seoLately, I’ve noticed an increasing amount of questions about SEO.  Not “What is SEO”, but more specific questions about the practice and providers.  A surprising number of people have misconceptions about what an SEO provider does, and many of these questions deal with the cost, the time, what’s involved and the results.  The main question, as with most products and services, is “What’s it cost?”

As anyone who has started the optimization “process” already knows, search engine optimization is not an instantaneous thing.  While it’d be nice to think that you can dip into your source code, slap a couple of keywords into the meta tags and call it done, that’s not reality.  Reality is much more complicated.

Many business professionals understand that time equals money, but when they try to transfer that to optimization, the translation gets lost somehow.  The same cannot be said for services such as website design, development or programming, which brought me to wondering what the difference was.  Then it occurred to me – results.

Website design provides quick, visible results compared to SEO.  At any time, a business owner can see what the designer has done with their site.  Therefore, while it may take time for the designer to complete the site, the time and cost that goes into the design is acceptable.

An SEO provider, on the other hand, can’t show immediate results as visibly – or as meaningfully – as a website designer.  We can say, “Look, we messed with your source code”, but if you have no programmer and no technical knowledge, you can only take our word for it.  We can say, “We found such, such and such a keyword to be best for your site”, but again, you can only take our word for it.  We can show you articles and blogs we have written and submitted to various sites, but they may not give you a dramatic increase in traffic.

In addition, many people understand that design, or “art”, is a talent – not everyone can do it.  Those same people, however, tend to look at writing as something that’s necessary, but not difficult.  I mean, everybody can write, so it never occurs to them to ask how many can write well.

Now, all of this “stuff” takes time; optimization really is a process, especially for new sites.  That time translates to cost, and depending on how much needs to be done, it can translate into a lot of cost.  If you run across an SEO provider offering a full SEO package for $300, which includes full site optimization, keyword and competition research, site submission, directory submission, blog posts, articles, press releases and more – they either have entirely too much time on their hands or you won’t get the results you expect.

  • True optimization is not free; it’s time consuming and ongoing.  It’s not a “set it and forget it” type of thing.  Now, while you may say, “but I can search the Internet and get all the information to do it myself,” you might want to ask yourself these questions:
  • One, with all the contradictory information out there about optimization, how do you make sure you’re doing it right?
  • Two, how much time do you really have to do it right?

And lastly, can you afford to spend all the time necessary following the SEO information on the Internet (because time is money), only to get no results (or bad results) because you followed bad advice?