How much do you have to pay for hiring SEO services? This question often comes first! There are so many people nowadays who want to hire SEO services for promoting their websites, products, and services online so that they can generate a strong global presence for their business or company. But, ultimately, the cost for hiring these SEO Services comes at the top of your marketing plan, doesn’t it!
Like other purchase or business transactions, you will only wish to spend the money if you are comfortable with what you get. Your comfort zone is often stretched to the limit and is based on different level of dependencies like the reputation of the business, how well you know them, the history and time frame of a business, and what was the first impression. As far as the truth associated with SEO services is concerned, it often suggests that this is not hard work. However, that never means it is easy!
The cost of hiring an SEO company is directly proportional to the services that are provided by them. The current industry prices can start for as little as $200 and soar up to $5,000 monthly. It all depends on the level and duration of service provided by the company. Hence, it is best to consider the output and return on investment rather than focusing on just the cost factor associated with the package. The market is abounding with run off the mill SEO providers that promise you the world at unbelievably low costs. These companies typically use unscrupulous techniques that could have severe legal implications for your website in due course. Instead, you should hire a provider that considers SEO a work in progress and furnishes you with regular statistics and reports that detail the progress of your campaign.
Performing SEO often takes time, effort, dedication, techniques, and strategies. And, most importantly, experiences with the SEO services should be considered when you are hiring one. All these elements also play an important role in deciding about the cost for hiring a SEO service. Let us examine some of the popular packages offered by SEO providers in detail:
Hourly rates – Although engaging an SEO provider by the hour is a very flexible and cost effective idea, they could be working for another client when you need them the most. However, such providers can also be an advantage as unlike packaged offers, you have the liberty to choose the service you need.
Preset packages – While preset packages can be useful for big establishments, it is not such a good idea if you are only looking for selective optimization of your site. You would end up paying a fortune for unnecessary tweaks and SEO operations that are not required for your website.
Customized packages – Customized packages are ideal as they offer personalized optimization that caters to your individual requirements.
The concept of SEO is a broad term that encompasses a wide range of operations, which include market research, copywriting, on-site optimization, off-site optimization and tracking and analysis. The aforesaid operations play a key role in laying down the groundwork for optimization and are taken into account when it comes to deciding the total cost of the package.
Changing trends in SEO gave birth to various Internet SEO services. In spite of many free materials online that teach the whole process, most of the business website owners also prefer to have experts optimize their websites. So with this aim in mind, the SEO expert always observes ever-transforming SE algorithms. In the same way, he tests, researches, and refines his methods. Prior to talking further about the responsibilities, let us remind you that the SEO specialist should always find ways to optimize sites.
Hiring an established SEO firm would save you time and deliver the desired results at a competitive cost. Going by the current industry standards, all reputed SEO services begin at a minimum of $1000 per month. The price depends entirely on your optimization requirements and the professional fee charged by the firm to rake up high page rankings for your site. Keeping all these factors in mind, you should shortlist a couple of SEO providers and accordingly select the one that is most conducive to your budget.
You’re likely aware that affordable SEO services exist and are an important marketing strategies available today. Likewise, it’s also one of the most effective ways to establish an online presence, especially if you’re just new in the business. Though, let’s not forget the fact that it could also be quite expensive–more so, if you’re just starting a business. That in mind, how can a small business with limited budget enjoy something like this?
The answer is, through affordable SEO.
Believe it or not, affordable SEO services still exist. However, before we delve in further, you have to know that ‘cheap’ and ‘affordable’ aren’t the same–they have different meanings. The term ‘affordable’ means that you’ll be able to enjoy services at a reasonable price, without compromising the quality or features being offered. On the other hand, ‘cheap’ means you’ll be looking for the lowest priced services available–this wouldn’t give you the assurance that you’ll still enjoy SEO services that could help your business succeed.
Experts would tell you that it’s not advisable to go for cheap SEO services. Instead, focus on a company that’s capable of providing the services you need at an affordable price. This would give you the assurance that you’ll be able to enjoy long-lasting results that’s worth the investment. Also, there’s no need to pay for another SEO professional just to correct the mistakes made by the cheap company you’ve hired before.
Affordable SEO services are the most practical solutions to give your website the boost it needs. This will help you achieve your goals without burning a hole in your pocket.
Listed below are the characteristics of an affordable SEO service:
1. Comprehensive Services
This means SEO professionals would be willing to provide different services, such as keyword research, link building, content writing, directory submission, search engine submission, and social media marketing under one roof. This would give you the advantage of having an array of choices when it comes to picking features that should be included in the SEO campaign. With that, there’s no need to go to several providers just to obtain the services you need.
2. Insights From Other Experts and Customers
You should always do your research and try to figure out what other people say about the SEO company you’re planning to hire. Attempt to look for customer reviews and testimonials online. This would give you the insight you need, allowing you to determine if it’s an affordable SEO company or not. Pay attention to the feedback about pricing, costing, customer service, and level of professionalism.
3. Scaled Services
Some SEO companies make it impossible for businesses to access their services because they only offer complete services, and you’re not allowed to pick individually. This means you have no choice, but to take the entire package or look for another SEO company instead.
An affordable SEO company is willing to provide a broad range of options that allow the customers to scale different features depending on the allotted budget, as well as the benefits the business can enjoy. This gives you the privilege of personalizing the solution depending on your particular needs.
4. Unique and Customizable Services
Affordable SEO services are always willing to give options to ensure customer satisfaction. They allow their clients to personalize packages or features depending on their needs. This enables the business to decide what features should be included in the package and which ones are not needed at all. This can be very helpful for small businesses because they’ll have more control over the pricing.
5. Experience Is Important
Companies offering affordable SEO services are usually experienced and have been in the business for some years. They’re willing to provide quick turnarounds when it’s needed, and you’ll have the assurance that they’ll handle the given task professionally. You’ll be working with a more efficient ‘machine’ and you can expect more from the company, without paying extravagant fees.
SEO is the foundation of everything being done online. It’s in the website pages, blog posts, social media posts, content downloads, and emails. That’s why it’s critical to look for an SEO expert that’s capable of helping you boost your online presence. However, this doesn’t mean that you should spend ridiculous amounts either. There’s a lot of SEO companies that offer affordable services, and all you have to do is look for these.
When a company undertakes a search engine optimization program, whether it is performed in-house or outsourced to an SEO service, most of the attention (and rightly so) is focused on the company website. This is the one aspect where there is a feeling of control–once a website is released into the wild, the company will have to see how its site fares against all the other websites out there, whether the other sites are using ethical SEO tactics or not.
Apart from changes made to the company website, the assumption is often that the company and, if it is using one, its SEO service, has zero control over what appears in search engine results. However, this is not usually the case. Often, you or your SEO service can have a direct effect on search engine results by monitoring your competitors and reporting them to the major search engines when the SEO techniques used on their site fall outside what is popularly referred to as ethical SEO. (Please note that while I believe that the word “ethical” is tossed around too often, “ethical SEO” has become the standard phrase to describe white hat techniques, and so it is the phrase I use throughout the article.)
To start with, let’s define competitors. Almost every company has at least a handful of other companies that it considers to be primary competitors–the ones that sell the same products and services, that are of similar size, and so on. It is important that the SEO efforts (or lack thereof) of these competitors, whether they are using ethical SEO techniques or not, be monitored on a routine basis. If they have not hired an SEO service of their own, or if they have not started doing SEO in-house at all, you will have peace of mind knowing that the use of this channel, for the moment, is yours. If your competitors begin an SEO campaign, with or without an outside SEO service, you can learn much about their sales and marketing tactics by evaluating the keyphrases that they target. And you can also investigate whether they are using ethical SEO practices in their campaign.
Your Online Competitors
It’s important to keep in mind that it is unlikely that searchers are going to decide only between you and the primary competitors you have listed. They are going to consider any company that matches their particular needs and that shows up for their search term. This is why your criteria for a competitor online should broaden to encompass any company that offers products or services like yours that outranks you for any of your targeted keyphrases. If your in-house staff or your SEO service not only continually monitors your search engine positions but also analyzes the companies that appear above you in search results, you can often identify forward-looking competitors of which you were previously unaware–your primary competitors of tomorrow.
This brings us to the key issue of ethical SEO. Search engine optimization is still a very new concept to most companies. Even the most respected companies can make mistakes in this arena, either by choosing the wrong SEO service, or by trying to avoid hiring an SEO service altogether by bringing it in house with well-intentioned but unqualified people. For example, BMW’s German site was recently removed temporarily from the Google index for using doorway pages–something that is not considered an ethical SEO practice. It stands to reason that your competitors are also not immune to violations.
There are very notable examples of otherwise smart and established companies hiring an SEO service that put them in a worse situation than before they pursued SEO–by getting their site removed from major search engines for violating the engine’s terms of service, for example. Not long ago, there was a well-publicized example where most of the clients of a Las Vegas SEO service were penalized. Almost all of the clients claimed that they were not informed that the firm was not practicing ethical SEO and that they were therefore at risk.
SEO firms are generally divided into two camps–those called “White Hats” (those that use ethical SEO practices and will never knowingly violate a search engine’s terms of service) and those called “Black Hats” (those that do not use ethical SEO practices and that will attempt to unravel the latest algorithms and exploit any loopholes to achieve rankings at any cost). Neither approach is invalid–it is not against the law to violate the terms of service of a search engine. Moreover, black hat techniques can be quite effective. However, the tactics are risky, and anyone hiring an SEO service that wears a black hat and does not use ethical SEO practices should definitely be apprised of this risk up front.
Firms are often tempted to avoid hiring an SEO service by performing SEO in-house, and the project almost always falls onto an already overburdened IT department. The problem with approaching SEO from a strictly technical mindset is that the strategies employed, such as the keyphrases targeted, will not necessarily be in line with the goals of the marketing and sales departments. In addition, an IT resource will usually approach SEO from a purely technical standpoint, without being aware of ethical SEO practices, and this can lead to trouble. Penalization is a very real possibility, and it is hard to get back onto an index once your site has been removed.
A thorough SEO service will monitor not only the handful of competitors that you deem crucial but also the sites that appear higher than you for any of your chosen search phrases. This may be somewhat controversial, especially to any SEO service or webmaster that uses tactics forbidden by the search engines’ terms of service. However, many white hat SEO service firms consider it an obligation to their clients to routinely monitor the sites of any competitor found on the engines to be sure it is using ethical SEO techniques.
There is a reason that every major search engine has a form to report sites who do not use ethical SEO tactics and who violate the terms of service so that these sites can be subsequently penalized or removed. Spam filters cannot catch all violations without also removing a large number of good sites. Search engines rely on their users to help them to keep their indexes clean and free of sites not using ethical SEO tactics. There are many techniques to spam an engine–far too many to list. However, a good SEO service not only knows what all of these techniques are but knows how to identify them when it sees them so they can be reported to the engine accurately.
The End Result
Business is business, and your interests often run directly counter to that of your competitors. When you report a website that is not using ethical SEO, it is very likely that it will be removed. This means there is one less company that you need to worry about in the online arena, at least for the time being. If the site in question outranked yours, you also get the added benefit of seeing your rankings improve as the violating pages are removed–provided, of course, that you are using ethical SEO techniques and steering clear of violations yourself, or you may be reported by a competitor of yours or its SEO service!
The engine also benefits from users reporting violations. Engines do not like people trying to trick their indexes, since there might then be pages showing up for particular search terms that are not actually relevant to those terms. Clearly, search engines understand this benefit–if the engines thought they could weed out all the spam themselves, they would not provide a reporting system. Supporting such a system, after all, is not free. Real people employed by the engine have to visit the offending pages to confirm that they are not using ethical SEO tactics.
In the notable example cited earlier of the firm that got most of its clients penalized, the owner of the SEO service in question was quoted as saying, “Google can kiss my ass. This is the Wild Wild West.” He may be right–maybe it is the Wild Wild West. But there are a whole bunch of new sheriffs in town–and they are wearing white hats.
The question comes up often. Many people have been burned by SEO Services, but many have also been rewarded by SEO Services. Like any business transaction or purchase you should only spend your money when you feel comfortable. Your comfort zone should pull from various dependencies, such as how well do you know this business, how long have you been doing business with this person or entity, what is your first impression, how do you personally feel about this person or entity ability to provide this service, and how well have you done your homework.
The truth about SEO services is that it is normally not hard work, but that doesn’t mean its easy. It still takes time, dedication, effort, strategy, technique, method, skill, and experience to perform quality SEO services. Anyone can use SEO services because it is within your reach to learn, but not everyone can apply sensible strategy to make SEO work. That is why SEO engineers are needed to accomplish the almost impossible, but the question is how do you know you are making the right choice and not overpaying for SEO services?
I can honestly say for the most part SEO service providers are on the up and up who want nothing more than to do professional business and provide quality SEO services. Identifying every shady SEO service may not be possible, but I have some recommended advice which should help anyone get a fair and quality rate for SEO services.
- Set yourself a “realistic” marketing budget and goal
- Shop around
- Don’t buy until you feel comfortable
- Remember “cheap does not always mean better”
- Ask for references / referrals / portfolio
- Verify references / referrals / portfolio
- Ask for statistical growth and progress reports
Set Yourself a Realistic Marketing Budget and Goal
This simply mean do not kid yourself and think you can pay $200 and overnight you will make thousands. Instead, create a budget depending on your marketing needs, competitive industry, projected outcome, and length of time. If you are looking for your website to rank in the Top 10 search engine result page for a particular keyword or keywords then expect to pay in the thousands, often times tens of thousands, for quality, professional, and reliable SEO services, almost always depending on the competitiveness of the keyword. If you want to rank in the top 10 for the keyword “Google”, this in most cases impossible, but I am sure there are some SEO companies who will accept the challenge, but will charge in the thousands if not millions to attempt this insane marketing goal.
Find the most appealing SEO services and compare those to other competitive SEO services. Don’t settle for “cheap” or “inexpensive”, but settle for “effective” and “strategy”. Anyone can do SEO work, but not everyone can improve results using SEO services. This is because, SEO is about technique and strategy. It’s not about just throwing thousands a links around the web and sitting back waiting for the explosion. Its actually a lot more complicated than that, as it is about having strategy, technique, and competitive edge. You must find SEO services which live by this principle and can offer you the strategic road map you need for success.
Don’t Buy Until You Feel Comfortable
You should always feel comfortable with entrusting your money into an SEO service provider paws. If you have special needs such as you want to sign a contract, you want a specific pay schedule, or you have any questions, make sure you get answers and are comfortable with the projected outcome then move forward. I personally suggest getting a contract which outlines the projected outcome and any other bullet points, then also exploring the consequences or possibilities if the projected outcome is not met.
Remember “Cheap Does Not Always Mean Better”
This is a buyer beware notice. When someone offers $20 SEO services or even $200 SEO services, I would say “buyer beware”. There may be a handful of highly skilled SEO providers who can offer you SEO services at a discount or for extremely low rates, but most of the time these providers either do not know their service worth or know exactly what they are doing, but may have had a lucky streak. You will have to pay top dollar or aggressively, yet still affordable for quality, strategic, and experienced SEO services. SEO engineers is what I like to call them. These are SEO’s who understand the SEO concept, who pioneer SEO methods, and who don’t always follow the trend, but know the trends.
Most of the SEO engineers are not going to be cheap, but well worth every dollar spent. If you take into consideration other marketing and advertising platforms, such as television broadcast advertising, print advertising, large tradeshow/fair booth advertising, etc. internet marketing and search engine optimization cost peanuts compared to these other advertising methods and have a farther audience reach. SEO services can easily cost between $5,000-$25,000, it can even be much more than this, depending on your needs, but this is far more inexpensive and cheaper than other advertising platforms. So, next time you think that SEO service cost too much, think about the other methods of advertising and their rates, along with return on investment (ROI). SEO services come out on top every time when compared against these other advertising platforms.
Ask for References / Referrals / Portfolio
Any SEO service provider should be able to point you to their qualifying work. SEO service providers should be able to present you with affectionate websites which they have performed SEO work on. This can even be the SEO service provider personal website, they should be able to point you to their rankings in the search engine as well as some result driven SEO work within the site or across the web.
Verify References / Referrals / Portfolio
Verifying information is not always easy or accomplishable. You should attempt to reach out and verify what you can. If a shady SEO business was going to scam, then I am sure this is where they would start, with testimonials. I suggest verifying what you can, but don’t get overwhelmed with referrals because it may be the shady SEO business giving self praise. I actually have some good verification tips, but that’s another article all within itself.
Ask for Statistical Growth & Progress Reports
The SEO service campaign should include periodic progress/performance reports so you can track your website progress. Tracking your website progress is important in many ways. First, it tells if the SEO engineer is doing their job. Second, it tells you if the SEO methods, strategy, and technique is working or not. Third, it tells you how well the search engines are reciprocating your SEO efforts. And lastly, it tells you how much progress is being made and at what rate. All of this advanced reporting information and trend tracking can give you an overview of your website potential while giving you the opportunity to design or redesign your landing pages to increase your return on investment (ROI).
Okay, to wrap it up, just be sure you stay out of shabby internet neighborhoods and when making any online transaction, do your homework first. Also, remember “cheap does not equal better”. Think about it, would you rather pay in the thousands to one SEO company for quality SEO work, which will produce results and increase your website overall performance or would you rather pay cheap $200 to many different SEO’s who don’t ever really give you the results you deserve. If an SEO engineer can increase your website sales and exposure by 80% without your site ever reaching the top 10 search results then you still got a good deal. This is the effect of skilled and experienced SEO services. The only difference between your website and the websites in the top 10, is those websites have SEO engineers working for them who understand SEO.