Small Business SEO Services

Mar 1st

I’m going to tell you why an SEO Book subscription, for many small businesses, is a much better investment than just hiring a firm or a freelancer.

We, as business owners, all realize that we need an online presence and the backbone of that presence is a top-notch SEO campaign.

Whether it be straight out SEO services, or help with Google Places, or help with reputation management, most small business owners realize they need to be “there” but aren’t quite sure how to do that properly.

You’re a small business owner, so am I and so are many members of our community & industry. Our work lives as small business owners are typically filled with parts of various roles like:

  • CEO
  • customer service representative
  • accountant
  • IT manager
  • marketing manager
  • janitor

The problem is that SEO can be an abstract thing or idea for small business owners outside of the web marketing industry to grasp, learn, and implement correctly.

This problem leads to small businesses getting taken to the cleaners by either woefully inadequate (and expensive!) SEO firms, competing business models (like YellowPages & YellowBook) selling their version of SEO services due to the significant decrease in revenue from the phonebook model, or just plain snake oil salespeople.

There are many qualified SEO providers out there, tons actually. There's a lot of noise as well and when you don't have a clear understanding of the business it can be hard to discern one from the other.

Finding a Worthy SEO Provider

So if a small business owner is able to carefully avoid those situations and find a reputable SEO firm, chances are that the price for those services will be out of reach or just not economical from an ROI standpoint for some small businesses (unless the firm is hurting for business or it's a new firm starting out).

There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just simple economics. If a service provider can sell their services for 6 or 5 figure contracts consistently, then it doesn’t behoove their business interest to sell services for 4 or 3 figure contracts.

A Better Option

Even if we stipulate that a business can afford to hire a firm to handle their SEO campaign, where it makes sense for both the provider and the buyer, we’d like to present another option.

That option would be an SEO Book subscription :) Compared to hiring an SEO company, your SEO Book subscription:

  • is less expensive, resulting an in much higher ROI for your business
  • is more direct and hands on, you get unbiased feedback from hundreds of SEO professionals
  • gives the owner the ability to learn the ins and outs so they can manage things themselves
  • trains the business owner about the industry and best practices so they can intelligently outsource services themselves if they so choose

SeoBook Subscription Options

There are 2 types of SeoBook subscriptions, with different levels of access. The first option is for access to our (over 100) training modules and our premium SEO tool set. The cost of that option is just $69 per month.

The second option is for access to those same training modules and tools, in addition to our community forums. Our community is the cornerstone of our subscription-based membership service.

Inside the forums you have instant access to the most up-to-date, cutting edge information where you will learn from some of the best minds in SEO.

For the purposes of this post I’m going to focus on the option which includes everything.

How Much Would You Invest in You?

When you started your small business you probably thought (correctly) that it was a good idea to at least have a solid understanding of the key concepts related to your business prior to hiring staff to handle day to day tasks.

You probably learned how to operate and troubleshoot equipment, customer service software, the phone system, the coffee pot :) and so on. You likely know who your target market is and you know what type of message you want to convey via print and web design as well as sales copy.

Those are all things that you had to learn in order to grow your business and for your business to function properly.

You Are Your Business

By investing the time in yourself, and by extension to your business, you were able to confidently hire and train staff as well as put together a traditional marketing campaign with the help of local print vendors and maybe your local web design person.

When it comes to something like SEO, where there is no formal education or “certification” (thank goodness), you might have a tough time hiring something to do something you know very little about.

If you don’t know what works and what doesn’t how will you know if the provider is selling you a bag of smoke versus providing an actual quality service? You won’t know, and with what a good SEO campaign from a reputable provider can cost that can cause significant damage to your business.

You Are No Stranger to Hard Work

Investing time, practicing patience, and being willing to learn will reward you and your business many, many, many times over when it comes to the SEO industry. The fact is many people fail because they are lazy and unwilling to learn in addition to having a poor attitude.

You have probably perservered through that and are running a solid business so why not get even more ahead of your competition, lazy or otherwise.

Breaking Down the Costs

Most SEO campaigns can expect to see results in or around 6 months, so we’ll look at the 12 month costs because you should consider SEO (just like traditional marketing) as an ongoing effort to produce results for your business.

From experience I can tell you that a full-on SEO campaign from an experienced SEO or SEO firm for small businesses will likely start at $5,000 per month here in the states. Probably higher for a firm and that amount can flucuate depending on your needs but anything less than thousands per month is unlikely.

When I say full-on I mean the whole deal:

  • keyword research
  • competitive analysis
  • analytics reviews and implementation for testing, tracking, tweaking
  • site structure
  • on-page SEO (title tags, page copy, and so on)
  • off-page SEO, like link building
  • adjusting tactics based on rankings growth or decline (and competitor watching)

If you are new to the SEO space you may not know what some of that means, but you know its important (or else you wouldn't be reading this). You know that your visibility on the web is probably a crucial component of your small business’s long-term success.

Would you really want to outsource that for what it might cost you for an employee or two, without knowing exactly what it is the provider is/should be doing?

Don’t Pay 17x More Than You Need To!

So even being conservative in my estimate, you are talking about around $60k per year and that probably doesn’t include additional money you may need for getting links to your site via branding and such.

Meanwhile, you could be investing just $3,600 per *year* in yourself and your business while learning from quite a few of the thought leaders in the SEO space. Perhaps not the biggest self-promoters in the space but certainly some of the best minds.

My dad always told me to be very wary of someone constantly telling you they are the best at XYZ, usually they aren’t. The ones who are the best are doing the job everyday and doing it well, not telling YOU how great THEY are.

It’s important to keep in mind that an SEO book subscription is going to give you the tools you need, the training you need, and more importantly the knowledge you need to be successful. Have a question?

Just ask it in the community forums and we’ll answer it. In fact, many people will answer it and you’ll get wide range of tips from folks with loads of experience and success.

Membership Format

Now, the membership doesn’t mean that we’ll execute the plan for you but you’ll have a step by step guide on what to do, how to do it, why you’re doing it, and the tools you need to do it.

Plus, you have 24/7 access to the community forum which has hundreds of members and is quite active at all hours as we have members from all over the world.

But I Can Do it For Le$$....

There’s probably someone out there that will say “hey I can do that and do it well for like $2k a month”...ok, but even at that price point it’s $24k versus $3,600 per year!!

If you know what to do with your campaign you can easily outsource the “grunt” work for much cheaper dollars + become educated in a field that is very important now, and will be for the foreseeable future. I not only write this as an employee of SEO Book, but also as a person who was a customer for about a year before joining the site. During that time I helped get our company website squared away and learned how to automate or outsource many aspects of our business: from content, to promotion, to additional link development. And if you need help with any of that stuff, there is a requests forum where you can work with some of our members.

Heck, let's even say someone would run a full-service SEO campaign for you at the absurdly low price point of $500/mo! (not likely, given that some quality links cost $299 per year each). Even before link development that's still approaching *double* the cost of an SEO Book subscription while giving you insight from only one person versus hundreds, no premium tools or training modules, and no access to the latest information in the field as well as you not learning SEO from independent, unbiased sources.

In our community you can not only find out what is working right now, but you can also find someone who can help you get the job done without paying for the markup associated with high pressure salesmen or large bureaucratic firms where 50 folks are taking home weekly paychecks for the work done by 5 people.

Discounts on SEO-Related Products

Your SEO Book subscription also comes with tons of discounts on everything from link management software, rank checking applications, SEO conferences, Pay Per Click communities like PpcBlog.Com, web directories which can help with getting exposure/links to your site, social media monitoring services, and many more solid services.

There’s literally *thousands* of dollars in discounts available to our members.

Time is Money, Money is Time

The benefit in outsourcing anything is the time saved and/or the low cost. However, there are typically significant costs (and sometimes irreparable harm) associated with outsourcing any important part of your business to unqualified providers.

Without having the knowledge of what it is you are actually hiring for, you cannot be certain what exactly you are paying for.

Save yourself a lot of money and headaches, learn from the best, and beat your competition in the search engines.

When and if the time comes to hire an SEO firm, you will be fully prepared to make the right decision for your small business. What else could you ask for?

Published: March 1, 2011

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Comments

March 1, 2011 - 8:58pm

Hey I just noticed that the subscribe links on http://www.seobook.com/join/ are not working. I don't know if this is just for me or for others but definitely want you to know so you can look in to it.

March 1, 2011 - 9:26pm

... it could be smoother.

If you are brand new to the site it works in one step, but if you have an existing free account it forces you to login again (to verify the user is inserted correctly into the other database)...that is less than idea, but if we would have automatically merged the users across the tables there could have been a lot of data corruption error issues.

March 2, 2011 - 4:19pm

New to your site and like it. A younger, wiser seo led the way. Now, back to concatenating.

March 14, 2011 - 7:36pm

If small business owners do SEO by themselves they will hurt themselves:
- SEO is not link building
- SEO is not keywords and writing for keyword sentences
- SEO is not throwing endless money at Google PPC

SEO is first of all about stickiness and ROI.
A good SEO company will help convert the web visitors to web buyers.
A good SEO will generate more sales from the same amount of web visitors, the web site has now (even before driving additional traffic to the web site)
A good SEO company will save money on PPC, while improving the conversion.

and one more thing,
a good SEO will never risk the clients' web site from being Banned by Google. the small business owner might do something that will get them banned today or in the future.

March 14, 2011 - 8:21pm

...of what clients should be actively avoiding & the risks facing folks new to the SEO field.

Debunking your comment...

1.) You slide the word "good" in there, as though all SEO companies are good. However, most are not, especially most that are accessible for full service jobs to a person new to the SEO space. People new to the search space are not likely to know the difference between good and bad until they are informed. And the people who promise the moon and work the hardest to sound like there are no risk are the professional salesmen who work on almost nothing other than refining their sales pitch. It takes knowing a good SEO (or at least knowing a bit about the craft) to find a good one.

2.) Your comment about SEO not being about link building and such is prettymuch ignorant. It is like saying breathing is not about seeking oxygen. Yes link building is a required SEO activity for new webmasters who want to compete for high value keywords. Links are currently the backbone of the web.

Sure conversion enhancements & increasing visitor value are important, but where exactly do you see any professional SEO advocating lowering visitor value? You don't. Which is why your straw man angle was so bizarre.

3.) And your claim that "a good SEO will never risk the clients' web site from being Banned by Google" misses a many crucial points

  • Some clients (say some in the online gambling or online pharmacy niche) may desire a higher level of risk to get a higher level of reward. Real professional SEOs do not seek to avoid all risks, but rather to keep clients informed of the potential risks vs potential rewards & use those trade offs to determine which path is most acceptable to the client.
  • Sometimes it makes sense to have 1 clean long term site & 1 short term opportunistic site.
  • The idea of never getting banned today or in the future sorta misses the fact that most websites suffer from perpetual obscurity. You can optimize for the perfect algorithm that will come 10 years from now, but if your competitor is doing what it takes to compete today then they are building up a war chest that you are not. Sometimes the payday never comes!
  • The biggest risk to new webmasters is not being banned, but rather perpetual obscurity that leads them to give up before they had a chance to reach success.

Real professional SEOs rarely speak in absolutes. They rarely use phrases like will never, but rather speak in a more nuanced fashion from years of experience.

Unfortunately that is where you failed badly. :(

I wish your prospective clients luck. They are going to need it!

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