99 Calls agrees that there are lots of ineffective SEO companies.
But we vigorously disagree that all low-cost companies are bad, and all high priced companies are good.
We have seen many companies burned by high-cost SEO companies, and marketing companies in general.
And 99 Calls has been very successful in promoting local service businesses at low cost.
To understand how low-cost SEO can succeed and high priced SEO can fail, assume that it takes significant effort and time for SEO to succeed.
Effort is in the hands of people.
If the average person must put in 100 hours of effort to achieve a positive result, how can one do this work in 25 hours?
If the person doing the work is above average then, this is totally possible.
Research has shown that above average workers can outperform mediocre workers by a factor of 10 to 1.
So let’s look at above average personnel doing 100 hours of work in only 25 hours. How can they do that work in even less time?
Even in SEO, many tasks are relatively the same across different customers.
With a programmer behind the scenes, an SEO company can automate repetitive tasks.
Posting a photo or article to a website, and social media?
One can login to each site separately and upload and post content and then send the customer an email to confirm the work was done.
Or our above average performer can do it in half the time by using software to automatically post content on the website and social media and send a confirmation email.
With sufficient automation, human effort is cut in half again.
Our above average SEO person is doing 100 hours of work in 12.5 hours.
Strategically, when cost is a concern, one will lean towards keeping things simple and streamlined.
Simple is economical.
Ferrari’s are fancy and cool, but Honda’s are affordable, practical, and economical and both provide transportation just as well.
In fact, the Honda actually does a better job at transportation since it can hold 4+ passengers, get better gas mileage with lower maintenance costs.
The point being that with SEO and lead generation, many fancy and complicated things do not matter, or worse, have a negative impact on ROI.
Why pay for a fancy website for a new plumbing company with fancy video and appointment scheduling and elaborate graphics, when a relatively simple website will rank just as well or perhaps better.
Fancy sites load slower and Google likes fast sites.
High price SEO companies often excel at creating fancy websites, which helps justify a higher price but doesn’t result in higher rankings or more customers.
Assuming the high priced SEO company is billing for a fancy website and other non-essential features, let’s also assume that a more economical SEO company could produce a simple yet effective website in half the time.
This brings the 100 hours down to 6.25 hours.
What does this mean in cost?
Let’s say a high priced SEO company charges $100/hr, whether you know it or not, and probably not, being most companies like to charge by project than hourly.
They’ll charge $10K to do this project.
So how much does the SEO company with the above average performer using automation and focusing on essentials need to charge?
Well, they only need 6.25 hours and only need to charge $625.
Heck, they may even need to pay their above average personnel a bit more so it may cost $950.
Big difference between $950 and $10,000.
High priced SEO companies may be high priced because they are inefficient (or have high-cost salespeople, but that’s a different topic).
And a low priced SEO company may just happen to be highly efficient and cost-effective.
We’ve all heard “you get what you pay for”.
And we’ve all heard “a fool and their money are soon parted”.
In SEO, it can be hard to know which case applies.
How does one know?
Talk to references.