Is SEO worth paying for?

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I’m sure we all get the spam emails from companies making outrageous claims about guaranteeing top positioning in Google for next to nothing in terms of cost. Hopefully most of us realise that the offer is a bit of a misnomer and isn’t really going to pay the dividends it promises – it’s literally too good to be true. I could go on all day about how they won’t actually be spending time promoting the website, but simply adding you to their website that they’d built… a glorified listing. Instead I’ll just trust that the majority of the readers of this blog aren’t quite fooled by such propaganda.

We can take from this, that this avenue is not worth paying for. Even though it’s a small cost, the rewards won’t be there and these companies are only after multi sign-ups in any case.

How do we then establish if bona fide Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is worth paying for? It’s easy to jump straight in and say: “Increased traffic, conversion, ROI, brand awareness, relevent traffic, sales, enquiries…”

World domination and this $1 is yours!

World domination and this $1 is yours!

This is essentially the point of the SEO, to make these things perform better. This is all very well and good, but let’s put ourselves in the shoes of someone looking to purchase SEO. Quite frankly, I’d want it quantified, accountable and clear. I know it’s not always easy to definitively forecast what the success of the SEO will actually bring, but that’s what the potential customer wants/needs!

Related Example: I get a call in the office today from a company that sends brochures to certain establishments (I won’t mention the type or you may guess the company in question) that I’m interested in speaking to regarding websites and internet marketing. They want to sell me an advert in the publication, circulation seems reasonable, and demographic pinpointed. My point being; I was the customer here. And for 15 mins I came up with different objections to the kind lady about similar strategies like this that have been fruitless in the past. She then agrees to email the details and gives me an indication of costs, which she suffixes with the line “I’m sure you’ll agree that’s very good value!” To which my retort is “It’s only good value depending on what I get out of it!”

Suddenly a moment of clarity appears. This is what our customers’ attitudes must be like from the outset regarding SEO. Why would they invest in it if they weren’t confident that they were going to get something out of it? But, to be fair, this magazine isn’t going to take all of the risk for us. We have to decide where and when to speculate and there is always going to be an element of risk attached to any investment we make, however large or small.

First and forememost, with SEO you are paying for time and effort from an expert. This in itself is where the justification for the cost lies. They work on the promotion of your website and deserve to be paid. If it didn’t bear much fruit for you then you wouldn’t renew the contract. Although to reduce the risk of this happening you should have been able to see previous examples of the SEO’s successes, which should help you see that they are up to the task or not.

I’ve seen SEO campaigns turn around the fortunes of websites.  Actually making significant impacts on a company’s business. It’s not always the easiest thing in the world for customers to fathom or have faith in. The best way round this is to do some really good research and take the client through a projected SEO plan.

This will allow the SEO to be able to forecast when they think results will begin to show for certain key phrases and when larger more generic ones may begin to surface. Again, this cannot always be incredibly accurate, but we find that we’re getting pretty skilled at identifying these and in some cases even surprising ourselves by getting the results there quicker.

The main point for us is not to lead the customer down the garden path. We find that an honest and transparent approach to the SEO success projection allows the customer to plan for the expenditure and then the new business coming their way as a result.

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