There are some simple facts that I have learned from my many years of experience as a business consultant, and the owner of many businesses; before you hire an SEO consultant, or hold yourself out to be one, you should consider the following:
1. The term Search Engine Optimization is a mistake, the proper label should be search advertising consultant, or search marketing consultant, since it is the results of good advice, and the return on investment, not the methodology that is salable, and the process requires infinitely more knowledge than just the ability to properly optimize a page: which is COMPLETELY WORTHLESS by itself.
2. Nobody who needs a consultant is willing to pay for one, or admit it; it is just the way people are: their EGO gets in the way
3. Because of the above, purchasing decision makers (often the guy who has been actually hired to do the job, but does not really know how) would rather buy a silver bullet, or widget, or methodology that will somehow do their work for them, than to admit, and actually attempt to obtain what they lack (which is often simply the IQ to use the tools they already have correctly)
4. Because of these facts, people buy the wrong solutions, with the unrealistic expectations that they will work, and/or that they will work for a period of time without the advisor who created them (the actual SEO guy)
5. Because of these facts, the people who are actually capable of doing portions of the work, are treated with distain, and even hated; these GEEKS are needed but not valued, hired, but still feared for what they know, and can do, by the employers who do not understand them.
6. Actual return on investment from search advertising requires a comprehensive knowledge base that crosses several lines: it requires an understanding of not only technology, but also copy writing, sales, advertising, societal change, philosophy, and a view of the future: there are very few people who have abilities or experience in all these areas
7. Because of number 2. (above), the few who are that good are feared, not hired.
8. Because of all these, there are a lot of broken systems out there: the blind are leading the blind: and all of these solutions: ALL of them need to be completely redone right now because of recent changes!
9. Because of all of these facts, it is the ability to consistently get results, above all, that matters: not the constantly changing methodology
10. Nobody wants to hear these things, for all of these reasons, so they buy the wrong services, from the wrong people: which creates my marketplace.
Respectfully submitted by Israel Rothman, a Search Advertising Consultant (just ask Google!)