One of the most common questions I’m asked when speaking to prospects over the phone or in person about an SEO campaign, is usually always …
- “What do I get for $225 a month?”
- “What do you actually do for $225?”
I can’t blame anyone for asking. I mean, if I was paying $225 or more a month, I’d want to know too, just the same as anyone would. I also understand that most people have no idea about SEO or what’s involved, so asking a question like this is to be expected. I don’t mind people asking, but where it gets difficult, is trying to provide an answer that is actually meaningful to the person asking it.
By meaningful, I mean knowing how best to approach my response. Because I could give two very different answers.
- The simple answer, which is …I’m going to help drive targeted traffic to your website, OR
- The detailed answer. Which I’m going to share with you in more detail below.
The problem with either of these answers is that,
- The simple answer is never enough, because the prospect usually always asks more questions.
- The detailed answer often overwhelms the prospect (or bores them), and results in a response that they didn’t really understand anyway.
I want to highlight something I just said there. “It bores them”. This might sound odd, given that they’re asking, but it’s absolutely true. Once I go off on a tangent and start talking about keyword density, competitive research, anchor text ratios and so on, prospects literally fall asleep – and I mean, who wouldn’t?
Just tell me what I need to do
The other thing I need to be mindful of are information leeches. These are essentially people that call just about every SEO company in their area looking for as much “free information” or “advice” as possible. Typically these are people that ask a LOT of questions such as “What would you recommend?”, or “How can we do XYZ?”, or “What do you think about ABC?”, or worse…”The guys at Sydney Acme SEO agency said blah blah blah, is that true?” I’m very wary of people like this, because…
a) They’re just after free help
b) Their motives are price driven
c) They usually have no intention of doing business
d) They want to know what to do, so they can do it themselves, or pay someone in India to do it for $2 an hour
e) All of the above
I’m not in the business of helping people for free. Nor am I in the business of giving free coaching. So I need to be mindful of just how much I “give away” when it comes to providing insights into what a potential client might be getting as part of their investment. Finding the balance here can be tricky, because it can be hard to determine who is asking questions out of sincerity and interest, or who is simply asking for a free SEO training course over the phone.
I should point out that most people only have good intentions, and they’re only asking because they don’t understand, or they simply would like to know, which is fine.
But in all honesty, they don’t really care about any of this. What goes on isn’t why they’re asking. Most people ask because they want to assure themselves that they’re making the right decision and not about to be ripped off.
I get that.
At the end of the day, all they care about is how they can get more traffic, get more leads and make more sales. Simple.
Which is why it’s always hard to answer questions like “What do I get?”
It’s much like booking a domestic flight and asking, “What do I get for $280?”
What response do you want?
Do you want the simple one which is,
- You get to your destination
Or do you want the detailed one
- We have a website where you can book tickets
- We have staff at the counter who will assist you with your boarding pass
- We have ground crew who can ensure your baggage is loaded correctly
- Pilots, cabin crew, safety equipment, and on and on and on
Do you get my point?
I’m sure most people don’t care. All they care about is getting to their destination. The rest of what goes on is irrelevant.
So what do I get?
Okay, let’s now have a look at what goes on behind the scenes here at St George Web Design for a typical SEO campaign. Be mindful that each campaign may vary slightly, with some sites needing more work than others, however this should give you a pretty good idea of what we’re actually doing.
You should be mindful also, that I am not speaking on behalf of other agencies and what they do, or why they charge what they do. One thing is for certain though – I can easily spot the difference between a legitimate firm and a crappy one, just by looking at their pricing (although this isn’t always true) but it’s usually always a good indicator.
Alright, here’s a brief summary of what goes into our clients SEO campaign. Please note that this is just the first month.
Task – Initial meeting is held to discuss goals and objectives. (DONE)
Time involved – 1-2 hours
Task – Client account and invoicing is setup within Paypal recurring payments system
Time involved – 1 hour
Task – Analytics is installed if not present. Testing is performed to ensure it works correctly.
Time involved – 1 hour
Task – Full backup of the website is carried out to ensure a copy is preserved incase of any need to roll back or restore.
Time involved – 30 minutes
Task – Webmaster tools is setup and associated with Google Analytics.
Time involved – 30 minutes
Task – All site plugins are updated and website is tested to ensure it is functioning correctly.
Time involved – 15-30 minutes depending
Task – Keyword analysis and research. This involves going through the keywords the client has provided and checking a number of things. Firstly, to remove any useless terms or terms with no search volume. Secondly, to determine if the terms are actually attainable or worthwhile pursuing, and lastly, determining the level of competition. Checking the level of competition is always worth doing, so that we can hit the easiest keywords first. The list of keywords are then added to tracking software to establish baseline metrics at the start of the campaign. This is used to generate reports afterwards.
Time involved – 2-3 hours
Task – SEO audit. This is a complete analysis of the clients website to identify any issues that may be preventing it from performing well in the search results. The entire process takes between 2-3 days, and covers everything from meta tags, right through to site structure, content, site speed and social metrics. In addition to that, we also perform an analysis of the link profile.
Time involved – 2-3 days
Task – Foundational link building. This is essentially the first step towards building links towards the clients website. In simple terms, we submit clients sites to yellow pages, whereis, truelocal, Google Plus and so forth. This might seem like a waste of time, but its always a good starting point. You’d be surprised how much traffic these sites actually generate, and how much authority they pass.
Time involved – 2-4 hours
Task – Reverse engineering competitor links. This is essentially looking at the clients 3 biggest competitors sites, analyzing their links, finding out where they’re getting them, determining which ones hold value, then replicating where possible.
Time involved – Anywhere between a few hours to a day
Task – Miscellaneous tasks. Towards the end of the first month, we perform any miscellaneous tasks that may have been requested by the client, tidy up any loose ends, check webmaster tools for errors, and then provide the client with their end of month rankings.
Time involved – Anywhere between 30 minutes to a day or two.
As you can see, there is quite a lot going on.
Be mindful also, that this is just the first month. This amount of workload continues month after month (on-going maintenance and monitoring)
As with any business, there are expenses too. Software, hardware, electricity, phones, internet. Onpage experts, web developers, writers, general staff and admin. Pay rates for staff varies anywhere between $20 to $75 an hour. (No we don’t outsource to the Philippines at $3 an hour)
All of this takes time, and costs money.
This is where I look at other agencies and shake my head.
How on earth could they possibly be providing a service ANYWHERE near this for just $49 a month????
Answer is – they’re not.
$49 a month SEO, bro
So called “SEO agencies” that push low end services are all about volume. It’s purely quantity over quality. Consider them like sausage factories. Get clients onboard at $49 a month, churn then burn. Rinse and repeat.
In any case, here’s a bit of an insight into what many of these so called agencies are doing.
I’m not even kidding. I sat in with a client just recently and he went on to tell me that he’d been paying $49 a month for SEO, and found out 9 months later that absolutely nothing had been done. I still, for the life of me can’t understand why they didn’t bother asking for feedback or something that showed what work was being done during that time. Not one meeting was held, not one call, or email. Just monthly invoicing. Unbelievable.
This is a practice that’s still unfortunately around, and essentially it’s where whoever is in charge of your SEO campaign, simply enters your websites URL into a software program, along with a few keywords, then they simply press a button and let it run for hours on end or overnight. The software simply blasts links all over the web, in the hope that something might “stick”. This is what I refer to as “shotgun SEO”. Blasting crap everywhere in hope that you’ll eventually hit something. This is extremely dangerous and usually always ends in the site being penalised or de-indexed completely.
Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against outsourcing. What I DO have a problem with, is clients paying money for garbage. The old practice of hiring clueless staff overseas at $3 an hour to build rubbish links or write crappy articles that don’t even make sense is absolute bullshit, and it’s nothing I will everconsider doing here at St George Web Design. All work performed by St George Web Design is done here in Australia, by those with the right experience, and qualifications to do so.
Take a look around over at Fiverr.com and you’ll see the “SEO Fiverr gigs”. That’s right. $5 to build 20,000 links. $5 to write SEO rich content. $5 to do SEO audits. It’s absolute rubbish and extremely dangerous. However this is what some agencies are doing. They’ll pay $5 for someone to blast your site with SEnuke or something like that in order to generate a lot of backlinks quickly.
Or lastly, all of the above.
As most of you probably already know, when you start participating in rubbish like this, you end up with a site that either loses rankings, is penalised or is removed from the search results completely. I always say to people, “Cheap SEO is always more expensive”. It’s just not worth it.
Why we charge what we do
There are two main reasons why we charge what we do.
1. We genuinely want to help people.
If we’re slamming cheap SEO and blasting links all over the place at $49 per month, that is NOT going to help you, or your business. And it’s certainly not going to have anyone giving us positive testimonials or sending referrals our way. When a clients campaign finishes, we want them to be raving about our services. Not whinging and complaining about how they got ripped off. At a minimum of $225 per month, we can perform high quality work, and pay our.
2. We want to build a long term, reputable business.
SEO agencies that take intentional short cuts in order to offer low cost SEO, wont be in business long. Because it simply doesn’t work, it’s dangerous, and they most definitely aren’t interested in helping their clients.
Here’s the thing. For business owners that really know nothing about SEO, or what’s involved, they’ll visit several websites, and see prices varying from $49 a month, up to $3,000 a month. This can be quite confusing for anyone – and it may just be this reason alone as to why they ask “What do I get?”
I can understand a lot of new visitors to our website, might take a look over our monthly seo packagesand think, $225 a month for SEO?!? That seems excessive. But if you take into consideration the example of what goes into a campaign (as I demonstrated above) ….the amount of time, resources, staff and expertise needed in order to get results – these prices make sense.
Something else I should point out is that it’s important for business owners to choose an SEO agency that’s a right fit for them. If you’re running an online store selling $5 handbags, then chances are $225 a month may not be a suitable investment for you and your business – because let’s face it, that means you gotta sell a lot of handbags in order to get a positive return on investment. This is why we always ensure that our clients are a good fit, before we start working with them.
To summarize, what I’m saying is that many business owners think that SEO is a straight forward process, and involves just “building links”, or “doing stuff”. That’s definitely not the case. As you can hopefully see with this brief insight into what we do – there is a lot more to it.
Just as with anything, you get what you pay for. SEO is no different.
Its a monthly package with no contracts, but rather a monthly recurring at $225.00 per month.