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  • #984272
    AgentMail
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    Hi All,

    A friend and I were having a conversation about SEO, and how, whilst he was paying his web team for SEO, they could produce no actual results, backlinks etc. Obviously he needs to change.
    We were discussing how you go about choosing the best SEO person, and I wondered what method others had used. Would it be fair to jump onto Google, type in SEO specialist and assume the one at the top has the skills (as they are in the number one (organic) spot?
    What else should be looked at? The problem is, with only a little SEO knowledge, talking about the number of backlinks etc. does not relate to how much we should be spending, so I am hoping others can share their successes in this area.

    #1146784
    MatthewKeath
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    I would look to some of the regular posters here.

    JohnW and I have had some SEO chats, and I find him very knowledgeable and realistic. You couldn’t pick a better starting point.

    It’s also very important to look at the website as well, as you know. SEO is about getting visitors and turning them into buyers. So how the website is setup affects both SEO and visitor conversions.

    You shouldn’t judge SEO’s on back links and rankings, but on conversions.

    Aiden is another very knowledgeable no bull SEO guy here.

    Cheers,

    Matt

    #1146785
    Aidan
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    Thanks for the shoutout Matt!

    Word of mouth and/or a good history at a place like this are all good indicators.

    A weird fact is that many of us deliberately try to fly under the radar as its just not possible to handle all the enquiries and time wasters when you have an ‘obvious’ Google listing! Some of us even use our sites for all sorts of negative seo tests so may or may not be ranked for particular search terms at any one time!

    I’d also be careful about judging a service by the backlink activity it does for its clients. Many of them just roll off a standard ‘pack’ of backlinks that looks impressive at a glance until you realise they have little effect. That sort of thing can now be dangerous in some ways too!

    My two cents :)

    #1146786
    AgentMail
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    Thanks gents, appreciate your comments so far.

    So, if I can get you to expand without giving away all your hard earned experience… Let’s take my business, AgentMail. If I was to set a budget of $500 per month, what should I expect from an SEO consultant to achieve for me?
    I am on page 1 (though not position 1) for ‘direct mail Brisbane’ ‘mailout brisbane’ ‘mail house brisbane’ and perhaps a couple of others I can’t think of right now.
    Of course, these are localised keywords, and we do operate across Australia, so I guess the first would be to target other locations, or not specific location phrases at all.
    I am just wondering what a budget of $500 a month could achieve for a small business like mine?

    #1146787
    Ben_Oz
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    AgentMail, post: 168297 wrote:
    Thanks gents, appreciate your comments so far.

    So, if I can get you to expand without giving away all your hard earned experience… Let’s take my business, AgentMail. If I was to set a budget of $500 per month, what should I expect from an SEO consultant to achieve for me?
    I am on page 1 (though not position 1) for ‘direct mail Brisbane’ ‘mailout brisbane’ ‘mail house brisbane’ and perhaps a couple of others I can’t think of right now.
    Of course, these are localised keywords, and we do operate across Australia, so I guess the first would be to target other locations, or not specific location phrases at all.
    I am just wondering what a budget of $500 a month could achieve for a small business like mine?
    We are spending around that, and have been for a few months. We have worked on a few set keywords/phrases and have been successful in getting onto the first page of Google for all these terms. All of these keywords are quite specific and don’t have huge amounts of searches each month, but we’re still happy with the result.

    Next for us will be some more generic terms and see what happens.

    We use http://www.internetninja.com.au/ and have been happy with the service and results.

    #1146788
    Snakeman
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    Yes good comments above. JohnW and Aiden know their stuff!
    This may not be an appropriate comment, but my own experience is that number one for your main search term and number two can make a quantum difference.
    Here’s a case study for you from this week. One day so far I was top of google for a main search term and a registered trademark we own. Result: Five incoming bookings direct from Google for that search string. On other day, business competitors (2) had google adverts above us. Result: No incoming bookings from Google. …. They got them instead!
    What do we do?
    Reptile parties!
    Now I am sure other businesses are different, but if I can give a pointer, the cheaper your commodity, the less likely people will go beyond result number one.
    For most people, simply aiming for page one of Google is not good enough!
    All the best

    #1146789
    Aidan
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    Hi again,

    that level of budget is usually enough to expect about 5-6 hours of personalised service per month from a good freelance SEO guy or about 2 hours from a big agency. (and believe me, they would already be sending a bill for writing this post!).

    Depending on the industry (not hugely competitive in your case), how ‘aggressive’ you want to be and how much you can implement for yourself rather than tieing the consultant up on it, that can stretch a long way!

    The biggest hurdles are the ones you have already dealt with (i.e. clarifying need in your own mind / thinking budget / seeking recommendations)

    Happy to chat further if you would like to PM me.

    #1146790
    Shane Walker
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    When it comes to choosing a good SEO Company, you really need to find a company that you’re comfortable working with and you can relate to but they are committed to achieving the goals that you want from your business. Unfortunately, the majority of SEO Companies out there these days are nothing but link builders and concentrating only on ranking businesses for some obscure, easy to rank for keywords so they can say that they have done their job. As an SEO professional myself, my job is to be your online marketing adviser. My first goal is to get you leads, but then I’ll work with you in the best ways to convert those leads to sales and ongoing methods to convert those sales into lifelong customers. If an SEO Company is not providing that in my belief, they’re not really doing their job. If you would like to talk about what an SEO Company should and shouldn’t do, or you would like me to have look into your situation and provide some advice, please feel free to message me.

    Regards

    #1146791
    JohnW
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    MatthewKeath, post: 168262 wrote:
    I would look to some of the regular posters here.

    JohnW and I have had some SEO chats, and I find him very knowledgeable and realistic…

    Aiden is another very knowledgeable no bull SEO guy here.
    Cheers,
    Matt
    Hi Matt,
    Many thanks for your kind comments.

    Sorry I only just saw them to be able to respond.

    Also I agree with you, Aidan really knows his stuff. Nick Morris is another SEO regular.

    Not to say there are not many others, its just Aidan, Nick and I seem to have been around on FS for a long time and we all seem to share the same passion for client education.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1146792
    JohnW
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    AgentMail, post: 168297 wrote:
    So, if I can get you to expand without giving away all your hard earned experience… Let’s take my business, AgentMail. If I was to set a budget of $500 per month, what should I expect from an SEO consultant to achieve for me?
    I am on page 1 (though not position 1) for ‘direct mail Brisbane’ ‘mailout brisbane’ ‘mail house brisbane’ and perhaps a couple of others I can’t think of right now.
    Of course, these are localised keywords, and we do operate across Australia, so I guess the first would be to target other locations, or not specific location phrases at all.
    I am just wondering what a budget of $500 a month could achieve for a small business like mine?
    AgentMail,
    About your business and an SEO budget…

    To me, SEO is only half of the process of using generic search rankings to create new business enquiries. By itself, SEO is totally useless.

    Improving online, new business enquiries is a never ending cycle of:

    1. Research to identify problems and opportunities
    2. Developing implementation strategies
    3. The actual implementation of the strategies
    4. Control and training
    5. Monitoring, research and asessment

    Item “5” is in effect, item “1” of the next cycle.

    If a business owner looks at Internet marketing as ranking top of Google for a few search phrases, I humbly suggest most of their $500 per month SEO budget will be wasted.

    AgentM, it sounds like the first step you need is research to audit your site, competition and your current online marketing strategies. From that you need a plan of what needs to be done, by whom and some cost estimates for implementation.

    Within that implemetation plan there should be options for your consideration. Eg: Do you want to pay a third party to do all your SEO for you or do you want the SEO consultant to provide staff training so that you can implement a lot of it in-house.

    In this day and age where there are so many websites published with content management systems and shopping cart programs, I find a lot of small businesses are looking for an SEO, marketing, staff training and monitoring service.

    It is so difficult to talk costs on a forum like this when there can be so many HUGE costing variables. That said I’ll stick my neck out. For many small business websites an SEO/marketing service like this may cost something like:

    1. Audit, research and Internet plan developement = $1,000+
    2. Initial staff training component = $500+
    3. Monthly monitoring, assessment and recommendations = $100+ per month.

    This is a very big WAG (“wild assed guestimate”). I’m assuming a site of less than 100 web pages that is very focused on narrow customer and product/service types.

    I want to emphasise that it is the research, planning, training and monitoring elements of the SEO/online marketing process that are the focus of these comments, not the implementation.

    I receive many spam SEO emails every day and they ALL focus on some form of SEO implementation service. They ALL quote on this basis.

    The problem is that they make NO assessment of what is needed by the website owner to increase sales enquiries and they make NO assessment of what the website owner may want to implement themselves.

    So many posts on FS are requests for SEO information. Then there are many posts where people say they implement their own SEO.

    The reality is that so many people who implement their own SEO may only have 25% of the SEO implementation strategies right and they may be wasting 50% of their time on ineffective/incorrect SEO tactics.

    AgentM, If you want to head in the direction of staff implemented SEO, can I suggest you throw out some PMs to the folk who promote SEO education on this forum?

    A $500 cost per month for 3rd party SEO implementation may be very quickly recovered with accurate and relevant SEO and marketing staff training services, if that sounds attractive to your situation.
    Best regs,
    JohnW

    #1146793
    Aidan
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    Another great post from JohnW!

    John, I hope you’d agree if I put it into my own words: most of us SEO guys kinda hate the term ‘SEO guy’ these days!

    It has never really been about getting to page one for this search or that search,

    well… ok… that is a bit of the picture…

    but…

    The real goal is to optimise the online side of business.

    …everything from search engine (and other) online visibility to conversion optimisation, closing ratios, recurring revenue maximisation and beyond.

    Being on page one, or even position one, for something-something search term means absolutely diddlysquat unless you are actually doing business out of it.

    Sadly, many small business owners don’t understand concepts like recurring revenue and upsales and therefore have no idea of their lifetime customer value and its relationship to their profitability and the opportunity they have. (I’m not talking about the OP here but in general terms).

    Great to see forums like FS give us all a chance to bounce these things around where hopefully we’ll all learn from each other.

    #1146794
    JohnW
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    Aidan, post: 168654 wrote:
    Another great post from JohnW!

    John, I hope you’d agree if I put it into my own words: most of us SEO guys kinda hate the term ‘SEO guy’ these days!

    It has never really been about getting to page one for this search or that search,

    well… ok… that is a bit of the picture…

    but…

    The real goal is to optimise the online side of business.
    Hi Aidan,
    Many thanks for your support.

    Like you, I’ve hated the term “SEO” ever since it was coined circa 1997.

    More importantly, thanks to AgentMail for raising this post initially.

    FS needs more small business owners willing to post SE questions here. I’m of the school that says, “There is no such thing as some one asking a dumb question. The only dumb question is the one that is never asked.”

    That applies to generic SE referrals (SEO), paid referrals and all the different social media channels.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1146795
    Cesar
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    Agent Mail,

    Probably one of the most important factors SMB’s overlook, is educating themselves with the current changes in Internet Marketing strategies. By keeping up to date and informed, you will have better insight in hiring the services of an Internet Marketing expert.

    Firstly, one of the best places for getting the latest news is Search Engine Land informing you daily what to steer away from and what to implement without getting burned. Secondly, make sure you are aware of the current guidelines regarding links because this is where most SMB’s come undone when incorrect advice is given and their websites and business end up in the “Abyss”.

    Now, one of the most important steps you can take when searching online, is to avoid using the search phrase SEO, instead use something more trustworthy such as small business marketing.

    PS, I like FS, so I thought I would stick around :D

    #1146796
    AgentMail
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    Thanks all for the fantastic posts. I think lots of this info will be useful to many SMBs. For me, our website I think is currently setup all wrong. It is a great informational tool, and for those having a general browse it is good. But in terms of generating a decent conversion ratio and building a permission marketing platform, it is a way off. I think I need to get this setup and running before I start trying to target SEO – but thanks to this this thread, I at least now have a sense of direction going forward. Thanks all :)

    #1146797
    John Romaine
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    Mate, check out Peep over at ConversionXL. He specializes in building/fixing sites that focus on conversions.

    Here’s the web address.

    http://conversionxl.com

    I would get the structure of your site and conversions in place before you start driving traffic via SEO.

    As JohnW has pointed out many times here – getting the traffic is only half the battle. Converting it is something else.

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