There are thousands of SEO companies out there. You’ve noticed it, we’ve noticed it, and to many people the ability to tell the difference between companies is becoming very difficult. Despite all the sharks and cowboys out there, the industry is still full of companies and individuals who are genuinely willing and able to help grow your business, so let’s look at two of the business models you may encounter when considering what SEO company to go with.
Volume SEO Companies
These are the SEO companies that aggressively look to get as many customers as possible. They will tend towards having the following traits –
– Lots of advertising – you see them online a lot, they have bigger marketing budgets
– Pushier and less knowledgeable sales staff (as they have bigger teams with aggressive goals)
– Set pricing on their packages
– You will have an Account Manager, but they are not likely to be doing any of the actual work on your account
– Automated / streamlined reporting systems – a necessity when you have hundreds of customers
– Higher customer churn rates
This is not to say that volume driven SEO companies are always a bad thing. Many people find greater comfort in working with bigger companies, and understandably so. In theory they will not be disappearing anywhere, and sometimes this volume model means that the services are more affordable… although whether the results will deliver an ROI should still always be questioned. Historically, many volume SEO companies outsource the actual technical work overseas, to countries such as India, with an internal Account Manager handling the client-facing tasks in the USA. Most will not admit that the work is being outsourced, but having cheap labor doing the work is a key component that allows volume SEO companies to invest more in their advertising & marketing efforts to make the sales they need to reach quotas.
Boutique SEO Companies
Boutique SEO companies are not necessarily just small SEO companies; there are plenty of SEO companies that mimic the traits of the volume SEO companies described above without being in any way “boutique”. Here we mean boutique SEO to mean a smaller SEO company that does not define it’s success based on it’s number of clients and new monthly SEO sales, but rather a more hands-on approach with a smaller number of clients. A boutique SEO company will tend to have the following traits –
– Lower marketing budgets – they aren’t continually trying to win new clients, as they tend to be focused on helping those clients they have rather than looking to new ones
– You will have direct contact with the exact technical people working on your campaign; this usually means that little or no work is outsourced
– Pricing may be higher when compared to volume SEO companies, but not always; volume SEO companies still have a marketing budget they need to fund
– Packages are less set in concrete; they may be customized to specifically suit a client’s needs
– Higher client retention rates, because each client gets a higher level of attention
– May specialize in a number of industries, rather than always applying a single SEO formula to every client
Choose whichever model works best for your business and the way you like to work with your vendors. A good way to do this is to try and get in contact with some clients of the company you are considering working with; boutique SEO companies are often more readily willing and able to do this, as they have usually developed stronger relationships with their clients, but both should be able to provide you at least a few example clients to speak with.