This article explains why you should never shop for a SEO consultant based on price. Time lost after a failed campaign will multiply your loss if your competitors have good campaigns running. Business owners get insecure and tell themselves to go the cheap route and see what happens if they keep it down to three figures. However, the ROI of good rankings is so high that hiring the right consultant or firm should never be decided based on cheap prices. You are entering a cloudy intangible world, a confusing matrix difficult to compare, where everyone claims to be an expert but few show their work. Creativity, good data management, and experience are the potent factors that will make it work, not the ability to offer low, low prices. If they are not familiar with the subject clients will almost always feel ripped off when they shop based on price. Even entry-level consultants charge an average of $40 per hour so it is more expensive than design. On new sites, the SEO is (or should be) the project manager; designers build site for visual appeal; working around their mistakes later is more difficult. If you are not paying 2 or 3 times more than what you spent on site design, be very worried because the many hours of work necessary will not be getting done.
As an SEO consultant I hear horror stories of site owners spending more than $6K and having little or no results. They also get no reports or basic orientation as to what’s happening. That’s because there are people or companies who are good at sales but have no talent for unique writing or market analysis. Creative writing is the core qualification to create your off-page content. The SEO articles, directory content, blogs, and press releases that provide the high-quality links must be professional quality. SEO also involves many hours of work using a proven method that the company should be able to demonstrate by showing the ranking of a cross-section of client results. There are companies who charge a few hundred dollars a month and then pull your handful of keywords when you stop paying. Then you’re back where you started. SEO campaigns in smaller market sectors that are done correctly should leave your pages high in the results without further work once they are complete.
The content must be highly relevant and submitted to relevant categories on article directory sites. If relevance is diluted by linking to anything other than the business sector involved, the site’s position will not be competitive. A clean campaign must maintain strict relevance with unique content; the off-page content is 85% in terms of importance compared to the on-site content.
Advertising options can be overwhelmingly confusing when trying to compute budgeting by conversion rates from each medium to see which ones are worth continuing. Once you have arranged for hosting and website design then you must advertise to become visible. There are various local and national directories offering listings, all with different prices and features. There is direct mail, television, radio, pay-per-click, e-mail lists, telemarketing, door-to-door sales, paid internet directories of all types, digital display advertising, and many other media. Your website is the ad, the Web is the medium, and SEO is the key the highway and an intelligence map for Googlebot to follow, not a recurring advertising cost. Smaller sites don’t even need ongoing optimization if it’s done right the first time.
SEO is a marketing technique that goes on largely behind the scenes; it contains the essence of your business and directs a funnel of information composed by the optimizer to entice search engines to spider the external content, find the anchor text keywords containing links to your pages. For example, a search for the term “Toronto SEO” will bring up thousands of web site pages relevant to that phrase; the ones that have done the best job will rank in the top spots. The process is gradual but once established after several months your SEO campaign cost doesn’t come up again. Moreover, a well-done optimization program should get you even higher rankings and more traffic each yr without further activity due to the nature of viral content marketing, where downloads and RSS feeds of the article placed on your behalf keep multiplying as they are published with links intact on other websites. This fact leads to the next misconception: “I’ll save money by putting this off…” or “I’ll negotiate down to a low price with my SEO…” which is a natural reflex in business. It is the wrong reaction in this case.
It doesn’t matter what you pay for Search Engine Optimization. Even in a few thousand dollars, it simply doesn’t matter in the long run. The SEO is on your side and he should be offered good compensation.