The world of SEO can be a very hard place to get noticed. Especially if you’re a start-up or a small business.
But it’s not impossible.
If you’re set on trying SEO as part of your marketing strategy there are a lot of things you need to consider and understand. More than you need to concern yourself with, to be honest.
If you are unfamiliar with SEO it can be a very confusing topic. Combine this with an industry reputation that isn’t the best due to certain types of people/companies, and you have every right to be hesitant.
There are plenty of dodgy SEO providers out there that are simply looking to make a quick quid. There are also plenty of cheap SEO packages out there that may seem like incredible value for money.
But in the end, they just leave you thinking SEO doesn’t work. Or worse, is a waste of money.
But not all SEO agencies are like that. There are some amazing SEO agencies and people out there that will do everything they can to make SEO work for you.
They know what works and consistently deliver for clients. We consider ourselves to be in that bracket. Or at least strive to be.
There are a few key aspects of SEO that help with this consistency.
So, in this blog, we will cover the key things your SEO package needs to include. If your SEO package doesn’t cover these, you’re not going to have a good time.
As always, we’re going to be honest and pretty candid about this. So, let’s get straight into it.
This is one of the biggest things for us and we always try and set the right expectations for any SEO client we have. In some cases, it’s even resulted in us advising prospects to not start with SEO.
I’ve seen SEO packages advertised at £90 per month, some for less, and I honestly have no idea how they will get results for that much.
There is an old project management triangle that applies perfectly to SEO.
Fast & Cheap – quality will most likely be poor which is dangerous with SEO. This could result in penalisations from Google in the long run.
Fast & Good – doable but it certainly will not be cheap.
Good & Cheap – sometimes possible but it will not be fast
Just remember – SEO can never be good, fast and cheap!
Your company size and industry will also impact the possible results and budget required. For example, if you’re a local plumber you’re not going to need to be spending £1000’s a month.
If you’re a national eCommerce website you could be spending upwards of $5k per month. Some of the biggest brands in the UK will be spending £20K plus, but their turnover is in the millions.
Keep that in mind when you are thinking about your costs and how much you want to pay.
4 Key Things Your SEO Package Needs to Include
Any agency you contact should be able to give you a list of all the things that are included in their SEO packages. Some of the things may not make any sense to you but that’s okay.
You should see things like keyword research, possibly an SEO audit etc which is all fine.
Keep an eye out for the four items below though.
- Link Building
- Regular Content
- On Page Optimisations
- Technical SEO
As you’ll see some of the above link together quite nicely.
1. Link Building
Link building is one of the most important things your SEO agency can do for you and a must have for any SEO package. This basically means increasing the number of websites that are pointing to (linking) to yours.
The more links that point to your website that are of value the higher your website’s authority will be. The higher you will rank. Think of links as almost a vote of confidence to Google in favour of your website.
Links can be built in various different ways, and not all are equal. It will be important to ask how links will be built to your website and how many.
What you ideally want is a nice steady flow of link growth from different and new referring domains like the one below
Some of the ways we build links are:
- Guest Posts (posting content on other relevant websites)
- Content Led (we make bespoke content used for outreach)
- Feature opportunities (responding to PR requests)
- Interviews (we pitch our client’s stories to various websites)
- Podcasts (we pitch our clients as guests on relevant podcasts)
- Directory submissions (mainly with local SEO clients)
What you don’t want in link building is just directory submissions or worse blog comments. You need strong relevant authoritative backlinks.
If the package you’re considering doesn’t have link building included you may find the results dissatisfying.
Now, this is a very time-consuming task, and in SEO time is money so you may find this increases the cost of your SEO package. But it should be worth it.
2. Regular Content
You can’t really talk about content without saying the most popular catchphrase of the 20th century.
Winter is co… CONTENT IS KING!
You’ve probably heard that before, and that’s because it’s true. Unfortunately, there’s absolutely bucket loads of it being produced nowadays and not all of it is good.
You’ll want it in your SEO package though, most of the time this comes in the format of X number of blogs per month. To be honest you can’t really do SEO today without content creation being involved.
These blogs will also provide natural links in the guest posts that are potentially going to be created. Blogs also add topical relevant content that is great to add internal links to “money” pages. They also allow you to go for higher funnel keywords.
For example, if you are a plumber, a higher funnel keyword could be “signs my drains are blocked”. Now whilst this may not result in a direct sale straight away, it’s a relevant search term for what could turn into a purchase fairly quickly.
There are opportunities like that across every niche, from real estate to technology and beyond, so your content strategy should go after those. It will open you up to a lot more, and I mean a lot more traffic. Below is a prime example of that.
Content can also help create what we call “linkable assets”. This is basically some unique content that could be in the form of an ultimate guide, a survey, and infographics. Something that has taken time to build that can then be used for outreach to help with link building.
So, you’ll want a content calendar and some justification behind the content that is being written. Whichever SEO agency you chose to use should easily be able to provide this.
3. On Page Optimisations
If you’re not familiar with SEO this is where I might start to lose you. If I haven’t already.
On page SEO is another important SEO tactic that can have positive effects on your rankings. This may also be called landing page optimisation.
Within our SEO packages, we regularly test meta data and update the content of key packages we want to rank. This could be completely rewriting the page, or just adding a new section.
For metadata this is just trying different variations of page titles, meta descriptions and H1 tags. We monitor the impact of CTR (click through rate) of search results and see if they have had a positive impact.
Other on-site optimisations can include schema implementation where relevant and ensuring a strong internal link profile. Again, sorry if I have lost you there.
Within our SEO package, we also add CRO elements. So, when we review landing pages, we also look at the layout, what things are missing that could improve conversions? Reviews, testimonials etc. Is there anything we can do to improve the time spend on the page; can we add a video?
Some SEO packages won’t include that. But it will be important that some aspects of onsite SEO are included in whichever one you choose.
4. Technical SEO
Those things I mentioned that you don’t need to concern yourself with. Most of those fall into this category.
Technical SEO is often overlooked but small details can often be holding back your site. A detailed SEO audit can unlock some quick wins within your website and have the potential to unlock a lot more.
Essentially technical SEO is the process of ensuring that a website meets the technical requirements of modern search engines with the goal of improved organic rankings.
Some important aspects of technical SEO will be
- Hosting providers (some small businesses go for cheap, free trial hosting plans, and then later regret it)
- Robots.txt file
- Site architecture
- Page Speed
- Thin & duplicate content
- Internal link review
- No index reviews
- Checking Canonical URLs
- checking for 404 pages
- Checking for indexing issues
There’s a load of other things and I won’t go into detail on all the above as there is way too much to cover. Just make sure when reviewing packages that technical SEO is part of yours.
Most of the time this will take the form of an SEO Audit at the start of your relationship with a new SEO agency. And that’s exactly what ours does.
To sum it up
SEO is a tricky beast to master, and Google has a habit of dropping an algorithm change that could set you back months. But you can get results from it, and it could completely transform your business if you really give it a chance. Don’t view SEO as a quick fix to get sales quickly.
It’s a long-term strategy that requires patience and perseverance. You may need to accept a few months when you won’t see an ROI. But in months 6-8, you could get all your money’s worth.
Most importantly though it requires an SEO agency you can trust and enjoy working with.