November 18, 2015
So by now you have realized that search engine optimization is the key to success for your company. That it is the only way for you to drive traffic, generate leads, make profit, and grow your business without breaking the bank. Great. What you’ve probably also realized is that it is going to come at a price.
People pursue online marketing because of its effectiveness, ease of use, and ubiquity across the web, but it is mostly used because it flat out works. But how do you determine an SEO budget, and once you do, how do you find the right SEO company? Good questions. There are a lot of options out there, so let’s dig a little deeper.
Determining your budget
How much you can spend on your online marketing is of course going to vary widely. Certain factors like the size of your company, the sector that you are in, and how important the online operation is to your overall business will weigh heavily on the answer. You also need to ask yourself a few important questions. For example, can you afford to spend the money now for results that might not be realized until the future? As a rule of thumb, most experts and companies recommend spending between 10%-20% depending on how long you’ve been in business. The longer you’ve been in business, the less you need to spend on marketing.
It is important to consider a few factors for your budget:
- What % of revenue is coming from your website? If it is lower than similar companies, then ramp up your marketing.
- How many visitors are coming to your website? If it is too low, then consider spending more.
- What is your conversion rate(the number of people who buy from you after visiting your site)? If it is too low, then you need to rethink your marketing strategy, and think about upping the spending or getting a new SEO company.
Finding the right company
It is best to start out with the cold hard truth: there is almost no way to fully quantify the value of SEO. The algorithms of search engines are constantly in flux, the lines between content marketing and SEO are blurring more and more as the days go by, and social media is fast becoming the dominant factor in gaining organic traffic. Safe to say that SEO works, but the dollar amount is immaterial at this time.
That being said, you want to find an SEO company with a few key characteristics:
- Connected and Respected- The web is great because of the networking opportunities that it brings. If you are good, people notice. A great company will have connections in the business world and be respected by their peers. You can scout them out on Linkedin, their own web page, review sites, and marketing communities.
- Great content- Despite how important content is to your rankings, reputation, and buzz on the web, many companies outsource their content creation to subpar companies so they can pocket the rest. A good company will never do this. Ask for some samples, see what kind of content you get.
- Honesty- The world of SEO is heavily competitive. Companies will usually do anything it takes to get business. There is nothing wrong with this as long as it is honest. Working hard for business is good, lying for it is bad. If they promise big results, then run away.
- Analytics- Nothing is more important in this business than understanding how well marketing and other factors are working for you. Understanding what works is key. Not only that but understanding the competition is equally as important. Look for a company that will provide this for you.
Search engine optimization and online marketing in general are as complicated as they are useful. In order to drive traffic, generate leads, turn a profit, and grow your business, you need to set aside money for e-marketing and find a great company to help you along the way. Once you know how to determine a marketing budget and find the right SEO company, you are ready to get in the game.