10th May, 2013

Those of you that have tried to find SEO services online probably feel like you’re rummaging through a haystack just to find that needle. What do you search for? What are you looking for? What do you want for your money? Where is the SEO company? Can I contact them? Too many questions? I agree. That’s why it is important to firstly understand exactly what you are looking for, not just jump into Google and do a mammoth amount of searching. You could be there for days!

Is the cost relative to my service?

The level of service is often reflected in the price you pay, most people would agree that if you are on a higher budget then your level of service will increase. This does make perfect business sense, if you want more work or a better service then you will often incur further costs from your provider. But how do you know what you will get from your SEO provider? Without the knowledge and know-how you could be lead astray by SEO, but fear not I am here to help you understand what you should expect from an SEO service.

What should you expect?

wesite traffic

Now that you have decided to take up an SEO company to do the work, it’s even more important to understand what to expect from the provider. There are a lot of companies out there that have different focuses. You may come across some companies that will only optimise the site itself, which is only around 20% of SEO. They will do things like Page titles, Header 1 tags, Meta tags and sometimes content. On the flipside to this you have companies that will concentrate on just the off page SEO, the other 80%. They will be the companies that do the link building, the blog commenting, directory submissions and social media integration. There are also SEO companies that do both of these SEO techniques, to be fair the best ones will do both of these to get the most from an SEO campaign.

Where do we start?

What most SEO companies should do, but often don’t, is check the health and foundations of the site. In our experience this part is vital, if we don’t check the history of a domain then we can’t be sure the SEO will have the best impact. We begin our site audit, a 67 point check of the site, to look at all the key areas Google will crawl and determine from the information what the site talks about. This for us is an important step as it helps us determine how well the site is set up for SEO. It also gives us a clear and actionable plan from our findings. So let’s say the SEO company has now performed this task, they have asked one member of staff to check the site in great detail looking at all 67 points and they have now finished it. Alongside this we also have to do the keyword research. That’s all about finding relevant key phrases with the search volumes and conversion rates associated with them. Sometimes this can be quicker dependent on the starting point and industry, plus other factors, but generally this can take us around 2-3 hours for the research alone. I stress it take us that long because we have some fantastic in-house systems that allow us to be efficient. So if we do the maths for this task in particular.

Minimum wage for the employee + time spent in hours on the task = Cost

Bear in mind this before you look at the markup on this cost.

 Total for this task in cost: £120.00

 Second Step

changing html code

After the audit has been completed it is time to put all the findings into an actionable plan and get started on it. Most of the things we check are development checks, things like the Robots.txt files and sitemaps. So you would need to go away and do these things yourself with your web developer and our help. But the ones we can help do are the On Page things, we will align everything so it is ready for SEO. So let’s now say we have access to your site through FTP or a CMS. We will go to each landing page we are going to SEO, including the Home Page if necessary, and begin to change the following On Page elements.

Page Titles – Making them descriptive and engaging including the keywords

Header 1 Tags – Making them include the keywords

Meta Descriptions – Making sure they are unique, include the keywords and inviting

We also look at the content and the quality of it to help measure how effective that content will be for the keywords. If you look at our other recent articles these will talk in more detail why content is still very much king so we have to assess this as well. So again let’s say this is a day’s work for someone to assess what changes need to be made, to develop a content plan and to then implement the On Page changes so costings.

 Total for this task in cost: £50.00

Last Step

seo link building

The final step is the link building process, this will vary from company to company. But let’s take ours for this example.  We are fortunate to have a great team of developers in-house that build bespoke systems for us to use so we know what we need to do and have the resources to help us do it.  With this in mind our inital steps are to go and source the best domains, purchase them rebuild them and link them back to our clients. So we have to have an employee sourcing domains which can take up 4 hours, another employee that will then build these domains from the ground up with original content and make them live which can be a day’s work (8 hours). So again finally let’s calculate the costs involved here.

Total for this task in cost: £75.00

To Summarise

So when you dig into what sort or service you should expect from a basic SEO package, which of course will help achieve a successful one, actually how can it be “cheap”?  Just by quickly breaking down each area, it is obvious that before any of the actual link building occurs you have already reached around £100. So when face value shows that you can potentially get a cheap and effective SEO campaign for sometimes £100 may be less, you should think to yourself – why is it so cheap? Unless a company can show you that they are doing all of those points I have described then why would you want cheap SEO services. Bearing in mind I have only skimmed over and generalised some of these figures. Then it is more than likely you are either getting very little for your money or you are put onto some automated software that will distribute links at the push of a button which you can see from our other articles on quality, why this could have serious consequences for your site.

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