Today we are going to address the desire and request of almost every small business owner I have ever talked to. The discussion typically goes something like this:
Shane - "Hi, how can I help you?"
Client - "Hi, I would like to get a website and of course, I would like to be on the first page of Google."
Now, the ease and leisure of how this is requested has always shocked me. The reason for this is because from experience, I know how large of an undertaking this can be. Getting to the first page of Google is not something that can be done over-night, with the click of a button or in the matter of a few hours.
I also know that the majority of my Small Business/Entrepreneur clientele do not have the kind of budget that real SEO (Search Engine Optimization) takes to be performed correctly, from a reputable company. Luckily SEO can be performed by anybody, but I will share more about this later.
From having talked with hundreds of small business owners,
it is very evident that there is a lot of false information being shared about SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Here is a quick list of SEO truths to help you understand how SEO works and what you can really expect:
1. Google is a business. Their client is the Searcher. Therefore it is Google's main job to find information on the internet, index it based on thousands of factors (especially what a website is talking about in its text/content) and then populate results relative to their client's search query (whatever someone types into the Google search bar).
So if you owned Google, would you like it if people were "augmenting" or "gaming the system", which is what SEO is by nature? No, of course not. You would want website owners to create content based on what they were actually talking about or selling so that YOUR client (the searcher) would get the truest and best result based on their search query.
From this realization, it makes sense then, that Search Engine Optimization is not about "forcing" your website to the first page of Google. Instead it is primarily about creating genuinely educational, entertaining or valuable information for your target market and sharing it as much as you can.
If you focus on this, with a bit of attention to SEO standards you will be successful, but as I have said, manipulating Google is not going to get you anywhere.
2. Getting on the first page of Google does not happen over-night. Creating high quality, valuable, educational and entertaining content (blogs, videos, etc.) for your target market does not happen over night. This type of work takes real effort and should be created in a natural amount of time.
Getting 2,000 backlinks to 40 blogs you "wrote" in 1 month, stuffed with keywords, is no longer effective. In fact Google now recognizes this as "unrealistic" and will reduce your placement in their algorithm for such actions. This means that it is going to take months, and for some industries it can potentially take years before seeing "first page" results.
3. SEO is not "cheap". Everyone has a different budget and a different perception of what is considered "expensive" and "cheap", but in general, most people that I speak with do not have a realistic idea of how much these services cost.
As stated in item #2, the work that is involved to get on the first page of Google takes months to years. If you want to pay someone to do this type of ongoing campaign, obviously you are going to have to pay for a lot of their time.
From all of the research I have done on other San Diego SEO companies and from my own experience with doing these types of services, you should expect to pay between $750 - $1,000 a month starting out, with a $1,000 - $2,500 initial deposit. This is typically the minimum that a reputable SEO company will start at because of the amount of time it takes to be successful at any SEO campaign.
In fact, a reputable SEO company will not work with you, even if you have a large budget, if they do not think SEO services will be a good investment for you and your business or if they think that the competition in your industry is too large and that it will take too long to produce positive results.
If you do not have this type of investment capital to engage in these services, it is time to start considering doing the work yourself. You may think that this sounds like a lot of money, or you may think that this seems totally normal and reasonable. Either way, this type of price-point is what you should expect.
4. Beware if it sounds too good to be true. Keep in mind that EVERYONE in your industry or venture wants to be on the first page of Google.
Another way of putting it is that MILLIONS of people want to be on the first page of Google for the same search term you want to show up for, and there are only 10 spots. Some industries are more competitive than others, but what you should take from this is that it is not "easy" and potentially millions of people may already have a lead on you.
If a company guarantees you that they can get you to the first page of Google, run away, run as fast as you can, because it is a scam. Nobody on planet earth knows exactly how Google's algorithm works, and so therefore no SEO company can guarantee that you will get first page placement.
Also, if you are being told that they can do SEO services for you for less than $750 a month, be very cautious. If it takes multiple hours per month to perform proper SEO services, then how is it possible that the services could be cheap? If you are told that it is because they have an automated system that does the majority of the work, then you need to ask yourself if you truly believe in the effectiveness of this type of non-human automation.
Let me save you the time and money...there is no software or machine that can perform SEO at the standard level that it needs to be performed at to produce real, long term results. Your content creation needs to come from you or someone who has really taken ownership of your brand, your mission and has educated themselves about your industry.
Do you really trust a machine or software program to analyze the results of your SEO campaign, relative to your concerns and goals, and then perform the appropriate actions based on its findings? If it sounds too good to be true, it is.
5. The good news is you can DO IT YOURSELF. Now that I have put you into a deep state of depression, it is time to talk about what you CAN do.
Search Engine Optimization, also known as SEO, is a simple matter of educating yourself, compiling a set of standard "to-do's", performing the work of the "to-do's", analyzing the results of what you have done and augmenting your campaign to achieve better results through trial and error. There is no heavy coding or technical skills that you have to have. You do not need to go back to school so that you can learn how to write at a professional level. All it takes is a desire to improve your situation and the initiative to take action.
Can a seasoned, well trained SEO expert do this type of work more effectively and efficiently? Of course. But if you do not have the budget to pay someone else to do it are you going to give up on your dreams and goals, or are you going to apply yourself to your situation, perform your own SEO, attract new customers into your business and have the ability to now create a budget to pay someone else to do it for you? Luckily there is a lot of free advice, tutorials and information out there to assist you.
This book gives you the education, the how, the when and most importantly, a process to follow to do 90% of what any good SEO company would do for you. I use it myself and for a couple of dollars you can take matters into your own hands to improve your marketing efforts.
SEO is one of the most cost effective forms of marketing you could spend your time on or pay a company to do for you. The return on investment can be many times what you initially put into it and this is why it is so popular.
If you can not afford to pay someone else to do it for you, do not be discouraged. Take matters into your own hands, set aside 1 hour a day and create your own future.
I hope that this information was helpful in giving you a realistic set of expectations and look forward to your continued growth.