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Why is SEO Expensive?

In this day and age, most businesses understand the value of SEO and being able to rank highly on Google. It’s virtually axiomatic—you get the top spot in the SERPs, you get more website visitors, and therefore more sales.

But what many business owners don’t understand is why SEO is very expensive. After all, with so many articles on how to optimize your website for search engines, it’s easy to think that they can do SEO on their own. If it’s something you can do yourself, then it shouldn’t be all that expensive, right?

Well, not exactly.

What many people don’t realize is that effective SEO needs a lot of effort, a lot of time, and a lot of skills. And all these things cost money.

Of course, not all SEO is expensive, but that only means with cheap services you don’t get proper SEO at all.

Some SEO clients actually get nothing in return, literally. Others get an SEO service that enters your website and a few keywords into an automated program that simply churns out links all over the Internet. Your site may rank for a week or two and then it drops all the way down to page 20. Others charge cheap fees because they outsource their services to even cheaper and crappier services overseas.

So a proper SEO campaign will cost money, for the following reasons:

  • First it will start with a meeting to discuss your goals, and then setting up your account. All these will take a bit of time. Analytics and webmaster tools are set up, and your website is also backed up. A monthly schedule is also set, so you know precisely what’s being done.
  • Your website is then audited Everything is checked—every link, plugin, and feature is tested to make sure that they all work appropriately. Then every technical aspect of your site is inspected to see that Google will have no problems analyzing your website content.

The audit alone can take several days. Details such as web page titles and meta tags are inspected. Your website speed is also evaluated, along with the navigation and site structure.

The quality of your backlinks will be checked too, because low-quality backlinks (from unpopular sites or websites totally unconnected to your niche) can hurt your rankings. Even your hosting service provider will be assessed, because if your site constantly falls over or is always subjected to hacking then the best SEO efforts in the world won’t matter at all.

Following this audit, a report is generated and another meeting is set up to discuss the results.

  • Research will then be done regarding the right keywords to target. While you as a client can and should make keyword suggestions, these suggestions are tested and analyzed to see if they are actually used by your potential customers. Then the SEO pros will also check the competition’s demand for those keywords too. If all your competitors are also targeting the very same keywords, then it will be more difficult to rank highly for those words and phrases. So your SEO professional will suggest alternatives based on the research and analysis they’ve done in your niche.
  • They will then start building links for your site, while checking the links that your largest competitors have and try to replicate them.

That’s just the start, mind you. SEO takes a while, and as time passes you need to determine which methods work so you can tweak your strategy. And if your SEO pros offer complete services, they may offer content creation as well, and that’s expensive too. Since your competitors are likely using SEO professionals, that only means you need to hire a pretty good SEO firm if you want to see actual improvements in your Google ranking.