Are you launching a new website for your practice? Are you ready to invest in online marketing to help patients or clients find and choose you over your competitors? As you do your research and talk to different marketing companies about their search engine optimization (SEO) services, you will undoubtedly discover that there is a wide range in SEO pricing. Trying to understand the value of different SEO services can be confusing. SEO is often talked about as an intangible and elusive thing, and as a result, many people are not making informed choices.
All SEO providers and packages are not equal, and there is a reason for the difference in costs. Let’s take a look at the actual components of an SEO package and break it down to help you decide what is right for your needs.
General Considerations of Value
Like any professional service, the cost for SEO is dependent on who you choose to work with. Consider these factors that determine the level of quality of your services:
- Expertise – How much experience do they have? Do they have expertise in your local area or industry? Do they have a track record of results and case studies?
- Service and Support – Will you have a relationship with an account contact with regular communication and reporting, or will you only be able to put requests into a customer service queue?
- Dedicated Time – How many hours is someone or a team dedicating to your account?
- Team Size – How many specialists are involved? Do you have an optimizer, a writer, and a consultant contributing their expertise? Do you have one do-it-all person?
What Work Goes Into SEO?
What exactly am I paying for? Let’s get specific. SEO services can include:
- On-Site Optimization – Adding meta titles and descriptions, internal linking, alt text on images, schema markup, etc.
- Off-Site Optimization – Managing Google My Business listing, citations, adding directory listings to build up the backlink profile
- New Content Creation – Pages, blog posts, infographics, and more; no duplicate content
- Technical Updates and Management – Setting up redirects for deleted pages, disavowing bad backlinks, fixing crawl errors, reindexing the site
- Industry Changes – Keeping up with algorithm updates and SEO best practices and change strategy accordingly
- Consulting – Online review strategies and recommendations on your other marketing efforts like social media or videos that can help your SEO
- Reporting – Reports that show keyword rankings, website analytics, lead tracking
Different Tiers of SEO: What Are You Getting?
$ Basic Level SEO
The simplest level of SEO is automated citation management. This includes submitting your business to directories and ensuring your listings are consistent for the name, address, and phone number. This is necessary maintenance, since your business information can change and will need to be updated across the web. These services alone will not do much to improve your rankings.
$$ Small-Scale SEO
This type of SEO package is a formulaic standard plan that can be applied to any practice. This approach works well for practices in small markets, with small sites, without much competition, or for someone with a small budget that wants to see some improved results. It will provide visibility, but because efforts are spread thin with a limited budget, advancement will be incremental or only maintained.
$$$ Full-Service SEO
This is the most personalized SEO service. It is necessary in large markets for keywords that are highly competitive. A more aggressive approach provides more hours and more SEO components to get results quicker and compete with top competitors. For best results, clients will need to collaborate with their SEO team so changes in the practice and business goals can be aligned with the marketing efforts and used for competitive advantage.
Avoid These SEO Mistakes
- One-Time Fees – Search engine algorithms are constantly changing and so is what your competitors are doing with their marketing. Because of this, SEO is never a “set it and forget it” item to be checked off on your to-do list. There are some foundational elements of SEO that should be set up for a good start, but it is ongoing work to keep up with new requirements and opportunities. You also need to make updates any time there is a change in your services, contact information, hours, staff, etc.
- Guarantees – Some companies may promise first-page results or a certain number of leads, but this is not within their direct control. Following SEO best practices should improve rankings and increase traffic, resulting in more leads. But there are also outside forces at work. Google’s algorithm is largely unknown (it is patented) and constantly changing. There are only 10 organic positions on the first page, and your competitors are actively battling for the top spots as well.
- No Transparency – An SEO company should be tracking and reporting on your performance, such as keyword rankings, website traffic, and lead conversions. This information helps both you and your SEO team gauge success, find concerns or challenges to focus on, and create plans for new strategies to improve results. If your SEO company is not sharing reports and is not willing to discuss their work and performance, you should question the value of their services.
Your Next Step
There is added value in each different tier of SEO service. Having a better understanding of each level will help you decide what is best for your business goals. It will also help you align expectations for what fits into your current budget.
If you’d like to learn more about SEO for your practice, reach out to one of our consultants for a free website analysis and recommendations. Please call 800-368-9910 or contact us online to get started!