One thing I have learned in trying to market SEO: most people know little about it and are getting scammed by larger companies who profit off of the lack of knowledge and empty promises. I was shocked to learn that my local newspaper offered this type of service to local businesses. My potential client was pitched by one of their salesman to purchase their monthly services which promised to generate "X" amount of leads each month. As a skeptic, this customer decided to contact other business owners to see if it was worth his investment. The answer he received: a resounding "NO!" Unfortunately, a customer looking for instant gratification and a 100% guarantee is not a good customer for SEO. A customer who is looking to invest money for the future of their business is the ideal client.
I would love to develop some sort of proprietary software tool that could help a company manage their SEO or even claim to generate leads. I have yet to see a product that costs the client money but replaces the need for an actual person managing a company's SEO and SEM campaign. When it comes to SEO, it is not only what the search engine sees but also how your client's potential customers think when they are shopping for a product. You could pay $80-$200 per month easily to a company that uses software to market your website. They will place ads for you all over the internet for potential customers to click on. They'll claim to get you a number 1 spot. They'll offer you the comfort of a guarantee. At the end of the month, you will probably have a lead or two (maybe), zero closed business and be out at least $200. You might give them another month or two to prove themselves, but in the end, you will likely have a 0% return on investment, a 100% loss of your money and have a sour taste in your mouth about internet marketing. You also won't have any more ads running and your website will not have gained any ground in search rankings.
If you still understand the value of a well-optimized website, you might want to consider another marketing strategy. A real SEO company will want to work with your website developer or webmaster. A real SEO company will make suggestions to change content on your website. A real SEO company will have a person making educated decisions and consulting with you about the direction and organic ranking of your website.
Now, the bad news: a real SEO company will not charge you $80-$200 per month. It will be more. However, this is where the investment comes in. You may pay an SEO consultant $1000 for six months for a total investment of $6000. During those six months, your website will undergo an overhaul. Changes made will be monitored and altered (optimized). Once the work of the SEO consultant is complete, your website will continue to improve in site rankings because the changes made to your website do not go away. In fact, they keep working for you during the entire life of the site. New customers continue to find your company on the Internet long after you stop paying money to the SEO firm.
Educating the SEO client can be difficult. The ability to explain the benefits and the differences in services is a strong ally. The perfect SEO client can be hard to find. It is unfortunate that many internet marketing companies take dollars instead of making them for their clients.
Author: Michael Palmer