Search Engine Marketing Consultant – Employ or Outsource?

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Companies spend big money on creating super duper beautiful websites and spend even bigger money driving traffic to it by advertising online or through the traditional avenues of TV, Radio and Print media. All the while never truly connecting with the unlimited perpetual supply of potential customers already searching for them every day online.

The Internet offers every business the opportunity to grow exponentially beyond the confines of brick and mortar for pennies on the dollar.

Estimating the cost to determine whether you need a part time, full time or outsourced effort for your SEO requirements is a dilemma many are confronted with?

The problem for most companies wanting to monetize the Internet is not lack of money but the lack of understanding of what really works. How much should be spent to get it started and how much to keep it producing has been a difficult to calculate until now. Although there are never any absolutes, as with any marketing there exist inherent risks. Search Engines are constantly adding to their criteria and new developments in technologies seem to be arriving daily which change the playing field adding to the confusion!

The quick answer depends on how competitive your market is. Usually the more competitive the market, the more money there is to make, but also the higher the cost is to dominate. Positioning your business at the top of the search results for Google, Yahoo and Bing may take a team effort of internal and outsourced talent. Especially if you are trying to “dethrone” a well established 800 pound gorilla.

Understand your number one online goal; to establish yourself as the “authority” in your particular market within Google, Yahoo and Bing’s algorithms and you have a grasp the effort required to replace the current occupier of that space.

These search engines and others have only one mission; to provide THEIR customers with relevant information. That means to deliver exactly what their customer (anyone using their service) is looking for, instantly and not haphazardly. In a nutshell search engines, Google for example, constantly analyze and index every website then rates them on how important the content is for the subject found there. Google considers over 200 different points to determine if a website is an authority on the subject and will display each website in descending order of authority showing the most authoritative website first all the way down to the least displayed last.

So the question becomes: What will it cost become the authority in your market? I already stated the answer will be directly proportionate to how competitive your market is. Also you must consider is where you are now compared to where you want to be in the search engine results.

A quick “high” estimate, unless you have no online presence at all and are in a highly competitive market, can be calculated using Google’s keyword tool, Google it to find it. There you can enter in the various search terms, (keywords) you want to be an authority on. If you are interested in local marketing add your city to the end of your keywords, for example ‘used cars Toronto’. You will see global and local search volume for that keyword phase, at the time of this writing “used cars Toronto” had 1900 monthly searches. Click on “columns” to display the cost if you wanted to advertise with Google AdWords and buy the first position for that keyword phrase. Multiply 40% of the local search volume totals by the cost-per-click and you have a monthly cost estimate and the amount (40%) of potential new business you could have if you held the #1 position.

For my example, ‘used cars Toronto’ has a monthly search volume of 1900 and a cost-per-click of $1.35. The calculation looks like this 1900×40%x1.35 which equals $1026 monthly cost. Setting up your SEO program is typically 10x one month’s estimate, so the start up cost would be $10260. Now to be very conservative, take 10% of the 40% search volume and ask yourself if that many new customers will provide a positive ROI. If so then you know what your estimated budget should be. If not calculate what the cost needs to be to work and look for a way to accomplish the project with that budget. Also, be cognisant of the global monthly searches which consist of people possibly moving into the area which is a great target market to go after that few do. From there you can determine the funds you should allocate to employ a strategist or outsource a search engine marketing consultant.

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