“Any ballpark estimate for ongoing SEO/mo.? I’m trying to compare apples to apples. I’m used to dealing with companies who typically charge a fee of at least $500/mo for SEO services. My understanding is this has been mostly for monitoring the site for tech. issues, keeping up with Google changes, keyword/phrase research, tweaking to improve ranking and reporting several times a year. I’ve always disliked these arrangements as there is invariability very little accountability and I have little understanding as to what’s really being done.”

We received this great question from the owner of a small company. Many of the services offered in ongoing SEO marketing packages are based on outdated SEO practices. One company we talked to was paying thousands of dollars a year for simply having an “SEO” firm list their site in various online directories.

Another company was paying $500 a month to receive detailed automated reports, with no human analysis. Even worse, the reports were rife with major SEO errors which negatively affected their search engine optimization.

These practices are a poor reflection on the SEO-marketing industry as a whole. If you’re not getting increased inquiries to your business as a result of a monthly SEO spend, then what you’re paying for is “busy work” or worse, harmful “snake oil.”

Everything an SEO company does for you should be measured against your specific website and marketing goals. You should receive a report that tells you how the SEO work is resulting in increased conversions such as RFQ submissions, phone calls, email clicks, etc.

A Google Analytics graph showing the goal completions, by channel, for a quarter: RFQ and landing page form submissions plus emails.

The key SEO factor is creating highest-quality information that sets your business apart from the competition versus posting blog posts or adding the site to directories for the sake of it.

A strategic SEO program is based on creating authoritative and trustworthy content that answers real questions for prospective customers and drives leads that become sales over time.