I joined this group to learn a little more about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for my little sites, for which I have done some basic SEO work. Sadly I don't really have the time, but feel stuck as when I try to employ an SEO company, all I really get is..
"Sure, just give us a few hundred quid a month for a couple of years, and we will do stuff, and you will rank better and get plenty of hits … then after that, keep giving us some more and we will do more stuff"
Whilst I appreciate SEO experts don't want to give away their little secrets, I have failed to get anyone to justify their fees, or even get a real idea of what they are going to do and why, and how they are up on the latest techniques that don't just annoy Google.
Maybe I just haven't met the right SEO person yet …
Maybe these SEO experts need to improve their own marketing and customer reassurance.
I am loathe to ask for recommendations as I don't want to be swamped, but maybe suggestions as to what questions I can actually ask to be reassured they are not just taking money, then in 6 months, show a tiny improvement, if any.
20 👍🏽 1 💟 1 😢 22
[filtered from 65 💬🗨]
Look, for the ones worth their salt (which aren't a big pool) that money is for their knowledge and expertise a little more than Labour implementation.
That being said, they should be able to tell you exactly what they have done in the time they have billed for.
Unfortunately, good service isn't always standard in the service industry.
Probably a budget issue. If you're an expert, you can easily make a couple hundred dollars (or much more)with your own sites, why would you even bother with a client for so little?
this is the problem with SEO clients, they think you're their to grow their business for what they spend on their bi monthly summer holiday.
Khan » Mike
there are many other comments! Well everyone have own perspective and I think you have not met the right person/agency yet.
I have a marketing agency and I do offer SEO services but also provide answers to all the questions.
If your photography site is one of the sites you have done basic SEO work on then you are not actually covering the basics, need to upload images with proper titles (using keywords where appropriate) rather than uploading them with file names such as '2012-1096.jpg' which I see on your site! Make sure they all have decent alt text too 😉
It's all about communication and Most SEO users suck at communication.
Make sure your monthly reporting includes more than "rankings" for a bunch of keywords. You need to know the details of what they are actually doing. Make them line item the work they have done. Content they have written or optimized, if they are building links, make sure they give you a report showing each and every page they have submitted links to with a status of the link. (i.e: submitted/requested, pending, live or whatever makes sense) You need to be able to go the the page they build a link on and review and check that link if you want.
They should also note what work they have planned for the next reporting period. If they are vague or not willing to tell you exactly what they are doing, dump them.
good info .. didn't want to offend anyone .. just need direction
Harry » John
I'll 2nd on that… we supply full spreadsheets of what we did each month and have another of tasks to be worked on in the coming month(s). That being said, we run at an hourly rate. Clients can invest as much or as little as they want. We also have key performance indicators (KPI)s and other goals set forth etc. Now, you can always go the other route, which is to get an audit done (by someone reputable) which includes a list of actionable elements and approaches to getting them done. Then you can plug away at it yourself… or hey, can even do both.
Mike ✍️ » Harry
that all sounds sensible .. will make progress from this info .. bit of a minefield .. cheers
I love the hourly option, while it may be less profitable… I find it more ethical, because with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), there are no experts, only Google… all one can do is attempt to rank a site. So by the hour is more honest.
The sad truth is you might find an amazing SEO but a shit business owner. With a business comes and understanding of budget, reporting and communication.
You need someone to understand your business and your KPIs and then build a strategy around that. Deploying SEO tactics without understand the business is the biggest rookie mistake.
I’m an agency owner and I must admit that we get 50% of our business from other “agencies” :))) There lots of companies who are just good at selling, but don’t know how to deliver the work. They have gift for gap and we have knowledge and talented SEO pros.
What most poeple consider secrets are undesirable practices like setting up a crappy foundation and spamming it with GSA.
If you want to do it good there are no secrets really, it costs money because most site owners demand money for guest posts, it's very hard to land them without spending, many forget that and think $1000/month is much but you wouldn't get it done for much cheaper.
Sure some content marketers pull it off, producing great content that people do actually want to link to but it's quite rare.
Go to an SEO freelancer highly experienced with a track record, agency SEO is very hit and miss and if your spend is hundreds per month you're going on their back burner. Also SEO as a marketing channel attracts people that think the world owes them a living and success should come to them at about the same as their monthly grocery budget, SEO comes with costs too, to be worth their time it has to be worth your money and yes, you should be prepared to spend, they should show proof of track record but its a mutual commitment, the client needs to put their money where their mouth is on an educated decision which they take responsibility for with the right people, it has to be worth it for everyone.
"don't want to give away their little secrets"
I'm not entirely sure what you meant there – but those "little" secrets have taken me 20 years to attain, and cost me well over £100,000 in research and programming development.
just asking them to justify their fee .. they need to give me a clue as to what they will do, not how they will do it
John » Mark
There are no “secrets” in SEO and I know you understand that.
We charge for our experience more than our knowledge in my opinion.
The best clients are the ones how understand what you are doing and why. I find after over 20 years in the biz, educating a client on as much as you can related to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the absolute best path to long term retention. Right behind results of course.
Sure, I’ve had clients leave because they think they can do it now. And some might be able to, but everyone will hit a wall or have a crisis at some point and who do you think they will turn to, the ones who taught them in the first place.
And guess what? That client will have a solid foundation of SEO because you taught them.
Mike, you shouldn't care about SEO or as I like to call it "how the sausage is made" other than to make sure you're not paying for "black hat" work. What you should be looking for is a company that is focused on conversions. All the SEO in the world is useless if the SEO firm doesn't know what to do once they get you visitors. I'll never tell you how I'm making the sausage but then that's not what I sell, I'm selling the result.
I manage SEO and online marketing campaigns for e-commerce companies – – here’s my 2 cents.
First, a person willing to work with you for a few hundred a month is somebody you should not be willing to work with. There are loads of kids in college who would be grateful to give you the same quality of work (or better) as free interns.
Second important thing to keep in mind is that SEO improvements don’t happen overnight. If they did, everybody would have millions of visitors on their website every day starting on day one, right? 🙂 Because this is the unfortunate truth, there are tons of tools we use as SEO professionals in order to help guide the decisions we make. We all have access to the rankings of every website in the world for every keyword on Google. Luckily for us, we can keep track of those rankings and the difference in web traffic that position #6 for a specific keyword will yield vs. position #18 for the same keyword. Any SEO/marketing company that cares marginally about its reputation will give you regular reports on these types of metrics as time goes on.
Third major thing is that there is nothing wrong with having a budget of a few hundred every month, but you’ll see a much higher ROI by putting those resources into a channel like FB ads. And you’ll even have instant access to those metrics to tell you how well an ad performed!
TL;DR Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is just a bunch of metrics. People who translate these metrics to you along with their expertise are the type of people you will learn from and, ultimately, have a positive and productive working relationship with.
What is a typical budget per month?
Cole » Ranson
It really depends on the size of the project. Questions like how much time is required? How much manpower? What needs to be implemented to reach your goals? are all things that need to be considered from the perspective of the SEO company. The tough thing with this business is that there is no “one size fits all” solution. A small store that sells strictly bananas is going to have a much quicker and carefree time ranking on Google than a department store looking to compete with Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, etc.
They are correct that SEO done properly for valuable search terms takes a long time BUT its a red flag that they are being vague about what they will actually do. I recommend you don't outsource until you either understand Search Engine Optimization (SEO) enough that you can outsource to freelancers or small agencies to do exactly the tasks you require OR someone you trust (friend, or friend of friend, or business associate) recommends a person / agency to you with a verifiable track record of recent success AND most importantly they have something to lose (friendship or reputation) if they fail to deliver to make sure they allocate enough of their time / their best guys/girls time to your contract.
Also, expect to pay a few thousand, rather than a few hundred, quid per month to get serious results (but don't assume an agency charging this will achieve results as 99% will over promise and under deliver).
I feel for you – however you have to look at it from their perspective. Let's say, you spent 12 years developing a skill [let's say you're a lawyer who spent years specializing in your niche] and then you keep seeing people blaming you that you don't want to help them for free and let them know all you learned in 12 years with no pay. That's not how it works. While SEO is not a straight process 'A to B', it takes skills to bring results. If you want results, you need to be prepared to pay [and I don't think you will get anywhere for less than $3000 per month] – the amount of work I have to put in for my client to deliver results are enormous. If you don't want to pay, do what I did when I launched my first business in 2007 – just spend 16+ a day learning SEO 😃 😃
I am happy to pay.. just want to weed out the rogues and bullshitters
$3000/mo. min for success? Unless you are in an immensely competitive field and/or this includes Pay-Per-Click (PPC) costs, this is very high for the average Small and Medium Businesses (SMB).
As a 22yr SMB marketing business, I don't have anyone paying that for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and we achieve results (more conversions, not just rankings) all the time. Sure, I've been told multiple times that I undercharge, but it is what my conscience demands.
Good question. Pay for an audit. Then you have a choice to hire someone to implement or do it yourself.
yes, and make sure the audit is portable, and not just an upsell. I make it a point to tell all prospects our audits are detailed enough to be implemented by anyone with a basic set of technical skills.
They should be providing you with an audit upfront and then a plan of action. Some actionable items include: website improvements (site speed, conversion optimization, onpage SEO), content creation and link building campaigns. Also, we provide clients with access to a dashboard that sends monthly reports about their positions in SERPs and other information about campaign progress like organic traffic growth and conversion numbers.
super answer .. thanks
Dunn » John
PS… Be cautious of those that call themselves "SEO experts" without backing it up. Also, keep in mind none of us know it all. I consider myself a practicing SEO despite my experience. We're always learning! Just listen to an episode of 101 on WebmasterRadio. And you'll hear and I learning new things regularly.
pffft… I am an Expert Guru SEO… yea, I called myself that. What of it? rofl
You could hire someone for an audit indeed so that your on-site and technical SEO are spot on and then it's time for backlinks.
I can very easily explain why I would charge a certain site owner $500/month or $5000/month, links cost money in most cases, or time + stellar content to attract links naturally, but time = money.
So I found out that it doesn't make much of a difference in spendings when you try to do it the natural way vs simply paying site owners to have our content (with link included) published and demanding they won't tag is as a guest or sponsored post.
The prices these sites owners ask vary from $20 to $300, some even want $300+/year which is ridiculous and we would never pay that for a single guest posts, but we happily pay $50-$150 per guest post + cost of content so $500/month can easily be spend on 3-5 guest posts with a rather small margin for ourselves.
Now if an SEO / link building service can't explain it like that then I would simply stay away from them as it's really not that complicated. Organic / natural campaigns rely on some sort of viral effect to attract links, or the attractiveness of the piece of content which makes it a bit of a gamble.
SEO is a rather dubious niche, it's very easy to say we are going to create a link magnet and reach out to hundreds or thousands of webmasters but it's just as easy to hop over to Fiverr to get a lame infographic for $5-$10 that no one would ever link to, no matter to how many people you reach out, and then they can easily say, well we tried, here are the statistics, and maybe throw in a few super cheap guest posts for show and there your thousands of dollars go.
That's because most are simply guessing. If an "SEO" can't run several audits, show and explain them to you, then just keep moving. Yes, we have a trick or two up our sleeves, but at least 90% would be transparent. I always have a simple approach of showing clients everything that they are missing and even showing them how to fix them. 98% of the time they see it is much more work than they imagined and it also shows you know what you are talking about. I've never "sold" anyone on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or web design, etc. I show what is what and clients appreciate the insight and understand it is above their capabilities. They appreciate what I do and know and they start throwing money at me. Simple, really. Expect nothing less from any SEO you get a quote from. Mike.
thanks for all that … very useful .. just trying to make sure they are observing best practice, as well as working for the hours charged .. thanks again
Talk is cheap.
I say no to people these days which avoids so many headaches… FYI.
When I find someone I’m interested in… I just go:
“Here are numbers from my past clients. Here’s what I charge. I’m not guaranteeing anything. What do you say?”
9/10 we do business lol
If you ask a SEO who can’t show you numbers and past successes… RUN.
We're all out to do business here. Some agencies may screw you over if they're after a quick buck. But more agencies are out to build relationships with their clients. So they do what they're good at to make you look good for Google. Make sure to find a company that's been around for a while and knows how to measure ROI. Also, a company that can provide you with some case studies of how they did their previous work for other clients. Feel free to drop me a message, will be happy to talk more about this.