As B2B companies boost their search-marketing efforts, SEO experts are in greater demand. And why not? With search one of the few bright spots in advertising these days, it stands to reason that optimizers who know how to get the job done are a precious commodity. But in a recent post at the WebCentral blog, Tom Pick voices a warning.

"[A]ny business area or profession that experiences unusual growth [such as SEO in recent months] … inevitably attracts, along with some very bright people committed to their new craft, a less savory crowd of opportunistic, incompetent or even unscrupulous entrants as well." Yikes.

So, to help B2B marketers hire search experts, not sleazes, Pick lists seven characteristics you do not want to see in an SEO provider. Among them:

He has irrelevant experience. "Given the still relative newness of SEO as a profession, any SEO practitioner over the age of 30 probably did something else before SEO," Pick notes. "Most of the good ones came out of either marketing or IT." Avoid those who tout SEO experience in, say, nutritional supplements, he says.

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