a winner.
Ensure you invest resources in the right partner by reviewing the detailed warning signs above and adjusting course where needed.
The business you save may be your own. Good luck out there!
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.
Are you tired of your personal information being available on search engines? Let’s be honest. Who isn’t? Well, now Google is updating its privacy tool to make it more powerful and easier than ever to remove your personal information from their search engine.
Google's 'Results about You' tool was rolled out last year. Google says it's been working hard to make things better since it first launched its software.
It launched with the intention of allowing people to request the removal of personal information that pops up during Google searches. Personal information can include a phone number, email address, physical address or even unwanted images.
Now, it is not possible to block your name on Google, or any other search engine such as Bing or Yahoo. However, you can request the removal of Google search results that divulge your personal information.
CLICK TO GET KURT’S FREE CYBERGUY NEWSLETTER WITH SECURITY ALERTS, QUICK TIPS, TECH REVIEWS AND EASY HOW-TO’S TO MAKE YOU SMARTER
The biggest change is that now you can find your information on Google without going through the hassle of searching for it yourself.
You simply enter your information, and the dashboard will compile a list of sites that contain any matches. You can then submit a request to have the information removed pronto after reviewing these pages. On Google’s hub, you can view the status of all the requests you have made.
Another addition is you can now receive push notifications that alert you when new results of your information pop up on Google. This makes it much easier for you as you don’t have to constantly reenter your information in the dashboard to check for matches.
These notifications will tell how many search results on the internet show your personal information. You can then take action on this information and request that the details be taken off the internet.
BEST PRIVATE AND SAFE ALTERNATIVES TO BIG TECH GOOGLE
Google’s policies around the "results about you" feature have also shifted slightly. The removal guidelines used to only focus on information that was posted without consent. Now, they have been expanded, and personal info that you posted intentionally but later wanted to be removed is eligible for removal.
Commercialized information does not fall under this category. However, there are some search results Google will not be able to remove, so be aware not all your requests will be successful. Google also will never take action against any results from governments or educational institutions.
There are also new, easier-to-find parental control features and the addition of SafeSearch’s photo blurring, which will blur out potentially explicit images. If you are panic about your family being exposed to inappropriate content, you can now preemptively censor certain things.
TEN TRICKS FOR DOING AN EFFECTIVE GOOGLE SEARCH
Here's the best part. You don’t even need a Google account to get rid of your own info. There’s a new form you can use all on its own to make your request. Once you send it off, Google will shoot you an email so you can keep tabs on how things are going. You’ll know if they supply the green light to remove your info. If you do decide to log in, you can also see the progress on the dashboard.
Currently, this feature in Google’s "Results about you" dashboard is only available for usage in the U.S. via the Google app or Google site. Here's how to access it:
BIG TECH TOOK YOUR DATA TO TRAIN AI. WE'RE SUING THEM FOR IT
You can click on the link here. You can follow these steps to submit a request to remove any of your information from the web:
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
MORE: SAY HELLO TO GOOGLE WALLET'S 6 AMAZING NEW FEATURES FOR ANDROID PHONES
In addition to Google's "Results about you" tool, I recommend you invest in a removal service to get your personal information off the hundreds of people search sites out there. While no service promises to remove all your data from the internet, having a removal service is great if you want to constantly monitor and automate the process of removing your information from hundreds of sites continuously over a longer period of time.
See my tips and best picks for removing yourself from the internet by going to CyberGuy.com/Delete
It is great to see Google making an effort to increase the safety of its search experience. While removal was possible before, it certainly was not easy.
This is an improved update to their 'Results about You' tool along with the new alerts warning you of your information appearing on the web. It is important to remember that just because your information has been removed from Google, it doesn’t mean all of your information is removed from other parts of the web.
Why do you think Google is making this move to make internet safety more accessible? And do you see this as the start of a potential trend with other engines and sites? Let us know by writing us at CyberGuy.com/Contact
For more of my security alerts, subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report Newsletter by heading to CyberGuy.com/Newsletter
Copyright 2023 CyberGuy.com. All rights reserved.
Startup Costs: $2,000 - $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Franchises Available? No
Online Operation? Yes
The amount of information available today is staggering. For companies planning new products and patents or scoping out the competition, and for many other types of businesses, the trick is in figuring out how to access the information they need. If you love research--the excitement of sifting through a maze of books, magazines, journals and other esoteric sources for bits of information--you can ride to the rescue as an information consultant. You can seek out material for all sorts of clients--attorneys preparing cases; advertising, public relations and market research firms preparing campaigns; financial wizards; medical researchers; environmental engineers; or management consultants. Despite this wealth of potential customers, however, you should plan on specializing in a particular field. This way, you'll be familiar with the usual 'suspects' or avenues of research, so you'll be able to complete assignments faster. And since this can be a difficult business to market, by sticking to one industry, you increase your word-of-mouth advertising capacity. The advantages to this business are that you can start part time if you like, you're always learning something new, the industry has lots of room for growth, and if you love digging through information for the sheer joy of discovery, you'll be in information nirvana every working day. You'll need dogged persistence and the skills and experience to take you down the proper research avenues, plus the creativity and intuition to lead you in new directions when the usual methods fail. In addition, it helps to have a background in the field you choose to specialize in, but this is not an absolute requirement.
Who your clients are will depend on what field you specialize in. Once you decide, the best ways to reach them are by networking in professional groups and organizations and spreading the word among present and former colleagues. Write articles for and place ads in professional or trade journals. supply seminars and talks to industry groups. Establish relationships with other information consultants who can pass overflow or out-of-their-field work on to you.
You'll need a computer with a laser or inkjet printer, a fax machine and the usual office software. And since you'll do most of your research online, you must have a good Internet service provider and accounts with a variety of subscription research sites like Lexis/Nexis and E-Journal. Plan on having a separate, or dedicated, line for your Internet access--otherwise clients won't be able to reach you.
Splunk (NASDAQ:SPLK) has observed the following analyst ratings within the last quarter:
|Bullish||Somewhat Bullish||Indifferent||Somewhat Bearish||Bearish|
In the last 3 months, 22 analysts have offered 12-month price targets for Splunk. The company has an average price target of $119.86 with a high of $135.00 and a low of $86.00.
Below is a summary of how these 22 analysts rated Splunk over the past 3 months. The greater the number of bullish ratings, the more positive analysts are on the stock and the greater the number of bearish ratings, the more negative analysts are on the stock
This current average has increased by 4.44% from the previous average price target of $114.76.
Stay up to date on Splunk analyst ratings.
Analysts are certified within banking and financial systems that typically report for specific stocks or within defined sectors. These people research company financial statements, sit in conference calls and meetings, and speak with relevant insiders to determine what are known as analyst ratings for stocks. Typically, analysts will rate each stock once a quarter.
Some analysts publish their predictions for metrics such as growth estimates, earnings, and revenue to provide additional guidance with their ratings. When using analyst ratings, it is important to keep in mind that stock and sector analysts are also human and are only offering their opinions to investors.
This article was generated by Benzinga's automated content engine and reviewed by an editor.
Startup Costs: $10,000 - $50,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Franchises Available? No
Online Operation? Yes
If you like the idea of coming in to help other companies deal with change, which could range from internal reorganization to revamping the public face of the business, being a business consultant could be for you. A background in project management, marketing and publicity and communication would serve you well in this context. In addition to helping individual clients over a longer period of time for a specific initiative, you could also offer one off consultations, write blog posts, speak at events and conferences and teach workshops about your particular area of expertise.
How much money can you make?
The average business consultant salary is $72,639, according to careers site PayScale.
What kind of experience do you need to have?
“You must assert your knowledge in the niche for which you were hired. Clients select you to work on their behalf because you know something that they don't. This means that you tell it to them like it is, and don't back down. Deliver the knowledge that they pay for. If they don't like it, so be it. If they disagree, so be it. Your deliverable is knowledge, and if you deliver it in a half-baked way, you're losing the quality of your service.” - Neil Patel, entrepreneur and online marketing expert
What’s the most important thing to know about this business?
“Early on, we were a catch-all branding agency, trying to be everything to everyone … We had too many clients to juggle and lacked focus. We ended up with some hits, sure, but we had way too many misses. Today, we reject more than 90 percent of the folks who knock on our door, and that's been the best move for our clients and our business. Deeper integration means better results, and better results means better case studies that demonstrate our work and impact. The job of a consultant isn't to have lots of clients -- it's to add significant value to every single client.” - Adam Bornstein, founder of Pen Name Consulting
Aug. 5—The Lee County Board of Education, at its July 18 meeting, extended the proposal deadline for hiring a consultant to assist in the search for a new superintendent by two weeks.
The board is expected to announce its choice of consultants at the Tuesday meeting. Sealed proposals were accepted until Aug. 1, and the board will consider a contract proposal from the N.C School Boards Association.
According to the NCSBA, it has been facilitating superintendent searches for more than 20 years and prides itself on "offering a comprehensive search process to recruit excellent candidates from across the country, to provide you with accurate and reliable information about those candidates and, most importantly, to empower you — the elected board of education — to make the best decisions on behalf of your schools and your community."
The NCSBA has assisted 83 school boards with 199 searches during its 20-year history. The fee for the NCSBA's services, according to documents in the proposal, is $21,500 plus authorized expenses including advertising, travel or large-scale copying. The total estimated cost is about $26,000.
At the same July meeting, the board voted to purchase an eight-unit modular classroom for Southern Lee High School.
In June, the Lee County Board of Commissioners approved the purchase of a four-classroom modular unit. However, the board's Facility and Technology Committee recommended the purchase the eight-unit module. The board also agreed with a recommendation from the committee to use funds in the 2023-24 capital outlay budget to make up the difference. The committee reviewed the bids and approved $888,052.92 to pay Modular Technologies Inc. for the purchase and installation of the unit and restrooms. The school system would use about $323,000 from local capital funds.
Modular Technologies Inc. has been in business for more than 30 years and has a long history with the Lee County Schools including an eight-classroom modular for Tramway Elementary, four classrooms for Floyd Knight School and a 20-classroom modular setup for Lee Early College. Modular Technologies Inc. also completed a modular pod for Grace Christian School.
According to documents included in the board packet, the project can be fast-tracked to be completed in time to use for the second semester.
Tuesday's meeting is at 6 p.m. in the Jimmy L. Love Sr. Board Room at the Lee County High School Core Curricular Building at 1708 Nash St.
Google has announced several updates to Search aimed at making it easier for people to control information about them that appears in results. The company released a tool last year to help people take down search results containing their phone number, home address or email. Now, the company has updated the "results about you" tool to make it more effective.
A new dashboard will become available in the coming days that will let you know when such personal information pops up in Search. When you get an alert, you'll swiftly be able to ask Google to remove those results.
Earlier this year, the company debuted a Google One feature that can scour the dark web to see if your information has been included in a data breach. This "results about you" update seems to work in a similar way. The fact that it proactively finds results containing your personal info and helps you remove them should make it easier to protect your privacy.
You can access the tool from the Google app by tapping your profile photo and selecting "results about you" or from a dedicated webpage the company has set up. It's available in the US in English for now, but Google plans to offer the tool in other languages and regions soon.
Along similar lines, Google is updating a system that aids users in taking down explicit photos of them. The company has long provided the option for people to request the removal of non-consensual explicit images from search results. It's now expanding that policy to include consensual imagery.
Perhaps you uploaded explicit content of yourself to a website at one point, but decide you no longer want it to be available. If you delete the imagery from that website, you can now ask Google to remove it from search results if it has been published elsewhere without permission. The company notes that the policy doesn't apply to any content you're still commercializing.
It's not exactly rare for owners of websites that deal in explicit imagery to report content from elsewhere. Removing such content from Google Search results won't scrub it from the web entirely, but that may make it more difficult for people to find. You can search for "request removals" in the Google help center to get started.
On top of all that, Google is rolling out updates for parental controls and SafeSearch. Starting this month, Google is blurring explicit imagery (which it defines as adult or graphic violent content) in search results by default, a move it announced earlier this year. You'll be able to turn off SafeSearch blurring from your settings, unless a school network admin or a guardian has locked the setting on your account.
Last but not least, it'll now be much easier to access parental controls from Search. Punch in a query like “google parental controls” or “google family link” and you'll see an information box that explains how to adjust the settings.
Human Resources Consultants are strategic advisors and collaborators who work to provide employees and leaders with innovative solutions that align with UAB’s mission, vision and values and achieve institutional goals. Human Resources Consultants provide professional guidance and consultation to University employees, managers, supervisors and administrators on a variety of Human Resources issues that affect the work environment. Service offerings include:
Human Resources Consultants support the following schools and units.
Please contact them directly if you need assistance.
DEAR Robin, I was delighted when you commissioned me to prepare this report for you after our discussion at the club. As a newly appointed chief executive at a Fortune 500 company, a thrilling yet perilous adventure awaits you. I commend your wisdom in choosing to hire a management consultant to guide you on your way.
I, naturally, would have been ideally positioned, given my many years of experience serving your company’s principal rival. Alas, the time comes in every man’s life when he must hang up his hat and retire to his home in the Bahamas. As my swan song, I have thrown together, as requested, a few thoughts on how to handle my kind. I hope you find the attached 120-page PowerPoint presentation useful. Below you will find a brief summary.
Be ready for the “bait and switch”: Do not be fooled by the eloquent veterans who will turn up to your office to plead for your business. The work will mostly be done by clever but pimply 20-somethings, armed with two-by-two matrix frameworks recycled from client to client. What they lack in wisdom will be made up for in long hours. You need not feel sorry for them. They are cocooned in a shell of fancy meals, lavish hotels and private drivers—at your expense.
At first you will find them to be of no use at all—detrimental, even—as they harry your management team with endless questions and urgent requests for data. Eventually, they will win you over with their brains and gumption—or be quietly replaced. Meanwhile, those grey-haired senior partners will pop by from time to time. Beware.
Watch out for “land and expand”: We consultants are masters of the clandestine sale. If you hire us for a two-month project, it will assuredly take 12. By the time it ends, our tentacles will have spread. Ask for a new company strategy, blink, and we will be cutting your costs, fixing your IT systems and tinkering with your supply chain.
Like many other bosses, you may one day tire of our eye-watering rates and decide to poach the cleverest consultants for yourself. We will happily oblige. The most reliable missionary for the merits of consulting is one of our own. The more senior, the better. Hire them, but do not supply them the cheque book.
Question everything: Every self-respecting consultant knows that big recommendations demand big numbers. As a rule, divide everything you see by two. Never trust a benchmark; I made up most of mine. And carefully read those endless notes at the bottom of charts. That is often where the dirtiest secrets are buried. Be doubly dubious of any consulting reports your underlings happen to commission, especially when they recommend a bigger budget for said underling.
Take none of the blame: As a freshly minted chief executive, you are undoubtedly brimming with ideas. Many of them are terrible. Some may prove catastrophic. Among the valuable services offered by management consultants is the human shield. Make sure your board knows it was they who recommended the disastrous new product line or the overpriced acquisition. You always had your doubts, but trusted their illustrious reputations. Equally, your consultants may, from time to time, stumble upon a good idea. You thought of it first.
Experiment with polygamy: Your consultants will do their utmost to woo you into exclusivity. There will be much talk of “long-term partnership”. Yet it is a one-sided monogamy they seek. Fidelity is not in a consultant’s nature. Chances are they are already advising your competitors, with only the thinnest of Chinese walls between teams.
Follow their example and hire their rivals, too. Ideally, sit them in adjacent rooms at your offices. Consultants are fiercely competitive, and nothing will better spur them on to even longer reports than seeing their nemeses wandering the halls of your company. If bored, invite representatives of two warring firms to a meeting and watch them tussle for your favour.
As I look back on my career, I am not too proud to admit that I have occasionally fleeced the odd firm. But I maintain that my profession is a noble one. “Impact”, after all, is our industry’s watchword. (Admittedly, I never was quite clear what it meant, but you cannot deny it sounds lofty.)
One final thought to conclude: there is never a problem too big or small for a consultant. That I can confirm from experience. Your bill, including expenses, is attached. Good luck. ■
Read more from Bartleby, our columnist on management and work:
A refresher on business air-travel etiquette (Aug 4th)
The dark and bright sides of power (Jul 27th)
Workplace advice from our agony uncle (Jul 20th)
Also: How the Bartleby column got its name