When choosing a ‘package’ for SEO there are certainly many elements to consider. Even if you have a good knowledge of SEO and what it entails there still never really seems to be a package out there that fits exactly what you want or how much you want to spend. I’m going to just explore the reasons behind that a little to help try and understand why something as simple as a proposal can become so complicated and unsuited.
What are the most common elements of a set monthly SEO package?
Cost – Those who know they have a need for SEO generally have a budget in mind. Whatever the volume of work is that needs to be done there will always be a minimum fee that covers the cost of doing that work and paying a wage. Beyond that however the amount of work that can realistically be done has almost no limit. For a truly honest idea of cost there are many individual elements that need to be considered which are unique to the customer’s service or product.
Keywords –Many packages out there advertise optimisation for a certain number of keywords. To be frank it is beyond my understanding how even two different keywords can directly compare let alone six, or twelve. Logically speaking if two keywords take the same amount of work surely they would be exactly the same level of competitiveness? With competitiveness being a complex thing to evaluate and understand, including elements like search volume, cost per click, number of results in Google and the strength of the websites listed on page one, I can see no way of putting an exact figure on how many keywords can be worked on for a certain budget.
Often I notice packages with ‘X’ amount of links each month. The only way anyone would be able to offer that would be if they have ‘spaces’ for these links lined up in the first place. If not then where would they go? Also this is totally out of sync with everything that is ethical. If you find a place a link can be ‘put’ that is relevant to the client and is credible then once there is a link there can you really put more there? The skill of a good link ‘builder’ will be in finding these places. If they can only find 10 good places in one month and your package says you get 20, then my worry would be are the other 10 going to be worth it? Even worse are they going to be pushing my ratio of low quality links high enough to have the site begin to look like a candidate for Google’s penguin algorithm?
Blogs/Articles – With a similar situation to links this often worries me. I’m not talking about adding articles or blogs to the client’s site here however, often posting on industry blogs and submitting articles is part of a package. Again I raise the point that if you submit/post to all the good ones, where else is there?
What should really be considered?
Site health/history – Before anyone can legitimately say the service they are going to provide will help your SEO, they need to be sure of your site’s ‘health’ and they need to know a bit about its history. It is becoming increasingly difficult for sites to recover from bad practices, and if you have had your site’s credibility affected already, you’re going to need to be extra good to convince Google you have cleaned up your act.
How competitive is the niche? – If you have very generic keywords that you want to go after you could be setting yourself up for a long campaign. Going for keywords that everyone else does can take years to give the right signals to Google so it knows you’re the best of the bunch.
What are the search volumes involved? – Generally the higher the search volume the harder it will be to climb the ladder. As this is probably the main reason people choose a keyword it means there will be lots of others out there that know what they are doing and will do a lot of it. To be able to overtake these sites can be a huge challenge. The people who are doing things right in this case need to be evaluated, you will need to know how strong they are before you even begin to know how much work is involved in beating them.
The right perspective
Let’s imagine you walk into a shoe shop, and you’re a size 10 shoe. You choose the shoes you like and ask the shop assistant if they have your size. Immediately they explain the shoes they sell are only in a 7, 9 or 11. Would you at this point buy the size too big or too small? Well I’m guessing you’d take the third option and look in a different shop.
SEO packages should be the same, it’s not a 3 sizes fits all scenario. When choosing how you want to go about your SEO there should be almost unlimited options available to you. May be you have already had some work done and you already have a good site, or maybe you don’t, just because two sites have the same keyword focus should not mean they need the same budget.
Contracts are also to be avoided in most scenarios, yes, it’s correct that it may take a few months for you to start seeing the results of your SEO activity so it’s a good idea to have a few months of activity before evaluating, but beyond that it should be clear if it’s working for you as it should. I have seen so many instances where people were given a monthly package with guaranteed results and after 6 months they still have no signs of any results at all but equally the approach has not been altered for them as they simply get the work done as outlined in their package each month. SEO is a learning process for each site and niche; it should be treated as such.