Nobody likes making a bad investment. When it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services, people understand the importance of ranking well for their search terms but in order to protect their investment, choose a cheaper solution rather than the right one. While this puts less of your money at risk, it can greatly increase the chance that you get no return on your investment. I am not writing this blog to scare you away from SEO or even to imply that you need to over spend on it. I am writing this blog because I have talked to too many people who have been burned by companies promising top rankings for less money.
Before I go on, it is important to note that what it takes to rank for search terms varies greatly from industry to industry and product to product. It is also harder to rank nationally than it is to rank in a targeted geographic region, and some regions are harder to rank for than others. Generally the competition level goes along with how many people are searching for the terms, and is multiplied by the potential profits of the industry.
It is important to treat your SEO just like you would any other marketing initiative. It is not merely a matter of ranking for keywords someone else deems are important for you. You should have a say in what keywords you want to rank for with the guidance of search experts who can tell you whether or not these terms are going to be worth going after. You also have to make sure that it fits within your messaging, your website can turn your visitors into customers, and that you are getting reports on how your SEO efforts are paying off in terms of ROI.
What many cheaper SEO companies/specialists will do is guarantee you top rankings and will show you that you are ranking well for terms that are relevant to your company but also have no search traffic so that you are no better off than you were before you ranked for these terms. If you are not keeping proper track of your ROI through analytics, it may take a while to realize the limited impact of these top rankings. In this instance, you are out of all of the money you invested and the time it took you to get there because you are not much better prepared to rank for right terms and you have to start from scratch.
It is also possible that they get you rankings that bring you more traffic but you get no lift in sales. This could mean you are either targeting the wrong terms or that your site/messaging are not working together to convert visitors to customers. If you have not worked this out with your SEO company in the first place, this is a likely scenario. If they do not report analytics and ROI, it can take a while to figure out what the problem is to get it fixed. While this is not a complete loss on your investment, it will take money and more time to adjust and fix this to start gaining customers, which could have already been coming in.
How to use this Information
Be hesitant of anyone who guarantees you rankings for cheap, if they were that good, they would be charging more to do it. In fact, be hesitant of anyone who guarantees you top rankings. SEO is not an exact science that you can know exactly what it takes to rank well for your terms, there are too many variables involved between the search engine algorithms and your competitors to know that.
Our approach at Webolutions is to do thorough keyword research and then do a competitive analysis for your top terms to find out what it is going to take to be in the same ballpark as your competitors. From there we make recommendations and cost analysis on what it will take to get you a good return on your investment, not just rankings on the first pages. If you want a free online marketing consultation, call us today!