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If I were to go hire an SEO firm to come help me "SEOize" my site, how much of the process could I expect them to cover? Surely one would hope for a little background and market research, and perhaps even a hand-in-hand development of a keyword/keyword phrase list, and then a gentle shove into their SEM department so they could bank off my PPC campaign, but how much deeper do they go?
I guess what I am getting at is this... are they updating my RSS feed, or advertising it, or are they building the channel for me. Are they writing my press releases, or are they just finding the best places to post them with? Are they reworking the meta tagging on my page and creating unique page titles and incorporating my keyword phrases therein, or are they making suggestions to let me know what I need to be considering as I design my site?
Are these firms really full-service or just people who know a lot more about SEO than me? I certainly look forward to some responses!
You can get pretty much anything you want: Complete full-service packages, an ala carte menu of specific tasks, a site audit to identify problems for you to correct, training, etc. Each firm or individual has different offerings and ways of working, so always best to contact them to nail down specifics.
Virtually everything you listed can be handled by an SEO firm if you have the budget for it.
In regards to the actual changes on your site...some firms will prefer to recommend the changes for you to make and have you make them, while others will make the changes themselves. In some instances, it is not possible for the firm to make the changes due to how the site is built.
Every firm will be different and the level of service and expertise will also be different. Shop around...contact a few, and ask questions.
Racing adage aside, you'll also find that while many SEOs offer a variety of services, most firms are strong in certain aspects of the trade.
It's an important point, because sometimes there are structural or navigation changes that need to be done, so the division of tasks is a factor to consider.
Your SEO costs will therefore depend upon which personality type you are. If you have a tight budget you may need to adapt to a different operational mode.
Additionally, your resources (time, staff, budget) will determine the depth of your SEO outsourcing. It is logical to perform some aspects of SEO internally provided you have the resources to accomplish them in a timely fashion.
Timely is a key word. The greatest typical breakdown in SEO is when the client produces the content. Some clients have excellent copywriting staff, freelancers, or agencies at their disposal and the project proceeds without delay. But typically, if the SEO is not in control of the copy the project can slow to a crawl.
Deciding which personality type you are and honestly comprehending the realities of your resource constraints will help you to determine how much your SEO campaign will cost.
[edited by: caveman at 6:30 pm (utc) on July 24, 2008]
[edit reason] Edited per TOS. [/edit]
I think the Niche and keyword difficulty and the number of companies competing for the niche or keyword sets the standard. In addition the level of knowledge the in house staff has at a company can also take a major play.
There are companies which are doing SEO as spammers Keyword stuffing and many factors. i will prefer a company which can understand the motto of my business and how i want to earn, The SEO should create value, thousands of visitors and 90% bounce rate is not a SEO which i would prefer for my site.
So be very choosy while selecting one, and keep your involvement at top when the process goes on, see every change and impact, i will rather go for a company who can manage both the development and management of the site and the SEO.
The site owner's budget is a (the!) key factor as well. For example, I met with business owners yesterday who are competing in the consumer electronics sector. Their modest budget and SEO needs (highly competitive commodity-based business) don't align. So, they're doing what they can afford to do which is considerably better than doing nothing (assuming they hired a good SEO).