There are more than 5.5 billion searches per day on the internet.
But, surely, your ideal clients aren't looking for businesses like yours in search because you’re in the B2B space, right?
According to Google, 89% of B2B researchers use the Internet during the B2B research process. With that information, it’s quite likely that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services could be an extremely valuable investment in the growth of your business.
What happens if researchers can't find your brand online among your competitors? Most likely, your brand won't make it onto a list that gets passed onto the decision makers.
In this post, I will:
- Give you a brief introduction to SEO,
- Tell you why it matters to your company,
- Discuss how much you should expect to invest in effective SEO services,
- And warn you of a few red flags when searching for an SEO agency to partner with.
What is ‘Search Engine Optimization’?
At its core, Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, helps you get found online via search engines like Google, Bing, or DuckDuckGo. The processes for SEO can be quite complex, however, which involve things like fine-tuning your website using content and keywords, effective crawl and indexing factors (technical SEO), and authority signals (link building).
Why does SEO matter?
75% of people never scroll past the first page of search results. Let that sink in.
This means that 3 out of 4 browsers are going to find the solution they are looking for on the first page of results from their search. By taking the time to understand your customers and what words they use to search for your product or service, SEO can help your business show up on page one of their search results.
When your ideal clients can easily find you online, you’ll get more qualified leads, and hopefully, more sales!
SEO Investment Models and Costs
To the dismay of many business owners, SEO success isn’t a bargain and results don’t happen overnight. But, businesses willing to invest in the long game can see huge gains over time. SEO services can be structured differently, depending on your budget, your goals, timeframe and the level of direct attention you’d like. In most cases, you will be offered a few options to choose from.
Here, I’ll break down the 3 most common SEO services models and how much you can expect to pay for each.
Because of the complex nature of SEO and what must be done to get the best results, it often makes sense for a business to partner with an SEO agency on a month-to-month basis. This model will allow you to establish your expectations with the contractor, and set goals as you move along. Best for companies that need a partner to handle all SEO needs on a regular basis.
Currently, this is the most popular payment model because it tends to lead to the greatest ROI for clients. SEO isn’t a quick fix that can optimize your business for growth at a snap of the fingers, despite what many “gurus” may say. A proper SEO strategy typically takes 6-12 months to implement.
→ The typical investment range for monthly retainers ranges from $750-$5000+ per month. What you pay will depend on the size of your business, the nature of the SEO work, the level of expertise required, and the extent of the services that will be provided by the optimization experts. If you own a small business and you’re looking at the lower end of this spectrum, it may be worth your time and investment to begin with a fixed-price contract.
When you’re testing the waters of SEO services, or you don’t need all-inclusive work, this is where you’ll likely start. Fixed-price contracts allow clients to sign a contract with an agency and pay a set fee for services, rather than a recurring monthly service.
If you already have a copywriter on staff and a team of people who create your marketing strategies, but need an SEO expert to handle the technical side of things, you can hire a contractor for a set price. Fixed-price contracts are often project-based, and the rate you pay varies depending on the services that you need. (These services should be listed on the agency’s website.)
→ Investments for fixed-price contracts can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand.
- SEO copywriting at $0.15 to $0.50 per word
- Site content audit at $500 to $7,500 per audit
- Link profile audit at $500 to $7,500 per audit
- Social media set up at $500 to $3,000 for the top 5 social media channels which typically include Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn and YouTube when appropriate. Other possible platforms to consider are Pinterest and Instagram.
Hourly consulting can be a great option for getting SEO work done with a lower budget. However, to minimize the hours you pay for and get the most out of the work, hourly consulting works well only if you have a pretty decent base knowledge of SEO.
→ Expect to pay $100-$300 per hour for an SEO expert consultant. You’re paying for experience, so an SEO consultant who charges less than $100/hour is likely not worth their salt, and not worth your time.
Watch out for red flags
Many business owners have been ripped off by SEO agencies for marketing services, and are left jaded and burned.
To guard yourself against these agencies, it’s important to know where you currently stand in your SEO process. Use our SEO Checkup to determine if your site already meets basic criteria that will save you time and energy on an audit.
What’s also really important is to know what to look for as “red flags” when shopping marketing agencies.
Red Flag #1: Making Ranking Guarantees
While SEO is your best bet for getting your company found online, no SEO agency should ever make ranking or placement guarantees. This is mostly because the industry is highly volatile and keeps changing every few weeks/months as search algorithms constantly evolve. Rankings are not permanent. At Knowmad, placements for our high-priority targets fluctuate throughout the month. While we check and report on rankings, we know that traffic, engagement, and conversions deliver ROI.
Red Flag #2: Delivering Instant Results
SEO success is not achieved overnight. Although some tactics can “game the system” and garner instant results, this is not always the case. Gaming the system will also hurt your website in the long run. In 2011, Google began releasing algorithm updates and issuing penalties for websites that didn't comply with their recommendations.
Red Flag #3: Guaranteed Page One Placements
Of course, to earn the number one spot for targeted keywords is the goal for all agencies, but outright promising this for competitive keywords is naive to say the least. If an agency promises that you will appear on the first page of the search results, they may not be lying, but they probably didn't do all of their research. This could mean ranking you number one for your own brand or some obscure keyword you may like but has little commercial value. Also, if they say that they can get you to the first search result for certain keywords before reviewing your Google Analytics and Search Console data, they're not being straight with you.
Red Flag #4: Cheap Rates
Another red flag of SEO agencies if they offer significantly cheaper rates than other agencies. SEO, when done well, requires time, energy, and effort. Strategy sessions and analysis are time consuming. Creating high quality content and developing relationships with external sources for the purpose of authority building takes time. So if an agency is only charging you a few hundred bucks a month, they may be taking shortcuts that could get you penalized down the road, or they may just lack the experience to deliver you real ROI.
Your understanding of search engine optimization prices will empower you to make better decisions when hiring an SEO company. Once you know what you are looking for and understand how much it should cost you, ask for SEO services quotes from the top firms in your shortlist. Then, choose the firm that you think will best meet your needs within the budget you can afford.
If you’re ready to explore your options for professional SEO services for your B2B business, reach out and speak with one of Knowmad’s SEO experts. We’re ready to give you a quote and help you get your business found online!
Matt is an observer. His keen attention to detail and knack for noticing the little differences set him apart. Coupled with his ability to think laterally, this skill creates an opportunity for him to think of innovative and unique ideas designed to help clients meet their goals. At Knowmad, Matt focuses on SEO and PPC services.