Author Topic: Is Professional SEO worth paying for?  (Read 895 times)

v8rx7guy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1243
  • Location: Bellingham, WA
Is Professional SEO worth paying for?
« on: June 11, 2019, 05:08:49 PM »
Question for all my fellow entrepreneurs: Is it worthwhile to pay for SEO?  My small business has been up and running for about 2-1/2 years now and I am really struggling to get traffic without paying for it via Facebook/Instagram/Google Ads.  I feel that if I could get to the first page of Google results for about 5-10 not very competitive keywords/phrases that I would see a pretty good increase in sales. 

I have done done a bit of learning about SEO and I have used a lot of the common techniques that are supposed to help a website rank better on Google but I am not having much success.  I have found services on Fiverr and the like where people claim to be able to get you on the 1st page of Google for 10 key phrases for $280.  In my mind, if they could actually do this, I could justify paying this.  I easily spend $1,000 on advertising throughout the year between FB/IG/Google, so if $300 would not be a huge deal that could end up being a home run for me.

Thoughts?

My Website: www.washingtoninabox.com

The SEO Service I am considering: https://www.fiverr.com/smuddin2013/top-rank-up-your-website-on-google-1st-page-with-seo?context_referrer=search_gigs&source=main_banner&ref_ctx_id=54cc6f08-1f01-4d07-9de3-fbbfa4d7e0cd&pckg_id=1&pos=6&context_type=auto&funnel=1dfe5c47-4973-43a0-a3a0-1b06cd338a06

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3756
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Is Professional SEO worth paying for?
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2019, 09:09:29 PM »
Wow, your post is very valuable!  I will bookmark it and come back for your insightful teaching on the https://syonyk.blogspot.com topic of Web SEO Optimization!

=========

(I have a burning, burning hatred of "SEO" bullshit artists who spam my blog comments section with nonsense links - and who aren't even smart enough to read the boilerplate before the comment field, which reads: "Comments on older posts are moderated due to spam issues. If you don't see your comment immediately, and you weren't just spamming me with some irrelevant comment and a link to whatever site you're trying to SEO, your comment should show up relatively soon. If you're trying to use my blog for your SEO purposes, your comments will never show up, so don't waste your time.")

Before you drop a single cent on "SEO" garbage, spend the money on speeding your site up.  It's painfully slow - and it's not just me that thinks so.  My connection is slow at night, but Google offers PageSpeed analysis services, and it thinks your site is quite awful.

https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.washingtoninabox.com%2F

I've tested it a few times, and get results in the ~45 range for mobile.  Desktop is better, but your mobile score is quite bad - and Google penalizes pages that are slow.  https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2018/01/using-page-speed-in-mobile-search.html

Fix that before you do any SEO work.

As for actual SEO companies, if they're doing something beyond just spamming other websites and properties they own, they might be of some value, but a lot of them are scumbags.  I greatly enjoy the sport of calling companies who have just been spammed in my moderation queue and letting them know what their "SEO" company is doing - wasting their time and money by posting things on a blog that's quite clear about spam comments never seeing the light of day.  Most places respond with "Huh?" - but some, I definitely get the right person, and forward on both the comment notification messages and the pages - so the person hiring the SEO company can see, for themselves, how wasteful they are.

cchrissyy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 731
  • Location: SF Bay Area
Re: Is Professional SEO worth paying for?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2019, 09:22:39 PM »
be careful, there are SO MANY scumbags in SEO.

Google has figured out their behavior patterns so it's not only useless but can actually penalize your site so that you're worse than you started because now you're associated with their tactics, even after they're done, even the "good ones" who promise they're careful or using the freshest methods.

Sometimes "being on the 1st page" is purposefully deceptive. They'll put you there by buying adwords. Really. If you have any ability and inclination, your time is probably better spent becoming your own expert, both on SEO and PPC advertising.

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3756
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Is Professional SEO worth paying for?
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2019, 10:18:46 PM »
Google has figured out their behavior patterns so it's not only useless but can actually penalize your site so that you're worse than you started because now you're associated with their tactics, even after they're done, even the "good ones" who promise they're careful or using the freshest methods.

That too.  Google is far better at detecting that kind of stuff than they typically let on - and they let it run for a while, while tracking the bad behavior, marking it internally, and letting the scumbags (SEO, "valid accounts," etc) think their stuff works - because it is working.  It's just that it only works for a while, and after some period of time, they bulk-resolve the issue.  So someone will sell a "guaranteed Google Account Generator" on the blackhat forums that seems like it works, and generates valid accounts, then in 4 months literally every account generated by that tool will be deleted at once - producing, of course, quality backlash against the author.

Mixing yourself with that sort of behavior is definitely unwise.

You're way better doing your own SEO with interesting articles and blog posts.

tyler2016

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 117
    • Tyler's Guides
Re: Is Professional SEO worth paying for?
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2019, 06:46:35 AM »
I agree with Syonyk. I don't allow comments on my site because the legitimate comment to spam ratio was 100:1.

To get a better page rank, your site needs to solve the problem people are searching for better than other sites.

On my site I wrote a short and simple article on how to do something technical. I explain it in more depth than other sources. As people started going past the first page unsatisfied with other sites, that pages rank grew. Eventually, someone linked to it on the official community board of a mega software company with a top 500 Alexa rank. That one little thing gave me a pretty substantial traffic increase. This wasn't the first time this happened either. I wrote an article explaining how to do something (back up and restore a particular application) that didn't have a detailed walkthrough. There was only reference material and message board posts targeted at experienced users. It is typically on the first page or Google.

TLDR, SEO comes down to solving the problem people want solved better than other web sites. It can take months to get noticed, but you will eventually.

v8rx7guy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1243
  • Location: Bellingham, WA
Re: Is Professional SEO worth paying for?
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2019, 08:10:10 AM »
Interesting.  Thank you all for the input, I had no idea that SEO services were a slimy corner of the web.  I am going to reconsider... I am glad I posted because I was about to pull the trigger!  Does anyone have any recommendations on websites or youtube video series to watch to help better understand SEO?

Alvin_Riley

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Re: Is Professional SEO worth paying for?
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2019, 08:40:25 AM »
Honestly, I'm not sure that this is necessary anyway.

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3756
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Is Professional SEO worth paying for?
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2019, 09:54:44 AM »
I agree with Syonyk. I don't allow comments on my site because the legitimate comment to spam ratio was 100:1.

Ouch.  Mine's far better - maybe 5:1 or so spam to actual.  It's not that annoying, but I did have to moderate old posts because I was missing stuff.

Quote
TLDR, SEO comes down to solving the problem people want solved better than other web sites. It can take months to get noticed, but you will eventually.

I've got a number of "#1 hits" or "first page hits" on Google with my blog.  I've spent literally nothing on SEO.  My content is my SEO.  About the only thing that I do in a nod to SEO is that for how-to posts, I try to make sure the first sentence is a list of useful things.

I've got (entertainingly, for a blog that isn't generally about cars) the top hit for things like "2015 Mazda 3 oil change" that isn't a video.  It's regularly a top performer on my blog, even though I wrote it as a throwaway post.  It starts out: "Things needed for a 2014/2015/2016 SkyActiv Mazda 3 oil change: 5 quarts 0W-20, 6 quarts if you've got the 2.5L motor and are a "top of dipstick" kind of person. A Wix 57002 filter."  And that's the blurb that you see - so it's pretty consistently at the top, because people find it useful.

I also have a ton of high-hit pages where I'm reviewing particular bits of goofy electronics.  When you're the only thing that isn't a sales page with the same boilerplate text, it's pretty easy to get noticed.

But I don't try to play in crowded spaces either.  I just write solid technical content in a variety of areas, and people find their way to it, which helps my search positioning - even though it's a curiosity.

I think regular posting helps as well, but I'm not sure about the details on that.  My older posts certainly still get a ton of traffic.

Interesting.  Thank you all for the input, I had no idea that SEO services were a slimy corner of the web.  I am going to reconsider... I am glad I posted because I was about to pull the trigger!  Does anyone have any recommendations on websites or youtube video series to watch to help better understand SEO?

"Write good content, that people find useful, that isn't using slimy tricks to look different to search engines.  Serve that content quickly."

ketchup

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3850
  • Age: 28
Re: Is Professional SEO worth paying for?
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2019, 10:12:16 AM »
Agreed.  Most SEO is shady at best and counterproductive at worst.
Before you drop a single cent on "SEO" garbage, spend the money on speeding your site up.  It's painfully slow - and it's not just me that thinks so.  My connection is slow at night, but Google offers PageSpeed analysis services, and it thinks your site is quite awful.

https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.washingtoninabox.com%2F

I've tested it a few times, and get results in the ~45 range for mobile.  Desktop is better, but your mobile score is quite bad - and Google penalizes pages that are slow.  https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2018/01/using-page-speed-in-mobile-search.html

Fix that before you do any SEO work.
Amusingly, I actually find his site to be faster than most (desktop), but I'm also on a hot-garbage 6mbps DSL line a mile off the road.

MaaS

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 130
Re: Is Professional SEO worth paying for?
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2019, 09:20:57 AM »
I'm a marketing consultant - so this is a topic I know quite well. My thoughts:

- The SEO space is full of modern day snake oil salesmen.

- A great SEO consultant can have a huge impact, but they don't work for these rates. I understand that $280 may feel like a lot - but it's truly pennies in this space. True experts charge a few thousand - at least.

- There is no formula to "guarantee" a first page ranking. Anybody who says this is lying to you.

- These packages are primarily about your site being structured correctly rather than improving your strategy. If your site has these issues, it may help. Otherwise...

- Google's highly paid engineering geniuses are building to match content to user intent. Modern SEO is less about keywords and more about answering what the user is trying to accomplish. I'd focus on creating useful content for specific query intents.  Start with this tool https://app.neilpatel.com/en/traffic_analyzer/ and go ahead and read everything Neil writes on SEO. He's the best IMO.

 

tyler2016

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 117
    • Tyler's Guides
Re: Is Professional SEO worth paying for?
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2019, 06:14:21 PM »
I'm a marketing consultant - so this is a topic I know quite well. My thoughts:

- The SEO space is full of modern day snake oil salesmen.

- A great SEO consultant can have a huge impact, but they don't work for these rates. I understand that $280 may feel like a lot - but it's truly pennies in this space. True experts charge a few thousand - at least.

- There is no formula to "guarantee" a first page ranking. Anybody who says this is lying to you.

- These packages are primarily about your site being structured correctly rather than improving your strategy. If your site has these issues, it may help. Otherwise...

- Google's highly paid engineering geniuses are building to match content to user intent. Modern SEO is less about keywords and more about answering what the user is trying to accomplish. I'd focus on creating useful content for specific query intents.  Start with this tool https://app.neilpatel.com/en/traffic_analyzer/ and go ahead and read everything Neil writes on SEO. He's the best IMO.

Check this out: https://www.troyhunt.com/dont-take-security-advice-from-seo-experts-or-psychics-neil-patel/. Neil might know marketing, but be wary of people giving advice on topics leaking outside of their area of expertise. Assuming Troy Hunt is accurately depicting what happened, Troy is 100% correct about HTTPS.

Papa bear

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1041
  • Location: Ohio
Re: Is Professional SEO worth paying for?
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2019, 07:19:25 PM »
Will driving users to your web page increase revenue? In my case, it doesn’t. I have no real need at this point.  My revenue is driven by old school sales, networking, prospecting, and referrals.

Now, I have friends in digital marketing and SEO, and they helped me with some paid ads, which have been marginally effective.  But they told me, best case now, is that you need to create content.  That was the big driver when we last looked into it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

MaaS

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 130
Re: Is Professional SEO worth paying for?
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2019, 08:45:48 AM »
I'm a marketing consultant - so this is a topic I know quite well. My thoughts:

- The SEO space is full of modern day snake oil salesmen.

- A great SEO consultant can have a huge impact, but they don't work for these rates. I understand that $280 may feel like a lot - but it's truly pennies in this space. True experts charge a few thousand - at least.

- There is no formula to "guarantee" a first page ranking. Anybody who says this is lying to you.

- These packages are primarily about your site being structured correctly rather than improving your strategy. If your site has these issues, it may help. Otherwise...

- Google's highly paid engineering geniuses are building to match content to user intent. Modern SEO is less about keywords and more about answering what the user is trying to accomplish. I'd focus on creating useful content for specific query intents.  Start with this tool https://app.neilpatel.com/en/traffic_analyzer/ and go ahead and read everything Neil writes on SEO. He's the best IMO.

Check this out: https://www.troyhunt.com/dont-take-security-advice-from-seo-experts-or-psychics-neil-patel/. Neil might know marketing, but be wary of people giving advice on topics leaking outside of their area of expertise. Assuming Troy Hunt is accurately depicting what happened, Troy is 100% correct about HTTPS.

I hadn't seen that, but yeah, that's bad advice. To clarify my earlier comment: I think Neil's content, and how he explains SEO clearly and simply is the best. Not that he's necessarily the world's best practitioner. If it matters :)

v8rx7guy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1243
  • Location: Bellingham, WA
Re: Is Professional SEO worth paying for?
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2019, 08:50:14 AM »
Will driving users to your web page increase revenue? In my case, it doesn’t. I have no real need at this point.  My revenue is driven by old school sales, networking, prospecting, and referrals.

Now, I have friends in digital marketing and SEO, and they helped me with some paid ads, which have been marginally effective.  But they told me, best case now, is that you need to create content.  That was the big driver when we last looked into it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Yes, I genuinely believe so.  I especially believe that if people are searching for my product, e.g. Google searching for "Washington Gifts" that if I was in the top 3 results that that my sales would skyrocket because these people are actually in the market to buy a Washington themed gift for a friend or family member, this is like a 5% conversion rate for me.  However, I have noticed that with social media advertising I do get a lot of visits, but it's mostly "looky-loo's" who are curious and then spend 30 seconds on my page and aren't really interested in buying.  So, yes I understand what you're saying, but I think that Google search-lead visitors are high percentage buyers.

Papa bear

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1041
  • Location: Ohio
Re: Is Professional SEO worth paying for?
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2019, 10:09:14 AM »
Will driving users to your web page increase revenue? In my case, it doesn’t. I have no real need at this point.  My revenue is driven by old school sales, networking, prospecting, and referrals.

Now, I have friends in digital marketing and SEO, and they helped me with some paid ads, which have been marginally effective.  But they told me, best case now, is that you need to create content.  That was the big driver when we last looked into it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Yes, I genuinely believe so.  I especially believe that if people are searching for my product, e.g. Google searching for "Washington Gifts" that if I was in the top 3 results that that my sales would skyrocket because these people are actually in the market to buy a Washington themed gift for a friend or family member, this is like a 5% conversion rate for me.  However, I have noticed that with social media advertising I do get a lot of visits, but it's mostly "looky-loo's" who are curious and then spend 30 seconds on my page and aren't really interested in buying.  So, yes I understand what you're saying, but I think that Google search-lead visitors are high percentage buyers.
Great. Then in your case, I think I would find an SEO guy and get a day or 2 of work out of them, pick their brain, and hit all the low hanging fruit. 

We get bombarded with companies that want to do this for us, with recurring fees.  I’d stay away from that, I HATE subscriptions and software as a service.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3756
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Is Professional SEO worth paying for?
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2019, 10:16:07 AM »
I especially believe that if people are searching for my product, e.g. Google searching for "Washington Gifts" that if I was in the top 3 results that that my sales would skyrocket because these people are actually in the market to buy a Washington themed gift for a friend or family member, this is like a 5% conversion rate for me.

So your spending should be more on AdWords, then.

v8rx7guy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1243
  • Location: Bellingham, WA
Re: Is Professional SEO worth paying for?
« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2019, 10:27:42 AM »
I especially believe that if people are searching for my product, e.g. Google searching for "Washington Gifts" that if I was in the top 3 results that that my sales would skyrocket because these people are actually in the market to buy a Washington themed gift for a friend or family member, this is like a 5% conversion rate for me.

So your spending should be more on AdWords, then.

I use Adwords a lot... problem is that it doesn't pay, or so I am beginning to realize.  My average CPC is around $1.00 and I make $20.00 a box on average.  So if I am getting a 5% conversion rate (which is pretty damn optimistic), that basically costs me $20.00 in advertising per sale... you can see the problem here.  If I were able to be in the top 3 searches organically, I'd be in much better shape.  I'm not sure exactly what happened to Adwords, last Christmas I was averaging more like $0.45 CPC for the same keywords.

MaaS

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 130
Re: Is Professional SEO worth paying for?
« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2019, 02:49:07 PM »
I especially believe that if people are searching for my product, e.g. Google searching for "Washington Gifts" that if I was in the top 3 results that that my sales would skyrocket because these people are actually in the market to buy a Washington themed gift for a friend or family member, this is like a 5% conversion rate for me.

So your spending should be more on AdWords, then.

I use Adwords a lot... problem is that it doesn't pay, or so I am beginning to realize.  My average CPC is around $1.00 and I make $20.00 a box on average.  So if I am getting a 5% conversion rate (which is pretty damn optimistic), that basically costs me $20.00 in advertising per sale... you can see the problem here.  If I were able to be in the top 3 searches organically, I'd be in much better shape.  I'm not sure exactly what happened to Adwords, last Christmas I was averaging more like $0.45 CPC for the same keywords.

Of the sales you have today, is there a trend in income percentile, age, gender, location? Get that data from Google Analytics then use audience bid adjustments to only show ads to those types of people. It stacks the deck in your favor. Also, use responsive ads if you're not already doing so. They'll really help your Quality Score which is what determines your CPC (it's not the same for all bidders).

MrSal

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 849
Re: Is Professional SEO worth paying for?
« Reply #18 on: June 19, 2019, 04:41:17 PM »
Also make sure where you redirect your target audience ads, are meaningful. To have a Google Ad and then just redirect them to your generic product page is inefficient. You have to build a dedicated landing page so it has meaning to the audience that clicked that ad. Make it engaging and without many distractions. Also are you using pixels for retargeting? The cost of CPC may come down when you keep advertising to people that actually went to your site or to specific pages.

cchrissyy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 731
  • Location: SF Bay Area
Re: Is Professional SEO worth paying for?
« Reply #19 on: June 19, 2019, 05:45:50 PM »
it's also worthwhile to become better at your google adwords in terms of excluding unwanted visitors. you need to block your ads for "washington gifts" from people who go on to write dc, or george, or post, or umm, whatever other famous washingtons there are, like famous people from sports, or popular events that might have gifts or ecommerce but don't really mean your Washington.  You can see, in adwords, what exact phrases brought people to you and the exclude and narrow your phrases so you don't pay those kind of clicks anymore, and in doing so, your CPC will fall and the quality of your visitors will rise. 

BigMoneyJim

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 68
  • Age: 49
  • Location: DFW, Texas
    • Jim's Personal Finance Blog
Re: Is Professional SEO worth paying for?
« Reply #20 on: June 22, 2019, 06:51:48 PM »
Attracting viewers with intent to buy a Washington-themed gift is going to have a lot of competition including from those whose per-unit overhead costs are lower.

How about a blog providing useful information your your likely sales target? Don't over-sell in the blog, just provide useful info that's not well covered by other search results. Then you'll have an audience (cheaply) that may already see you as an authority on Washington and you can convert some of that to sales, perhaps.

margep

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 30
Re: Is Professional SEO worth paying for?
« Reply #21 on: June 26, 2019, 04:27:24 AM »
I'd say yes, but as already stated in some comments, BE CAREFUL. The popularity of SEO services opened a lot of opportunities for scams and the ever changing rules of Google might lead you to just waste money on not-so-good SEO specialists. But if you found a good one, it can definitely catapult your business into success. If you're unfamiliar yourself of how it all works, research, research and research. And then try out some SEO tactics yourself at first--there are some easy practices that may help you turn your business into an SEO-friendly one. Many of it take a really looooong time though. Some techniques in backlinking may require you to create networks within community of blogs, forums, or even social media first to ease your way up into that google ranking. Heck, even creating a profile wouldn't be as simple as following steps. You would need good authority accounts to build up reputation (example is for Quora here), but when you finally establish yourself there, it could bring so much good for your website/business. There are so much more to learn and many tactics to discover. If you have time for it, then try it. If not, just pay someone to do the hard stuff :D