Search Engine Marketing Firms
If you've ever created a web site with a contact firm, odds are you have received your fair share of unsolicited offers to help you get your site to the top of all of the major search engines. There are untold thousands of companies globally who all claim to be able to get you to the top, for a price. The problem is, almost all of these firms want your money up front, before any real SEO results can be realized. So, for most firms looking to better their rankings using outscored labor, it's a gamble. There is no guarantee that you are going to get ranked - the only guarantee is that you are going to spend money that you'll never get back.
So, how should you go about SEO if you are not a "do it yourselfer"? The answer is to cut up the project into three different projects, and outsource each of them individually.
The first thing you'll want to do before hiring any outside firms is to "claim" your site using Google's webmaster tools. The process is relatively quick and easy, and very necessary. This is a free tool that anyone with a Google account can use to monitor the traffic, and linkage, to any web site under your control. Using this tool you can gage from day one the impact of your outscored link building firms, their effectiveness, and their intrinsic value to your SEO efforts.
Once you've got your site registered with Google, you'll want to begin with the task that has the longest lead-time: link building. I like to use eLance.com to find contractors who will build, build, build more links to my site. There are dozens of great firms from India that focus on this one very critical element of search engine placement. Simply create a job titled "Link Building - (YourSiteName.com)" and watch the proposals start to roll in. You'll want to pay around $0.50 or less per link for Social Media and other similar links. Some firms will create press releases for you with back links to your site, in addition to YouTube videos with back links in the video description -- all things that most of us do not have the time nor the attention span to do on our own.
With regards to link building, my preference is to employ two different contractors at the same time. I have one of them focus on the low-hanging fruit (social networking sites, blogs, etc.) while the other one focuses on building links from higher PageRank sites. When Google sees the gradual influx of social, blog, and subject matter expert site links being added to your total inbound link count. The confluence of the many types of diversified inbound links will give Google what it wants, a semblance of natural links on par to what any great site would garner in the real world.
Note that your job of building links is never going to be finished. Even after you capture the top spot, to stay there Google is going to want to see a steady stream of new links to your site. Always keep in mind that links are not eternal - sites come and go, and when they disappear, so do your links. So never get complacent with your link building efforts. A small investment of $200 or so per month will keep the economy moving in India and at the same time keep your sites where they belong: on top.
The other aspect of SEO that you will need help with is your HTML code and content. You may need to create a separate listing in eLance to solicit web programmers who can help you build a "google friendly" web page. What I like to do is hire a great web designer to come up with an awesome design that really pops. Once the design is final, I take the code and graphics delivered to me and hire a programmer on eLance who can re-write all of that code in "css", or "stylesheets" in plain English. A style-sheet driven web page will look and feel exactly like it's "tabled" counterparts to human users, but to the Google index, it's like looking at the galaxy through the Hubble Space Telescope. With clean META tags (Title, Description, and Keywords), along with very eesy-to-read content held together with stylesheets, you are already light years ahead of most of the competition.
The last thing you can do to make your contractor's job of getting you ranked an easy one is to register, or buy from a squatter, a domain name that has your target keyword(s) in the root. In the past, you could SEO just about any domain to the top. But nowadays, Google is giving increasing emphasis to people who took the time and money to invest in domains that are laser-targeted to the topic they cover, but more on that in the next chapter!