The answer, the cost of SEO often correlates to the degree of the logistics involved in execution and the scope of the barrier to entry on a keyword by keyword basis. To simplify, it is a matter of cost based analysis, value and return on investment.
The Value of Organic Search
While there are a number of ways to arrive at the value of organic search engine optimization, this metric corresponds to (a) who is ranking ahead of you and (b) how dedicated or aggressive your efforts need to be to achieve the desired keyword / ranking objective. Here is one method for assessing the competitive landscape using the ratio of links to competing pages.
There are a number of ways to arrive at the same conclusion; however, with SEO, six things are required prior to achieving a top ranking:
- Research (surveying keywords, competition, profitability and ROI).
- Logistics (creating structure and laying a blueprint/foundation for deliverables).
- Tracking (double checking deliverables, analysis and reporting to gauge success and conversions).
- Content (the basis of relevance for any campaign).
- Links (both internal links from contextual sources and inbound links from other sites).
- Time (the breeding ground for page and domain authority).
Let’s observe the above metrics in a hypothetical reference, for example, if your website has 3 pages and your competitor’s website has 3,000 pages, which website do you think Google or any other search engine will award with a top 10 ranking?
In a PPC (pay per click) environment, this message would be clear-cut within 24 hours if you tried to take on a corporate giant with a virtually limitless budget for a competitive keyword.
On the SEM (search engine marketing) frontier, if the price per click is $25 and you bid $27 per click, what is to stop your gargantuan competitor from bidding $30 per click until they exhaust your budget and resume where they left off (in the top 3 results).
Organically, it is not always that easy to see who will come out on top (as algorithms are constantly in a state of flux), hence the need to utilize a wide array of optimization tactics and strategies asynchronously is required in order to provide a favorable selection of on page and off page metrics required to create buoyancy in the search results.
For example, if you have a new website with a few links (and zero citation or trust) and you are targeting a competitive keyword against a seasoned (aged) competitor (who has dominated the keyword as long as you can remember), a different and more aggressive type of optimization is required in order to bypass those along the way to the top.
Keep in mind, the more content, links, management, key performance indicator / tracking or on page optimization required comes with a price tag for your business.
Can You Afford Not to Use SEO?
Time equals money and for those who have paid their SEO forward and had the vision to enter a market or niche when it was ripe as a result of foresight or vs. going against the grain and attempting to rank for the top tier phrases in that market without first cutting their teeth on a less competitive keyword is a futile path.
Ranking by affinity through using semantically aligned topical content, articles, white papers, blog posts, unique product / RSS feeds, landing pages or user generated content covers the on page requirements, but the need for proper off page optimization is a requirement to settle the democratic election of which websites rise to the top.
While cost is not the only factor, the more money or resources (time, content, citation from social media, and traffic sources) you can pay for scaling these resources is often the definitive factor in who ranks first.
While many of the SEO ranking wars can be won through strategic content development, domain trust (from accruing layers of posts or pages on a topic) and superior site architecture, the need for off page optimization (links) is still an integral part of the process (which also comes at a price).
The Real Question…What is Your Budget?
Over time, any keyword is attainable organically, however, the reality is, how much is it worth to you to rank favorably for that position and what are you willing to pay for it? through cultivating the proper metrics over time.
Assessing the online landscape, so many SEO companies sell themselves short and look for short-term gain (by selling their offering on the cheap) and all the while, those who hire them expect to see phenomenal results on a piece meal budget (and an complete assembly line / process is really required).
By assessing the SERPs (search engine result pages) it shocks me to see how many thousands of websites that have started their epic rise to the top only to fizzle out from lack of funds, the wrong approach or underestimating the greed of others and what THEY will pay to remain or rise to the top.
There is no one and done with SEO, you have to embody the characteristics of always moving forward, persistence, unshakable resolve, and patience to see significant changes through their various stages.
On one level, it depends on what you expect and which keywords you are content with, but, the old saying that you get what you pay for is true to form in this industry.
Effectively, if you will require an all inclusive campaign that spans the gamut of services necessary to put adversaries in their place (behind your website), then you should understand the costs at least the ballpark figure of what it will take to make a contender.
Hire the right firm for SEO Services, pay for quality, put in the time to gain trust, peer review and rankings and look beyond keywords alone and swallow markets whole with the same effort along the way. If you are interested in a limited-time FREE keyword inspection and competitor analysis, then follow the link proved and complete the form provided.