Archive for SEM Campaign Steps

Budgeting for an SEM or SEO Company

With the New Year just around the corner, many companies are planning their marketing budget for the next calendar period. An issue that always seems to come into play is “What should we do with our website?”  Sometimes the question comes from a firm that has already worked with a local or international SEO company, other times it is asked at a company that is looking to build a presence on the internet.

The initial questions a company should decide upon are the objectives for their website. Does your firm want businesses or consumers finding the site? Does your company want to market to a local, national, or international audience? Is the site primarily for branding purposes? All of these questions are important when deciding how much to budget for the website and to spend with an SEO company.

Also, important to keep in mind is that SEO is not a commodity. If your company is price shopping, as most smart companies do, remember that oftentimes you are comparing apples to oranges. On many occasions, there is a simple and specific reason why certain SEM companies charge higher rates than others – they deliver on their promises. Spending $1,000 per month with an SEO company that can deliver on its promises is often much less expensive than spending a few hundred dollars with a company that does not have the expertise or capabilities to deliver as stated.

Still as with any industry, companies in the SEO and SEM fields differ greatly in the pricing they offer. Many times, companies will not mention a final price until after having a conversation with you or someone at your firm. I suggest viewing this as a positive. Most companies that have set rates, regardless of the client’s objectives, are unable to deliver on their promises. An SEO company that asks questions usually wants to know more about your objectives.

Many of the more reputable companies have base pricing that is modified depending upon the client’s goals and budget. Below are examples of our company’s pricing structure. Please use it as an example of what to expect when dealing with a white hat SEO firm. The pricing you receive from others should be within this ballpark. You may wish to pause if the pricing an SEO company quotes is much higher or lower than that below. 

Low Budget or Burned Before

Agilis Marketing offers a price plan at $99 per month for new customers who want to test the SEO waters. I have also found this ideal for companies or individuals who hired an SEO company in the past that had failed to deliver on their promises.

After realizing that multiple companies simply want to try an SEM service before committing, we created a plan that allows just that. No contracts, nor long term commitments. The caveat is that companies may only select one phrase to target. Essentially this is our company’s way of showing your company that which we are capable of achieving. Those interested in trying the offer can simply place their order online without ever needing to speak to someone. Of course I always encourage companies to call us first, if for no other reason then simply to have a short conversation to ensure we fully understand your goals. Many times clients who select this plan see an increase in sales and subsequently their budgets. Details on this price plan or located at: http://www.agilismarketing.com/seo-special/

Medium Budget – Most companies fall into this range

These are customized plans for companies that are looking to target approximately ten keyword phrases that are locally or regionally based. Pricing starts at $500 per month and increases based upon the client’s goals. Sometimes less competitive nationally focused keywords are targeted under this type of plan. A few of the factors that determine exact pricing include the current rankings for the website, when the company built the website, and their industry. These plans are quoted only after a better understanding of the client’s objective is gained. Companies can request an SEO quote online or call 1-800-SEO-1169.

Larger Budget – A company that wishes to dominate a market segment

Fortune 500 companies or those looking for stellar growth are going to want an internet marketing campaign that takes into account much more than simply top search rankings (SEO). Proper usage of pay per click, banner advertisements, and interspatial adverts are typically components of such a proposal. Pricing starts at $10,000 per month and goes up depending upon the company’s exact needs and objectives. Increasing conversions, detailed metrics, and ensuring a high ROI are a few of the features involved at this price level. Proposals typically focus on 100 or more keyword phrases, many of which might be more two word search terms that are searched for both nationally or internationally. Companies can request an SEM quote online or call 1-800-SEO-1169.

Selecting an SEO company is certainly a daunting task. However, armed with this information, budgeting for a search engine marketing campaign does not have to be the equivalent of walking through the forest in the dark. Hopefully this articles will shed a little light on the mysterious pricing SEO companies provide to prospects and make it easier for those marketers developing a budget for the New Year.

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Starting a New Website: Keep SEO in Mind

Oftentimes, I am approached by new companies that are just starting to build a presence on the internet. Many times business owners view a website as a business card – a requirement. These individuals are entirely correct in that a website is needed for a business to establish and maintain a professional appearance. However, just as a business card has little value if it is never handed out, a website has little value if nobody knows that it exists.

Understandably, prospects do not always have the budget to spend five digits to build a website and market it with the assistance of a search engine optimization company. Not surprisingly SEO and SEM take a backseat and are noted as advertising that is needed, but not required at the moment. SEO is then put off until later or added to a wish list of tasks to be completed. I suggest taking a different mentality.

While a business can certainly accomplish more with a $10,000 budget than a $500 one, there are many instances where a basic website can be built and marketed without an enormous initial investment. I find myself reminding prospects that it is much less expensive and better for their business to build a website with the search engines in mind than to go back and revise a website that is built without considering search positions. On many occasions, initially building a website that is search engine friendly, costs the same as creating one that does not take the search engines into account.

As the owner of Agilis Marketing we, I constantly encourage our clients to never overpay for any service. This holds true regardless of a company’s size. It does not matter if your company is large or small, nor whether it services an international market or a local one. Overpaying for services will quickly eat away at a company’s bottom line. This is one reason we suggest Lunar Pages when selecting a hosting company. They offer a reliable, robust, and competitively priced hosting package. It is also the reason most of our clients use Google Analytics. The program is free to use, contains valuable information, and is simple to add onto a new or existing website. However, there are services that are worth the premium charged. One key to a successful internet marketing campaign is to spend money smartly. The same maxim holds true throughout business and life in general.

With all this said, what is a new business owner to do? Research. Find the best company that charges a reasonable price. Stick with that company so long as the firm delivers as promised, but be willingly to leave if they do not. When hiring a company to build a website, make certain they have your business’ best interests in mind. Any website company, which fails to incorporate SEO considerations into the development of a new website, either does not have its clients’ best interests at heart or is not insightful enough to fully understand the importance of search engine marketing.

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Providing a SEM Company Access Information

At the beginning of a SEM campaign most internet advertising companies, including Agilis Marketing, will ask for FTP access, along with other website information, in order to perform the work required to achieve top search rankings. For instance, our company kindly requests the following information to best service our clients.

  1. FTP access to the website that includes the following:
    1. Username
    2. Password
    3. IP Address

Agilis Marketing asks for these details so that we are able to complete the on-page modifications needed to obtain higher search positions.

  1. An email address (i.e.  marketing@domain.com) along with details on how to access this account.

This information allows our company to effectively acquire SEO friendly links from external websites.

Typically these are the only access details needed.

Of course, accommodations are always made for companies with more stringent security measures or complex access procedures. This may include downloading and using a specialized VPN client or other company specific requirements.

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Select a Professional SEM Firm or DIY

Oftentimes I am questioned about the benefits of hiring a professional SEM company versus starting a do it yourself (DIY) campaign. I receive this same question from local, national, and international prospects. One of the better analogies I can give is related to the medical field. If a loved one had a heart problem and needed a blood transfusion or operation then who is best equipped to handle the work? Unless you’ve spent years training as a doctor or surgeon, chances are you are not the best person for the job. Although we are not talking about health issues, the same is true with search marketing. It is impossible to gain, within a few months time, the same level of experience as a SEM consultant with a decade of experience.

Certainly, it helps to become knowledgeable of the techniques involved in search engine marketing. However, the reality is that a DIY marketer cannot expect to achieve top search rankings anymore than a layman could operate on a loved one with a heart problem.

There are websites that truly help the novice marketer. Search Engine Watch and Matt Cutt’s Blog are two such websites. However there are not any niche websites that offer insights into international search engine marketing (I hope to change that). Rather, most other websites offer invaluable information, wasting time that someone could spend effectively promoting a website.

The flipside of websites created to help people, is a blooming cottage industry of sites that preys upon individuals and business owners. These sites target those who believe it is possible for a novice web marketer to successfully promote a website without any professional assistance. Perform a quick search on Google for “SEO” or “internet promotion” and sure enough websites will appear that sell cheap marketing packages for $100 to $500. Oftentimes, these sites promise top search rankings for anyone willing to pay their small fees. The reality of the situation is that lighting money on fire is a better move. While most of these service provide little benefit, some of them can hurt a site’s search rankings via automated submissions and other techniques used.

I cannot stress enough the importance of using common sense when promoting a business and its website. Be smart, perform research, and go from there. Most people would not randomly select a heart surgeon, take the same precautions when selecting a search engine marketing company or in the alternative, if you decide to market a site on your own, do so carefully and armed with as much knowledge as possible.

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Selecting a Hosting Company

There are a number of quality hosting companies available. When clients or prospects ask us to suggest one, Agilis Marketing typically sends the email included below or will direct them to this blog post.

Please use the link below to sign up for a hosting account. We do not host sites directly but we do work closely with lunar pages and they have served both ourselves and clients well.

http://hosting.agilismarketing.com

Then follow the steps below:

  1. Click the sign up now image link
  2. Enter your contact details
  3. Select I already have a domain.
    or
    If this is a brand new site, click the second option and Lunar Pages will register a domain name of your choice for free.
  4. I suggest picking either the one year or two year plan
  5. I also suggest selecting the dedicated IP feature (This will improve performance of the site and allow for an SSL cert)

Please let me know if you have any questions when signing up. You will then receive a few email from Lunar Pages, please forward the login details so that we are able to access the hosting to work on the site.

This hosting company (Lunar Pages) allows our clients to make many server modifications that assist us when working on a search engine marketing campaign.

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