The SEO industry is becoming saturated with companies who all appear to be offering more or less the same thing, with a variety of different promises at a variety of different prices. The reality is that SEO services are not the same from company to company; many SEO cowboys have entered the industry seeing easy money from uninformed customers. Let’s face it, not too many people outside of the SEO industry know enough to avoid the traps that so many have fallen into in the past.
Businesses that are looking for an SEO company fall into two clear categories – those who have done it before, and those that have not. Usually this means they are shopping with different criteria in mind… and you have thought about those criteria before wandering into this process, right? If you haven’t, then just a few minutes reading this advice could save you a lot of time and money in the future.
For the first-timers…
Most businesses are just learning the huge benefits that are waiting for them online, so for many this is your first time looking for an SEO company. In some way you’re hoping that the hardest step was working out that you even needed SEO at all – now if you can just find a company that is not too expensive, your problems are solved right? Almost, but not quite, because there are some very important things that you need to know.
Tip #1 – Price
Every company is working on a budget, and every company is trying to limit their expenses. So it stands to reason that you probably want to find the cheapest alternative for this new cost that just came up – especially when 90% of you will be surprised to find how expensive SEO can be. But as with many things, cheaper is rarely better, and here is why –
First, SEO is a marketing investment – not just another expense. If you find an SEO company with skills, generally speaking the more you invest, the more you will get back – because remember, the goal here is to bring you new business, not just optimize your site so that you can tick something else off your to-do list. You can’t expect to invest a hundred dollars per month and get tens of thousands of dollars back.
Let’s not forget either, time is money. Is it better to spend $250 for 12 months or $500 for 6 months? Your business has overheads. You need sales as soon as possible. The “cheap” option may drag you out for 12 months and then what happens if you still don’t make it to Page 1 and make more sales? You’ve lost your money AND 12 months.
The Numbers Game
Once your SEO company analyzes the market for you, they will be able to show you just how many people are searching for your services online. If you are, let’s say, a carpet cleaner in Los Angeles, there may be 6-10,000 searches for your services online every month. 93% of those won’t go past the first page of search results. If you are on that first page, what would it mean to your business to have just 100 of those 10,000 people call you? Now how much would you be willing to pay to get those 100 extra phone calls each month? Often the answer is that a successful SEO campaign is likely to bring many thousands of dollars of extra income per month – usually tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. How confident are you that the cheapest SEO company you can find, will actually be able to deliver that kind of impact to your business?
One thing is clear – there is no point making the investment if you don’t achieve results. If you shop for SEO based purely on price, you risk of wasting all that money when your site is still back on Pages 3 and 4 some six months down the track or longer. Price is of course important, because you don’t want to over-extend your means. But it is what you get back on your investment that is equally important.
What you need is a company you can afford, who deliver you a positive return on your investment.
Stay tuned for Part Two of this blog, when we talk about the criteria that experienced SEO shoppers are more likely to look for…