December 16, 2008, 1:35 PM — Let's face it, when you look at it on paper, SEO is an expensive endeavor. Whether you do it yourself, use the services of a consultant, or hire someone else to do it for you, the cost can be overwhelming.
In fact, some SEO experts charge as much as $500-$1000 per hour. It is such an involved process that the price tag is understandably pretty significant. As a small business owner, you have to decide whether search engine optimization is worth the expense.
Can you afford to invest in SEO services? Can you afford not to? The key to affordable SEO is an efficient balance of necessities, time, and budget. Here are three things to consider as you decide whether SEO is right for your small business.
Necessities of SEO
Search engine optimization is a huge process, but not every component of SEO is necessary for every campaign. It's no secret that the most fruitful campaigns utilize every type of marketing available, but doing everything doesn't necessarily equal success. If you make sure that you're doing the right things at the right time, then you can save time and effort while still creating a successful campaign.
Time to Invest in SEO
Time is the single most important aspect of SEO. It's simply a time-consuming process. If you're not spending your own time doing it then you're paying someone else for their time. Because time is your most valuable resource, one of the most important decisions you'll have to make is which projects you'll take on first. Prioritizing your tasks will help you make good use of your valuable time. Tackle your top-priority tasks first and save the less-important ones for later.
As you consider your use of time, also keep in mind that SEO is part waiting game. Anytime you think about Organic search engine optimization, you have to remember that SEO results take a significant amount of time to show up online. Make sure you understand just how long it might take and how it will affect your business. Depending on the industry and the competition, better rankings take 4-6 months
This is the primary factor in determining whether you'll spend your own time doing SEO or hire someone else for the use of their time. But don't let budget be your only consideration. Also keep in mind the value added when a professional takes care of your web optimization tasks. Determine the value added by an SEO professional by considering the quality of work and the potential of the search engine optimization work to get results for your business, however, more money doesn't always guarantee a better product. On the other hand, remember that you often get what you pay for.
You can only determine the true cost of SEO by looking at your return on investment. Remember that the true value of search engine optimization is greater than the sum of its parts. Even a small increase in time, money, and energy invested can net huge results. By investing whatever you can, whenever you can, and wherever you can, you can potentially see a big difference in your business's success. Reinvesting your returns can lead to even more success, and SEO suddenly doesn't look so expensive anymore.
The Cost of Doing it Wrong (Doing it Yourself)
And while it may be tempting to do SEO yourself, small business owners should especially consider hiring an internet marketing agency or search engine optimization expert. Small businesses are already at a disadvantage when it comes to SEO simply because of size and budget.
Don't risk putting yourself at an even greater disadvantage by doing it wrong or by inadvertently utilizing tactics that could harm your ranking or even get you banned by search engines like Google, Yahoo, or MSN. Even if you choose not to hire an SEO expert to take care of all of your optimization tasks, consider hiring a consultant to check the work you've done. This is a good way to keep careless mistakes from happening over and over again.