Having been in this industry for a very long time, I come across the same situations over and over again in regards to the cost of an SEO campaign. You here the same questions and concerns from clients. You here the same complaints and stories from them too. Everyone thinks that they can save a few bucks and go with a cheaper SEO campaign, after all its not rocket science! Well, in reality there are very few people that know how to do it right.
Only about every 2-3 years do I see something new in SEO that I have never seen before. I’ve just been around too long and worked with too many clients. I say this not to toot my own horn. I say these things in order to help you understand where I, and many other SEO peoples, are coming from. The ideas I am putting forth in this post are the same things that my SEO brethren all experience too.
Cost of SEO
I can’t even remember how many people have decided not choose me for their SEO campaign and that end up going for a cheaper package elsewhere. Maybe it’s from India and maybe it’s your nephew who says that he knows SEO. Most likely it’s your web developer or hosting provider that say, “SEO is easy, don’t pay those guys that much, I’ll do it for half that!”
What ends up happening is that the client comes back to me after having wasted their $1000/mo, or $500/mo, for the past 6-12 months and are left with no results. Or at least not the results that they wanted, expected, or needed. Had they just taken my advice in the first place, or gone with a different reputable SEO consultant they would not be 6-12 months behind their competition and would also not be thousands of dollars in the hole. Had they spent just $1000 more per month they could be seeing an actual ROI by now.
But instead they rolled the dice and crapped out. And their money lost has now become part of the cost of SEO, putting ROI even further out of reach. But to me the worst, and most costly, thing that happens in these situations is that valuable time has been lost.
Time Cost of SEO
This can be extremely expensive. The time cost of SEO is heavily influenced by what your competition is doing while you are not. But there are many things that influence the time cost of SEO. Imagine all the sales you have missed out on in the past 6-12 months because you are not ranking. Imagine all the market share that your competition has taken from you in the past 6-12 months. What if your competition has been spending more money on their efforts, with real professionals? Then you are really screwed.
How to Know if You Have a Good SEO Campaign
I’m not just going to carry on about how you need to spend more and choose good people for your SEO campaign. I actually have some ways that can help you understand if you are getting a good campaign.
First, do research on the person or company that you want to work with. Google their names. See if they are referenced in any reputable industry websites. Look for video of them too, its always nice to put a face with a name. See if there are numerous complaints on consumer sites. But be careful here because almost all of these “consumer advocate” sites (Ripoff Report, Complaints.com, etc) allow anyone to anonymously post whatever malice messages they want, and without any warrant of authenticity. But if you see many complaints from what appear to be different people (you can usually tell by the tone and the story that they tell) and on different sites then you can pretty much be sure that the company is bad news.
Get a third party to do an SEO audit of the work being done by your consultant, agency, or in-house people. Now this also comes with a word of caution because everyone has varying opinions of what is most important to the right techniques when it comes to SEO. So you have to take the SEO audit with a grain of salt. I recommend doing this so that you can get an “idea” of whether or not you are getting totally ripped off. This is not for you to nitpick at every little thing that the person auditing the SEO disagrees with. You have to be weary of the auditor wanting to steal your business away. If you can get a few different people to do the audit and that should be plenty to let you know whether or not you are getting totally ripped off or not. I will do another post on SEO audits at a later date so subscribe to my feed for that update when it comes.
The bottom line is that I can think of handfuls of reasons not to skimp on your SEO efforts. But most importantly is the huge cost of not getting a good SEO campaign. So please, if you are in getting ready to launch an SEO campaign make sure that you perform due diligence and that you not be afraid to spend on your SEO efforts. After all, SEO is still THE most effective form of online marketing. So if you spend hundreds of thousands on TV, radio, and print you should be spending even more on your SEO. Spend in the areas that have the best chance for an ROI. And nothing fits that bill better than SEO.