SEO stands for search engine optimization. It's an extremely important service, but can also be one of the most difficult marketing services to discuss and understand. It's a broad term that can include many different combinations of services.
There are many different ways to measure the success of an SEO campaign, yet it can be difficult to attribute leads or sales directly to SEO efforts. Because of this, to someone who isn't "in the biz," it can be really difficult to understand the value of SEO. If you're in this boat, I promise... you're not alone!
If you're wondering what types of services go into SEO, what types of SEO budgets you might be looking at, or any other questions, this is the blog post for you! Keep reading, as we're going to do our best to explain the ins and outs of SEO below. Happy reading!
In short, SEO is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search results. This marketing strategy is focused on growing visibility in organic search engine results. SEO incorporates both technical and creative elements that are required to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness all within the search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. At the heart of it, SEO is about making sure your site is structured in a way that not only search engines understand, but people can as well.
I like to think that behind every search I make, Google has a team of little elves working behind the scenes to pull up whatever information I need. Realistically, I know this is not true, but the truth behind is (almost) just as magical. Google (and other search engines) have a very calculated process through which they produce their search engine results.
These search engines have a crawler that goes out and gathers information about all the content they can find on the internet. This crawler then comes back with all that data for the search engine to then build an index off. The index it compiles is then fed through an algorithm that tries to match all that data with your specific search query.
The above describes the SE (search engine) features of SEO. When it comes to O, we are talking about optimization. Optimization can take on many different forms, such as making sure the titles tags and meta descriptions are concise and informational or even pointing internal links at pages you’re proud of. In all this, optimization is how content creators produce in a way that a search engine will understand, and the users who land on their site will enjoy interacting with.
SEO optimizations can range anywhere from $1,501 to $5,000 with some local agencies reporting price points as low as $75. With the disparity in pricing, it’s important to understand that you get what you pay for, and a lot of the pricing come down to an experienced agency versus an inexperienced one. With that being said, the agencies that are charging $75 are probably using less than satisfactory techniques that may get you banned and cost you a lot more than $75.
Some examples of local SEO services and their general pricing breakdowns can be found below:
New website design could cost anywhere from a $500 to a $10,000 one-time fee. Many agencies will develop a client’s website and include SEO services within that package. These services are the first step in improving a business’ online presence. On the lower end of this price scale, a client can expect a cookie-cutter website that can be found all over the internet. Comparatively, on the high end, a client’s website will be completely customized with SEO optimization and advanced design.
On-site, on-page SEO is typically a single project, rather than an extended one, and can range from $100 to $5,000. This process optimizes title pages and meta descriptions. Its provides SEO friendly URLs and fixes dead links. It may also tweak content, improve site speed, simply code, and create social sharing buttons among various other edits. These things make it more likely for your website to rank higher among search results.
Back links and local citations are when another website links to content within your own site. Backlinks show that your site is authoritative and trustworthy. Local citations are one kind of backlink where your business’ information is listed on sites such as Yelp or Angies List. Having you site listed on these sites consistently will provide you with better SEO. These optimization searches can cost you anywhere from $100 to $2,500 monthly. On the low end, you will get automated services to make sure you are listed consistently, versus the high end that is comparable to a PR campaign that includes high quality links, guest blogging, and more. Review management is also helpful when your site is listed on these sites. Review management can cost just $25 to $250 monthly. Services can start anywhere from automated review generation systems that automatically requests reviews from customers, to account managers actively responding to reviews in real-time.
Blog management is a simple way to ensure that your site is active, relevant, and thus worth a high ranking. This price ranges from $50-$2,500 monthly. Inexpensive services will provide you with content that has either been posted on another site or is not high quality content. Comparatively, higher price points will provide you with well written, engaging, and SEO optimized content.
With social media being as prevalent as it is, it’s expected that social media management is an integral part of SEO optimization. While prices generally range from $100-$1,000 monthly, it is very easy to spend much of your budget here, as it encourages a direct relationship with your consumer. On the lower end of this price range, agencies will curate content rather than create it. in other words, they will gather pre-written content from around the web. This means that your feed will be similar or even identical to many other clients. While this decidedly will not allow you to go viral, it will ensure that your site is still active. Higher end services offer unique and tailored content for your business. It will also include boosting and ads, which will give your site the ability to reach a greater audience.
When you consider where most traffic to your website is coming from, big name search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo! Come to mind. While social media is responsible for some of the traffic, your website might see, search engines are primarily the starting point from where a potential consumer starts their digital journey.
What makes search engines different from social networks and other platforms is that they provide targeted traffic. In other words, they pinpoint people who are looking for what you offer and send them in your direction. If a search engine is unable to find your site, or add your content to their databases, you will undoubtedly miss out on a potential increase in traffic to your site.
With such a great emphasis on search engines, it’s not surprising that search queries, or the words that a user types in to the search box, pack a heavy weight as well. From experience, we know that search engine traffic can be the deciding factor in your business’ success. Targeted traffic (such as from a search engine) can provide publicity, exposure, and even revenue like no other marketing strategy. With all this said, investing your time and resources into creating and SEO strategy will be well with it.
If this article interested you and you’re looking for a more in depth look into how and why you should be taking advantage of SEO, check out this Beginners Guide to SEO.
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