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What’s the cost of SEO?

It’s the $64,000 question. In fact, over the course a ten years, $64,000 could be the right amount for a small business website. Much more if you’re in a competitive marketplace.

Yet mention to any small business owner that they’d have to set aside around $6,000 per annum for SEO, which help to be found online, and they won’t believe you.  After all, websites can be built for a few thousand and most web designers state these sites are “SEO optimised”.

SEO Optimised – What it really means

Web developers who claim that their website is ‘SEO optimised’ are just saying that Google will find and index the site – NOT how well you will rank or  how many people will find you each week. Good developers will include some keywords and metadescriptions for each page, but these are just the basics required today. Perhaps 20% of what’s needed.

SEO is often oversold. Many offshore SEO gurus especially use fraudulent techniques, telling you that they will get you ranked high for some specific search terms. Yet these often result in few sales leads simply because almost nobody uses these terms. They have fulfilled their assigned task, but not improved your bottom line or sales results. This is common.

All websites need some additional, specialist SEO work as well as regular, fresh content to allow them to be found in a Google search – To have a large number of pages that get ranked on page one of a Google search for a wide variety of relevant keywords and phrases. The initial cost for this SEO work can easily range from $600 – $6,000. After this initial work, it then has to be monitored and tweaked each month. The net, and Google, is a dynamic environment. What works today may not work tomorrow when it comes to being found.

It takes time and money

This is what businesspeople find frustrating. They have a new website built and expect instant results. It can take weeks, usually months of work to get most sites ranked high in Google, often supplemented with pay-per-click AdWords.

It’s an on-going project. Large, popular websites will often have a person who does this work full time.  However small businesses often cannot afford a full time person for this, and must outsource, preferably not to India, but to local experts. Most will do an expert analysis of your site and market, them provide an initial and monthly cost. If you want results, then it won’t be cheap, but it will work. I tell most small business to set aside around $300-500 per month initially, which is similar to what many spend on traditional local marketing like radio, classifieds, yellow pages etc. However done well, online can produce far better results than traditional radio or print marketing.

More clicks or more business?

Note that it’s not just about getting the Google traffic and website hits. Your content and offer must be compelling for these clicks to turn into business results. Your SEO expert can’t be expected to do this bit. Your marketing or salesperson must work out and have systems that ‘engage’ your customers and prospects.

It’s more technical now. Remember, in the old days you just paid the Yellow pages and local classifieds to provide you new business leads through listing and display ads and waited for the phone to ring. Now that nobody looks at Yellow or local newspapers as much. Its your [WordPress] website, SEO and AdWords that do the job.

p.s. If you’d like a free analysis of your website and an honest quote for SEO work, email me at zn.oc.gnitekramlatigidnull@nivek


2 Responses to “What’s the cost of SEO?”

  1. Good overview Kevin. I think you’re right that SEO clients can sometimes be over-sold on SEO, as the nitty-gritty of SEO is actually quite boring! That means that someone who can sell them the “hyped-up-dream” tends to get the job over someone who is willing to explain it in detail to them!

    Posted by Dave Smyth - Energise Web Design | July 17, 2013, 10:41 am
    • Very salient points Kevin. The market is littered with cheap SEOs and they are bringing standards down. Everyone is promising SEO, but when you look into the contract all they’re offering is an SEO friendly CMS. As you point out, clients don’t know what it really means. They only find out a month after their new site goes live that they’ve been conned :-(.

      Posted by Glen | October 17, 2014, 1:31 pm

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