Seven months in to 2013, I thought it would be a good time to offer some commentary on an occurrence that I have seen happen on multiple occasions over the past few years. That being said, I am sure that I am not alone in the search marketing community on this. The issue comes down to the key driver of all of our businesses… the client/customer. After dealing with current clients, old clients, and clients that opted to not go with our firm, the obvious has become even more so - you get what you pay for when it comes to online marketing.
Let's take a look at a couple of situations. The first one I will go over involves a prospective client. Early on when I was trying to get my first clients partnered with us here at Vegau, I spoke to a nice lady about her business and she conveyed her needs and goals to me. I reviewed her case and offered her a quote - as any SEO would. Being that I was most interested in building a client list at the time, I offered her firm a very favorable, low-ball price. When I told her the quote over the phone, there was a little bit of shock in her reaction. My low-ball price for SEO ended up being double what she was wanting to pay.
Here I thought I was ready to sign up one of my first clients - and once I gave a quote the call ended less than 30 seconds later.
Obviously being a white-hat SEO, I know the value that I offer and I do the very best I can to convey that to all new clients. Unfortunately, for the low dollar amount the woman was willing to spend, she will most likely not find an agency to help her business. Even worse, she could find a questionable agency to do the work. However, for the price, many of the services offered would most likely be outsourced, black hat trickery. Rather than just going with no plan at all, an internet marketing package from a shady agency can be far worse in this day and age - as Google and other search engines have no problem doling out penalties to those who try to manipulate the results.
Another situation I will touch on has a much happier ending - at least I am pretty much certain it will. A while back, a prospective client had contacted me about doing their optimization work. At the time, he decided that he did not want to pay an outside agency to do the work, so he opted for one of his guys in IT who said they "knew" SEO. I could go on here about these types of situations but that's enough material for an entirely new blog post - which may very well be my next… so let's get back on track. Time passed by and earlier this year we received a call from the same business owner. He was looking for a website design with SEO.
After taking on the project and seeing what work had been done to the existing website by his IT department, it was clear that little, if any optimization efforts were implemented. While it was the cheaper way to go, the business owner had realized that the path he chose simply did not produce the results that he needed. As of today, we are finishing up his new website that has all of the benefits of SEO built in to it. We are almost as excited as he is to see his newly optimized site climb in the search rankings and we can not wait to move forward with his internet marketing efforts.
In regards to SEO agencies, I will end with why I have provided these examples above. If your firm produces quality work that doesn't manipulate the search engines' algorithms, you are already well on your way. Make sure that your clients know the value of your services and you will have a better chance in building some wonderful relationships. It goes without saying that black hats who promise "number 1 on Google" and offer ridiculously low prices not only lower their own company's value, but they are also hurting the search engine optimization industry as a whole. If you practice white hat SEO, be proud and ask for rates that you deserve. Your quality of work will speak for itself when your clients keeps renewing your service agreements - because they will no doubt realize the value you are offering in comparison to in-house or oftentimes outsourced alternatives.
SEO is a marathon, not a sprint.
The firms and clients who take the long view will be the most successful in the end.