Hi there, Like every other startup founder, my time is very limited, and while I'd love to learn all the intricacies of SEO and work on it daily, my schedule just doesn't allow for it. On the other hand, i understand the value of ranking highly in Google and I definitely don't want to overlook it. That said, I've been working with a developer in India through Upwork on some minor changes to the website (adding an Instagram feed section, new fonts, etc), and I like the work he's done (he also has great reviews). He told me he has someone who works with him who is experienced in SEO, and that it would cost $800/month for the work. Below is how he described the process: "It basically works in the following way : 1. It is an ongoing work. 2. We'll work regularly on our site on different things. 3. Developers and SEO guys, both are included in this work. 4. Work will go for regular 8 hours a day. 5. Output shows in around 4 minimum months as Google Indexing ..etc, takes time." I asked him what methods the person would use, and he said he wasn't sure, but he would ask him and get back to me (not too surprising, I suppose, as he's not the SEO expert). My plan is to speak with someone on clarity regarding some basic SEO methods I can learn so that i can at least be informed enough to track his progress, and keep an eye on what's being done through weekly reports. So my question is: Does this sound legit? And what are some additional questions I can ask to determine this? I'm self-funded and have a very small budget, so I'm really trying to ensure that i don't waste my hard-earned money on snake oil. Thanks in advance! Tanya
First to address the first point proposition you were given
"1. It is an ongoing work.
2. We'll work regularly on our site on different things.
3. Developers and SEO guys, both are included in this work.
4. Work will go for regular 8 hours a day.
5. Output shows in around 4 minimum months as Google Indexing ..etc, takes time."
These are not clear statements from someone who knows about best practice SEO strategy.
Understanding the 3 key elements of SEO strategy:
I would expect someone to speak to you about the 3 key elements of SEO strategy to begin with, being:
1. Best Practice SEO Technical Website Structure Setup
2. On-page content optimisation
3. Off-page Optimisation / Link Strategy
In terms of costs I think would depend on the size of your website and also what industry it is in.
Website Size - Smaller websites will require less optimisation work. Larger websites will have more pages that can act as organic landing pages for more target search keyword groups and therefore will require more content optimisation work and larger sites usually mean there is more technical SEO work to structure or untangle.
Website industry - some industries are more competitive than others in the organic search results and so more resource sometimes needs to be put into targeting product and service keyword themes that are known to be more competitive in terms of targeting better organic search rankings for.
In terms of a cost range we usually see campaigns starting from around $1000 to $4,000 per month depending on the amount of tasks needed.
Getting Full Transparency:
For our clients we provide them with a fully transparent Gantt chart broken down by individual tasks within each of the 3 key elements of SEO, stating how many hours we believe each task will take and assign these tasks to a standard hourly rate which provides the total monthly fee paid.
In terms of reducing costs as you can do quite a lot of things yourself but this will obviously take time to do and also to learn.
What you can do:
Some areas you may want to look at doing yourself are:
- Learn how to do good keyword research
- Use your keyword research to help you write optimised content on your key target organic landing pages
- Writing (and more importantly promoting) regular blogs can help you to promote specific products and services and help you link to your key product and service pages
- If you think you would benefit from more local type search then you may want to set up your business location on Google My Business Center and then list your business in local niche directory to help appear in local rankings in Google
- If you are an ecommerce site then concentrate on optimising your product pages with unique content and product descriptions
Areas you may wish to get external support on:
Areas that may be having an SEO specialist or digital agency look at would be:
- Optimising your website page load speed
- Optimising your site for Google mobile searches
- Ensuring Google can crawl your website as efficiently as possible
- Optimise how the internal linking structure works on your website
- Providing guidance and consultancy on the best things you can do in-house yourself that can be done by you over a longer period of time
- Ensuring someone provides you a clear picture into what work has been done, what benefit work completed will provide and what the focus should be in the future
In terms of whether focusing on SEO is the right choice for you at this moment in time, you should understand that improving organic search visibility is likely to take at least 3 months before you see any real tangible results (particularly if you are new site and a startup).
For SEO investment needs to be made expecting low ROI in the first 3 to 6 months and from then you can expect to get much higher ROI after 6 months and in the coming years.
So you need to decide whether you need more immediate impacts than that are it's something you can afford to invest time and money in now to reap greater benefits for a longer period of time in the future.
Please let me know if you need any further advice and I would be happy to help.