What Business Owners Need to Understand About SEO Before Hiring a Professional

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Many business owners assume that SEO is a one-size-fits-all approach to instant success. Hire one of the best SEO experts and presto, your website is one of the top-ranking websites on Google in your industry and you have the incoming traffic to prove it. But SEO is a much broader term than many business owners realize.

Your approach to SEO will vary based on what you want to achieve, how much money you have to spend, and what kind of industry you’re working in. If you’re thinking about hiring a SEO professional in order to race to the top of Google’s search results, you need to temper your expectations with a dose of reality.

Take a more nuanced look at SEO and see how your approach can vary based on a number of different factors.

Choosing a Main Goal for Your Campaign

When you sit down with an SEO consultant or professional for the first time, one of the first questions they’re going to ask is what your main goal for your SEO campaign is. If you’re not sure, you might end spending a lot of money on a campaign that’s not right for your website.

To answer this question, you should think about the nature of SEO. SEO means optimizing your website and its content for a search algorithm like Google. If your campaign is successful, more people will see your website in the search results and they’ll be that much more likely to click on your site. So, now what?

  • Do you want them to buy a product or contact you for a service estimate?
  • Do you want them to spend more time engaging with the content on your site (i.e. watching videos or reading articles)?
  • Do you want them to become a paying subscriber of your SaaS?
  • Are you a local brick-and-mortar business hoping to bring in more customers?
  • Or, are you just looking to expose your brand to a wider audience?

Whatever goal you choose will greatly inform your SEO strategy going forward. Remember, SEO is not just about inserting keywords into your website – it affects every aspect of your website and its content including your UX/UI design, landing pages, and web copy.

It’s about creating a user experience with a specific goal. While 70% of marketers say converting leads is their top priority, no two SEO strategies are exactly alike. Once you have an end goal in mind, a SEO professional will be able to help you come up with the right strategy.

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Putting Together a SEO Budget

Many business owners don’t really have a clue when it comes to putting together a SEO budget. In fact, cost can be one of the biggest reasons why many business owners put off starting a SEO strategy in the first place.

But the cost to put together SEO campaign is not set in stone. The amount of money you’re going to spend depends on how well your website is currently ranking, how much competition is in the marketplace, and how much work you plan on doing yourself.

  • Less than a $1,000 one-time

If you’re really looking to spend a little as possible, you can hire some SEO freelancers for an initial consultation and hear what they have to say about ways to optimize your website. From there, you’ll need to spend some money researching certain keywords. Finally, you’ll need to do much of the heavy lifting by yourself. This includes reaching out to publications for backlinking, writing optimized blog posts and web copy, and designing an efficient interface for your website. You’ll need to do some research on the latest SEO practices, as you’ll be completing some of these steps without the help of a professional.

  • $1,000 to $5,000/month

This range gives you more options to play with. You can keep a professional SEO expert on retainer and refer to their expertise as you optimize your website and monitor the results. You’ll have more money to spend on important SEO services like keyword research, on-page optimization and especially link building. Having a higher link building budget month over month is absolutely crucial if you’re working in a competitive industry with lots of popular keywords. The larger audience you want to reach, the more you’ll need to spend on SEO.

  • $5,000 to $10,000/month

Large companies with more products to sell to a wide audience will be better off with a more robust SEO budget. Maybe you’re trying to make your mark in a crowded field with major players using lots of popular keywords. This may also include a PPC strategy, so your website can rank multiple times on Google, one for an organic search ranking and one for a sponsored search ranking.  

Based on a survey by Search Engine Land, most businesses spend $5,000 a month or less on SEO. But knowing how much money to spend means knowing your company’s competition in the marketplace. If you have a completely original product or service to sell, you shouldn’t have to spend as much because your keywords are going to be less competitive. But if you’re trying to capitalize on another company’s market share, you’ll need to be prepared to shell out the big bucks.

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Setting Realistic Expectations

The most important aspect of SEO that business owners need to understand is that success does not happen overnight. SEO requires patience, so it’s best to be realistic in your expectations before you meet with a professional. You should start seeing some more traffic and better ranking metrics for some keywords after a few months, but this process tends to take a while.

To make the most of your SEO efforts, you’ll need to have a tangible way of measuring the success of your campaign. 40% of marketers say proving the ROI of their marketing activities is their top marketing challenge. Keep an eye on the metrics you care about most and revise your SEO efforts based on the strengths of these metrics.

Every business owner should spend some time researching SEO before getting in touch with a professional, so they understand what they’re paying for and whether it’s helping them achieve their goals. You need to come up with a realistic goal, set aside a certain amount of money based on the size and scope of your business, and come up with a way to monitor the results.

If you’re looking for more information on how your website and business can get more revenue, get in touch with Paul for a free SEO consultation and lead your business to SEO success. 

About the Author

Paul Teitelman - SEO Consultant

Paul is a well-respected Canadian SEO consultant and link-building expert with over 15 years of experience helping hundreds of companies rank for competitive keywords on Google. He is a Toronto-based SEO consultant who is passionate about search engine optimization and link building. Over the years, he has made a reputation for himself as a leader in the industry by consistently delivering phenomenal results to his growing client base.