If you’ve been looking around for an SEO company, we’re sure you’ve seen many ‘SEO Packages’ being offered. They look something like this:
Platinum Premium SEO Package – $500/month
On Page Optimisation
Submission to 1,000 Search Engines
100 Social Bookmark Links
500 Directory Submissions
SEO Report Every Month
We don’t offer such cookie-cutter SEO packages. We’ve thought about it of course (its ability to scale is oh-so-attractive), but so far we just see more downside to it than any benefits to our clients.
Let me explain why.
1) SEO Consultants are Marketers First
The first reason stems from our belief that SEO consultants are first, and foremost, marketers. A marketer isn’t worth his/her salt if he didn’t take the time to learn about your company and your goals, your target audience, your branding and positioning strategies etc. Without that basic information, what kind of marketing would you end up doing?
Would you hire even a freelance graphics designer before going through at least some of these things in detail?
It’s impossible for an external SEO specialist to know your business as well as you do. An SEO consultant just knows SEO better than you.
2) SEO Packages are Typically Bad for Your Brand
As a business leader, you work your socks off trying to build your brand. It means something to you (or your bosses); it stands for something. Google itself is big on brands. There’s a process for creating your marketing collateral such as brochures and advertisements. These are checked and double-checked to ensure that they comply with brand guidelines and don’t contain embarrassing grammatical errors.
How would you or your boss feel if this article was written in your brand’s name?
This happens quite often when you get writers who don’t know much about either your company or your industry to do some ‘SEO copywriting’ – they just try to slot in as many keywords as they can. Doesn’t make your company look good, does it?
And the content that’s created are filler content that’s further spun and distributed across thousands of article directories you’ve never even heard about (and neither have your customers). Also, in most cases these SEO packages build links automatically, which doesn’t make for a natural backlink profile (so important after the Penguin update).
To use an analogy – Have you ever bought traditional media before?
Let’s imagine a salesperson comes in and tells you about their media package – you get a 30-second TV spot, 3 full page magazine ads, 20 classified ads and 2 radio spots, all without asking you anything about your business.
You wouldn’t pay for that, would you?
You’d want to know how all of that fits into your business strategy, who the target audience is and how it will affect your brand image.
Here’s another analogy from Ben Potter over at E-Consultancy:
To use an analogy, quoting for SEO upfront, based on a fixed fee model, is the equivalent of a builder proposing a fixed price for an extension without having set foot on the property.
3) SEO Packages are only about Rankings
Is there more to SEO than that? Of course.
A Page #1 ranking on Google is great. But it shouldn’t be your only measure of success.
You want the keywords you’re ranking for to bring in traffic – qualified traffic. And you want to be able to convert that traffic to leads and ultimately, revenue.
SEO packages don’t care about those. Their only aim is to fulfil the conditions of the package and try to rank keywords – even if those keywords don’t generate traffic and conversions.
4) Different Levels of Competition
Here’s something fun you can try – call an SEO company that offers a fixed-price SEO package with a Page #1 guarantee (which Google keeps saying they can’t give) and tell them you want to rank for ‘insurance’ and ‘online gambling’ in the United States (i.e. Google.com). Tell me what they say (seriously).
Every keyword has a different difficulty level and that becomes a factor in how much SEO costs (among other variables). Depending on how difficult it is, you might either be overpaying or not doing enough to see any lasting results.
5) Packages Ignore Your In-House Competencies
This is perhaps one of the most important reasons why we don’t want to place every SEO engagement into neat little boxes. Without doubt, companies touting SEO packages will ignore any in-house competencies you have. SEO then becomes an isolated activity, removed from your brand reality.
We’re sure you’ve spent years building up a great team. They’re committed, they know your culture and are great at what they do. Most of the time, they have interesting, related stories they want to share.
We consider them to be one of the most important resources for any SEO program. We enjoy working closely with your in-house teams to come up with customer insights or content that differentiates your company from its competitors.
If you have talented in-house writers, let us help build content that are not only keyword-targeted and attract links but move your clients further along your sales funnel.
Do you have subject-matter experts? Let’s work together and create a white paper that solves a common customer problem.
If your front-end staff has interesting customer or brand stories, lets turn it into a blog post and share it.
By working closely with the experience and talent you already have, we can together create content that appeals not only to search engines but to your prospects as well. Let’s create content that helps persuade your prospects to turn into your customers.
That’s what marketing is all about, isn’t it?
Also, how much work you can do in-house will effect how much our SEO engagement will cost. For example, we can charge less for content creation if we come up with an editorial calendar and your in-house writers do the actual writing. If they don’t have the time, we can do it for you, of course.
In return, your staff will learn a lot by working with us. This helps incorporate basic SEO considerations into your day-to-day marketing efforts.
Get the Most out of our SEO Consultants
With a SEO package, you leave so many of these benefits on the table.
And it usually wouldn’t even cost you more.
If after reading this you still think SEO packages are good, let us do you a favour and point you to Fiverr. You can’t beat them US$5 SEO packages (just don’t get deindexed)!