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SEO – You Get What You Pay For

August 10, 2009

Of all the Internet Marketing services we provide, the hardest to set prices for and to explain pricing to clients is SEO – Search Engine Optimization to get those first page rankings in Google. I’ve come to the conclusion SEO precisely fits the saying, “you get what you pay for”. Once you have a partner with the required level of technical expertise, SEO becomes a matter of hard work, month after month effort to improve rankings and traffic.

Here is a similar example. I recently chartered a boat to cruise Florida’s southeast coast. Being a life-long admirer of the high quality Grand Banks trawler yacht, that is what I set out to charter for our week’s vacation.  There was a wide range of prices for a week’s cruise from $2,500 to over $8,000 for similar size boats.  I thought that because of its impeccable reputation for quality “a Grand Banks is a Grand Banks” no matter the age or the price of the charter.  We chose the low price, 20 year old boat.

First impressions were not bad. It looked a little tired and not as clean as a new boat, but we judged it a good value for the price.  That all changed half way through our cruise when we started having serious electrical problems and barely limped back to the home dock. That coupled with a long list of more minor equipment breakdowns made for a less than enjoyable last few days of our cruise. I left that experience thinking next time I’ll pay the price for a better quality charter knowing that quality costs money.

Low quality SEO can include
  • companies providing copy from India, with English that is an embarrassment to your business.
  • Buying thousands of links month after month at a bargain price.  Google is taking steps to detect sites “buying” poor quality links in huge quantities to boost your rankings.
These services are cheap, often only a few hundred dollars per month.  They may even give an initial boost in rankings, particularly adding content, even if it’s poorly written. The long-term effect though, is what we stake our business on.

Our recent experience is these low cost practices will not get you on the first page of Google by themselves anymore.  There is too much competition and too many companies “doing it right”.  Both “experience” and “sustained effort” are required to make SEO successful in today’s market.

If (experience) x (effort) = success, then it must follow success is going to cost more than the bargain basement prices you will see for SEO services.

Think about the “value” from a first page or #1 ranking in Google.  The long term payback for your company can be huge. It’s like buying the corner lot on the busiest intersection in town; it’s location, location, location.  There is a premium for that prime location, but it’s a proven business principle that it pays off in the long run. Over 25% of visitors to a Google search results page will click on the #1 ranked pages.

The key question for you is whether you are willing to pay what it takes to get that #1 ranking, or settle for the low cost, low payoff SEO solution.

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