There's a cycle of life, cycle of economics, various cycles of friendships, and cycles of business throughout every year. You are probably already aware of those 4 cycles, but did you know there are now cycles on the internet with how search results work?
The cycle is simple: You work on your search engine optimization and you go up in ranking. You stop working on your SEO and you fall in ranking. Google makes a change in their ranking methods and you fall in ranking even more. You pay someone to work on your SEO and you go back up in ranking again.
Like success with TV and radio advertisement, your search engine ranking goes up and down based on the amount of time and money you spend on it. When it comes to paid ads on TV and radio, you usually get the bigger return when you have a bigger budget. That's because you can have your ads placed where the most people are paying attention.
TV and radio stations know what times of day they have the largest audiences, and they charge more money for you to be in those time slots. But with search optimization you really need to put a large amount of labor into it in order to get your website to appear wherever your audience might be.
Unlike traditional media advertising that can point and shoot ads out to the public, you need to figure out where your public is before you shoot your ads out there. That takes time, and it's going to be different for each and every store. There will be similarities between stores within the same vertical market, and that's because the customers of those stores tend to have similar buying habits and online social hangouts.
Prior to 2011, the cycle of SEO included building thousands of links to your website and writing low quality articles. That process was easy, and it could be automated. Then Google made slight changes to their rankings to favor local results and all the rankings shuffled around.
Those who focused on local SEO in 2011 started to see good ranking results again... until Google made some more really big changes.
Since 2012 the cycle of SEO has forced businesses to pay a lot of attention to how they are ranking and face the reality of what it costs to do it correctly. In early 2013 Bright Local conducted a survey of 1400 SEO companies specializing in Local SEO and found that 68% of them charge more than $500 per month for search engine optimization services.
In reality you really can't spend less than $500 per month and expect good results. Let me break down some of the things you might get for less than $500 per month:
1. The SEO professional will probably organize and manage several free online properties and web directories for you to make sure your company information is correct across all systems.
2. The SEO pro will probably do basic tweaking of your page title tags on your website and the meta descriptions.
3. The SEO will probably provide some link building services through an automated process even though Google has negated the usefulness of this. Many people still ask for this service and therefore many companies still provide this because it's easy money for them.
4. The SEO will review your website every month and re-tweak your page titles and meta descriptions.
5. Google+ optimization, which includes Google Maps and Google+ Local.
That's about it. That $500 doesn't go far when you spread it across payroll and the cost of the software tools that are needed to do the job.
There should come a time when all business owners need to consider how their website is performing for them, and how to make it better.
What will make it better?
The answer is to keep on top of the cycle of how SEO changes. But that answer also needs to include the realization that you can't do it on your own. There are SEO professionals out there that will charge less than $500 per month to provide services for you, but I beg you not to hire them because you will have a horrible experience and your money will be wasted.
So when the time comes that you are searching for a good SEO professional, don't search according to price. Instead ask what they offer and choose a variety of services within a budget of between $500 to $1000 per month to start.