How Much Does SEO Cost?

It’s a common question from small businesses especially: “how much do SEO services cost?”

Well, this is a big question! It’s kind of like asking, “how much does a car cost?”
A really nice luxury car is going to cost you more than a run of the mill family sedan. It’s all about what you’re looking for and what’s important to you.

An important factor to consider with SEO or SEM services, however, is you shouldn’t be trying for the lowest cost at all costs. I’d also be wary of going with an individual or business that sends you unsolicited emails or phone calls. Ever notice how those calls increase after you’ve bought or renewed your domain? Unfortunately, everyone and their mom claims to be an SEO expert.

However, the SEOs who are working in the trenches and doing this daily, we don’t have time to call or bother anyone. Honest, we love what we do and most of us do it round the clock. Our businesses flourish by word of mouth. If there’s one rule you can live by, don’t bother with the people calling you out of the blue making all sorts of promises. The real SEOs don’t usually have to hustle for business and are picky about the clients they choose to take on.

How much it costs to hire a freelancer or SEO agency varies by the type of payment contract you sign up for. Typically people pay by one of a few ways:

– Monthly Retainer ($750-$5000)
This is often chosen because it can often be the most cost effective. Usually it means you get an SEO devoted to you/your company at a set price, whether you use them or not. Sometimes a maximum of hours is set, others are completely open. Personally, I don’t like 3am phone calls, so I make myself available during normal business hours.
This is only cost effective if you know it’s important to be devoting a certain amount of time to working on your site every month. Otherwise, you might find it better to go with an hourly rate.

-Hourly ($100-$300)
Agencies typically charge more than individuals, but that’s a good ball park. (Note: I often charge less than this per hour because I have a day job. It doesn’t mean I’m not worth it, it just means I don’t need the money to eat and I truly do enjoy working with small businesses who could really use the help. Maybe they’ll remember me when they get big.)

-Project (varies)
This could be anything. If you notice, I like to work by package rates. I find it neat and tidy and I do it enough that I know how long it takes me to do the work. It’s the easiest way for me to work, not necessarily for the client though. As the client, you get to decide!

In the end, like buying a car – you can get a used rust bucket or you can get a new SUV, but unlike cars, you need to think about the long term investment in your business and what it’s worth to you. SEO is not a quick fix, but it often can be an easy fix (for a specialist), and your investment will often be peanuts compared to your increased sales.

Caveat emptor and enjoy!

5 Must Have Apps For Social Media Specialists

People have been asking me a lot about what I use and what I think the best apps are for social media. To some extent, what you want to use will always be based on your needs and your clients’ needs, but I’m going to share what I think are the best to use pretty much no matter what.

My primary goal is to save time – automate or schedule what you can – and save the rest of your time for authentic engagement with followers.

You have nothing to lose by trying them out – all of them are either free or have free options.

Also, full disclaimer: I have nothing to gain from this post. No one paid me (unfortunately!) and my only potential bias is I am Hootsuite certified. 

1) Hootsuite: I love Hootsuite. Why? It’s easy to use and intuitive. It also connects to EVERYTHING. I use the paid version and have five accounts hooked up to everything from YouTube to Facebook. I also love their new publisher option, where they suggest content for you based on your current content. Hootsuite blows Buffer out of the water with this. I’m sure the two are in competition right now, but in this case, Hootsuite still has the upper hand.

2) Buffer: Buffer is like Triberr, but without the community and super-relevant content suggestions. In the case of their scheduler, it’s superior to Hootsuite – I simply prefer the suggested times Buffer uses. Hootsuite had Tweets for a client of mine going out in the middle of the night, which is not conducive to being able to be present for authentic engagement. (Unless you’re a night owl, hoot hoot!) Also, yes I know I could have changed the automated times, but I hadn’t looked at that since I sort of just thought the times would be reasonable. Oops, my mistake.

What I also like about Buffer is their superior image posting capabilities. You get a nice preview of how your post will look and can easily set it for multiple platforms at once.

What I don’t like about Buffer is the suggested content is really general. It’s quality stuff, but very non-offensive, middle ground sort of content. It’s great if you just want to populate your feed. It’s not great if you are looking for content to really align with your brand/image/message.

3) IFTTT: IFTTT stands for If This Then That and it’s my new toy. So much potential here and so much fun to use. Their slogan is “put the internet to work for you,” but I think it should be “own the Internet like a Boss.” You can connect it to pretty much anything digital or on the Internet. I’m not going to give away all its amazing secrets (go play with it and come back!) but I will say one way I use it is to take my Instagram posts, which are posted to Facebook, and post them native on Twitter. SO AWESOME!
Of course, I can post directly from Instagram to Twitter, but then it’s just a link and that is so last year!

I also use IFTTT to scour the web for relevant keywords, so technically one could use it for brand reputation management – sort of like Google Trends or a less-powerful, but free version of Trackr.

4) Instagram: I can think of few brands/products/services that wouldn’t be successful on Instagram. I think it’s rather underused as a marketing device and my only guess as to why people don’t use it to its full potential is they don’t get it.

Actually, the other annoying bit about it is how you can’t post from the web with it and can’t really manage more than one account on one device (not without a workaround like Instwogram).

Otherwise, my post about why I think every business/brand should have a well-managed Instagram account will have to wait for another day.

5) Periscope: Periscope is only available for Apple iOS, but let’s hope they fix that soon. I haven’t used it tons, but I see a lot of potential. I know there’s the whole Periscope vs Meerkat debate, but I’m sticking with Periscope for now because it’s a safe bet. You probably won’t have to worry about APIs getting revoked!

So there you have it, the top five I use in combination. When used well and to their full potential, they give you a solid base for social media management with good results.

Let me know what you think in the comments or Tweet me @KBronJohn