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Nearly two years ago, Moz’s Rand Fishkin published a survey of how much different SEO companies charge for their services in order to answer the ever popular question, “how much does SEO cost?” The survey concludes that while hourly SEO costs vary across different countries, $76-$200 per hour for SEO services is the most common.
When most companies sign up for search engine optimization, it’s because they want to outrank their competitors in search engine results. Unfortunately, SEO companies (and everyone else for that matter) don’t know exactly how the search engines work—meaning it’s difficult to guarantee results for companies looking to improve their search engine rankings. Not to mention there are many SEO scammers out there who give the legit SEO nerds a bad name.
So if an SEO company can’t guarantee results—and the price isn’t cheap—why should you pay for SEO services? My answer might surprise you here—you shouldn’t.
It Takes More than SEO to Market Your Business Online
A lot of people keep claiming SEO is dead—that Google is advanced enough at this point (through its 500 algorithm updates a year) to reward relevant websites that focus on improving user experience through things like easy navigation and high quality content. At Blue Corona, we think of SEO as part of a larger online marketing strategy. When it comes down to it, it’s not enough to just outrank your competitors. After all, even if you rank first in search engine results for your target keyword—and even if you win the click—you still need to convert that visitor into a lead and a sale.
The New SEO
In order to succeed online, you must establish and promote your company as THE authority in your industry—both to the search engines and to your customers. Right now, we’re in the midst of a content marketing revolution. The most successful small business owners and marketers recognize that creating, optimizing, and promoting compelling Web content is by far, and without question, the most cost-effective form of advertising available today.
In order to succeed at the “new SEO,” you need to create content (blogs, social media updates, videos, FAQs, E-books, press releases, e-mail newsletters, etc.) that is genuinely valuable to your prospects—allowing them to make better decisions and establishing you as THE authority in your industry in the process.
It’s not enough to buy links or put up spun or duplicate content anymore (not that we ever did that to begin with!). To get in the #1 spot on Google, you need to deserve to be there.
Maximizing Your Online Real Estate
Think of where your customers spend their time on the Internet. Sure, many of them are using search engines to find your services when they need them, but there’s definitely more to the story. At the highest level, Web marketing success is a real estate game. Your goal should be to cost-effectively build, develop, and maintain as much real estate as you need to establish yourself as the authority in your industry.
At a minimum, your virtual real estate empire must (eventually) include an optimized primary website with hundreds (yes, hundreds) of relevant Web pages; mentions, listings, and content on additional websites (some of which may be owned by you); and an authoritative overall online presence which will almost certainly include completed (and active) social media profiles.
It’s not enough to just do SEO anymore.
What You Should Expect When You Pay for SEO (Online Marketing)
Chances are, even if you had the necessary skills (SEO, PPC, tracking and analytics, Web design, social media, content creation, etc.) and necessary tools and software to market your business online by yourself, you probably wouldn’t have time to do so. Most people could probably do their lawn work by themselves, but they choose to pay someone else to do it because their time is better spent elsewhere.
Of course, if you do decide to pay someone else to execute your online marketing and SEO strategy, you need someone who
- Understands your business – if you’re going to pay for SEO and online marketing, don’t settle for a cookie cutter approach.
- Helps you navigate the ever-changing digital marketing world – Google updates its algorithm 500 times a year, and that’s just Google. You need someone who can keep you and your company at the forefront of online marketing developments.
- Can answer your questions – So many online marketing companies have “set it and forget it” approaches to online marketing. Most of our clients take full advantage of our dedicated account managers to advise them on everything from how to respond to negative online reviews to helping them set up a new remarketing campaign to fixing any problems that might pop up on their website.
- Drives actual growth – Who cares if you have a bunch of number one search engine rankings if they aren’t doing anything to drive qualified traffic to your website that will convert into leads and sales. Your online marketing partner should be able to connect this data to leads and sales for your business.
- Makes the most of your finite resources – Be extremely wary of companies who guarantee mass, fast results for cheap. When it comes to getting quality, organic (non-paid) search engine traffic, if you want long term results, you need to make a long term investment to establishing your brand as an authority in your respective industry in your respective market. Companies that manipulate the search engines to get fast rankings eventually get caught—leaving you worse off than where you started.
Not everyone needs to pay for SEO or online marketing services. But what we find is that most small to medium businesses don’t have the time, skills, or resources to either do the work themselves or hire a full-time, in-house online marketing person. That’s where Blue Corona comes in.
Whether you’re looking for a new Web marketing partner, need help setting goals for your online marketing campaign and overall strategy, or want to get started establishing your company as THE authority in your industry, Blue Corona can help. But don’t take my word for it (I once told my classmates that I was going to be on a high school edition of Fear Factor—total lie.). Read what our happy customers have to say about us here, and then give us a call to discuss your current online marketing strategy.
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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