This is a question we get asked all the time. Unfortunately, it’s not an easy question to answer.
Let us try and explain. There has been a paradigm shift in the marketing rules in just the last few years. “Interruption Marketing” (commercials, pop-ups, banners) and “Passive Marketing” (magazine ads, flyers and mailers, phonebook ads) have become much less effective as more and more people become engaged with the Internet.
We give talks to groups of business owners, and at the start of each talk, we always ask two simple questions:
- How many of you have used the yellow pages in the last month? (normally a few hands go up)
- How many of you used Google yesterday? (every single hand in the room goes up)
This is a poignant illustration of the way all of us now use Google and the other search engines not simply to search for products and services but also to research before making a purchase or find out about a company we are thinking of doing business with.
Unfortunately, despite the obvious advantages and benefits that the internet brings to businesses, still many cling to the “old ways” of marketing their products and services.
As business owners start to realise that their advertising spend is bringing fewer new clients through the door, they start to wonder about the alternatives and ask themselves questions such as, “How do I get onto Page one of Google and the other search engines?” This is the point where the question, “How much does SEO cost?” needs to be considered.
There are many factors involved in Google’s algorithm, the sophisticated calculation used to determine the search engine results page ranking. The algorithm takes into account various on-page and off-page factors as well as social media profiles, social networking and the quality and relevance of the website content.
Even SEO professionals like WSIIMS do not have a magic wand to wave over a client’s website to take it to the top. It is well known that Google actually changes the rules frequently, sometimes every single day! Furthermore, most of the websites we see have quite a few ‘on-page’ issues that are preventing it from performing the way it could on the search engines.
Our recommendation to business owners who want their website to be found in the search engines is always to establish a starting point and take stock of where they are now, define where they want to be and then we can help them get there! If you want to get ahead of your competition on the search engines, you really need to know what is stopping you from being there now – you also need to know what your successful online competitors are doing that you are not!
WSIIMS can carry out a comprehensive Online Competitor Analysis. Would it help your online business success if you knew:
- Your Competitors Search Engine Strategies
- Their Paid Search strategies including the ad’s and keywords being used in their campaigns
- An estimate of your competitors monthly online marketing budget
We ask you to give us the names of your 5 main online competitors and we will prepare a comprehensive report for you, including a definitive recommendation of the specific actions and SEO initiatives you need to consider to ‘beat’ your online competitors within a 30-60 day timeframe.
To be successful in online marketing, businesses must gain a search advantage over their competition. Not understanding your competitor’s online activities will result in lost opportunities. It is important to know what your competitors are doing on the Internet, so that you can combat and reduce any advantage they have. By identifying their Online Marketing strategies you will be in a position to exploit their weaknesses and leverage your company’s strengths to effectively acquire, retain and grow your customer base.
Only after completing a thorough online competitor analysis will you know the answer to the question “How much does SEO cost?” It may be just fixing a few things on the site, or it may be “major surgery”. It really depends on how SEO aware your competitors are – if they know nothing about SEO it should not take much effort or investment for you to rise to the top quite quickly. On the other hand if your business is in a highly competitive sector where your online competitors are already SEO aware it will take more time and a bigger investment will be required for you to succeed.
If you as a business owner want to get to the top, insist that your chosen Search Engine Optimisation partner runs these tests to see what is required. If you invest too little in your SEO campaign you will be wasting your money – it will not work! Yes, any SEO activity is likely to improve your search engine ranking but what use is getting your website up from page 151 to page 150 when nobody goes beyond the first three pages anyway?
It is far better to know up front what you are facing, rather than shooting in the dark and completely missing the mark! The modest investment required to produce the initial online competitor analysis will repay itself many times over because you will know exactly WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO, and what it will cost you to do it properly.