Keyword research is the process of identifying and analyzing popular search terms that people enter on Google. Keyword research helps businesses and website owners understand what their audience is searching for and what words and phrases they use to find information online.
Keyword research is essential for SEO because it allows website owners to identify high-traffic keywords relevant to their business and optimize their content to rank higher on SERPs.
The landscape of keyword research is constantly changing, especially in 2023. Google has been evolving its algorithms and search results to match user intent better and provide more personalized results. According to Backlinko, Google’s search algorithm is estimated to use over 200 ranking factors to determine search results, making it increasingly important to conduct thorough keyword research and SEO optimization.
This means keyword research must focus more on user intent and context than the specific words used in a search query. Website owners need to consider not only the specific keywords they want to rank for but also the user’s intent and the context in which the search is being made to create content that aligns with both. Are you aware of the latest keyword research trends and techniques for SEO in 2023
Types of Keywords to Target in 2023
There are several types of keywords that website owners and marketers should target to improve their SEO and attract more organic traffic to their websites:
These are short, generic keywords that are usually one or two words in length. They are broad and typically have a high search volume but are highly competitive. Examples of short-tail keywords include “shoes,” “holidays,” and “fitness.”
These are more specific keyword phrases that are typically three or more words in length. According to SEMrush, long-tail keywords have become increasingly important in recent years, with over 70% of all searches conducted using long-tail keywords.
They have lower search volumes than short-tail keywords but are often less competitive, making them easier to rank for. Examples of long-tail keywords include “best running shoes for women,” “family-friendly beach vacations,” and “yoga poses for beginners.”
LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords
LSI keywords can include synonyms, related phrases, and concepts. These keywords are semantically related to a main keyword and help Google understand the context of the content. For example, if the main keyword is “fitness,” related LSI keywords might include “exercise,” “health,” and “nutrition.”
These are keywords that target a specific geographic location. They can include city names, state names, or other location-specific terms. For example, “best pizza in New York City” or “plumber in Los Angeles.” Geo-specific keywords can help local businesses attract more traffic and improve their visibility in local search results.
Voice search keywords
These are keywords that are tailored for use in voice searches. With the development of voice assistants and smart speakers, more people are using voice search to find information online. Voice search keywords are often conversational and may include question phrases such as “how to,” “what is,” and “where can I find.” Examples include “What’s the weather like today,” “Best Thai restaurant near me,” and “How do I fix a leaky faucet.”
Keyword Research Tools for 2023
Here’s an overview of some of the most popular tools:
Google keyword planner
This free tool provided by Google allows you to research keywords and see their search volume and competition levels. You can also get ideas for new keywords based on a website or a specific topic.
Ahrefs is a paid tool that comprehensively analyzes a website’s backlinks, organic search traffic, and keyword rankings. It also includes a keyword research tool to discover new opportunities and analyze your competitors’ strategies.
SEMrush is a paid tool with keyword research, competitor analysis, and site audit features. It lets you discover new keywords, track your rankings, and analyze your competitors’ strategies.
Moz keyword explorer
Moz Keyword Explorer is a paid tool that features keyword research and analysis. It allows you to discover new keywords, analyzes search volume and difficulty, and track your rankings.
AnswerThePublic is a free tool that provides insights into people’s questions about a particular topic. It generates a visual map of related questions and topics based on a keyword or phrase.
Easy Steps to Conduct Keyword Research in 2023
Here are the steps to conduct effective keyword research in 2023:
Determine your target audience
Before conducting keyword research, it’s important to understand your target audience and their search behavior. Consider their demographics, interests, and search intent. This will help you identify the keywords they will use when searching for your products or services.
Brainstorm keyword ideas
Start with a list of relevant topics and brainstorm keyword ideas relevant to those topics. Use your knowledge of your target audience and their search behavior to develop potential keywords.
Use keyword research tools
Use keyword research tools like Ahrefs, Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Moz Keyword Explorer to expand your list of potential keywords. These tools can provide additional keyword suggestions and insights into the search volume and competition levels.
Analyze the competition and search intent
Analyze the competition for your potential keywords by looking at their search engine rankings and the content they are producing. Also, consider the search intent behind each keyword. Are people looking for information, products, or services related to that keyword? This will help you better target your content to the needs of your audience.
Prioritize keywords based on relevancy and search volume
Once you have a list of your keywords, prioritize them based on their relevancy to your business and search volume. Focus on highly relevant keywords to your business and have a high search volume which will help you target the right audience and attract more traffic to your website.
Best Practices for Keyword Research in 2023
To conduct effective keyword research in 2023, it’s important to follow best practices that keep up with the ever-changing landscape of SEO. Here are some best practices for keyword research in 2023:
Google algorithms are constantly updating to provide better search results to its users. Stay up to date with these updates and adjust your keyword strategy accordingly.
Focusing on user intent is more important than just search volume. Google’s algorithms are becoming more advanced in understanding user intent. Hence, creating content that aligns with what the user is looking for is important, which means considering the context and purpose behind a search query and creating content that provides value to the user.
Keyword research is an ongoing process. It’s important to regularly monitor and adjust your keyword strategy based on changes in search behavior and algorithm updates. Keep track of your keyword rankings, search volume, and competition levels, and adjust your strategy accordingly.
In addition to short-tail and long-tail keywords, use various keyword types, such as LSI, geo-specific, and voice search, to target different search queries, which will help you engage a wider audience and improve your chances of ranking for various relevant keywords.
To Sum Up: Ultimate Guide of Conduct Keyword Research for SEO in 2023 Updated
Keyword research is crucial for SEO in 2023. It helps identify high-traffic keywords and align content with user intent, increasing visibility and driving organic traffic. Stay updated on Google’s algorithm updates, focus on user intent over search volume, monitor and adjust your keyword strategy, and use various keyword types.
Brainstorm keyword ideas and use keyword research tools to expand and prioritize keywords based on relevancy and search volume. Monitor rankings and adjust your strategy to improve search engine visibility and drive traffic.
Get Customized SEO Solutions for Your Business Today!
At Agency Partner Interactive, we believe digital marketing is more than just a buzzword – it’s an important factor in any successful business SEO strategy. We provide services to help our clients achieve their online goals, like SEO keyword research, on-page SEO, social media, organic keywords, content creation, content marketing, and more, with low SEO costs.
We have a proven record of delivering results that exceed expectations. Our 180+ clients have seen an average increase of 45% in organic traffic after implementing our local SEO on their websites.
If you’re looking for a result-driven agency to help you achieve your aim, look no further than Agency Partner Interactive. Contact us today to schedule a free call to learn more about how we can help your business succeed online.
Businesses use SEO to improve their online visibility, drive more traffic to their website sales, generate leads, and ultimately increase their revenue. SEO involves various strategies, such as keyword research, link building, on-page optimization, and content creation, among others, to improve a website’s ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).
What is Cheap SEO?
Cheap SEO refers to using low-cost SEO strategies and techniques that promise quick results at a low price. The problem with cheap SEO is that it often employs “black hat” tactics, which violate search engine guidelines and can lead to penalties, lower search engine rankings, and even a complete removal of a website from search engine results.
Cheap SEO providers may offer packages that include spammy tactics such as keyword stuffing, low-quality link building, and content spinning, which violate search engine guidelines and can lead to penalties and lower search engine rankings.
Why It Can Do More Harm Than Good
Cheap SEO services can seem like a good deal for SEO for small businesses but can do more harm than good. Cheap SEO providers may cut corners and use outdated or ineffective tactics that don’t meet search engine algorithms, resulting in lower search engine rankings and decreased website traffic.
This type of SEO provider may use black hat tactics that violate search engine guidelines, potentially resulting in penalties or even complete removal from search results, harming a business’s reputation.
Investing in quality professional SEO services may cost more initially, but it provides long-term benefits and a better return on investment, making it worthwhile for businesses. The risks associated with cheap SEO make it essential for businesses to prioritize quality SEO services to improve their online presence and achieve long-term success.
The Hidden Costs of Cheap SEO
The amount of investment in SEO plays a crucial role in determining the ROI. The investment can be covered by an in-house team or outsourced to a consultant, agency, or SEO firm, resulting in soft or hard costs. Choosing cheap SEO options can be risky, leading to several negative consequences. Here are some potential risks of cheap SEO services.
Cheap SEO providers often use ineffective strategies that may work in the short term but fail to deliver long-term results. These strategies may involve keyword stuffing, low-quality link building, and other black hat tactics that violate search engine guidelines.
Cheap SEO services may use spammy tactics that negatively impact cheap SEO’s online reputation. For example, suppose a business’s website is linked to spammy or low-quality websites. In that case, it can harm the business’s credibility and trustworthiness in the eyes of search engines and potential customers.
Using cheap SEO services can lead to penalties from Google, harming a business’s search engine ranking and visibility. If a website is penalized by Google, it can take months or even years to recover.
Cheap SEO services may miss out on opportunities to improve a business’s online presence, such as creating high-quality content, building quality backlinks, and engaging with customers on social media.
If a business’s website is penalized by search engines due to cheap SEO services, it can be costly to repair the damage. Businesses may need an SEO expert to undo the damage and implement ethical SEO strategies.
Cheap SEO services may require businesses to manage the work and fix mistakes, which can take away time from other vital tasks. In contrast, quality SEO services allow businesses to focus on their core competencies while leaving the SEO work to experts.
Why Are Quality SEO Strategies Important?
Quality SEO strategies can provide businesses with long-term benefits and improve their online presence. While the initial SEO cost may be higher, the return on investment over time makes it worthwhile for businesses looking to improve their online presence. Here are the reasons why quality SEO strategies are important.
Quality SEO strategies use up-to-date and effective tactics that meet search engine guidelines.
High-quality SEO services may cost more initially, but they can provide long-term benefits, such as improved search engine rankings and increased website traffic.
Best SEO services can result in a better return on investment over time, making it a worthwhile investment for businesses.
Quality SEO strategies involve optimizing a website’s content and structure for search engine algorithms, improving its relevance and authority in search results.
High-quality content and natural link-building can also increase a website’s credibility and authority, leading to higher search engine rankings.
Quality SEO services also involve ongoing monitoring and analysis to make necessary adjustments, ensuring a website maintains a high search engine ranking.
The Final Word on Cheap SEO: Why Quality Should Always Come First
Using cheap SEO services can harm a business’s online presence by lowering search engine rankings and potentially resulting in penalties from search engines. The risks associated with cheap SEO make it essential for businesses to invest in quality SEO strategies.
We recommend that businesses avoid the temptation of cheap SEO services and instead invest in quality SEO strategies that utilize up-to-date and effective tactics. Quality SEO services may initially cost more, but they provide long-term benefits and a better return on investment.
Quality SEO is a crucial investment for businesses looking to enhance their online presence and attract more customers. By prioritizing quality SEO services, businesses can improve their search engine rankings, increase website traffic, and ultimately achieve long-term success.
Quality-Driven Digital Marketing Solutions
We understand how vital quality SEO is for any website to get noticed on SERPs. People are always finding SEO providers and contracting agencies that take advantage of inexperienced business owners by giving them a budget that’s too good to be true. They often use black hat tactics that can rank their website quickly before getting penalized and causing more harm than good. If you’re looking for a reliable, transparent partner for custom SEO services, get in touch with Agency Partner Interactive.
We are not only Dallas’s best quality SEO company but the most demanding agency that provides ethical white hat SEO techniques that Google values. We’re proud to say that we have ranked more than 800+ clients’ websites on SERP at affordable SEO pricing. This means you don’t have to compromise your website’s reputation or your marketing budget.
Our top SEO agency experts have years of experience in the world of digital marketing, and we offer these effective SEO strategies:
Keyword research and analysis
SEO for local businesses
SEO audit and analysis
SEO for e-commerce
Social media optimization
SEO for startups
Analytics and Reporting
Content creation and optimization
Ready to make your website ideal per Google’s guidelines and boost website traffic, organic leads, and engagement for long-term business growth? Contact our SEO consultants now to learn more!
Expert Tips For How Much Does SEO Cost for Small Businesses??
To succeed in the digital age, you need an online presence. But, uh-oh! Your budget is already tight, and creating and maintaining your website costs a lot of money. So how can small businesses afford search engine optimization (SEO)?
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s the process of improving your website’s visibility in search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, and others.
SEO is not a one-time project; it is an ongoing process that requires constant monitoring and adjustment to ensure you’re getting the best possible results from your efforts.
If you’re a small business owner, it can be challenging to get a clear picture of how much SEO costs. It’s important to understand that SEO is not a one-time project but an ongoing process that requires constant monitoring and adjustment to ensure you’re getting the best possible results from your efforts.
Regardless of the size of your business, you need to get more people to visit your website. Effective SEO not only increases traffic and improves rankings on search engines, but it also has a positive impact on conversion rates. If you hire an agency or consultant, they will be able to advise you on how to optimize and promote your website based on an analysis they perform.
The answer is: not as much as you think—and here’s why. Let’s say you decide to hire a specialist and pay for monthly SEO services. If done correctly, this can be a wise investment for your business in the long run, but it requires continuous maintenance once the project is complete. In other words, if your site goes down or has poor rankings one month after launch because of an update from Google (which happens more often than not), it will cost more money to fix in subsequent months because those costs are incremental. So even though having a consistent voice across all of your social media platforms can help with search engine optimization (SEO), simply having keywords throughout various posts isn’t enough on its own—you need links! SEO is a lot like caring for a plant. It requires consistent attention over the course of its life. Monthly recurring SEO campaigns yield compounding value over time.
How Should You Determine Your Budget for SEO Services?
The first step in determining your SEO budget is to look at your current budget. Look at how much money is spent on marketing and advertising, then compare it with how much you have left over for other services. If you can’t find a reasonable estimate of what you have left over, try estimating what percentage of your total income goes toward marketing and advertising (this will include things like social media management, public relations work, event planning, etc.) From there, consider whether or not that amount of money will be enough for the type of results you want from SEO services — if not, consider cutting back elsewhere so that it can go toward SEO! There is such a thing as “affordable SEO” and if local SEO is all you start with, the Agency Partner SEO team can help you scale up your marketing effort to create greater, faster value.
Next up: business goals! What do you hope to accomplish through this investment? How much time do we have until our next big goal? How long did other companies who invested in SEO take to see results?
The last consideration when determining your budget should be how long it takes an SEO campaign to start working before paying off — this could mean several months or even years, depending on the level of competition in your industry or vertical market (think job search engines).
Is SEO Worth the Expense?
Yes! If you’re considering SEO, you’ve probably heard that it’s a long-term investment. The good news is that once you find someone who knows what they’re doing and stick with them, those investments will pay off over time. The bad news is that this kind of professional help isn’t cheap—but it can be worth it if you’re willing to put in the work and see your company grow in the long run.
SEO won’t happen overnight. It’s not a quick fix but rather an ongoing process that requires consistent attention and maintenance over time to keep your website ranking high on search engines like Google.
SEO isn’t one-size-fits-all; every small business has different needs when it comes to marketing strategies for their company’s website or blog pages. That means hiring someone familiar with how things work for your industry will help ensure they know how best to get results for your unique goals!
One thing we hear all the time is: How much does SEO cost? How much should I budget for SEO Marketing Services?
As digital marketers, we hear that question and our brains start to think about SEO strategy and everything that goes into getting more organic searches for business owners. Immediately, our SEO specialists consider everything from potential website performance needs, competitor research, on-page SEO optimization, link-building strategies, local SEO, and more as it relates to your goals.
Oh, and let’s not leave out considerations for the fact that there are different SEO pricing models, depending on whether you are looking for a one-time optimization or if you’re truly looking to play the long game and dominate your industry. Depending on what you need, you will likely consider fixed pricing versus monthly retainers that support technical SEO efforts, the cost of content marketing that helps you rank on Page 1 for new keywords, and routine analytics meetings with your SEO consultant.
Those are just a few things we think about. Other questions may include:
How long has your web domain been around? What about other websites that compete for the same keywords?
How much organic traffic are we currently seeing in Google Analytics and what are the referral sources?
Is the site ranking just for branded keywords, or are more competitive keywords resulting in impressions and clicks?
What does the Google Search Console say of impressions and clicks to your website over time? Is growth stagnant?
Is your website currently holding a first page rank for any relevant search terms either locally or nationally?
How healthy is your backlink profile relative to the top ranked sites?
Are we competing with big brands, local businesses, or personalities?
How often do your biggest competitors publish blogs, news articles, and/or new web pages?
Can the business support a SEO campaign right now? …or do immediate needs require that this budget be allocated toward a more immediate, albeit less permanent marketing tactic?
In Google Analytics, what does the website’s bounce rate look like relative to keywords resulting in clicks to the site?
While these questions are fairly common, the answers to them will vary significantly from one business website to another. Competitiveness and your desire to dominate will factor into what your monthly SEO budget should look like. To generalize, most SEO experts will charge a monthly recurring investment of $2,000 to $10,000+ per month. Yes, that’s a big range!
A national or international SEO budget in a competitive online market should never be less than $5000 per month. For SEO that seeks to attract local buyers in a not so competitive market, it is possible to kick-off a local SEO campaign in the $500 to $2500 range. Again, depending on competitiveness, your budget will vary significantly.
To learn more about where that money goes, some things to watch out for when selecting a SEO partner, and when you can expect some ROI from SEO, keep on reading!
What to Expect From An Appropriate SEO Budget
Notably, the value from search engine optimization compounds over time… So unlike PPC on Google Ads, SEO is not how you make a quick buck. SEO is how you build wealth through a business website.
SEO is also kind of like caring for a plant. It requires consistent attention over time and when you stop, your SEO value slowly begins to diminish relative to other competing sites on the web. This is because Google’s search algorithm changes constantly. So as you consider your SEO budget, be mindful of the fact that an adequate SEO effort is something that should be a monthly recurring undertaking for the life of your business or website.
SEO, when content driven, ensures that whenever someone is searching for answers to any question that is relevant to your business, your brand is front and center every time. Businesses love SEO because of how the economics of it play out relative to other sales and marketing activities. If you consider an investment over 12 months, notice how the monthly expense stays mostly flat in the graph below. Also take note of what the additional revenue line is doing… strongrevenue growth.
In this example, we are looking at a Texas based, B2B medical supplies company with a monthly SEO budget of $8,500. At the 7th month of this campaign, things started to get exciting because this company’s website began to rank on Page 1 of Google for some its most commercially valuable keywords. At the close of the year and following a 12 month SEO investment of $102,000, this family business counted just under $1 million in additional revenue and a massive ROI. The break-down is as follows:
Total SEO Budget: $102,000
Total New Revenue: $992,742
12 month SEO ROI: $890,742
Unlike this company’s SEO campaign, if you look at their Google Ads marketing performance, new revenue is positively correlated to their monthly ad budget. So as logic would have it, more budget equates to more revenue just as less budget equates to less sales. In this case, the client was competing in a market with a fairly expensive cost per click and PPC was never their most desired source of new business. PPC helped them serve some immediate needs while they worked to establish their SEO game.
To reiterate, this is a big reason that business owners love the economics of an expertly crafted SEO campaign versus other marketing channels. SEO is part of a long-term, industry-dominating digital marketing strategy. A basic SEO campaign typically takes anywhere from 8 to 16 months before a mostly static, consistent monthly investment begins to generate a noticeable ROI. For some industries and markets, like SEO for family law, return on investment may feel exponential once your average page rank starts to hold search engine positions 1 through 3.
Ways to Allocate Your SEO Marketing Budget
There are different ways to allocate your SEO budget and get the work done. You may consider augmenting your existing marketing team to fill any gaps in expertise, hiring an outside agency that happens to be an expert, or you may try the DIY route. Generally speaking, these are the various ways to allocate your SEO marketing dollars:
Hiring a team of SEO freelancers with a budget of $70 to $190 per hour, per person
Hiring an in-house marketing manager or marketing project manager that can manage a team of SEO freelancers.
Depending on experience, expect to budget anywhere from $50,000 to $125,000 per year for this person. You get what you pay for!
Don’t forget to add the cost of your freelancers to this. They will most likely charge a price per word or a flat monthly fee for a set amount of deliverables.
Hiring a SEO agency at $90 to $250 per hour depending on the agency’s bill rate
Small consultancies and startups may easily feel overwhelmed by all of this and most will never have a starting SEO budget of $8500 per month…. but the fact is that there is a way to start small and grow your SEO strength in an effective, strategic way.
Many small to medium sized companies, including law firms and health practices, tend to hire marketing agencies because they are able to gain access to certified, experienced experts that would otherwise be out of reach. Most agencies will offer a full suite, white glove service that functions much like an outside marketing and technology department. Enterprises will almost always utilize their in-house teams for SEO however it is common for them to hire agencies for occasional marketing tests or simply to get some fresh ideas on the whiteboard.
Across all budgets, the common key to success is a commitment to consistent, scheduled content production over an indefinite period of time.
Why $100 Per Month Is NOT The Real Cost of Cheap SEO
Affordable SEO does exist, however there is such a thing as “cheap” or bad SEO… Bad SEO is exactly what it sounds like. It’s wholly inadequate and far too many companies fall into this trap. A lot of this stems down to the fact that less than half of small businesses have a SEO budget of any kind. Of the businesses that do have a SEO budget, a survey indicates that 71% of small businesses budget for only $1 to $99 per month for their SEO. I mean… you get what pay for. $99 is literally nothing and you will almost certainly measure some negative ROI from this.
Most often, this is due to a lack of education wherein business owners are sold by the agency with the cheapest proposal rather than the one with the highest value. This happens ALL the time. Don’t be a sucker.
Unfortunately, SEO spammers know that most business owners have no idea how SEO works.
This is why they exploit businesses every day by sending spam email with promises that you can get on Page One of Google for only $99. Because most business owners assume that SEO is a basic commodity, similar to getting gas at the pump, many opt to invest in the cheapest option. After several months, they may realize that there is “no strategy” and/or no ROI and will opt to end the campaign to either find another vendor or do nothing at all.
The way this often plays out is like this:
Company contacts 2 to 4 agencies for SEO quotes
Some agencies respond with general, templates proposals, almost immediately. Others may ask some basic business questions.
Company considers several proposals. Often, these are reviewed by several stakeholders that really do not understand what SEO is.
Company may reach out to the final 1-2 agencies with follow up questions.
Company opts for the cheapest or second to cheapest SEO marketing proposal.
Company cancels SEO arrangement after several months.
Either immediately or several months later, Company may opt to work with a different SEO Agency or does not invest in any SEO.
This scenario plays out daily. In the end, a lot of time has been wasted, a little money has been burned, and the business hasn’t really achieved its goals. But worse can happen….
Some of the collateral damage from cheap SEO may far outweigh any money that may have been (under) invested to begin with.
There are a ton of LinkedIn and Facebook groups for digital marketers. In some of these forums, you’ll observe extremely elementary questions from people posing as experts. Some of these questions may be so basic as: “I just scored a SEO client and he wants to rank for ‘keyword X’ so how do I do that?”
There are also a ton of online resources that provide free or low cost SEO tools for rookies that want to pose as SEO experts. In most cases, rookie marketers will rely on their personality and salesmanship to “score a client” and then figure out the SEO part after the sale. This is something to fear as the effects of black hat SEO may be permanent in some cases and in others, they may be very difficult to bounce back from. Things to watch out for include:
Utilization of link schemes such a private blog networks (PBNs)
Unnatural, purchased backlinks that may or may not be relevant to your industry
Keyword stuffing and hidden text on your web pages.
Zero requests for a content calendar and weekly recurring blog posts
The single most damaging thing a SEO rookie may lead you toward is a Google penalty. The effects of a penalty from Google can be absolutely devastating and you should expect a huge loss of organic search visibility, clicks to your website, and revenue. There are ways to bounce back from this, but it takes a lot of investment to do so.
DIY Stuff: Start Your SEO Budget By Collecting Some Basic Information
To truly understand where you need to go, it is important that you fully understand where your LLC or corporation is today. There are a few ways to do this and the most simple is to ensure that your technology team has been instructed to check your website for some technical best practices. Once you have ensured that some foundational things have been fully accounted for, you also will want to glance at your competitors and see what things look like on their side of the fence. We have found that some of the most powerful SEO strategies start with a basic SWOT analysis.
Compare Your Website’s SEO Grade versus Your Competitor’s
Use comparative data to create your roadmap for success.
This is something that your in-house digital marketer should be doing already: Take 90 seconds and get your Competitive SEO Report Card score to see where you stand. When doing so, be sure to enter the domain of your single biggest competitor, and enter a super common, non-branded word that a customer would search for when looking for the product/services you sell.
Competitive SEO Report Card (scroll down to “Begin Your Free SEO Analysis”)
Ensure That These 3 Fundamental Elements are In Place
Does your site adequately address demands around Mobile Friendliness and Site Speed?
As a best practice, your marketing team should be demanding a routine weekly or monthly audit of your website’s mobile friendliness and site speed. Because a majority of web searches start with a mobile browser, Google wants to ensure a fantastic mobile experience in its search results. So know where you stand and ensure that your site is up to the mark by leveraging these two free tools.
Make certain that your site is defaulting to HTTPS when opening pages.
Google has adopted a strict position on information security. Whether or not a website leverages HTTP versus HTTPS is a Google ranking signal. This means that Google will view a domain that opens in HTTPS more favorably than one that opens in HTTP. To open your website securely you must have an active SSL certificate associated with your web host. To see whether or not your site has an active SSL certificate in place, simply open your website and see what the browser bar tells you. Do you see HTTP or HTTPS next to your web address?
By leveraging HTTPS, you are telling your visitors that you value their privacy and taking a step to help prevent third parties from eavesdropping on a conversation between your website and your web visitor. This is especially important for any web forms that may ask for personal, financial, or other information. If you choose not to have your website default to loading secured HTTPS sessions, Chrome and other browsers will go so far as to inform users that your site may be compromised and unsafe to access.
So before any actual SEO work begins, consult with your technology team and ensure that you have your bases covered as things pertain to Speed, Mobile Friendliness, and Site Security.
If you are starting from scratch and have never optimized your site for speed, security, and mobility, expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $3000 for the first effort.
Once you have covered those three essentials, you are almost ready to call in your SEO experts. Be sure to discuss maintenance of these items with your technology team and inquire about a monthly and annual budget for this routine work effort. Once you get past the first big optimization, your monthly maintenance budget should be fairly minuscule. If you have any questions about that, please feel free to contact us directly by clicking here: Ask Us About Speed, Security, or Mobile Friendliness.
Have a Clear Understanding of Your Business Goals
Now that we have accounted for the basic technological leg work that goes into creating a solid SEO foundation, we can start building. But just what exactly are we needing to build? To answer this question, start by writing down what your business goals and objectives are.
On paper, define what sort of ROI you expect and need from your SEO campaign. Is it leads, sales, retention?
Discuss your goals with other stakeholders and create a realistic, “rigidly flexible” SEO budget as a conversation starter.
Put On Your “Spy vs. Spy” Hat
In a nutshell, it is time to compare your website against your industry’s top ranking sites. This helps you understand what tactics your biggest competitors are employing. In many ways, it should be your goal to match, and then one up whatever it is they are doing. To put this as simply as possible, do the following:
Compare your blog versus their’s — how regularly do they publish new content?
Does their content add value?
What is the approximate word count of their average post?
Does your competitor seem to leverage press releases?
Are there any special sections on their site like FAQs or location specific landing pages?
Does their site have a landing page that is uniquely tailored to each product/service line?
Take note of your findings and be prepared to discuss all of this information with your internal stakeholders. Also, be ready to share this with your agency partner and know that the more candid you are, the more able your SEO expert will be to devise a competition crushing strategy.
Sum It All Up And Share Your New SEO Budget
By now, you know that you need to allocate some of your marketing budget to the following, tangible deliverables:
Site Speed Optimization performed by your web team
Mobile Friendliness update performed by your web team
SSL certificate performed by your web team
At a range of $300 to $3000 for this first overhaul, these are fairly inexpensive optimizations. Once you’re past the first optimization, you should make a plan to revisit these items at least once a month.
With the foundational tech needs accounted for, you also know that you need to allocate part of your monthly SEO budget toward:
On-page optimization performed by your digital marketing team
Off-page optimization performed by your digital marketing team
Expect to pay your in-house team or agency partner anywhere from $1500 to $2500 per month for really good, US based SEO optimization. This should include the cost of monthly analytics and reporting, keyword targeting, strategy, and updates to your meta-titles, tags, and descriptions. Also, know that this alone is not enough to help you grow and dominate your market.
The next big variable, and often the most costly, is the key ingredient that actually helps you retain your favorable position and rank for new, relevant keywords:
Weekly, recurring SEO Content production performed by your digital marketing team
To determine what your content needs are, this is where you refer back to your marketing intelligence. If your competitor is posting a new blog every day at 500 words each, at a bare minimum you should be doing that as well. It is best to curate a writer that is a subject matter expert on your topic or at least familiar with your industry.
To help you do the math on this one, assume that your content will cost anywhere from $0.15 to $1.50 per word. The range is fairly expansive because some writers are much more valuable than others. There are a lot of people that will claim to be content writers but there is a huge difference in style, expertise, and process. Super cheap writing tends to be spun content and it is not suitable for 99% of business websites. If your subject matter requires unique expertise, it is possible to pay as much as $1 to $2 per word.
If it’s super specialized content that you’re after, well… yes, you guessed it: that price per word just keeps going up. Remember, you get what you pay for!
Know that the perfect SEO strategy may or may not conform to your early budget expectations but even a small SEO scope can prove to be valuable… so start with Local SEO and the basics of on-page SEO services! If in fact your site requires a lot more investment than anticipated, discuss what can be done to stretch every investment dollar and whether or not some tactics may be phased into your SEO campaign over time.
As a Leader, Educate Yourself and Make an Informed Decision
Combined with our own data, this information has been aggregated by surveying top SEO agencies and world renowned SEO authorities. If you’re looking to firmly control your market and aggressively grow your market share, a content driven, expertly crafted SEO strategy may be for you. As long as you understand that this is not about making a quick buck, with some patience and equal commitment to a full campaign, SEO can be one of your most reliable performers when it comes to lead generation.
Additionally, the best SEO tends to positively impact your other marketing channels so don’t take this budget decision lightly. For example, if you are running a Google Ads campaign, it will lower your cost per click by improving your Google relevancy score. This means that for the same PPC budget, your new business ends up winning more clicks and impressions.
Also, effective SEO allows you to build a valuable content library that will establish your brand as a thought leader. This content helps your customers make purchase decisions and it gives your sales team a more valuable reason for reaching out to sales prospects. No one likes the “check-in” or “follow-up” email so lead with value and share a new blog with your prospect.
By now, hopefully you understand that search engine optimization is a process of improving the visibility and ranking of a website on search engines. Proper SEO can help a website attract more organic traffic, which can lead to increased sales and brand awareness. While there is no set cost for SEO services, most businesses should expect to budget between $500 and $5,000 per month for SEO. The actual SEO cost will depend on factors such as the size of the business, the competitiveness of the industry, and the desired results. Businesses that commit to a long-term SEO strategy and invest in the full suite of SEO services are more likely to see a return on their investment. For this reason, it is important to partner with an experienced SEO company that can develop a custom SEO plan for your business.