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Here’s the challenge with SEO in general. It takes time, and depending on your expertise, money as well. So that begs the question: What can I expect out of an affordable SEO package? More importantly, what is a reasonable price to constitute an affordable seo package and what do I get for it?
SEO has the largest average ROI over any other form of digital marketing. If you can rank at or near the top of the most popular search engines (ahem… Google… ahem) for keywords related to your business, then that is not only just free traffic – it’s targeted. In other words the people finding you on Google are already looking for what you offer.
I once had someone say, “SEO is a scam”.
To that I say it’s just like anything else. There are good services providers and bad services providers. There are people out there who want to help you, and people out there who want to screw you over.
So if you are looking for an affordable SEO package, here’s what you need to consider.
What is Involved in SEO?
If you are considering an SEO service, there are three aspects to any real SEO package you should be aware of:
- Technical SEO
- On Page SEO
- Off Page SEO
I also think it is important to clarify what is NOT involved in SEO. SEO is not:
- Web development
- Running advertisements
- Social media management
They can be related, or even required to even begin SEO, but they are not necessarily part of an SEO package. If anything they are requirements to do the job, or add-ons.
For example, you need a website to do SEO, but you don’t need a website to run ads on Facebook or Google.
Technical SEO obviously implies anything technical that will help give your website a boost in the search rankings. These are technical characteristics about your site as well as integrating useful tools that help you monitor your website performance. Things that fall under this category would include:
- Installing an SSL certificate
- Having a link structure that is clean and clear
- Integrating Google Analytics, Search Console, and Tag Manager
- Page load speed
- Mobile optimization
- and much more…
On Page SEO
On page SEO is the practice of effectively optimizing your content on any given page of your website. This includes:
- Keyword density and readability
- Images and alt tags
- Schema and data structures (arguably technical SEO as well)
- Meta descriptions
- Internal and external linking
- and more…
Off Page SEO
It’s easy jump to the conclusion that off page seo is simply just link building. Honestly for me, it really is a huge part of it. However many people forget that there are other off page factors at play you need to be aware if you are taking a holistic SEO approach.
Off page SEO includes:
- Link building
- Social signals
- and more…
One last mention on link building – not all links are created equal.
Stay Clear of “I Can Rank You #1 on Google”
If you get someone claiming they can get you in the number one spot on Google, run screaming in the opposite direction.
Let me make this clear – Nobody can truly promise this. No one.
If you hear this, I am willing to bet their strategy is to get you ranking for the easiest keywords that nobody searches for. Then it’s easy to rank you “number one on Google”.
I promise you I can rank number one for “Spencer McLeod Drum Solo” – but the problem is nobody searches for that. The search volume is non-existent.
The challenge is getting ranked for keywords and phrases people are looking for. The challenge is being visible to people who have a problem when you have the solution.
Can I Do Any Of This Myself?
For most people, the answer to this is no – and it’s either due to a lack of time, a lack of SEO knowledge, or both.
Unless you work in SEO for a company, or you have a keen interest in learning SEO (looking at you aspiring affiliate marketing and eCommerce tycoons), chances are you don’t have the time to learn and implement a fraction of what needs to be done… as well as stay on top of it.
That’s why you will need to hire someone.
Like anything in the digital world, it changes faster than most people can adapt. All Google needs to do is release an algorithm update and suddenly things can change overnight.
However, if you do have an interest in learning SEO, I would recommend getting your feet wet by following guys like Neil Patel and Brian Dean. These guys eat, sleep, and breath SEO. I will also share my knowledge and experiences on learning SEO and share the tools and strategies I’ve used and implemented.
The most affordable SEO package is the one you do yourself – if you are willing to learn and you can put the time in. The more you can learn and handle yourself, the more affordable it will be. But it will cost you your time.
Black hat vs White hat SEO
Black hat SEO is effectively methods of ranking websites that cut corners and risks getting you penalized. The last thing you want is to be penalized by Google – especially if your business depends on organic search traffic.
Black-hat techniques can be very enticing to some people because it can be easier and provide quicker results. However the reality is that if Google catches on to what you are doing, this is likely a death sentence to your website.
If someone is promising quick results, and 1st page rankings – they are misleading you and probably using some questionable techniques likely to at least border on black-hat practices.
White hat SEO is when you follow search engine terms and conditions for rankings, focus on good user experience, content, and trust among your users, other websites, and search engines like Google.
The trade off? It takes longer and requires more attention. The benefit? You will not get banned from search engines (essentially all but disappearing from the web), and you will reap the rewards for the long run.
So How Much is an Affordable SEO Package?
I’m going to approach this from the perspective of a small business owner.
I have a business, it operates in a city, and I might travel to see my customers or my customers might come to my location – it doesn’t matter. I also have a website.
You can safely expect an affordable SEO package to run at least $600/mo USD. This is on the lowest end of the price spectrum, frankly. I would also expect to do this for at least 6 months.
This is for the bare minimum and it is highly dependent on the size of your local market, how big (or small) your website is, and what aspects of technical, on-page, and off-page seo are included. I would not consider a package that does not offer at least some services in all three of those SEO areas.
Anything less than this and I would be highly suspect of the quality of the SEO services and whether it will actually do anything for you.
The reality is you generally get what you pay for. If you want cheap, be careful as you could end up spending money, not getting results – or even worse, penalized by Google because your cheap SEO provider got you banned from Google.
… and of course the more you spend with a legitimate, white hat SEO agency, the more you get, and the more results you will likely see.
It varies but the reality is you get what you pay for in most cases and it also depends on your needs. However there is a minimum you can expect to pay for an entry level SEO package. Expect it to be at least $600 USD per month on the lowest end of the price spectrum. Also, expect to do this for at least 6 months.
Yes. If your budget allows for it, do it and do it sooner than later. The reality is that SEO takes time to see results and the sooner you start the sooner you will see the SEO efforts pay off. Over the long term SEO has one of the best ROI’s for small businesses.
SEO is expensive for a few reasons. It takes a lot of upfront work over a few months before you start to see any results. It also takes time to maintain and monitor your results. Lastly, there are a lot of moving parts to consider with SEO and hiring an expert who knows what they are doing is likely going to be the best option for most businesses.
Put the time in to learn SEO.
If you are willing to put the time in, learn, apply, and monitor then here is just a short list of things you should look into. This is by no means a complete list but it will keep you busy for a few weeks or months:
1. Keyword research
2. Google Analytics, Search Console, and Tag Manager
3. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
4. Link Building (How to’s, do’s, and don’ts)
5. Content Creation
6. Social Media Management
7. Structured Data (sometimes called Structured Content)
8. Email Marketing
9. How to maintain and update your website platform
SEO on the whole is about increasing your site’s visibility online, ultimately with the goal of driving more sales. The key difference between SEO and local SEO is that local SEO is targeted to a specific geographical location. SEO in general is more on a national or global scale.
For example, if you run a bike shop in Salt Lake City, there’s virtually no reason you want to focus your SEO efforts on ranking your business online for searches in New York, Los Angles, or anywhere else for that matter.
Here are just a few benefits you can expect to see from SEO:
1. Tends to have a high long-term ROI
2. Is a strong source of new business leads and tends to have higher conversion rates
3. SEO generally leads to better user experiences
4. Locally, it encourages users to visit your physical location
5. Helps to establish your brand
6. You are effectively being shown as a solution to a user’s problem when they are searching
7. It encourages mobile friendliness, which is absolutely vital in today’s world
8. It can put you ahead of your competition