Affordable SEO Packages - What they look like and how to find them.
Let's face it:
SEO packages and pricing can seem a little complicated.
This paper will cover everything you need to know to find the help you need with rankings while minding your budget.
First, let’s talk about organic traffic.
(Skip if you’re familiar)
Sometimes people hear "organic" and imagine targeted traffic growing on trees. Unfortunately, organic clicks are not free. Yes, the "build great content and they will come" mentality has been all but eradicated.
An “organic click” references traffic to your website outside of paid advertisements, referral traffic, and direct-to-URL traffic. In short, organic traffic is when someone searches for something on Google, finds your website, and clicks on it.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
We’ll get to that. But first:
What is a website?
(You might want to read this)
You have a website! You have (hopefully) created what many call a funnel. If you have a sales website, your funnel may be a sales funnel. Done properly, many users will go to your site, some are interested, and some of those interested, buy.
Your website is a tool. It is a basic marketing tool. In fact, a website is like the reciprocating hand saw in my own garage: it can do incredible things – if it ever gets used.
If we work our way back up the funnel, for someone to buy, they must be interested. For them to be interested they must find your website. How do we get them to find your website?
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
(skip if you’re familiar)
Earlier in this article (if you’re reading along) we briefly covered paid advertisements, referral traffic, direct-to-URL traffic, and organic traffic. To refresh, “organic traffic is when someone searches on Google, finds your website, and clicks on it.”
Well, effective SEO service pertains to the second part of the organic traffic process, where the user finds your website. You see, as a website owner, building the website is only the beginning.
The harsh reality of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) are simple. Google wants to show 10 webpages especially relevant and trusted about your search query.
Then they want to surround them with paid advertisements.
Assuming you’ve created a website that people should want to visit, SEO is there to help Google recognize that your content deserves to be seen. SEO Agencies typically offer a frequent rankings search to monitor your progress.
As with most marketing strategies, this process can be very competitive. As with most professionals in competitive industries, good search engine optimization agencies can be very expensive.
In the remainder of this article, we’ll discuss exactly how to find an affordable SEO service.
Exactly how to Find an Affordable SEO Service
(Great, you made it!)
First, there's good news:
Organic SEO Campaigns can pay for themselves. In fact, they can begin paying for themselves immediately in certain cases.
Businesses know marketing their web presence is important. Below, we'll go over a few of the most important points to look for when deciding on an optimization campaign. Before we do, a brief note on what an SEO package is might be helpful.
The truth is most agencies offering search engine optimization have a carefully calibrated secret sauce. They may not want to share that recipe with anyone, even clients. Typically, SEO packages may cover a range of exercises and/or results which the client can expect based on selecting each campaign
There are still many similarities that almost all SEO packages tend to have in common, whether or not you would call them affordable.
Be aware: Successful SEO packages are almost always built for the individual situation of the website owner. Showing google that you provide the most trustworthy and relevant page on the web is not a one size fits all process.
In addition, sometimes the cost of a package may seem expensive to some clients and cheap to others. An agency may offer two clients similar campaigns at the same price point; The actual value of each campaign can still vary dramatically based on the potential earnings available to each site owner.
Price point will inevitably be a factor in affordability.
A campaign strategy might not deliver enough targeted clicks to the site. A failed campaign is obviously not worth the investment, regardless of price-point. It is just as true that even a campaign which will pay great returns may be very difficult to fit into your budget (especially if the SEO budget was thought to be what was left after the website budget was exhausted).
Justifying spending - or even overspending - on your SEO budget to fully optimize your website is often a great decision. Thorough evaluation of the likelihood of success will direct you to either proceed with the process or find a better SEO option for your specific needs.
We want to help you decide. To take some stress off your mind, we've come up with some important factors to consider regarding your SEO investment.
Important Factors to Consider regarding your SEO Investment
Before spending any money on SEO, check this list:
- Get to know your sales funnel.
- Be Realistic
- Get to know the SEO Basics.
- Find an expert.
Prioritize these steps and your chances of earning more money from your site will expand exponentially! This is especially true if you are going to be assisting in any way in the SEO process. Even if you are simply making the decision on who to hire for your SEO campaign, keep reading.
The items above are all key to your success. Let’s cover them in detail.
Get to know your sales funnel
Earlier in the article we briefly touched on the sales funnel. In short, “Many users go to your site, some are interested, and some of those interested buy.” While you can track every milestone along the way, two stops are especially important.
How many people have been to the website?
How many of them made a purchase?
Keep these two figures especially close to heart as we move forward as they will come back up shortly.
Google recognized that website owners need a way to follow their sales funnel. On November 14, 2005, Google launched Google Analytics. If you are interested in understanding your web business over time, this is a great tool.
If you don’t like charts, partner with someone who likes charts and has an addictive or obsessive personality and sign them in. They may just make you rich.
Since you’ve come all this way, it might be time to give you a real gem. Using analytics, a business can get a decent set of initial figures for the sales funnel of a new venture using pay per click ads through google AdWords, social media, or other marketing.
Testing a market through a limited marketing campaign can have many advantages. Look for an offer you can afford from an agency you trust. If you do not have some existing traffic, this technique can help you get some.
You only need enough traffic in your analytics to become comfortable with the general flow of traffic through your site. Use the following steps along the way as your sales funnel fills out.
As you continue through the next steps, you’ll understand how using your sales funnel along with analytics and PPC is powerful. This workflow offers great, realistic perspective.
Now consider: Can you afford to aggressively optimize?
Deciding whether to spend the money to properly optimize your website should be easy work for your sales funnel.
A. How many clicks does it take to get an order?
B. What is the value of an order?
Divide B by A and you have the value of a click. Simple, right? Uhhh…
That math is never wrong if your website has a single keyword, product, and target market. In fact, if so, you just found the holy grail of business.
If not, like my girlfriend used to say on her relationship status, it’s complicated. Use these figures as a guide and be initially conservative in your expectations.
So now you have a general figure for the value of a click. What’s next?
Well…Just don’t pay more than that for a click. Right? Yes, that’s pretty much it.
You’ve just loosely determined what an affordable SEO package looks like for you.
Keeping realism in mind, know that SEO takes time to provide results. It is natural for initial months to produce very little as search engines index your content, people share your content, etc.
So long as they are realistically attainable, consider the clicks you are working towards, not only the clicks you have now. Next let’s look at exactly what you want and figure out where you can buy it.
Look over the SEO Basics
One of the most important things to consider is your own ability to evaluate the progress you are making on your Search Engine Optimization.
Begin by reading (skimming) Google’s webmaster guidelines. If you’re interested, read up on current SEO trends, check out Moz, and study enough about SEO to be able to at least understand the basics of how it works.
Be careful. The goal here is that you can evaluate your optimization for yourself. As you will see in the webmaster guidelines, there are black hat choices that can be made during optimization that will result in penalties for your website.
Failing to take a brief skim through this material can put you at the mercy of scam artists and SEO wannabees. Just as risky, reading a few choice blogs can give you a false confidence and turn you into an SEO wannabee yourself. Google will humble you.
Optimizing a site means understanding that website’s place in a very complex and constantly evolving system. Unless you’re reading this as part of a daily optimization research regimen, it’s best to consult with professionals.
Find an expert
One of the first steps a search engine optimizer will do is choose keywords. They will evaluate the number of clicks that can be obtained from the keywords once your website is well optimized.
You may wish to select a couple easy keywords, several moderately difficult terms and at least a couple quite difficult terms. After assessing the difficulty for placement, they may offer a timeline and price.
The revenue from individual keywords are also influenced by the keyword’s value in relation to the product or service for which you optimize. Consider running a test AdWords campaign on the keywords they have suggested.
Do clicks from these keywords convert into sales like you expect? If not, adjust your budget accordingly.
Now, try to estimate how much revenue moderate success with the keywords you have chosen might bring to your website. Look back to your sales funnel or a test campaign that tells you the estimated dollar value of a click. The more specific to the keywords you are targeting the better.
It is now simple to get a somewhat accurate projection of the revenue which could be derived from receiving 2% or 10% or 20% of the available clicks from a given keyword.
If there is no verifiable track record for the specific keywords, again, be conservative. At least try to get a best case, worst case idea. Use what your ROI might be based on the upper and lower range of results available from your keywords you do know.
So, let’s say the numbers look very positive! If you are quite confident in obtaining substantial payback from your affordable Search Engine Optimization package, based on your projections, there are still several important, major, decisions.
You really need to be able to trust the SEO provider you are hiring. Do they have a track record of having delivered the promised number of clicks for multiple other site owners?
Guaranteeing you results with your SEO is like guaranteeing an investment. The search engines are not a constant. Ask some questions to get a feeling you are making the right decision in hiring this SEO agency.
Look back to your sales funnel and be realistic. Do they sound optimistic? Ask them questions pertaining to the webmaster guidelines. Ask them what they find to be most important and compare it to the Moz periodic table of SEO.
You can check references, observe sites they have optimized, read papers they’ve written. You can quiz and question. You can cancel and call back. In the end, it really all comes down to a gut check and a handshake.
The truth is, if you’ve found their website searching on google, they are at least doing something right.
You know what you stand to gain. You have an agency you trust to deliver it. They have told you their fee.
If you can afford to pay the fee, pay the fee.
A search engine optimization expert has a multitude of decisions to make while managing your account. Some of these decisions include a selection of options that can have good, better, and sometimes incredible results.
If your optimization agency is taking less than their fee, they may not take as much time to make the very best selections on your behalf. It is best to ensure they are properly motivated towards the success of your account.
If you genuinely cannot afford the fee, negotiate.
Ask outright if they will accept less. Ask if they could customize a package that fits your needs within your budget. Carefully assess what the package includes and removes.
You may ask them if there are ways you could be more hands on that would reduce the price point (although some agencies may even charge more for this). If these strategies fail, ask if they can recommend a contact they trust within your price range.
A Couple Final Thoughts as You Begin the SEO Process
Only one final thing needs to be kept in mind once you have decided to move forward with your affordable SEO package. Change is inevitable.
Further, regarding website optimization, and especially for Google, change is profitable. The current algorithm will change. The spiders crawling your site tirelessly will see any general improvement to the site on a regular basis.
They will also want to see the latest tweaks to the algorithm recognized and changes to the site happening in accordance with these SEO adjustments over time. As your reputation grows, you will find more and more keywords to target, as well. To say it more clearly, you are never quite finished with your SEO.
The additional profits from those new clicks that are happening are quite wonderful, just don’t forget to set aside more SEO dollars to keep those clicks, and newer clicks, coming.
Okay, we have exhausted virtually every concern relative to this paper! There is just one final thought that might be worth mentioning here. Don’t let yourself be caught in a trap of your own making. Review your site for errors and omissions prior to investing money in SEO.
A very good SEO professional may alert you to changes necessary to the site before even starting the SEO process. However, technical issues must be addressed either by the SEO, you or your web designer. Without a well-designed, fast, effective website, your full investment in SEO is at risk.
Also, unless you have done a good job of optimizing your site for mobile use, you may still not be rewarded as planned for your SEO efforts! Sites today need to consider how they show up on mobile devices or they can be penalized by the search engines.
In this regard check out the “mobile friendly test API” introduced in January on the Google webmaster blog: https://webmasters.googleblog.com/. Happy optimizing!