Search Engine Optimization is an essential ad strategy for today’s business. Not only does it help you stay competitive, but the lack of an affordable SEO strategy can debilitate a small business, sometimes beyond repair.
Since most businesses have gone online in a big way recently, SEO has proven that it is here to stay. But with so many pricey SEO options around, how do you get the best bang for your buck?
Contrary to what you may think, affordable SEO does exist. And you don’t have to skimp on quality either. Click here to learn about ideal and typical expenses regarding SEO.
The Value of SEO
You know SEO is important. That’s why you’re reading this in the first place. But just how important is SEO? Whether you’re a local bike repair shop or an international online software provider, your online presence can make or break your business.
Consider these stark SEO statistics:
- Over 90% of all online experiences begin with a search engine inquiry
- 25% of searchers click past the first page of a Google search
- Over half of all website traffic is organic search, as opposed to paid ads
- SEO leads generate 800% more traffic than leads from traditional ad campaigns
- Almost half of all Google searches are for local businesses and services
- 3/4 of the search engine market is through Google
As important as SEO is to a company, it’s not an easy skill to refine. To be a proficient SEO wizard, one must have a mix of technical skills, marketing savvy, and writing chops. It’s a lot to ask of a busy entrepreneur or business owner.
It’s a good thing you can hire out a skill like SEO. But before you go out and trust your marketing budget to an SEO shyster, you must understand the foundations of what makes up SEO, especially good SEO.
As with most things business service-related, SEO has its share of nightmare providers. Therefore, you must do some shopping around. But what do you look for in a good quality SEO that would command the types of fees you’re willing to pay?
For the most part, when people talk about SEO, they’re talking about Google SEO. Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo, or any number of search engines foreign to the U.S.? Sadly, they’re not as important as Google.
You see, Google algorithms carry all the stroke when it comes to getting found online. The algorithms, or “bots,” scour your website to gauge qualities Google deems important and that reflect its values.
And what does Google value in a website? Think of all that makes up a quality website:
Namely, is your website a bunch of junk? If not, prove it! So goes the overarching agenda Google has laid out for its ranking criteria.
If you want your website to rank, you need to ensure two things. One, that it’s a legit, quality website. Two, and more importantly, that Google can recognize that inherent quality.
Generally speaking, there are three main “pillars” of SEO–the hallmarks of a website’s quality–you should familiarize yourself with before you spend a cent on SEO services.
User experience is one of the main aspects of SEO, and technical SEO addresses some of the more mechanical ways a searcher might interact with your site
Is your website design well-organized? Is it easy to navigate? How clean is the render? Does it remain useable across mobile devices as well as desktops?
All of these point to a website’s general architecture, and it’s one of the traits the almighty Google bots crawl for when determining your site’s ranking. Some of the other factors you’ll want to consider tweaking are:
- Optimizing your URLs for readability
- Creating meta tags and meta descriptions lightly sprinkled with keywords
- Making sure the page speed is optimized
All of the above help users navigate and interact with your website with greater ease. However, good SEO practices involve optimizing a website’s “crawlability.” Translation, it must be user friendly from the algorithms’ perspective as well.
Technical SEO practices like making sure the website is indexed and creating and optimizing an XML sitemap will make your site more legible to the bots. So when Google sees you exist, it can evaluate the rest of your site more accurately.
Updated and relevant content is foundational to good SEO. We’ve all seen stagnant, old websites with blog posts that haven’t been updated in six years!
How excited are you to engage with a site like that? The Google bots will see that you’re not providing updated content and ding your search ranking accordingly.
The search algorithms understand content, and one of the things they look for in your site is content relevant to your subject matter. Are you a locksmith website with blog posts about some random, unassociated topic, like “the benefits of hot yoga?”
The bots might view this and go, “Hmm…this site seems kinda all over the place,” and downgrade your ranking.
Beginning with the Panda update, Google has been able to weed out some of the following types of spammy content:
- Low-quality content or content that lacks depth
- Thin content
- Duplicate content, or content that’s directly cut and pasted from other sites
- Content farming, or low-quality content written by someone else
- Lack of trustworthiness or authority
- Content that doesn’t answer the question searchers originally asked for
- Low content-to-ad ratio, or using a website as an excuse to run ads rather than provide useful information
Your website’s content, both written and visual, is your company’s chance to really shine. You can use your content sphere to elucidate your subject and educate users in ways that can convert many of them into paying customers.
Your content is also where you can integrate relevant and ranking keywords and keyword phrases. Keyword research is critical to good SEO, and your content is where you can embed exactly the words or phrases interested searchers use to find you.
And you’d be surprised; the words others use to search for your product or service is often very different from the language you, as an industry insider, would use.
Most recently, Google’s BERT algorithm can now make semantic associations between keywords and phrases. No longer will you need to plug awkwardly-composed keyword phrases into your content. Semantic reasoning bots are learning to “get the gist” of an inquiry and lead users in the right direction.
Backlink profiles can prove search engine gold, but they can also get you some of the biggest Google penalties, especially if you’ve acquired them spammily. Link farming or personal blog networks (PBNs) are the surest way to get your site penalized.
Even though your internal linking structure matters as part of good architecture, your external links are where the real SEO juice is at. And we’re not just talking about how you link out to other relevant sites (though that does come into play).
Specifically, other sites linking to you can pay off in spades when it comes to SEO. Why? Google sees an external backlink as a “vote” from another reputable site.
Basically, backlinks are other industry leaders vouching for you. So make sure your backlinks are not just from any old site but an industry peer.
That’s a lot to cover before talking about how to find affordable SEO packages. But it’s a necessary conversation because, to find something affordable, you’ll need to know what it is you’re looking for.
Understanding the landscape will help you make a clear plan for finding an SEO that is high quality and within your budget. Believe it or not, such a thing exists!
Now that you know all of what goes into SEO, what can a company expect to pay for such a service? As with anything, it depends on how much SEO you need.
You can get SEO packages from as low as $400 a month to upwards of tens of thousands a month. If you’re a giant corporation dealing in a competitive market, like real estate, for example, you may very well spend $100k a month on SEO!
Here are the biggest factors that most affect the price of an SEO package.
1) Geographic Reach
How wide do you need to go with your geographic reach? As you might imagine, if you’re a local restaurant, you don’t need to reach an audience outside of your region. Local SEO service is some of the most affordable around.
At Go Florida SEO, you can start with a statewide reach for just $399. If you are a brick-and-mortar business, local SEO packages include everything you’ll need to be seen within your region. Local SEO is perfect for hairstylists, restaurants, and most service-related industries.
National SEO campaigns are more expensive, averaging from $2500-$5000 per month. Why? The further your reach, the more competition you can expect.
You see, with local campaigns, you can often focus on local business search engines like Yelp or any number of local reviews people tend to use when searching for something close by. Not so with national campaigns.
With national SEO campaigns, there’s ALOT more competition, so you need to optimize everything at a higher level. From content to technical SEO to backlinks, you are counting on getting more traffic from more diverse regions.
This leads us to our next few criteria.
2) Keyword Phrases
Many SEO companies will offer tiered pricing plans for their national packages based on keywords. For example, if you want to include one hundred keywords, your SEO package might be in the lower-tiered price range. If you want to rank for several hundred keywords or keyphrases, it will cost more.
Remember, keywords are how people find you — and your competition. An SEO company can research relevant keywords, see what keywords your competition is ranking for, and integrate those keywords into your content to give you a better chance of ranking.
3) Content Development
For larger campaigns and more competitive markets, you’ll need more content. You’ll need more high-quality, relevant, authoritative content!
Many business owners are not writers, so this is one area where an SEO agency may take the reigns, working with a business to create content that’s useful for users.
Also, keep in mind that visual content is just as important as written content and even more popular. It’s quicker and easier to digest, so searchers tend to engage with it more.
Many SEO companies also deal in marketing for this very reason. SEO is marketing, so they are ready to deal with the more obvious promotional needs a small business will face.
The True Cost of Cheap SEO
One of the most commonly asked questions is, “can I do my own SEO marketing?”
The answer is yes, absolutely. If you are a small business owner, you can DIY anything. Heck, that’s the very definition of bootstrapping, isn’t it?
You could do your own SEO, but the reality is that there is a lot to the landscape, and the learning curve can prove impractically steep.
That said, budgets can be tight, and you know you need SEO. What about some budget-friendly SEO? You know, the kind you find on gig work markets and unsolicited in your email inbox?
Not only do you run the risk of spending all of your money on poor results, but if your cheap SEO company is using risky techniques (like PBNs), you may find that a Google penalty has taken your site back a million steps.
The bottom line is, it’s simply not worth the risk to hire SEO services.
What You’re Really Paying For
So what does this all amount to? Developing tight, original content full of well-researched, competitive keywords aimed at a national (or even international) audience takes time and energy. And that’s what you’re paying in an SEO service.
From regional, Florida-centered campaigns to national campaigns, we know what it takes to get your business out of the far left field of a Google search. Contact us today for the highest quality, most affordable SEO around.