Warning: SEO companies charge too much and take too long

A man called yesterday wanting to have his Denver IT Services website optimized.  He had called multiple search engine optimization specialists in Denver, and each one had given him the same proposal: spend thousands of dollars per month, and take a long time.

Check out what the SEO companies said

He had been told the following by multiple companies:

In order to get your website ranked well, it will take 6 months to a year, and will cost $1,000.00 per month.

- Random Denver SEO companies

That means he will have paid $6,000 to $12,000 to have his site ranked well in search engines. I was taken aback; spending that much money each month on SEO is ridiculous for many reasons, but here are a few:

Steps to take before spending too much on SEO

  1. If you’re a small company spending thousands of dollars a month, spend it on online advertising!
    • With AdWords and other online advertising, you can create targeted landing pages that meet the specific needs of the keyword-targeted audience
    • You know exactly where your money is going
    • You get guaranteed placement if you’re willing to pay for it
  2. First things first: try some simple SEO upgrades in the code 
    • Did any other company notice all the other pages have the same badly crafted Title tag–the most important for SEO?
    • Basic changes can improve your rank dramatically, instantly, and simple structural updates will make the content you have count for more
    • Set up a general XML site map
  3. After you’ve improved the code base, then you track the results, reassess your position, then move to the next steps

These SEO solutions probably would not cost $1,000, let alone $1,000 a month. 

SEO also depends on your competition

There’s an article on SEO Book that attempts to answer how long it will take to rank well. Their conclusion? The same as mine: it depends.

If the search results are uncompetitive (use SEO for Firefox to survey the competitive landscape) you might be able to rank in a month even if your site is brand new.

I use two programs to check how tough the competition is: SEO for Firefox and SEO SpyGlass. If your search competition is standing still / not established / not optimized, then moving up will be a piece of cake. If your field is crowded with many well maintained and optimized sites, then it will be harder to move up quickly, and it will take a longer time.

Make sure the SEO companies explain what their plan is, and why

Having heard what other SEO companies were proposing, it was shocking. $1,000 a month for building links using a software program?  If you are paying for SEO, it’s worth your money to have quality relationships built — not spammed links.

I propose solid steps to improving rank, and recommend consistent, focused SEO. I believe having a plan that starts from the ground gets better results for less money.  I hope other companies do as well.

3 responses to “Warning: SEO companies charge too much and take too long

  1. I totally agree on the snake oil factor especially among SEO/SEM’s that use a formatic approach. However costs are relative, based on what competitive level and the scope of what you are trying to accomplish. “Denver IT Services” is one thing, “IT services” another altogether. My best advice, find a firm/person that understands your business/your customers/your needs and then craft a strategy together based on the time/effort needed to reach those goals.

  2. Right, that’s my point as well. We’re talking about SEO for a small business that only serves the Denver area. That alone reduces the cost/effort of optimizing by a LOT.

  3. True, if you are a small local business it sometimes make more sense to simply use adwords than putting your resources in optimization efforts, on the other hand, if you are a larger operation spending 1000 dollar a month is nothing – you should spend much more. I know sites and organizations who easily top 20k/month.

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