Are you thinking of hiring an SEO specialist, but not sure where to start? It's important to do your research and not be tempted by the service that is cheapest. SEO takes time, so it is best to find the service that is right for your business and will help it grow over time. Read our advice on finding an SEO specialist that is affordable and not just "cheap".
SEO has quickly become something that business owners are aware of and recognise the need for it within their business' marketing strategy. However, many companies don't see the results they're expecting, and this is usually due to 3 things:
- Expecting SEO to work overnight
- Using poor SEO tactics through a lack of understanding
- Employing the services of a 'cheap' SEO service that is not performing
It's easy to opt for the cheap SEO services that promise fast results without any input from yourself, but this isn't the best way to improve your business' online profile.
How to recognise cheap SEO
If you have a basic understanding of SEO, it can be relatively simple to identify cheap, low-quality SEO services. The things to look out for are:
- Long, complicated proposals and reports with lots of technical jargon. This can be an attempt to appear to be doing lots of work, which in reality is either untrue or work that will have very little benefit to your business.
- There's very little attention paid to content and the acquisition of links. Content and backlinks have a significant impact on SEO and raising your search rankings. If an agency doesn't give any time or priority to these elements, then they will not get you results.
- They are bragging about the size of their company. Even a single SEO freelancer can achieve results that a full team can't; it's about working smarter, not harder.
Good SEO isn't cheap, but it can be affordable for everyone
But what is affordable?
Affordable SEO can be whatever suits your business, and that's what we aim for at Smash Marketing. If your business is generating millions in revenue, then, of course, you can afford to spend thousands a month on SEO. If you're an SME or even a sole trader, this figure is unachievable. Here at Smash, we work with you to achieve the best results possible within your budget.
How much SEO do I need?
This isn't an easy question to answer, because it depends on the current status of your SEO and online presence. The smallest package that we recommend is 4 hours per month, which suits a number of our SME clients, then we have clients taking 20 hours per month. It is down to your budget and what you want to achieve in what timeframe.
How much input do I need to have?
SEO is a two-way thing and does require some input from you, especially in the early stages. We will work with you to understand your business and your aims for marketing.
What's the process for SEO?
Most agencies will begin with an 'onboarding' meeting, which concentrates on fact-finding about your business, your marketing strategy and the goals you wish to achieve through SEO.
At Smash, we always follow the initial meeting by starting the SEO process with keyword research. This gives us the key terms that people are searching for in relation to your products or services. We will agree the keyphrases with you, to ensure they are correct and relevant. From here, we begin our SEO work.
Any SEO company that says it can do it all without your input will not give you a high-quality service. Of course, there are some regular tasks that we will do each month, but we will also have regular discussions to understand any changes and adjustments to your strategy.
Cheap SEO services will only do the bare minimum and carry out activities that don't need much input of either time or money from you. A high-quality SEO service will provide you with quality content and work on gaining relevant backlinks to your website. A cheap service will not provide quality unique copy and may use 'grey' or 'black hat' backlinks that will only end up having your site penalised by Google. SEO is one thing you cannot go cheap on because it will affect your business in the long run.
A cheap SEO service could cost you more:
Cheap SEO services are enticing, but they may end up costing you more than a professional service. Here are some reasons why:
Google could penalise your site
If unprofessional tactics are used to try and gain backlinks, or if copy is plagiarised from other websites. It can take a long time to get the penalty removed and to recover your website traffic levels. You may never get the same traffic levels back if they were fraudulent, to begin with.
You won't receive any tangible assets
High-quality content or backlinks are actual assets to your business. A cheaper SEO service won't supply these; therefore, you're not gaining much for the money spent.
Lack of flexibility
Cheaper SEO providers will work to one particular strategy and not be able to be flexible with this. Many of these companies put priority into sales and gaining customers, and then do not have the resources for the actual SEO work. They can afford to have a high turnover of clients, so client retention is not a priority.
Lack of experience
Great agencies are not cheap because they employ experienced and knowledgeable staff. It's not about how many staff an SEO agency has; it's the quality and experience that the staff themselves have.
What if I can't afford to pay a lot for SEO?
If you don't think you can afford an SEO specialist, there are some other options:
Do It Yourself
It is possible to do some of the SEO basics yourself, and this can be more beneficial than hiring a cheap SEO agency. Be aware that this can be time-consuming and requires available staff to learn about SEO and carry out the work. There are some agencies (including Smash Marketing) that will help train your staff and guide them in the process.
If you understand the structure of a successful SEO strategy, you can start investing in the components that you need most first. For example, if you recognise that your website needs content, you may hire an agency just to write SEO/website copy. A good SEO agency will be able to scale services up or down, according to your requirements and business growth.
Don't be pressured by a cheap agency into taking their services. Do your homework, understand what it is that you want to achieve and if necessary, save some funds to hire a quality SEO agency at a later date.
Why choose Smash Marketing?
At Smash Marketing, we know that SEO isn't an overnight process, and we look to build longstanding relationships with our clients. No two clients or SEO strategies are the same, and we are flexible and experienced enough to shift our approach as necessary.
We also share workloads between the team, which we have found works best for both our specialists and our clients. Our team's varied skills provide great flexibility, and we work with the strengths of individuals for aspects such as Pay Per Click or copywriting. Because our team are all involved with every client, we can be flexible and share work when required.
Smash Marketing loves businesses of all sizes, but we're particularly passionate about helping SMEs make their mark. We will work with your budget to achieve as much as possible, and as your business grows and develops, we can adjust your services and strategy accordingly. Alternatively, we can provide training for your own staff to be able to manage some SEO tasks.
In conclusion, hiring an SEO agency is an important decision and shouldn't be taken lightly. Most importantly, try to avoid taking the 'cheap' SEO route and work with an experienced agency. If you would like to ask advice about what your business requires and how to get started with SEO, please get in touch. We're always happy to have a cuppa and no-obligation chat!