Is SEO Worth Paying For?
This seems like a pretty straight forward question, but it is not as simple as should you hire someone or should you not.
The simple answer is: It depends on what type of business you have and how much the SEO company wants to charge for their SEO Service.
Let’s break it down so you can decide for yourself if hiring a company to do SEO and SEM for your business makes sense.
One of the first things you need to evaluate is the type of business you have. If it is a service-based business such as a professional dog trainer, a dentist, doctor, chiropractor, plumber, remodeler, etc. then SEO is pretty easy to answer. But, for every answer there is always the exception to the rule, and we will try to discuss a couple exceptions in a moment.
In today’s online market, websites are more of an online business card than a storefront for most small businesses in the service industry. What that usually means is you have your Home Page, About Us Page, Services Page and a Contact Page. Overall, those are about all that’s really needed for most businesses. If you want to enhance your site, you could add a Testimonials Page and a Blog. Anything more than that, good luck having ANYONE ever go through all your pages.
Since a service-based business has a fairly static website, there isn’t a lot of monthly changes going on. Sure, you may add a monthly Coupon or Discount, but as far as adding a lot of content or products to your website, that isn’t happening on a month-to-month basis.
The real problem we have with most SEO companies is they charge a pretty significant fee on an ongoing basis. If there’s a lot of work that needs done on an ongoing basis, that’s fine; but if the SEO company is doing what they were paid for in the first place there should be little to almost no ongoing work needed.
Here’s what we mean by that. You hire an SEO company to optimize your website. The first thing they do is analyze it. There’s software we use to do this, so it’s fairly simple although there is a bit of a cost to subscribe to the software. The report will highlight the critical areas that need addressed and they show you everything wrong with the website. You hire them to work on your site for a three or six month or God forbid, a year long contract to optimize your site.
The rub here is the report said what’s wrong. Month one, if your site is a standard site that we highlighted above, all those changes should be done in a week or two at the most. That means Your Website Is Done. It is Optimized. Why would you pay them for month two to do something they should have done in the first two weeks of month one unless they are intentionally drawing the work out; which many SEO companies do. That would be like hiring a dog trainer to teach your dog to sit and this month they teach him to squat and tell you next month they finish teaching him how to sit. Your dog either sits or he doesn’t, and your website is either optimized or it is not. There’s no ambiguity.
Now, we know some are screaming right now that you need the site to stay relevant. The ones screaming are most likely the ones that sell SEO services. Fine, we’ll give you that one. But if it is a standard, simple four to seven-page website with no extra pages within Tabs and the Navigation Bar, how hard is that to knock it out in a few days? Not hard at all. The only thing needed now is a quarterly check up to ensure the website stays relevant to any algorithm changes by the search engines. If it is discovered during the quarterly check up that 2 or 3 items need addressed, fix them. End of story and it should not take more than one to two hours at most if the website was really optimized in the first place.
If you’re paying $1,000 or more a month for ongoing SEO, you’re paying WAY too much. SEO should be a one-time event for a reasonable fee, and maybe $1,000 or $2,000 is reasonable for that ONE time. After that, a quarterly checkup for a much lower cost than $1,000, like just a couple hundred dollars. Frankly, if you are paying anything more, you are flat out being overcharged! We don’t charge anything near what SEO companies charge for we’d feel like we were taking advantage of our clients. In fact, if we are managing our clients online and social marketing, we do their SEO for free.
Exceptions to the Simple SEO Rule:
There’s always an exception or two. Here are a couple exceptions that would require a robust and ongoing SEO / SEM solution. You have a website that has LOTS of pages and even pages within pages. Just the shear volume of your site would necessitate more time and management to get it up to date and keep it there. The real question is why is your website so big? Perhaps you should streamline it so it is more user friendly. Since the average attention span is 8 seconds, do you really need 16 pages on your website?
If you have an ecommerce website you will most likely need an SEO / SEM company for you have a lot of items on your site that need key words, long tail and short tail strings, etc. to make sure you are relevant and competitive in the online market space you are competing in. Add to that the fact you are most likely adding and removing products on a routine basis, this requires constant optimization. For ecommerce, SEO management usually does make a lot of sense.
If you’re considering paying for SEO, keep these points in mind. Some companies will tell you that they can’t make a lot of changes at once for the search engines will penalize your website and drive you down in the search results. There is some truth to that but there is also truth to the fact that constantly making changes keeps your site down as well. We’ve found it is best to knock the changes out in one big swoop, take a couple week hit in rankings while your site gets crawled and indexed and then benefit from having your entire website optimized instead of a piecemeal approach over several months!
So to answer the question if SEO is worth paying for: yes, to a certain degree it is not only worth it, but it is necessary. Just don’t get hoodwinked into paying for an ongoing service that should have been done right and done from the start. Dragging SEO out means your website is truly never optimized, and if that’s the case it is being done that way by design!
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