The web has an reputation for being a cheap marketing channel. So there are a wealth of companies offering “budget SEO”, or “SEO included” services. But are these services worthwhile? And if not, what is a realistic cost of SEO?
The web’s reputation for being a cheap marketing channel is unfair, because it’s never really been true, unless you’re very technically competent….and you value your time as free.
Yes, you can get a cheap (or free) website. But they usually bring in no new business and are a net expense. Budget web services are aimed at providing a website that ticks the box. “I’ve got a website, I can get on with running my business now”. They are not aimed at providing you with an effective marketing channel. That kind of service is definitely NOT cheap.
The same goes for SEO. All websites worth spending any money on at all should have a basic level of SEO included. It should go without saying. Unfortunately though, most of the budget website design services pay no attention to SEO at all. For them, it’s all about the design, or even worse, just churning out generic websites.
Services that advertise themselves as “SEO included” are a slightly better bet. But you have to be completely honest with yourself. This is not a real SEO campaign. It’s just covering the basics that should be done by default by everyone. This is not going to put you above your competitors, it’s just going to give you a base point to work from.
If you want a real SEO campaign that is going to produce results, you need to be paying someone to be working on your website for at least 1 day per month. Depending on which company you choose, that could range from $300 – $1,000 per month. SEO takes a long time to see the results too. So an SEO campaign should run for at least 6 months, if not indefinitely.
A real SEO campaign will be targetted at a specific keyword/keyphrase (and related terms), so that “1 day per month” minimum, needs to be multiplied up for each keyphrase that you are optimising for.
SEO is not technically difficult, it’s just a lot of work. And because of that, it’s expensive.
An important consideration in choosing a company to run your SEO campaign is to make sure that you are using an honest, reputable company to do it.
If SEO is done wrong, it can easily have a negative effect and leave you in a worse position than if you’d done nothing at all. Some very big names have fallen foul of the search engines by using not so honest SEO techniques, and their rankings (and hence their revenue) plummeted overnight.
Outsourcing an SEO campaign to foreign companies is a huge risk. They’re not all bad, but it’s just very difficult working out which are the good ones amongst the plethora of dodgy ones.
Choose a company that can explain exactly what they’re going to do, what they’re not going to do, and why. Never just assume that an SEO company is going to do it right, regardless of how much you think you should trust them. The negative effects of getting it wrong just aren’t worth the risk.
Avoid any companies that throw around the term “SEO” like it’s just some extra plugin, or bolt on service. Ask them to explain exactly what they mean.