SEO campaigns typically follow a specific lifecycle, where one activity follows another in hierarchical order: first they do the research/site audits, and then they implement recommendations on fixing technical problems with the site before going on to the continuous marketing activities: link-building, content development and marketing etc.
Depending on the pricing plan that your provider’s SEO packages are based on, you can get more or less for the services that you need. However, careful planning is pivotal to ensuring that your SEO agreement with an agency or consultant exactly suits your needs without forcing you to break the bank.
The following is a list of simple hacks that can help you navigate your SEO campaign while keeping costs manageable:
· Negotiate with an agency to come up with a medium-term contract lasting from 6-12 months. You can begin with shorter periods for newer agencies, or test them out by assigning specific SEO work before giving them an entire campaign to run/settling on any SEO packages
· Ensure that you fully understand what the consultant/agency will do for your business in each month/quarter/any other reporting period you set
· Be aware what commitment is required from you in terms of resources, information to guide the campaign and any implementations that must be carried out by you/your team. Carry out these in a timely manner to avoid paying for unused time.
· Talk to the consultant/agency about your conventional marketing plans while still at the planning stage. This way, they can leverage this information to create a tailored strategy that feeds off your offline campaigns, as well as for consistency.
· Be clear on the length of time it will take for results to begin to show. However, even in the early months before the campaign can be measured effectively, settle on a list of deliverables based on your provider’s SEO packages, which you can assess at the end of each reporting period. Remember, however, that sales increases and search visibility will begin to show after several months.
Knowing exactly what to expect from an SEO agency will allow both of you to plan around the campaign effectively: they help to manage the campaign tasks, and you to know what to expect at each stage of the campaign.
Assessing your SEO plan
Before settling on any specific SEO packages, take the following steps:
· Ensure that the package includes all the important SEO tasks that your business needs. Please note that each business will have different SEO needs depending on your niche, level of competition, size of business and other factors
· Evaluate the value-added extras that a potential provider brings to your table – what things will they do differently from other providers/competitors to give your business an edge over others in your niche?
· Do not be excited by a long list of services, simply decide on a package because it seems to make economic sense. A package is only helpful if it provides what you need.
· If you’re a small business with a limited budget, talk to the potential provider to see what packages they can offer you that will make the greatest impact on your SEO. However, understand that SEO is not cheap, and be prepared to invest more if you want big results.
· Finally, research on several providers and get their assessment of your site and what it needs. Cost is one of the last factors that should come into play. Remember that experienced consultants/agencies with a good track record will cost more than their counterparts.