When marketing online, search engine optimization cost is of critical importance – you need to ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth, since SEO is ultimately supposed to be “free advertising”. Here’s how you can assess what a fair search engine optimization cost is.
The first step in assessing the value in your search engine optimization cost is to look at what is actually being provided by your SEO provider. SEO can be divided into two main groups – on-site optimization, which deals with all the on-page elements of your site, such as meta tags, keyword density, titles and content – and off-site optimization, which involves building high quality, relevant backlinks to your website, thus promoting it.
On-site optimization should be a once-off cost, where the provider performs keyword research and essentially “sets up” your website to make it SEO-ready.
If you are being charged for any on-site work on a monthly basis, you are more than likely being ripped off (you’ll be surprised how often this happens). Off-site optimization, or link building as it is otherwise known, on the other hand, should be a monthly cost. Link building is something that is almost impossible to find an agreeable price for, as it is always a battle of quality versus quantity. Some SEO providers build thousands of low quality links for you, whilst others may build ten or twenty high quality, highly relevant links and charge a similar price. The only objective benchmark by which this can then be marked is, of course, the actual results.
Your search engine optimization cost should therefore be comparable to results, but how do we measure this?
The easiest way to measure this is to consider the closest competitor to SEO – Pay Per Click – the most popular one being Google Adwords. Here you will need to do a little research and look at what you would receive if you were to spend your monthly search engine optimization cost on pay per click (PPC) advertising for a period of six months, versus the natural results that SEO have brought you in the same period. Does PPC bring you double, triple or even quadruple the results (in terms of visits, enquiries and conversions)? Does it perhaps do the opposite and bring in only a fraction of the organic traffic?
Measuring up this way will allow you to assess which route is best for you. But always remember that knowledge is power, and learning the basics of search engine optimization yourself (regardless of whether you implement them or not) will be your best defense against soaring search engine optimization costs from the SEO “sharks” out there!