Like with other digital marketing processes, it’s often hard to determine the actual value of SEO. And while shelling out enormous amounts of money will sooner than later provide results, this doesn’t mean it’s your best option.
There are lots of different things you need to consider before hiring an SEO agency. First off, you should think about your business and products. Does search engine optimization work for your particular industry? Should you try something else? Can it mesh with other marketing efforts?
Perhaps the biggest issue with SEO is how we measure the value of branding. In the end, this is, first and foremost, a way of building your online reputation. So, even If you don’t make money from your direct website visits, that doesn’t mean everything was for naught.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We will analyze each aspect of your business and how optimization can improve it. After that, you can have a clearer picture of whether or not this is the best approach for your brand.
Breaking down the biggest SEO myths
There are a few good reasons why so many people won’t pay for an SEO service. Simply put, this isn’t an ultimate panacea meant to cure all your business ailments.
To make matters worse, the market is littered with people posing as digital marketing experts. Most of them never opened the Google Search console, ran a Google Ads campaign, or had a successful social media profile. So, there’s a high level of distrust toward digital marketing and SEO companies.
Regardless, optimization still works when done correctly. Our expectations are usually the problem. To help you understand some of these concepts, we will break down some of the most common myths pertaining to SEO:
1. SEO will make you money in a few months
Stop me if you ever heard this from an SEO provider: “You will start making money in just a few months!”
Unfortunately, agencies are often forced to make such claims in an attempt to gain customers. Most brands, especially small local businesses, don’t have time to invest in a marketing approach that will make them money a years from now. So, everything needs to be rushed.
Anyway, optimization can definitely make you money but don’t expect overnight success. Search engines and organic search results can’t be manipulated the way we think they can.
2. SEO provides guaranteed results
When a service provider guarantees results, this is a major red flag.
Although experts can drive the first visitors to your site in just a few months, don’t expect earth-shattering changes to your traffic. Furthermore, many of these users are not necessarily your potential customers.
Business owners should always remember they’re going against competition with the same tools and resources as their own. There’s always someone on the other side trying to undermine your operation, so we just can’t tell who will come on top.
3. SEO results are permanent
A less common misconception is that SEO results are permanent. While SEO definitely provides long-term benefits, you should take everything with a grain of salt.
The truth is we are all subject to a third-party provider in Google. Each time they change their algorithms, there’s a chance all our search engine rankings and traffic will be wiped clean. There are no guarantees in the modern business world!
Regardless, we’d say that SEO progress is much more stable than your progress on social media.
4. It’s all about traffic
Some SEO agencies love focusing on traffic. They’re willing to do everything in their power to increase these numbers and create an illusion that your site is doing great.
However, all this improvement in data is irrelevant if you can’t make any money out of it. Traffic values are often misleading. For example, you can gain lots of clicks on a blog post that doesn’t help you convert the target audience. Even if you start gaining new visitors, they will never become your customers.
5. “Sit back and enjoy” mentality
Occasionally, you will stumble upon a digital marketing company that can “automate” your marketing processes. All you need to do is hire them and sit back and enjoy.
While the whole point is to delegate duties and hire experts for a certain task, you should never put things on auto-pilot. A business owner should be aware of the site’s current condition and what’s happening on the back end.
Otherwise, they risk getting scammed by a scrupulous organization.
After reading these entries, you should understand the common misconceptions regarding this unique service. This will help you navigate the SEO industry and hire the right people for the job.
The main things to consider before hiring an SEO company
Whether or not SEO can help you depend on your specific situation. Here are a few things you need to ask yourself before hiring a digital marketing brand:
- Are there many strong competitors in your industry? If you start optimizing today, what are the odds of stealing a part of their organic traffic?
- Is your product/service sold by large online stores such as Amazon and eBay?
- What does the first page of Google look like for relevant keywords?
- Do your potential customers use Google to find solutions to their problems?
- How would other marketing approaches work in comparison to SEO?
- How would SEO mash with your other marketing efforts?
- Can you set aside an optimization budget for the next year or so without expecting major improvements in sales?
- Do you understand what you’re paying for? Can you monitor the agency’s progress?
- Is SEO important for your branding, or it’s a stand-alone service meant to improve your sales?
- Are you looking to increase global SEO efforts or boost local SEO traffic to your website?
- Can you afford not to use SEO?
Of course, you don’t have to meet all these criteria. However, your chance of success increases with each point that you cover.
Is SEO worth your money?
Here are a few things that will help you determine whether SEO is worth the money:
Unlike something such as SMM, where anyone can dominate the market with a single video, the SEO competition is much more relentless.
Google often gives an advantage to larger players in the business. Although, in theory, everyone is on an equal playing field, this isn’t true in practice. For example, the chance of beating CNN or BBC in rankings is virtually zero. Even if your competitors don’t have an algorithmic advantage, they still have a larger budget and get can links easier.
Businesses that are new and not well-established are the easiest to rank for. Companies have to build from the ground up, and almost anyone can penetrate the market. So, it’s much easier to rank for software than it is for fashion items.
Price is an extremely tricky category when looking for paid SEO services.
Due to the fact, there are so many companies from poor countries, the price ranges can vary significantly. You can hire good service providers for $1,000 or $2,000, or you can spend more than $10,000 for someone who will barely move the needle.
Almost all SEO can be broken down into three separate services:
- Google audits and handling penalties
- Link building
- Keyword research and content creation
The SEO cost can vary significantly based on what you’re looking for. Keep in mind that certain services have a base price (for example, link building), so you can’t go cheaper than that.
Like in some other businesses, service price is a good indicator of quality, but it can also be deceiving. Whatever the case, you can get better results faster by investing more money into your SEO campaign.
If you thought price assessment was troublesome, you would be blown away with returns.
Basically, there’s no way to assess future SEO profits, given the number of external factors you need to account for. So, we often have to stick with loose projections and sheer optimism.
Perhaps the best way of assessing your future profits is by checking how your competitors are doing. Unfortunately, none of them will tell you outright how much money they’ve made from SEO. What’s worse, they might’ve run other marketing campaigns making it harder to analyze the impact of optimization.
The SEO providers might give you some insights, but you should take them with a grain of salt. Among others, they might not be fully aware of their previous clients’ finances.
In an ideal world, your returns should be high enough to cover the monthly price of SEO services. But given the long-term nature of the process, it’s not something you should expect. So, if you decide to go with SEO, you should be ready to take some financial hits during the initial months.
4. SEO provider
Whether or not SEO is worth your money often comes down to your recruiting. If you picked the worst out of ten options, you wouldn’t get far with your marketing, right?
Unfortunately, many business owners suffer from this exact problem. When they look for an SEO brand for the first time, they don’t know much about the process. In other words, they can’t control the provider’s actions, and they don’t know how to assess the talent.
Here are a few tricks that will help you make a better choice:
- Look for companies that have a good track record. But don’t get stuck on website traffic; contact the previous customer and ask them if they were satisfied with the service. This might provide some insights regarding conversion and profitability.
- Check the content they have on their site and the content they’ve made for others. Do they write nice articles? Is there a major discrepancy between articles on clients’ blogs and on their own? This might be an indication they’re cutting corners or can’t create good posts consistently.
- After the initial keyword analysis, did they use phrases with high traffic potential and low difficulty? Can you realistically rank for these phrases, and are they relevant to your business?
- SEO providers that are good at technical audits are usually at the top of their game. This is the hardest part of the process, and a person should be really good at their job to master this aspect of the business.
Even if you don’t have a large marketing budget or you’re dealing with tough competition, you can offset these disadvantages by recruiting top talent. While you might not realize this, you have much more control over the process than it might seem initially.
5. Branding and marketing
Most people perceive optimization as this stand-alone process that has nothing to do with your other operations. Furthermore, they often separate it from other SMM and PPC, as if SEO isn’t a marketing approach by itself.
However, search engine optimization has more similarities with social media marketing and pay-per-click than you might’ve thought. All these processes work in unison, helping you drive more visitors and boosting your sales.
When assessing the impact of SEO, you should also consider how it works together with other marketing efforts. Some companies manage to boost their direct website visits through Facebook and Instagram. In other cases, your site might be the driving force behind your social media.
Whatever the case might be, these platforms don’t exist in a vacuum. They have a tangible impact on each other, and you can never invest enough in their development. And if you’re good enough, you can efficiently incorporate them into your SEO strategy.
Even if you don’t manage to get the required results from search engine optimization, you should analyze how it affects your overall digital marketing. There’s no reason to pull the plug on the process if it can make you money indirectly.
If you still have questions regarding profitability, you can always contact the SEO agency MiroMind!