Search engine optimization is likely something you aren’t too familiar with and that’s actually not uncommon. Manipulating Google organic search rankings is not something that is exactly taught in school and its a murky science at best with the techniques changing and undergoing criticism every few months it seems. What worked a few years ago is not what is working today, and only the most aggressive SEO experts will last. If you are a small business owner looking for the edge over your competition hiring a local SEO expert or a digital marketing agency may be the solution you are looking for. However not all SEO experts are equal and understanding what your options are is important so you can get the best value for your money.
First of all, there is no official formal education background that SEO experts go through, it is often just online knowledge base and tutorials provided by SEM tools and Google themselves. This is not bad in any sense, since it allows the best to rise to the top based on their own willpower and results, but it is important to know prior to hiring one. Also, perhaps more importantly, there is no search optimization professional that can guarantee results as only Google controls their own search results – so there is indeed a level of risk to investing in organic rankings work.
On the flip-side, you can always invest a strict monthly budget towards buying search visibility which is certainly a better way to get immediate results. To optimize these campaigns, a skilled search engine marketer should be able to get a ROI given a specific monthly spend budget and often they charge a flat management fee on top of this. From our experience, blending both a monthly ad budget with improvements in organic rankings offer the best investment in your brand and getting new, hungry customers through the door. This can be especially lucrative if you have a long term value associated with your customers. Savvy business owners will spend higher amounts upfront to retain a customer if they know over a certain time period it will result in a certain amount of revenue. Outbidding and being more aggressive on the search verticals can be a great way to get an edge.
We should also let you know that low cost SEO is often both dangerous and useless. Sketchy techniques can get your site penalized in the eyes of the Google algorithm and this can be much more expensive to fix then the $400 a month you were trying to save. Avoid the temptation to save a few pennies and ask around your local business Facebook groups or Meetup groups for referrals for search engine marketing professionals that have done great work for your colleagues in the past. Direct competitors may not be willing to give you a name for their search engine optimization guy, but parallel industries are often eager to share a legit SEO solution.