First, we will start off with the common mistakes.  I do not recommend anything in the Black Hat SEO directory; you will only achieve the exact opposite of which you are trying to accomplish!  Just as you can implement these tactics, Google, Bing and Yahoo know exactly how to weed out and counteract those tactics.  Relevant traffic translates into real progress.

Anyone who guarantees you a ranking prior to seeing your website is probably either overcharging you or selling you something not worth buying.

Anyone who is only changing Meta tags is scamming you tremendously.

Anyone who is creating doorway or splash pages which are held on another server may later monopolize this traffic to obtain more money from you; the SEO changes that you are paying for should occur on your website and servers.

Signs of Value

Good SEO specialists should have some defining characteristic that catches your eyes.  In some way you should see that the person is legitimate not only from their website, but from the websites of others.

Certainly, some of the largest SEO experts have reputations that do not require them to do much self-promotion, but their names should still come up every once in a while.

Anyone I was about to work with should be willing to teach me something for free.  If you find no useful information on their website “Why should I choose this person over someone who overtly displays knowledge?”

Value of SEO

Different people have different goals and different values.  Thinking from a logical perspective you must realize the lowest price SEO is not the cheapest, nor is it the best value.

The best SEO specialists probably do much more than SEO.  Either through personal knowledge or social networking an SEO specialist worth their price should be able to advise you on other aspects of your website.  A good SEO specialist should know how a website works (i.e. web designer) AND how search engines find websites.

An SEO specialist who only knows SEO and has no social network built up is probably not a very good SEO.

Signing an SEO Contract

The reputation of an SEO is just about all they have.  A good SEO Specialist will most likely have at least a few great testimonials and sound like they know what they are talking about.

Google, Bing and Yahoo are constantly changing their algorithms. Many top SEO professionals will not sign contracts.  When you are buying an SEO service you are paying for knowledge, effort, and guidance.  Generally speaking, if you hire a good one then you should see great results.

I have had companies who would not give me access to their servers but wanted me to sign a SEO service contract for a $300.  I am enjoying decent rankings today, and you have probably already guessed that I never worked for them.  It’s quite uncommon for a good SEO specialist to sign a contract for a one-time $300 fee.

How Much Should SEO Cost?

The single most important determining element in the price for SEO is the industry or market in which you are competing.  I could work on a Weight Loss website, but it is extremely competitive.  I could work on an auto parts website, but it is extremely competitive.  I could work on a consumer electronics website, but it is exceedingly more competitive.  These categories should cost you thousands of dollars and should even have a regular interval maintenance fee based on reports and analysis.

Most websites do not compete in such a competitive environment as the ones I have mentioned above.  For a local sandwich shop a price starting around $1000 could sound reasonable.  If you are in a high margin or competitive arena then you can expect to pay much, much more.  Extremely competitive markets will most likely require an ongoing fee.

There is a broad spectrum of opportunities on the internet, and a good SEO gets to see many of them.  Most SEO specialists worth hiring will naturally want to see your website BEFORE they quote you a price.  That’s because they need to determine what is working and will not need to be changed and what needs improvement.

While price is not a function of quality, being exceptionally cheap when buying an SEO is bad for several reasons.  Yes, you read that correct: the lowest cost SEO service can be a waste of time and money.

  • If you are spending less than a thousand dollars you are limiting the SEO specialist in how much they can do. If you pay them more than they are not worried about how they are going to pay their bills and can focus on your website.
  • If you are spending less than a thousand dollars you greatly increase your chances of finding a person who is willing to take your money for doing nothing.
  • A good SEO specialist can build websites which have ad platforms such as Google Analytics on them. They also can promote lead generation and the sales of any product or services under the sun.
The Self-Serve SEO Option

As search engine algorithms advance it will be harder to succeed with SEO alone. Whether you call it branding, usability, or a unique value proposition, you should look for ways beyond SEO which add value to your website.

If don’t have the budget to hire an SEO specialist and you feel up to the task of implementing SEO strategies on your own, I’ll do a full analysis of your website, and tell you what you should be fixing to improve your chances to rank well in the search engines, gain more customers and get more regular visitors.

I’ll also tell you whether your website needs work, from a technical perspective, which components you should be using, and which components you should be using differently.  All analyses are done by me and I’ll be happy to answer questions you have after you’ve received my analysis.

I’ve been designing websites for 20+ years and I’m passionate about technology and helping people. I create new websites and redesign outdated websites for small businesses and offers web marketing advice to get my clients involved with their customers via their website – your website launch should be the beginning of your business relationship, not the end!

You may reach out to me directly if you would like to get started on your business’s website!