do I need an SEO company

Do I need an SEO Company? 5 Questions you need to Answer

Are you struggling to increase the number of visitors to your website? Have you been wondering whether or not to hire an SEO company? If you are looking for answers to these and other questions, then you have come to the right place. My name is Francisco, and I am the owner of Planet Marketing. My company specializes in various aspects of Digital Marketing, including Facebook Ads, Google Ads and Remarketing. I am, therefore, well placed to show you the way as far as your company’s SEO requirements are concerned. In this article, I am going to;

  1. Give 5 questions to help determine whether or not you should hire an SEO company.
  2. Show you how to get a Marketing Plan for your business.

5 Questions to Help you Choose and SEO Company

“Should I hire an SEO company for my business?” That is a question that I get a lot from my readers. The following five tips should help determine whether or not there is need for you to engage the services of an SEO company for your company;

  1. Do you know your Google Rankings?

The first question that you need to ask yourself on the way to determining whether or not you should get an SEO company is; “Where does my company stand in Google organic rankings?” Feel free to also check where you stand on Bing and other Search engines while you are at it. However, the fact of the matter is that Google pretty much rules the roost as far as search is concerned. It’s important, therefore, for you to know what you are ranking for your target keywords on Google. But how do you do that?

Keyword Tracking Tools: SE Ranking

SE Ranking
Planet Marketing uses SE Ranking for keyword tracking

There are quite a number of Keyword tracking tools out there. However, as is the case with almost everything else, not all of them are created equal. Let me give you an example that’s close to home here. My own company, Planet Marketing, uses SE Ranking for Google Rank Tracking. You can check it out by clicking on the above screenshot.

Disclaimer: Planet Marketing is an SE Ranking affiliate and may get paid should you decide to sign up using our link. However, we use SE ranking on our own website. So, this is a company that we have trusted for quite some time and it should be good for you!

 So, what does SE Ranking do? Well, SE Ranking does the following;

  • Tracks the keyword that you are trying to rank.
  • Checks your pages for keyword optimization
  • White label reporting
  • Keyword suggestion
  • Website analysis and SEO checklist to help you come up with a marketing plan
  • Social media management

SE Ranking Pricing

SE Ranking Pricing
SE Ranking Pricing

The entry level plan for SE Ranking costs about $22 per month to have your keywords tracked daily. That’s pretty much competitive as far as the market is concerned. Note that you get a discount depending on whether you choose to have your position checked daily, every 3 days and weekly. Choosing tracking after every 3 days increases your fee to $29.6 per month, as you can see in the above screenshot. Price also varies depending on whether you wish to make payment for one, three, six, nine or twelve months.

I advise you to try out the 3 months plan fist. After that, go ahead and cancel if not satisfied. However, SE Ranking, or any other rank monitoring tool for that matter, is not something that will break the bank. However, it’s pretty much essential, considering that knowing where you currently stand and who your competitors are is something that you should do before you go and get quotes from a bunch of marketing agencies. Check out my SE Ranking Dashboard in the screenshot below. It shows some of the keywords that I am currently tracking. (SE Ranking Dashboard)

 My SE Ranking Dashboard
My SE Ranking Dashboard

Keyword Grouping

As you can see in the above screenshot, I have my keywords broken into categories. That’s a feature that’s available in SE Ranking. The categories or folders allow me to group keywords according to their type.  In the screenshot below, I have expanded one of the folders that I named 3rd Party Review Aggregators. These are all the 3rd party review aggregators that I work with or that I am tracking. SE Ranking shows me the search volume, along with my rankings over the past month. I have highlighted, in the screenshot, an instances when there was movement in my ranking. For the keyword “PowerReviews pricing,” there was movement from position number 5 to position number 1 between August 1 and August 8.

Keyword Grouping in SE Ranking
Keyword Grouping in SE Ranking

If I go down the list to the “Hosting,” category, you can see that I suck at this part. You can see what I mean in the screenshot below (hosting sucks). So, I know that I need to work on my blog posts that talk about web hosting. You can see that I am ranking in position 80, position 40, position 53 etc. That’s probably not enough to get even a single person to my website? Web hosting is competitive but there is a lot that I can do to ensure that I get better rankings. In other categories I rank number 1, number 2, number 3, which is great, as far as getting traffic for my website is concerned. So, with SE Ranking, you should do keyword grouping and throw your stuff into folders or categories.

My web hosting ranks suck
I am not doing well in hosting

Competitor Tracking

The screenshot below shows one of my clients, Ship Overseas. You can also see there that I am tracking some of Ship Overseas’ clients for the same keywords. That is a great way of keeping sight of your competitors and how well they are performing on Google and other search engines for the keywords that you are tracking.

I am tracking some of my clients competitors
I am tracking some of my clients competitors

In the screenshot below, you can see a comparison of Ship Overseas and Schumacher, one of these competitors. For one of the keywords that I am tracking; “international car shipping,” Schumacher is ranked at number 4 while my client, Ship Overseas, is ranked at number 2.

hire an SEO company
Comparison of Ship Overseas and Schumacher

Why Rank Tracking is Important

The real issue, with regard to keyword position tracking, lies in having information on your fingertips. That is really important. As you can see in the above example, I am able to compare how well my client is performing in relation to the competition. Having this kind of information allows me to take steps to strengthen my client’s SEO in order to improve their performance. Position tracking is but one of the functionalities that are offered by companies like SE Ranking. As mentioned at the top, you also get keyword suggestion, website analysis and other tools. That’s a lot of information for 20 something bucks a month!

Read Rank Tracking Reviews

You can see some of the keyword tracking companies that I have reviewed by following the provided link. I think SE Ranking is going to be just fine for most companies. However, don’t hesitate to check out any of the other companies to see whether or not they are going to be able to do the job for you.

  1. Do you have a budget set aside for SEO?

This is the second thing that you need to ask yourself on the way to answering the question; “Do I need an SEO company?” Certain industries are going to be more expensive to compete in than others. The screenshot below shows my business bank account. You can see that I have minimum budget for advertising of $500 per month.  And, I have available $1,465 which I can spend on advertising right now. (have an advertising budget)

Hire an SEO company
Set something aside for SEO

My advertising budget is set aside. If you don’t have money set aside, or if your account doesn’t set money aside for you or for the business, then you are always going to be wondering; “Is this stuff working. I am tight for money.” This money doesn’t go to the mortgage or to taxes. The money is set aside in a checking account ahead of time, so you don’t have to think about the budget that you have to pay for SEO.

So, as you can see in the above screenshot, all the money that comes into the account for the business gets disbursed into the Owner’s draw, taxes etc. You should look for something like this for your own business. That way, you will make SEO as painless as possible.

  1. How long can you carry SEO expenses without an ROI?

This is the third question that you need to ask yourself on the way to determining whether or not you should hire the services of an SEO company. How long can you carry your company’s SEO expenses without seeing a meaningful ROI?

The answer to this question is; “it’s going to depend on the industry.” To be frank, SEO is not the stuff of a single day. Indeed, many a business owner have given up after trying for months or even years to optimize their sites without seeing any tangible results.

Don’t think that if you start doing SEO stuff like keyword research and tracking, link building, website optimization and other thing, you will wake up tomorrow to find that your website is already being ranked at the first position by Search Engines. If you have this mentality, then you are going to be highly disappointed.

I can imagine that running an SEO company is not an easy task. That’s because no sooner has someone hired you, than they are going to start looking for results. SEO does not work this way!

It depends on the industry

I run an SEO company and I get calls from people asking me to do marketing for them. An example would be whether or not I can do marketing for Real Estate companies. The answer to this question is, “NO!” Why? Well, because it takes a lot of money and a lot of these real estate agencies do not have money. Also, in Real Estate, you are going to have to compete against established players like Trilia, Zilo and Redfin. What this only goes to show is that this industry is a tough one in which to conduct SEO for beginners. You are, therefore, going to need a bigger budget.

So, real estate, travel, insurance and all that stuff; I try to stay away because most people do not have the budgets and I don’t have the team to do that. So, again, the question is how long can you carry your business’s SEO expensive without seeing returns on your investment. Small players are obviously not going to be able to shoulder these expenses for long.

I need at least 6 months for SEO to begin bearing fruits

If I take your project for SEO, then I tell you upfront that I need at least 6 months for you to start seeing results. If you come across a company that tells you that they will get you results in a few days or in a month, then you should immediately run away from that company. That’s because they are probably just trying to get your money with false promises!

  1. What are your profit margins
Should small businesses like coffee shops hire SEO agencies?
Should small businesses like coffee shops hire SEO agencies?

If an SEO company gets you leads, how many sales must you make to recoup the costs of hiring an SEO company? That is the next question that you should ask yourself on the way to determine whether or not there is need for you to hire the services of an SEO company. I do some marketing for a company called Caffe Tazza. So, how much profit can they make from a single cup of coffee and does it justify hiring and SEO Company? Well, when I do marketing, we don’t do it just for selling the coffees. We do it for selling the wine that Caffe Tazza also stocks. But SEO wouldn’t be worth it for this specific company because there are barely any profit margins in coffee.

However, SEO becomes viable when we start selling parties for wine and we target a bunch of cougars; women in their 40s who are not married. They come here with their girlfriends and chug bottles of wine and not drink coffee. So, anyway, you should think about your profits margins before engaging the services of an SEO company.

Now, with Real Estate companies, the profit margins are much higher. However, you still have to remember the competitive nature of the industry. So again, the question to ask yourself is; how many sales must you make before recouping the costs of hiring an SEO company? If your profit margins are too low, then consider other avenues when it comes to marketing your business.

  1. Do you have a marketing plan already?

This is the fifth question on the way to determine whether or not to hire an SEO company for your business. Do you have a marketing plan already which you can take to SEO companies to get accurate quotes? If you don’t have a marketing plan in place, you are going to get pricing all over the place. The prices will range from $1000 a month to $10000 a month.

And in the end, you are going to think that SEO companies are too expensive for you, or you are just going to pick the cheapest person! So, maybe, you are looking for the wrong thing. Maybe you are not really looking for SEO but for leads.

If that is the case, then you should look for such things as Facebook Ads and Google Ads. These are things that Planet Marketing specializes in, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with me to get going right now! Facebook Ads, as an example, are probably going to be cheaper than hiring an agency. Though I also do SEO, this has a lot of overheads, including in the form of content writers, outreach and other expenses.

Do you need an SEO company?

Now, I am going to recap by answering the question; “should I hire an SEO company?” To be frank, you know your business best and you are the one that’s going to be able to determine what’s best for you. However, there are some things that I can point out;

  • Know your Google organic ranking: This is your first port of call as far as the question of whether or not you should get an SEO company is concerned. Knowing your ranking is going to be key to everything else that you do as far as search engine optimization is concerned. There are plenty of tools that you can use for rank tracking. However, the one that we recommend the most is SE Ranking.
  • Budgeting: You need to set aside something for SEO before getting started. It won’t help to do a half backed job. Your budget is going to depend on your industry. Some industries, such as Real Estate, are a bit tough to make a breakthrough due to the presence of well financed established players.
  • You need to be patient: SEO does not yield results in a single day. It can, instead, take months or years before you start reaping the rewards of your sweat. You are going to have to be able to carry SEO expenses for this long if you are going to see any meaningful results.
  • Are your profit margins enough to justify the cost of hiring an SEO company? If your profit margins are rather small, then you probably should look elsewhere for leads.
  • You need to have a marketing plan before approaching SEO companies. A marketing plan ensures that you are not scammed. It gives you knowledge of what exactly you need to have done in order achieve the breakthrough that you are looking for? Perhaps you need to produce more content or to get backlinks. Whatever your requirements, planning ensures that you approach the SEO companies with a good idea of the costs of having your work done.

Get a Marketing Plan from Planet Marketing

If you need a marketing plan, feel free to check out my pricing page. It shows what I charge for Facebook Ads, Google Ads and SEO. Remember, what I said above; you may not actually need to hire an SEO company. If you are looking for leads, it may be better to try out Facebook Ads and Google Ads. My pricing page will give you a rough idea of what an agency does. Let me repeat; you need to get a holistic marketing plan before you decide to hire an SEO company. Contact us at Planet Marketing and we will create one for you. We will throw in pricing for you. However, feel free to shop it elsewhere if you find a better offer! A plan should help you hire an SEO company. Normally, we are going to charge about $200 to come up with a marketing plan for your business. Okay, if you have any questions, get in touch with me using the comments section below.

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