This is a slightly off kilter conversation following a post I read on the Vertical Leap blog today, regarding ‘SEO for £35 per month????’. . It certainly does remind of earlier SEO ventures, where the likelihood of coming up against said competitors was far higher, however I think it helps to lookat why and where this perception comes from.
Now I may be reading between the lines here (and no offence meant here Gina), however I would suggest the organisation in question here is reasonably small, certainly not FTSE 250. Certainly my experience within the marketplace would suggest awareness and perception of SEO is greatest in startups/smaller organisations and the larger enterprise level organisations, with a middle tier that often garners a mixed response (I would add at this point – and at the time of writing I have absolutely no physical back up for that comment bar personal experience). So why does this perception exist.
Whilst the marketplace is becoming more digital/search savvy there is a lot of ignorance/lack of awareness out there as regards what search and in particular SEO can do and where it fits in. With such a wide range of services available – and lets face it a lack of benchmarks on which to base a decision – it can often be difficult to seperate Joe Bloggs from Enterprise level SEO organisation.
There is also the issue of web development company vs search specialist. Many web development agencies these days offer SEO services as part of their remit. Whilst I think they are personally well placed to do so, I unfortunately also have experiences of a very one sided service, certainly more focussed on search engine friendly design, rather than search engine optimisation, persay – however that is a personal sidenote.
Read a forum or blog, and you are bound to see some reference to shady goings on, or SEO campaigns that haven’t worked. Whilst SEO has come along way from the ‘snake oil salesman’ perception it had, it still has some way to go, and I would certainly say this is more the case the further down the enterprise ladder you go.
With larger organisations, it is often the case that terms of business and SLA’s are in place, and rewards are higher both for said organisation and the search agency. Whilst it is not always the case, it is very much a enterprise service with the associated time dedicated to the account. That point alone is bound to get some feedback – however let me caveat that.
How on earth, is a good job meant to be done on a site for £35 a month. On a minium wage that would equate to around 6 hours a month. Now he is going to have to source links (or alternatively outsource -which would take up around half that budget if he outsourced cheaply overseas), so your looking at a minute amount on which to develop a campaign.
I don’t mean to be rude but – How can a proper job be done on that amount of money. And if you do decide to use said vendor, how can you be suprised if it doesn’t deliver the quantifiable results you wanted instead of some obscure 5 word phrase that no man ever has or ever will search for?
In a modern day search landscape where search isn’t just about optimising your meta descriptions and keywords, where rewards are so much greater, and competition so much more fierce – is it really worth taking a chance and basing such a potentially lucrative decision merely on price. In a landscape where link acquisition is far more complicated (who had used nofollow to not pass linkvalue 2 years ago – or didn’t use either directories or paid links as part of their link building strategies), on-page is not a case of meta tags, but a mix of technical and content based optimisation (lets think geotargeting for a start here), SEO is far more complicated, and far more lucrative than ever. Just look at the stats, In April 2008, over 31 million UK adults (15+) searched on the Internet thats:
- 93% of the UK ‘Net population
- 4.1 billion search queries
- 10 searches per usage day
- 30 visits per month
- 5 searches per visit
Thats a huge potential marketplace
I once had a trainer say to me, you will never lose a sale on price. If you do – you just haven’t sold well enough. I would turn that comment round, and say – If you base a purchasing decision solely on price – then you havent considered your options well enough – and you run a far higher risk of that decision not being the right one.
[ This post from Peter Young's blog contains only his personal opinions. ]