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The Cost of Cheap SEO

Clever marketers loosely throw the SEO acronym around, hoping to attract those who are desperate for search engine prowess. The fact is, SEO is many things, and what comes at low cost or bundled into a website design package almost never has the power to move you anywhere near page one of Google…and certainly not for the five dollars I saw advertised. A cheap SEO service may save you a little cash, but you won’t earn a lot from it either, if anything. In fact, it’s more likely that you’ll “save yourself into the poor-house”!

As with anything, you have to know what you are getting in order to know if it is a good deal. And, unless you know exactly what goes into SEO, shopping for it can be overwhelming. To make it simpler, you can be assured that anything that is free or super cheap has nothing to do with running an actual SEO campaign, which is what it takes to rank a site. The word to look for is “campaign”, as neither site optimization, search engine friendly, nor SEO monitoring is the full monty…not by a long shot.

SEO is not a plug and play solution. Google rates websites based on over 200 ranking criteria — and keeps tweaking the algorithm constantly, up to 600 times in a year. SEO must be obtained honestly, by proving to Google that your site is the best source of information for a given search. It has never been just one thing done one time that makes a website sprint to the top of search engine rankings. Anyone who tells you different is telling a colossal fib.

Deep and lasting SEO involves an enormous set of ongoing tasks that require constantly adjusting and refining according to the SEO evolutionary process. It’s a long-term process involving a multitude of on-site and off-site factors, not just having proper tags on your website as are usually what “comes with” your free or low cost website.

So, I’m sure you would like to know how much real SEO should cost. Unfortunately, asking how much SEO should cost is like asking how much rope should cost. It will depend upon how many meters you need, the quality of the rope, what you plan to use it for, and how long you want it to last. You can buy the cheapest rope you find, but it may not be good enough to do the job. In the end, what you pay for is not what it costs you. That is defined by the return you get on your investment. If an SEO consultant delivers a boost in sales and profit that’s 5, 10 or 25 times what you paid, it didn’t cost you anything! But, to answer the question, the average price of true national or international SEO varies from $750 to over $5,000 a month, depending on business size.

If you want to know more about what goes into SEO, blogs are a valuable source of information, but there are relatively few trusted ones in the industry. Even when you are reading from the best sources, recognize that this is a highly malleable field. Be sure to read what is true in SEO this week, not last month or last year. In 2014, many legitimate methods were discarded and new ones adopted in alignment with Google’s massive shift in ranking methodology. A professional agency or marketing expert will do research, strategize and plan using up-to-date knowledge about what works today. And, trust me, that is where you find real value!