Why is SEO (Search Engine Optimization) so expensive? I hear this question all the time. I’m going to tell you why. But first a brief history lesson. In the beginning (mid-nineties) there were few websites. It was easy to get found. Just pack a few keywords into the content of your site and voilá, there you were. Now there are more websites than stars in the sky (yes, I’m exaggerating to make a point.) It’s NOT easy to get found anymore. End of history lesson.
Search Engine Rank: Easy Concept, Hard Execution
Think of your new website like a new house. You’ve spent all this money to design and build it. It’s finally done. You’re excited. You throw a party and invite people over to see your sparkling new home. No one shows up. What happened? You forgot to tell them how to find you. See where I’m going with this? There are just too many websites for you to not take search engine optimization seriously. Taking it seriously means accepting that you have to pay for it. I’m not going to get into who you should hire to do this. Like any other industry there are those who are very good at it and those who aren’t but claim to be. For purposes of this rant I will assume that you understand that.
So Here is Why It’s So Expensive
Because of the sheer volume of websites (there will likely be thousands more by the time you finish reading this), search engine optimization has evolved into a stand alone skill set. Getting your website to stand out from the countless others in your industry and in your geographical area takes expertise and experience. Here are a few things you need to understand:
- content – if you’re undertaking an optimization effort on an existing site, your content will have to be reviewed for keyword density and placement. The content may have to be edited or rewritten entirely
- research – the keywords you think your customers are using to find you may not be the ones they’re using at all. Only keyword research and competitive analysis can determine this
- tools – an experienced SEO person knows how to use the right tools to uncover the information necessary to achieve high page rank
- measurability – (I made up this word. You get the point.) your SEO efforts have to be analyzed and measured for effectiveness to ensure the proper strategies are being used
- reporting – periodic reports need to be provided. This is part of measurability
- tweaking – depending on results your website may have to be tweaked and adjusted
- time – doing all of the above well takes time. That’s why it’s expensive.
I can go on. The point is this: If you take your business seriously enough to invest in a well designed website, skimping on search engine optimization will cancel out all of your best intentions. It’s kind of like building a brand new house and never telling anyone how to find it. Unless you’re a recluse (I’m assuming you’re not), this is just not going to work.
And Now Back to You
Have your search engine optimization efforts paid off? Is your website being found? Do you agree or disagree with my analysis? Did you skimp? Be honest.
Photo credit: snappybex