SEO: How far do you need to go?

SEO "travel" planning
SEO "travel" planning

I talked last week with a web designer who wanted to help his clients get SEO services — either by providing them himself or by connecting them to good SEO analysis companies.

His problem? Many of the small business “brochure” sites he designs cost the client less than $2000. Yet when he went to read up on SEO services, he saw companies charging $40,000 to “do” SEO for a site.

What on earth, he wondered, were they doing? And how could one of his smaller clients afford SEO?

I tried to explain:

Choosing SEO is a lot choosing transportation for a trip. It depends on how far you need to go, what type of terrain you are going to cover, how quickly you want to get there, and whether you want to go coach or first class. Another important factor is whether this is a one-time trip, or whether it will be a regular commute.

So…you could walk, ride a bicycle, get crammed into a bus that stops every few blocks, rent a car, or hire a private jet. The options are endless. Now, back to your travel needs:

How far do you need to go? What terrain are you trying to cover?

If you are the only business offering advanced Yogavadian therapy sessions in Seattle, the answer is: Not far. Your offerings are unique, and all you need is a basic website with SEO keywords like Yogavadian therapy and Seattle (in text, title, and meta tags) and you’re pretty much set. Frequent updates to the website (such as regular blogging) would be the icing on the cake.

The SEO example above is truly common sense, and the designer could easily provide that type of SEO.

But what if you are one of 800 or more massage therapists in the greater Seattle area, and your practice provides a fairly common range of therapies.

You face a long journey, over fairly rough terrain. And it’s unlikely that a web designer can do much to get you to your destination.

Many of the SEO options would require that you circle back to consider the overall marketing strategies for the practice itself: Do you want to create a distinctive brand? What keywords are your clients and potential clients already searching on to find you, or similar services? Do you want to advertise a particular type of massage work, or do you want to focus on services to a particular neighborhood in Seattle. Clearly, this type of strategic SEO requires a big investment of time and resources, and is likely to be coordinated with a marketing/advertising campaign.

The SEO “travel planning” is, of course, much different if the company involved is large and has resources to hire an expert to do SEO analysis. I’ll write about that in a later post.

Author: Karen Anderson

To paraphrase Mark Morris, "I'm a writer; I write!"

One thought on “SEO: How far do you need to go?”

  1. Interesting! I try my best to keep up with SEO best practices, but it seems exorbitant to charge that much for SEO services of any sort (perhaps for a gigantic Wikipedia-esque site or a multimillion dollar corporation, but even then)… Honestly I think SEO is best done by training everyone who touches a site in the basics and leaving it at that… but that’s just my two cents.

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