SEO Services for a Small Business or StartUp who has Limited Funds or Budget



Lesa
I'm a small business owner trying to do everything, including my own Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Yes I pretty much suck at it but I'm all I've got because I want to retain control over my stuff as I've read stories of SEO users putting back doors in so a person can't really leave them plus I have limited funds. A couple of years back I researched a couple of companies but either the fees were outrageous or I could not be sure they were a good fit for my business (insurance).
There is so much information here but most of it goes over my head. I was just reading a post comment about how a good GMB could trump ads. I have a Google My Business (GMB), but don't really get any traction from it. Perhaps, all my information just isn't attractive and I'm getting clicks but no calls. Any advice?
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Roy
A lot to unpack here.
One thing I've learned and continue to learn is you can't do everything in your business yourself.
To avoid any issues with outsourcing you need to have standard operating processes and detailed outlines of your expectations and tasks.
When it comes to marketing in general, cheaper is never better however you can avoid issues by being more detailed in your instructions and expectations.
The less you pay, the more you have to "pay attention" which means you will have less time for more important things you may need to do for your business.
As for back doors and stuff. Own all of your property.
People get screwed bc they allow contractors to setup domains for them, you go on their "private hosting" or on their account, you allow them to install plugins only they have subscriptions for, etc…
No one can do this to you if you own it all.
I see this every day when I get a client who is coming from another contractor. They own nothing!
They figure "that's what I pay them for" yet that is totally opposite.
Anyways, this post went on a lot of directions but ultimately you'll either need to spend a lot of time learning Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or you need to spend maybe several days focused on SOPs, project details and things like checklists so you can make sure you get exactly what you pay for.
Hope that helps!
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Jordan » Roy
This is excellent feedback.
Terence » Roy
Sound advice.
Lesa ✍️ » Roy
Yes this is excellent feedback as Jordan pointed out, thank you! If I were to entertain hiring out the work, I guess my list would begin by what I want and need obviously but how do I allow access to someone? I guess that's a dumb question but don't know how else to ask it. I own everything from my mediocre WP site I built myself to a couple of paid citation services.
Roy » Lesa
Exactly.
Make a list of things you think you need.
Present that then see what the response is and what they recommend.
The more convos you have the more you should add to this list.
When you hire someone, checking off this list is important bc at minimum you are getting what you paid for.
Now, this does not guarantee results however you at least get something of value for your money.
Owning the site isn't everything.
Plugins, email accounts, social accounts, WP theme, hosting account, etc.
Almost all accounts now have the ability to add someone as either an administrator or some level of access.
That's all you need to do is add your contractor with the level of access they need.
If things sour, you immediately remove them.
When it comes to getting results in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) it comes down to a handful of repeatable tasks that need to be done every month PLUS tracking your progress.
So that means if we fix an article, we should be tracking what affect it has had on the website.
Things that cause positive results should be continued and things that don't should be on a short leash (ended after proper testing/tracking)
Unfortunately, SEO is not an exact science so no amount of money will guarantee results.
But the reality is, more clients complain about "not getting what they paid for" then I ask them well how much did you pay and what was the expectations?
The answer is always (enter some low amount of $$) + "I don't know bc I trusted they would do whatever it takes".
What would be your expectation of a babysitter that worked for $3 an hour vs one that charges $100 an hour?
The $100/hr probably has more experience, they have games they bring to have fun with your kids, they send updates every 30 min, they have checklist for putting your child to bed.
That extra effort comes at a cost.
For $3/hr they just "watch your kid".
If you have "some" knowledge of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but are unable to do the work, start with a simple contract for fixing or doing those tasks you know you need.
Decide if you want to continue after that.
I have even had success hiring off of Fiverr however it requires A LOT OF DETAILS AND ASSETS.
All I need is their labor, if they come with knowledge that is fine but I personally list out everything that needs to be done.
I spend 30 min doing that and they spend a few days working while I work on other parts of my biz.

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Joe A Hummel III
You are best off spending your time doing your specialty. Just read the posts here, and look for people who have been consistently giving advice, and ask them about their services and rates. An experienced SEO manager will handle your necessary costs for anywhere from $500 to $3000 a month.
Let them show you qualified results. I use live Google searches to illustrate what I have done and am doing, but everybody's different. Look at their resume, their website, and make sure there are no hidden add-on costs – make sure it fits in your budget. I'm amazed at how many SEO users do not have a GMB set up, or zero reviews – that should be an instant red flag.
Roy gave some great advice above – keep control of your property.

Lesa ✍️ » Joe A Hummel III
It may be obvious by now I have trust issues which prevent me from being comfortable doing more than paying for baby steps with this. I mentioned previously I spoke with a couple of people last year whose fees ranged from that $500-$3000. While $3k was out automatically the $500 could promised a lot but it seemed some of that could have been broken out into separate services. Is that thinking incorrect?
Joe A Hummel III » Lesa
There are some 100% "must have" things initially, and, with proof of actual success, you can add more that you "should have". Some people over-promise to make that sale. Others like to offer more reasonable goals, then perform better than expected. For me, breaking out services to less than the "must haves" is not really helping the client. You can PM me for a no-obligation, no pressure consult.
Roy » Lesa
At the end of the day, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is labor intensive. It is just not realistic to get a lot of high level work done for $500 a month.
I always tell people, the amount you spend will essentially dictate how much work gets done.
The more work that gets done, the more likely you are to see results.
At $500 a month it could take a very long time to get your priority items done which means it may take longer for results.
To get a lot done for $500 a month you personally need to outline your priority tasks and hire someone with little experience but can follow your direction.
I think at min you need about $1,500 a month + detailed direction to really maximize your probability of results.
Also, I tell people that you should "front load" your spending.
This means spending a lot more during the first 2-3 months of work then slowly tapering down the work.
Start at 3k a month for a few months or maybe even 6k in a single month.
Fix your technical issues, fix your site structure, get a content calendar in place, get a task list created by a pro, get all priority content completed.
After that, it really just needs to be tracking and continue to follow your content calendar (roadmap).
If your site is technically sound and you have a strategy in place then you just need someone (or some people) to follow it.
Spreading out your budget at $500 over 12 months will amount to about the same volume of work as if it is done in 1-2 months at $3k-$6k.
Joe A Hummel III » Lesa
I have multiple clients paying between 500 and 1000 a month, and many top ranked keywords. Google My Business (GMB) is included as well. That's probably true for a lot of the members here. Generally for me, and others I think, results start to show within a few (2-4) months. Proper SEO is a process; that's just the way it has worked for me. All I can do is suggest you talk to some of the members here. We all have different levels of success and experience. Look at what they have done, check their GMB ratings, look at their LinkedIn profiles, look at the sites they have worked on, or are working on. How much are you willing to contribute? Blogging can help immensely, and save a bunch of $ if you do it yourself.


Lesa ✍️
To the three website comments, I already know my website is mediocre as I built it and it's nothing special and you would laugh at the rankings. That is why I'm trying to take it one step at a time and optimize GMB.

Ferguson » Lesa
For your website check out storybrand by Donald Miller. He shows how your site should be set up. Most sites talk about the biz vs what problem your solving for the client. For SEO check out Nathan gotch on you tube for the basic's. In reading your comments I'd be starting off with the website first and make sure your basics are done. Another YouTube sight you might check out is socialty pro. His info is solid and easy to digest. 1st and foremost figure out what exactly what you want your website to do and who your client avatar is. Then make sure the info you put out fits both. What is it your clients are looking for and provide content for that.
Lesa ✍️ » Ferguson
I really appreciate this. I'm going to check these out and see what I can do myself. As little as I know about all of this, its still more than I started with so I appreciate the recommendations.
Ferguson
No worries it's confusing for sure. If I can be of any further assistance let me know.


Evans
I've run many different businesses in my life. And I spent the first four years of my digital marketing career working for two of the largest lead gen companies in the insurance niche. So I have a very good idea of what you're going through. And I understand what you're saying about not wanting to turn over control. But I can't think of a poorer use of your time than trying to figure out how to do your own SEO. ESPECIALLY if you are not tech savvy. Also, no reputable agency would EVER consider putting any kind of a back door in a project. So that really shouldn't be a consideration. You need to hire an agency. One that's proficient in both the insurance niche and local SEO.

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