Why Are SEO Services So Expensive?
If your website is struggling to attract the traffic you want, you’ve likely wondered if Search Engine Optimization (SEO) could help your target market find your site. Many business owners turn to SEO after struggling to help their sites cut through online clutter. What many soon discover, however, is that doing SEO well often requires the expertise of a specialist, which comes at a cost. If you’ve ever wondered why SEO services are so expensive, we’re here to explain.
Keep in mind, that when you find the right vendor, you’ll have a specialist in your corner who will put your search results first. The right team will be up to speed on industry best practices and will put together a complete search plan to help your website rise among organic search results. As you’ll see, there is more to SEO services than meets the eye.
1. Not a Quick Fix
First and foremost, it’s important to recognize that SEO services take time, especially when they are done well. When a vendor takes on a project with the goal of helping their client improve search rankings, there are multiple things to consider. In addition to optimizing content for specific keywords, there are code-level changes to make and off-page tactics to execute.
Altogether, SEO efforts require high-level, strategic thinking, as well as a highly targeted tactical plan. As you can imagine, these changes take time. When you hire a company for SEO services, they’ll need to research keywords, examine competitor sites, build a big-picture strategy and execute both coding and content-related changes.
2. Specialized Knowledge
Another element that adds cost to SEO services is the amount of specialized knowledge involved. A skilled SEO company has the exact training and experience you need for the job. Given that more and more businesses are using SEO to boost their search engine rankings, you want a highly-specialized team to help you remain competitive.
Think of an SEO specialist as a skilled trade. Much like a mechanic has specific, hands-on training and knowledge to fix your car, so too does an SEO expert know the ins and outs of search algorithms, best practices for coding and the importance of given search trends.
Your SEO vendor may advise that you focus on improving your organic search results alone, or they may recommend that you use paid advertisements, in conjunction with organic search. Depending on your industry and niche, you may be advised to use paid ads for specific seasons or holidays.
Thankfully, you won’t need to research these things yourself when you hire the specialized talent of a reputable SEO firm.
3. Moving Landscape
The SEO industry is famously evolving. While search engine algorithms are confidential, experienced SEO experts study industry best practices and run their own tests to make educated decisions, helping their clients keep current. Naturally, these efforts require time, research and testing, making the pace of industry change an important factor that boosts the cost of SEO services.
Generally, search engines prioritize what they determine to be relevant, quality content. To make decisions that will rank websites within organic search, they look at a number of factors, including things like:
- Relevant content for a given search term
- Usability (including trouble spots in code)
- Code cleanliness and quality
- Popularity (both direct links and inbound links)
- Age of site (newer sites wait longer than established sites)
- Frequency of site updates
Google and other search engines are consistently tweaking their algorithms. Part of the reason SEO services cost more than other business services is simply the time it requires to keep current as the industry evolves. As SEO vendors explore and test theories, they ultimately help their clients remain competitive in search results.
4. Experience & Skill
As with any business purchase, you can expect to pay for quality. In the long run, it usually saves you money to find the expertise you need. An experienced SEO team will understand when to focus on organic search alone (versus using it in combination with paid ads), they will know which keywords or keyword phrases to pursue, and they will use current best practices for coding and content recommendations.
Part of the benefit of using an experienced team for SEO services is the oversight you can expect. You’re not likely hiring the expertise of a single SEO specialist, after all, but also the sub-trades they hire. An experienced vendor will have reliable, experienced staff, either in-house or at their disposal.
Whether you’ve been in business for a while or are just starting out, you likely expect to pay more for the services of experienced vendors. Chances are, with or without a conscious effort, you sort vendor services into those that require more experience than others. Going forward, be sure to place SEO services in the category that requires greater expertise.
5. Maintenance Required
It’s not surprising that maintenance is needed to keep as current as possible with search algorithms. As search engines make adjustments, your SEO tactics may need to be tweaked or enhanced. The good news is, once you’ve used SEO services to build a strategic search plan, you’ll have a strong foundation upon which you can make minor changes.
Some business owners see the opportunities in content marketing, using blogs, videos or podcasts to build upon their marketing efforts and drive traffic to their sites. Keep in mind, this content needs to be updated regularly for search engines and users to see the content as relevant.
Of course, when you look at a strategic plan for SEO services, you need to include some degree of maintenance. Whether your site needs code updates, or you need regular blog content to help generate traffic, regular maintenance is critical to an SEO plan. Naturally, it will also add to the cost of SEO services.
If your website is vital to the success of your business, finding the right team for SEO services is a must. Think of the cost as an investment in your long-term success. Unless you keep pace with companies willing to invest in the search integrity of their websites, you will fall behind your competitors quickly. While existing customers may know where to find your site, it won’t be as easy for potential clients.
With all of this information in mind, the decision to pay for SEO services may seem like an easy choice. The next step, of course, is to find the right vendor. You want to work with an experienced team that communicates well, in order to understand the big picture and the goal of specific tactics.
Perhaps most important, as you look for the right team to provide SEO services, you want to find a group you trust. Look around for vendors with excellent ratings and strong client reviews. When you meet with potential vendors, ask about their success rates, working with a website in a similar industry to yours. Ask about things that have gone wrong or haven’t worked, as well.
While you’re listening, you’ll learn about their experience, their approach to customers and how they handle setbacks. Given that SEO services can be an investment in your business, it’s important to follow your instinct while choosing the right vendor.