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SEO tips: How to get a good deal and avoid getting conned – part two

OK so this is the second – and final – part of a blog we’ve written on SEO tips – ie how to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to search engine optimisation.

Congratulations if you made it through the first part unscathed but don’t beat yourself up if you took the shortcut here – there’s still time to redeem yourself.

We’ve already talked about which elements to expect in any SEO strategy.

Now we are going to discuss how to ensure you get the best deal possible for your company and we’ll sum it all up with six bullet points at the end. It’s the gift that keeps on giving basically.

OK let’s cut to the chase: How much should I pay for my SEO?

In terms of budgets it’s probably slightly irresponsible and misleading to generalise but what the hell, we’re going to anyway:-

In our experience it’s possible for a small- or medium-sized business to make a decent start on SEO for a few hundred pounds a month.

If your budget is four figures, you’ll be able to go along at a much quicker pace.

Larger businesses won’t be able to make much progress at £1000 a month unless they are reasonably limited or focused about what they want to achieve – and many find value at several times that figure.

It goes without saying it makes sense to approach various providers before you settle on one you trust that seems the right fit for your business.

Once you’ve shaken hands on an agreement, it helps to have a record of all your financial discussions on email.

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Driving down the price: Negotiating a good deal for my SEO

We’ve already identified elements like market research, keyword analysis, on-site optimisation, blogging and social media work as fundamental to most SEO strategies – to name but a few.

However it might be possible to opt in to some of these options and out of others or to share the workload for some with your SEO provider and drive down the price accordingly.

You might, for example, have a writer in house who can draft blogs for your agency’s copy team to sharpen or someone who can put in the hard yards with your social media.

You might also be given a choice about how to structure payment and, if times are tight, in our experience it is often best to avoid paying a set fee for every hour’s work the agency put in.

Bills can mount up very quickly that way – and needless to say this approach doesn’t exactly encourage your provider to get a wriggle on.

Another option is to decide exactly which elements you need doing, allocate money for each accordingly and ask the agency to do as much as they can within that budget: £500 for blogging this month, £200 for social media, that sort of thing…

That way you’ve got a better idea of how much is being used and what it is being used for.

On the downside, it’s a bit restrictive as there is bound to be a degree of guesswork going on and your needs may change.

In our experience the best approach is often to give your provider a total budget every month to allocate as effectively as they can.

They are best placed to suggest how it should be spent but ultimately it’s your decision whether to give their plans the go-ahead.

Assuming you have time, you should meet with them regularly so they can explain how effectively your strategy has been working before taking you through your options for the future.

How can I make sure my SEO works and I get what I’m promised?

It is irresponsible for any SEO agency to promise to get your site to, let’s say, the top three positions on Google for any given phrase.

This is because any guarantee suggests they are in complete control. And they aren’t.

Search engines change their algorithms – the rules about which websites they reward – hundreds of times a year.

And they keep the exact details of how they do it a closely-guarded secret.

Good SEO agencies have a really good idea about what search engines reward and what they don’t but ultimately Google, Bing and the rest could pull the rug from under everyone’s feet whenever they want.

As a result, any predictions about getting your site to a certain position on Google or Bing are just educated guesses based on the past and no responsible agency should categorically promise to get you to X position in Y period of time.

However, while SEO providers can’t 100% guarantee results you can be pretty sure they’ll work harder if they aren’t getting paid until they deliver them.

It’s easier said than done but if you can negotiate a deal where they get paid some or all of their fee when – and only when – you get the results you want then you are on to a winner.

That might be a bit much to ask in most cases but remember they are working for you so let’s make sure they work for their money.

In conclusion: Five top tips when approaching an SEO company

Ok so cards on the table but we are an SEO agency and we’ve seen search engine optimisation work wonders with many of our clients so we are a teeny weeny bit biased.

It’s a fair cop.

However, in the interests of fairness we should point out that it’s good business sense to think hard before you spend any money on anything – and it goes without saying SEO won’t be for everyone.

If, for example, you are picking up all the work you want through word of mouth and you aren’t looking for more custom or a greater online presence then it stands to reason SEO is not for you.

But if you do decide to take it further, here’s six SEO tips summing up what we’ve discussed across the two parts of this blog. Fingers crossed they should help you get the best deal possible:-

  1. Read up on SEO so you understand what you are looking for and can make a calculated decision about whether it will help your business

  2. Speak to a few possible suppliers, establish exactly what strategy they think will work for you and decide whether you agree or not

  3. If you are on a budget, give thought to whether all their suggestions are necessary and whether anyone in your team can chip in to bring the price down

  4. Where possible negotiate a deal where they get paid some or all of their money when they deliver results – eg getting you to the top three positions on Google

  5. Let your SEO provider recommend the best way to allocate your money each month but make sure they need your permission before going ahead

  6. Be patient – it won’t happen overnight. It should help to have regular progress reports so you know what work is being done behind the scenes

And breathe….  here endeth the lesson. Thanks for your patience – we got there in the end.

Getting SEO can be daunting but it can also pay off massively in the medium-long term.

Of course these are only our suggestions and you may have other ideas that will work better for you.

Every case is different. If you have any queries about SEO or any other digital marketing matter, feel free to give us a call for a no-obligation chat on 0207 100 4562.

We claim to practise what we preach so feel free to put that to the test. Failing that, good luck!

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