Anyone who has been in this business more than a week can attest to the difficulty found when writing a proposal or pricing a project. What should I charge? It is nearly impossible to estimate how long certain tasks may take especially since there are so many variables that exist with SEO. In addition, these services hold different values for everyone. One individual may feel that $6,000 is worth all of the additional traffic, conversions, and online presence. Others may not. Or perhaps you have failed to show them the value in it. Whatever the case may be I have seen the shock on the clients face one too many times to not yearn for a new method.
Pricing SEO proposals can be a rather unpleasant experience if the customer is not at least familiar with pricing up front. Personally I have decided that if the customer does not seem to be familiar with SEO pricing, I am going to assign him/her homework; to look up the going rate for SEO services and get familiar with the very wide ranges of pricing everywhere on the internet from $50.00 and hour to $200.00 an hour. Then we might have something to talk about, like what they can afford and what to them is “reasonable.” It may also place a bit more value on the work that we do. Let’s face it, this knowledge can turn a mediocre business into a thriving money maker. So the value in SEO is truthfully well beyond even the highest priced proposal found anywhere as long as you deliver what you promise in the time frames stated.
Equally difficult is predicting how many hours various tasks will take you up front. With the plethora of variables that can occur in any one service of SEO, what you thought may take 10 hours may end up taking you 20 or maybe just 4 hours. If we give ourselves some leway in the initial pricing, although hours may be lost here and there, it can help to minimize the loss. It is always a pleasure to have the client who understands those variables and hourly pricing but most small businesses want to know up front how much they are spending and understandably so. Any wavering of that intial price can send shockwaves through the entire project.
If possible giving a range of hours may work best and maybe adding a “not to exceed” x amount of hours to cover yourself should the task take longer that you proposed intially and to ease the small business owner’s fear that things could “get out of hand”.
Since I haven’t yet had a chance to try these new pricing methods I am not sure how effective they may or may not be. Being that my pricing is at the lowest end of the wide range; what have I got to lose, besides a customer that cannot afford SEO services? It appears that was never mine to begin with.
Videos offer many advantages in terms of onsite and offsite SEO. Even a simple 30 second video can bring many different types of optimization to your site and to your businesses popularity as a whole. Think carefully before deciding to forgo a video idea even if you think your business is not video worthy due to its bland existence of numbers or financial data. Even accountants can find something to talk about for 30 seconds. You might introduce the members of your organization by having each one record a 10 second blurb or interesting detail about themselves as part of their bio, or gather video testimonials from satisfied customers. Get creative with it and keep in mind it doesn’t always have to be about your product or service, only related to it in some way.
What are the many benefits of video for onsite SEO? There are many. First it is attention grabbing. Let’s face it, most of us would much rather watch than read. By grabbing the attention of the internet user they now have spent increased time on your site instead of just bouncing to another, in search of something better that WILL grab their attention. In addition, as statistics continually prove, the longer they remain on your site the liklier it is that they will buy or request your services. Keeping surfers in your waters for longer periods of time also creates familiarity with your brand and increases the likliehood of an eventual conversion.
How do videos help you offsite? You’d be amazed at how many times even the most ridiculous videos are viewed. A friend of mine did an experiment and posted a video on youtube of her blowing up a balloon and that’s it. Not more than 30 seconds long. She had over 1,000 views within the first week. So believe me when I tell you anything you post on youtube will get viewed. Now imagine if you post a video about your business with a link to your site? The amount of traffic generated from one short simple video is outstanding. Here’s food for thought: imagine having more than one video or a whole page on youtube with your own url.
Did you know this is free by the way?
Web Marketing Partners
Picking keywords used to attract search engines can be an eye opening experience. Often times the most popular words or the words having the most searches are misspelled forcing you to use a misspelled word in your content writing. For most content writers this is very frustrating but a necessary component to SEO. The next time you see a misspelled word used all over a particular website don’t be too quick to tell them their mistake. Chances are they did it on purpose
Another problem I recently came across was a lack of keywords. The topic I was marketing had some searches but nothing substantial to build a business on. Had it not been for some trend research I did I probably would have advised the client to tailor their business just a bit to include a more searchable term. So how did I choose their keyword to best describe their business yet also has enough searches to make it worthwhile? First I looked for keywords/phrases that were characteristic of someone looking for something new or looking for ideas relating to that field. Since it is a new concept it is the responsibility of the business to get people interested. Someone searching with a general phrase of “new investments” might be interested in someone selling a unique investment opportunity not yet well known for example. Sometimes the more general the keyword the more competitive it is, however not always. Usually just by changing the general phrase a little you can find a keyword with less competition and a decent amount of searches. For example instead of “new investments” you could try “new invest” or “invest new” or maybe “new opportunity invest” You would be surprised at the many different ways people phrase their searches and giving the content writer a difficult challenge when trying to use it in the text. Sometimes the keyword phrase is incorrect grammar and even more frustrating for the writer who most likely cringes at the idea of writing text with improper English. I know I do! So as you peruse various sites and notice misspellings or incorrectly phrased sentences, keep in mind that may have been on purpose or at least let’s hope so!
Presenting proposals to clients for SEO projects can be a hectic and stressful process especially for the small business client whose expenditures are almost always on a tight budget. Some feel like they might be throwing money at a losing battle…their business, and at this point are unsure it being worthy of success at all. After having done an initial analysis on their competition and current web presence you conclude that with a strong back linking campaign and onsite seo/copywriting they could turn their business around and take a strong position in the search results for their keyword. Naturally you have already shared this exciting news with them but somehow at the moment when you present the proposal, it seems forgotten; the excitement lost in dollar signs. What can be done to make this proposal process less stressful for both the client and the SEO professional? Here are a few things I have come up with for a win win proposal:
Upon introduction discuss:
A) What is their budget? Or, how much do they want to spend on a marketing campaign and SEO for their website
B) Ask them questions that quantify the value they place on ranking well in search results or driving traffic to their website. Let’s face it. Getting noticed online can bring endless value to the customer in hard revenue. It is important however to help them make that connection when you are selling something intangible like services.
C) Ask them if they have ever paid for SEO services/copywriting before, and if they haven’t, get them familiar with cost immediately. That way they can do their own math along the way and thus no surprises. Many people are unfamiliar with the process, therefore unfamiliar with its cost.
D) When presenting the proposal, include the estimated final result of the services being recommended i.e, what this will do for the customer, is it better ranking in search results, driving traffic through a pay per click campaign, increase conversions, etc. That way the cost and value can offset each other yet again for the customer.
E) Make sure your pricing is clear cut and if you offer an hourly rate only, try to estimate how long each process will take or give maximums (not to exceed x amount of hours). Small business owners are much more comfortable knowing in advance how much they are spending.
F) And as always deliver what you promise in the time frames outlined. It is always better to under promise and over deliver and because SEO and online marketing are not exact sciences, don’t promise the number one spot in google’s search results, instead promise the top 3 but only if your totally confident it can be done!
A Content Writer For SEO
Website content though often overlooked with the many details of building a website, is actually one of the fundamentals to ranking well in the search results. A good content writer will devise text that is carefully planned so it is informative and well organized with the necessary SEO components like keywords, links, and meta tags. Search engine optimization and a good content writer is crucial to not only your rankings but also your traffic.
A Content Writer’s First Step to SEO
If yours is a small business it may also be wise to pick keywords/phrases that are less competitive and generally easier to move quickly to the top of the search results with. When possible picking the fewest well targeted keywords is optimal. Though often not realistic, it is ideal for SEO purposes by promoting smoother, well written, and keyword saturated content. Trust me on this, you can’t go wrong here! A good content writer will consider, before choosing the keywords, exactly how they will be used within the text. This ensures the keywords make sense with the direction of the intended message. Be careful not to choose keywords/phrases that are too general, though they may describe your business somewhat and they may provide “search engine optimization” by driving traffic, you will have optimized for the wrong kind of traffic producing nothing but a chunk out of your bandwidth for the month and a step backward from your objectives. This type of negative SEO is characterized by high traffic, bounce rates over 50% and low conversion rates i.e. while visiting your site they did not complete a purchase or didn’t fill out a contact form. A good content writer will choose well targeted, closely matched keywords with a fair amount of searches each month. Whenever possible, choosing keywords/phrases with realistic ranking opportunities, keeping in mind budget, and overall objectives, will produce the fastest and easiest route to the top of the search engine rankings and a successful SEO campaign.
A Content Writer’s Ongoing Job
SEO (search engine optimization) will only become more important as information becomes more readily available and rapidly delivered to the public via many different social mediums. As such, a content writer must keep updating text as new information becomes available. This is crucial to any SEO campaign. Content writing must be re evaluated regularly with up to date, innovative and informative text to keep the interest of visiting traffic and a quality ranking. In theory, it is safe to assume that as information delivery becomes more sophisticated and rapidly attained through various channels like twitter, facebook, linkedin, myspace…etc. websites will also become more accurate and update to date, leaving the many less attended websites out of the game. This will undoubtedly create fierce competition amongst the warriors in the search results. Luckily, for those whose budgets cannot withstand the battle, there are other alternatives to search result ranking as a means of driving traffic. Hopefully this has provided some insight on making realistic decisions about which method is right for you or possibly which method isn’t right for you. Though search result ranking and SEO can be a great way to drive traffic to your site, there are other ways to effectively market your business online.