As someone who has worked as an SEO consultant for over a decade now, I think I know a thing or two about the industry that I think you may find helpful when looking to hire an SEO company.
If you’re a small business or just anyone looking to start SEO work on your company website, it’s important that you consider these factors before plunking down a big chunk of change that in the end could be a worthless endeavor.
Is SEO Even Worth Your Time
Yes the first thing to consider is if SEO is even worth your time? At the end of the day we are looking for a positive return on our investment, and it doesn’t matter if you’re in the top position for all your keywords if you’re bleeding money.
For example, say you’re a small mom and pop Chinese takeout restaurant, it may not make sense for you to spend $2k a month on SEO just to improve your local listings.
Furthermore in certain niches, just going with Google Ads makes more sense. Why pay an SEO company $3-4k a month when you can just spend that on Google Ads and get guaranteed consistent traffic? Remember you still have to pay the SEO company even if they don’t get you the results you’re looking for (well usually anyway).
Also is SEO even the best avenue for advertising your company? Maybe you’re better off working on a bigger social media presence, a YouTube Channel, or on traditional advertising like TV or newspapers.
So you need to evaluate all of these things before you even consider hiring an SEO company for your business.
You Get What You Pay For
In the world of SEO, you get what you pay for. There’s no magic bullet when it comes to manipulating Google’s algorithm. If you want results, you’re going to have to pay for it, even if you use more “gray area” black hat methods.
When I was working as a SEO freelancer, I’d get approached all the time by businesses that want “Quality SEO” but were willing to pay only $300-500/mo. It’s just not possible, especially with how Google’s algorithm is currently set up.
It would be like asking a world famous chef to create a fine dining dinner for you, but only gave him $20 for groceries. No matter how good the SEO company you hire, budgets are going to limit what is possible. There’s no way around it.
Quality SEO is expensive. If I have to go out and develop relationships for you to grab “quality links” for your website, I’m going to need to be compensated for all the hours I put in for this.
Even for the more gray or black hat methods, “quality work” in this area is still going to cost you because you’re competing against other companies that are also using this strategy.
But Maybe You Can Afford More Than You Think
I think too often people don’t consider the intangibles when it comes to the cost/benefit decision of hiring an SEO company. For example they think “Well I spent $3k but I’m only breaking even every month, so this seems pointless”. But is it really a futile endeavor?
Sure you may have broken even or even took a slight loss, but what else did you gain? Perhaps you gained new customers that will become repeat purchasers.
Maybe more people now know about your business and will come back at a later time to purchase. Or perhaps you grew your email list or social media following from these new customers the SEO work has acquired for you.
All of the above things may not have a current dollar value, but there is definitely future value there. So if this is the case, even running at break even or a slight loss may make perfect sense.
Consider Hiring A Freelancer Over An Agency
If you’re on a tighter budget, definitely consider hiring a freelancer with a proven track record of success. You can find some great SEO freelancers on Black Hat World and to a lesser extent on the Warrior Forum (definitely go with Black Hat World first).
These are both places I used to provide SEO services at, and there are quite a few good SEO freelancers there that you can hire for a lot cheaper than if you went with an agency.
The thing is when it comes to SEOs for hire, if you’re worth anything, you’re probably not working for an agency. SEOs that know their stuff make way more working for themselves or on their own projects.
For example I used to get offers all the time to come work for XYZ agency as an in-house SEO but they could only offer like $80k/year, something that any competent SEO could blast by working in their underwear from home on their own stuff.
That isn’t to say that there aren’t good agencies out there, but in general I feel unless you’re some huge company with a gigantic budget to spend, most small businesses are better off cutting out the “agency fluff pricing” and going with a proven SEO freelancer.
So there you have it some of my thoughts when it comes to hiring an SEO company. I hope if you’re looking to hire an SEO company for your business that you definitely considered the points that I outlined. Good luck.