Smaller companies have smaller search marketing budgets, generally. Yet unsurprisingly, there’s a plethora of information and warnings about the risks and likely frustrations that will result from “low-budget SEO providers.”
Obviously, every type of SEO firm has an interest in discrediting other approaches to SEO, whether they are large firms that cost more and put more human hours into a campaign but which disparage user-directed PPC and SEO software, or smaller SEO companies taking shots at more expensive competitors by arguing that advanced algorithm-bots are just as good and far less costly to clients. But all this debate aside, small companies that need to gain exposure and web traffic still have to make do with smaller budgets. There are budget-friendly options that more than one search engine advertising company offer, campaign options that find ways to decrease costs without sacrificing the quality of service that is most important to these smaller companies.
One of the biggest ways to keep any SEO or PPC campaign from getting too expensive is to make very careful choices about which keyword phrases to target. Bidding on competitive ad words can reach several dollars per click. Without performance marketing strategies in place, the risk of that kind of price tag is very high. Similarly, optimizing a website for saturated keywords requires a great deal of extra effort to get enough back links and appropriate keyword density to carve out a decent search ranking for that phrase. Often called “Ego Online Marketing,” these mistakes are an easy way to blow a budget and the extra expense is often not even necessary, as more specific, niche keywords will be less expensive and have a higher conversion rate and target interested searchers more effectively.
Another strategy that higher quality search marketing firms should offer is to devise PPC and SEO techniques within a predetermined budget. That could mean bidding on a specific set of ad words but pulling the ad after a predetermined total cost is reached each month, limiting the number of man-hours spent analyzing and optimizing keyword selection, or just focusing on one specific SEM goal at a time, such as driving paid search traffic for one keyword phrase.
The most cost-efficient online search advertising campaigns bundle SEO and PPC strategies in synergistic ways to generate traffic and boost exposure in both the short- and long-term. But a willingness to set goals, compartmentalize strategies based on how they impact progress towards those goals, and to work with the SEM firm to prioritize the most important strategies based on the goal-setting is essential to stay within budget, and when done with careful attention to detail and thoughtfulness, budget-friendly SEM is entirely possible and effective.
Ryan Farrell is a los angeles based search engine advertising professional who also write articles about technology and marketing…ya know….just for kicks