Why does SEO cost so much?
Lets start by say what Search Engine Optimisation actually is, and get a few simple things under our belts so we can answer the question – Why does SEO cost so much.
SEO is short for search engine optimization. Search engine optimization is a methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the number of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) of a search engine — including Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.
Like all things in life, there are right ways and wrong ways of doing this, and just as in life, the wrong ways will result in punishment when you get caught.
We refer to the right ways as White Hat and the wrong ways as Black Hat, again, just as in life things are not always black and white, so there are some ways of doing things that are termed Grey Hat, that is to say, there is some uncertainty about these things and it may be that you are judged to be doing things in the wrong way at some point in the future.
To obtain a higher rank in the search engines you need to jump through certain hoops. There are things you must do and things we believe you must do. That last statement may seem rather annoying, “we believe you must do” seems a bit vague. This is because search engines don’t tell you what you need to do in any detail, instead they provide guidelines.
It is up to SEO companies and individuals to decipher the guidelines and determine a methodology to improve the ranking of pages that make up a website. Yes, it’s all magic!
As mentioned earlier, there are a range of techniques an SEO firm can use, (white hat, grey hat and black hat). There is no doubt that using black hat techniques will get your page “sandboxed” or banned.
An example would be keyword stuffing, once a common and successful technique, it has long been accepted as unhelpful. An example would be putting multiple copies of your keyword or phrase on a webpage in text the same colour as the background so that a human can’t see it, but a bot crawling the site would. In the old days, the bot would think that this word or phrase had more importance and would boost your ranking. Try that today (don’t) and your page and possibly your whole website will disappear from the search results once discovered.
Let me give you an example of what I mean. Some time ago, Google made it known that content relevant to a website would increase the importance of that website for certain search terms.
So, what did that actually mean?
It was soon determined that Google was focused on improving its search results for its users, that makes perfect sense doesn’t it? You go to a search engine to find something specific. If you searched for red party balloons and the search results only listed blue part balloons or hot air balloon rides you wouldn’t be very impressed, if the search engine kept displaying poor results you would stop using it.
As a result SEO specialists started creating content relevant to the website they were working on and soon determined that content with 300 – 400 words focused on a specific topic related to the websites purpose would improve that pages rankings significantly against smaller amounts of content.
Producing carefully crafted pages of content focused on specific “key words” (the search term you want to be found for) takes time and research.
In practice that meant that a website selling Party Balloons would need to focus on the different types of balloon it sold. If it wanted to be found for searches on “environmentally friendly balloons” then having an article of 300 – 400 words that used the phrase “environmentally friendly balloons” 3 – 5 times in that content would get that page ranked well in Google and other search engines as well.
However, the way search engines determine what they want and will rank well for is an ever changing algorithm, recently we have seen that these types of 300 – 400 word pages no longer have the same impact. In fact it is now widely considered appropriate to write 900 to 3000 word pages.
So far you have read under 600 words on this page, that’s about a quarter of the way to a good length for SEO purposes.
To be a success, an SEO company needs to do certain things for every client, here are a few:
- Deep research every topic
- Make headlines interesting
- Write original content
- Put hints and tips in the right places
- Put images and videos into the post
- Write constantly
This is challenging work for people who are passionate about a subject let alone for those poor souls who are trying to drive more traffic to your website!
This is one of the most misunderstood areas of SEO. First of all, when asked to perform SEO on a website, the current pages and their content will need some improvement. From there the above cut down list starts to come into play.
Search engines look for changes on websites that they are aware of every month typically. This is a process referred to as “crawling” the website, an automated program referred to as a bot, follows logical links through a site much like a spider crawling a cobweb might take one path or another to explore the complete cobweb.
As a result of the frequency that search engines crawl the web, it will often me more than a month before an SEO company sees the fruits of their labour. This is an initial result, it can be improved upon by gaining insights into a range of things including what the websites competition is doing in this area.
This is where SEO gets more challenging and where applying White Hat techniques is critical to the web page and web sites longevity. By taking time here, you get a better organic ranking that will stay in the top rankings for longer.
The content needs to be written for the long term, writing about current trends will result in lower rankings than a detailed article on core items that the public will still search for in 3 years time.
By now I trust you are starting to realise that it may take 3 to 6 months to get good results from SEO work, that is a long time but it is worth so much more than quick results (unless you have a time sensitive market).
To obtain quick results there is always Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing, like Google Adwords. PPC marketing is often seen as a quick fix and is even sold as SEO! Obviously, on its own PPC is an advertising campaign and not related in any way to SEO, however, the two can be combined to gain clients quickly via PPC before dropping it from the everyday marketing strategy in favour of the ongoing SEO work.
This brings us to another area of expertise required by SEO companies, analytics. By employing pieces of code embedded into a webpage it is possible to track visitors and their activity on your website.
Combining PPC and SEO with analytics makes it possible to identify that point in time when the SEO results are bringing in more customers that the PPC marketing.
This is obviously critical to the marketing budget and also to your profitability.
SEO companies often utilise Google Analytics with other SEO specialist tools to identify things like easily improved keywords, page ranks, the adverts your competition are using in PPC marketing etc.
Again, interpreting these results and feeding the data back into improving current website content or writing new content is a critical and challenging part of the process.
You get what you pay for!
A friend of mine is fond of saying if you buy something for £1 and it doesn’t work and then you buy that same something for £10 and it works, which one cost you the most?
The answer of course is the £1 item, spending £10 on something that does its job and saves you time and effort is worth hundreds of times more than spending £1 on something that doesn’t work!
And so, it is with SEO, if you buy SEO from companies in England (we are in Wales) you will generally pay more, the further South you go, the more the prices rise.
Oh, I know someone reading this is saying but I use Yell or whoever and it only costs me £x amount. The problem with the Yells of this world is obvious to real SEO firms and not so obvious to companies, first of all, stop paying them and your ranking will disappear within a few short months, and two, search for your keyword, the site that is listed with your details is not YOUR website, it is Yell with your listing! In other words you are paying Yell to advertise their website with your listing with plenty of competition on the same page, clicking on the initial search result doesn’t take the client to your website does it?
So, a good SEO firm in England may charge several hundreds of pounds a month and you need to be using them for at least 6 months probably 12 to get good results.
We charge £120 per month for ongoing SEO and a flat £499 to get your current website optimised. You can take one or both, the choice is yours. But by now you might be on the path to understanding that there is a lot of work involved in SEO, that it is an ongoing requirement and that there is a lot of research and analytical work that goes on behind the scenes.
What to expect
If you choose to have SEO carried out by us, you can expect one point of contact, an initial discussion to determine what you want to achieve, what we can realistically deliver in your chosen time frame, monthly reports that are simple to understand and show the results of the work undertaken in clear formats often with simple and easily understood graphics, results that you can count on.
You can combine PPC marketing with your SEO if you choose and we can manage that for you as well, you decide the budget for PPC based on the research we carry out in the first month and go from there.
Having a fixed low fee paid monthly means that you can afford to have your SEO carried out for 6 to 12 months without breaking the bank, what’s more, the resulting increase in traffic will last because it is organic traffic from well researched content.
The Optimisation Package is designed for well-established websites that are not ranking well, these typically have a lot of pages and they may have raked well in the past but have slipped down the rankings over time.
The fixed £499 will result in all pages being optimised for Google (as the biggest search engine in the world), additional content may be added in places to help improve specific pages ensuring they reach the final goal.
Web Services we provide include (all prices exclude VAT):
- Hosting from £129 per annum or 10.75 per month
- Bespoke design services £500 includes 1 year hosting
- SEO – Existing site pages only £499
- SEO – Full and ongoing £120 per month
- Video SEO also known as Youtube SEO. £60 (per unpublished video only)
- Article/Blog Articles of 1200 words minimum, focused on specific key words £55 per article (one main and one secondary related key word)
- Linking series (extremely effective) Three Articles on a specific topic, 1 x 400 words, 1 x 900 words and 1 x 1500 words, all interlinked. £150
- Linking series list version. As above for Linking series but for a complete list. (amazing results when used in a “5 things you should know about”) £90 per list item. Therefore a 5 things list will result in articles 5 x 400 words, 5 x 900 words and 5 x 1500 words, all interlinked to their respective sister articles, the total cost excluding VAT would be £450.
The Linking List works best when promoting a product or service, each of the 3 articles goes into more detail than the previous and each list the benefits and features along with the price. The articles work because impulse buyers will be satisfied by the short article, thinkers will be satisfied by the time they finish the second longer article and sceptics or analysts will need to read all 3 to make a purchase.
What should I do now?
If you would like to discuss how we can help, see example reports, meet face to face (either in person or via Skype), then you should contact Steve Richards initially at Computer Technical Solutions on 01492 818111.
Having a chat on the phone may be the only thing you need to make a decision, but we believe in working with our clients, getting to know them well and building a partnership that lasts for many years.
Our experience in producing amazing websites and content has been developed of a number of years, Steve started doing SEO back in 2004 before Computer Technical Solutions even existed, so don’t hesitate to ask questions, voice concerns and find out how CTS can help you to improve your web presence and help improve your business.