We use the word affordable, because the word “cheap” has a negative connotation that goes with it. As business owners and as humans in general, we innately have a fear of loss. Nothing is quite as painful as watching your hard earned cash go away with little to show for it. We’ve all done it and made the mistake of buying something that we later regret and wish we hadn’t purchased in the first place. Even worse than that is the experience of paying for a product or service that paints a beautiful picture and promise, but fails to deliver. These experiences leave us with a bad taste in our mouths that subsequently force us to put up a wall of caution the next time we go to make a purchasing decision. We aren’t faulting you for that, we are empathizing with your situation and want you to know that we too have dealt with such an experience.
So you’re a new business owner, or perhaps you are a business that has been struggling to get to that level of success you set out to achieve. Either way, money is crucial to surviving and keeping the lights on. If you haven’t invested or spent time marketing online it is our assumption that you have at least seen or been told of the importance of having an online strategy. If you’ve done any research at all and Googled “how much is SEO,” you may be a bit discouraged thinking about the amount of money you will be required to shell out each month. Our purpose with this SEO blog is to give you a few tips and tricks to finding an affordable and cost effective SEO company, as well as what to avoid and what to look for when interviewing someone to help with SEO.
Blackhat SEO Company
After spending a little bit of time researching what SEO is and what companies actually do that offer this service, you have likely heard the term “blackhat.” In short, a blackhat is someone who cuts corners and performs actions that Google has deemed as against their guidelines and policy. This is an industry that is unregulated and has a low barrier to entry and therefore attracts a lot of shysters and scammers. The only way to protect yourself from getting taken advantage of with a dishonest SEO company is to familiarize yourself with what goes into SEO. Read SEO blogs, watch tutorial videos on YouTube, ask other business owners questions about the company they have hired. Do everything in your power to know the process enough that you will know when you are getting taken advantage of. As a general rule of thumb, a good SEO company with never have a billable rate less than $60/ hour. Obviously the industry has a lot to do with it but for most industries this is going to require a minimum of $500/ month. If the competition is stiff and you are in an industry with companies with large budgets for online marketing you could spend tens of thousands of dollars to get your company and page to the number one spot. As is the case with most things in life and is the same for good SEO companies, you get what you pay for.
Ask the company you are looking to hire what their strategy is and if they will provide you with proof of work completed at the end of each month. If the price sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Get a few different quotes and compare them. If one company comes in much cheaper than the rest, it’s usually a red flag. Ask for an explanation, and if you don’t get one that sounds reasonable, run as far away as you can.
New SEO Company
Now that you know a few things to watch out for, let’s talk about a couple of simple hacks and best practices that may allow you to get the best deal.
If you know what you are looking for in an SEO company, (that may require using someone’s opinion) there is always the option to take a chance on the new guy or the kid in college that is willing to put in the hours, learn and work his way to knowing exactly what he is doing. This is a much riskier option, but if you are patience and have the time and not the money to spend it may be worth it. New companies are always looking to build their name and their portfolio and will oftentimes work for free to leverage your name to get clients going forward. If you get a good feeling when talking to them and you’ve had a second opinion from someone that knows the space well, maybe you should roll the dice. You are going to spend a lot less money and in the case that things work out and this guy or gal actually knows what they are doing, you hit a homerun.
Always remember to calculate the risk of what you are about to do. If your business is going to be dependent on the online traffic your SEO company brings in, this is probably the worst idea you could have. On the flip side, if an online strategy is only going to add additional business to what you currently have working in your favor, this may be the best idea anyone ever suggested.