Monthly SEO packages are what you want to go for if you’re really interested in climbing in Google. However, they can get complicated; should you go for standard or custom? How many keywords do you need?
Here we dive into exactly what to watch out for in a monthly SEO package; we cover pricing, duration, techniques, and questions to ask.
What to look for in monthly SEO packages
The main job of an SEO agency is to create content for your website that ranks in the search engines.
Because you can’t rank in search engines without keywords….and you can’t display those keywords without content.
Like this shoe seller, who writes content about foot health (avoiding shin splints, are you wearing the right size shoes?) and different types of shoes, such as vegan, eco-friendly shoes.
Image source: Lems
However, it’s not as simple as picking any keyword you like, writing an article about it and expecting to rank in the first page of google immediately.
Expert keyword analysis and research is needed. This involves researching relevant keywords, then narrowing them down based on:
- Search intent – does the intent of the searcher match the page you’re directing them to?
- Search volume – are enough people searching for this keyword to make it worthwhile?
- The competition and your current domain authority – how hard is this keyword to rank for, and what are your realistic chances of making it to the first couple of pages in google?
Say you’re a B2B company that helps local businesses find apprentices.
You do some keyword research around the term ‘apprenticeships’ and come up with the table below.
As you can see keywords like ‘apprenticeship near me’ or ‘apprenticeships jobs’ have decent search volume.
However, the search intent is completely wrong. These are young people searching for apprenticeships, not the businesses hiring them.
Image Source: Moz
So ranking for these keywords would be completely pointless, as you might get increased traffic, but none of them would turn into customers.
Instead, keywords like ‘taking on an apprentice’ or ‘apprenticeship funding for employers’ are much more relevant.
Content needs to be consistent, high-quality, a decent length, and useful to the reader.
You need to come up with a content plan and schedule, as well as a plan for marketing this content.
Bear in mind that despite all this, it’s very unlikely that you will start ranking instantly. Ranking takes time, but your SEO agency should be able to give you a rough estimate.
If content articles are the building blocks of SEO, then technical SEO is like the foundation.
In other words, there’s no point generating good content if your technical SEO sucks, because it will undermine everything.
For that reason, the first thing SEO agencies usually do is a site audit.
Image Source: SEO Site Checkup
They check for technical errors and optimize your site speed, mobile-friendliness, and site architecture, which includes correcting and optimizing a thousand little technical details such as broken links.
A good SEO agency will regularly monitor your site to check everything’s running OK.
As well as creating content, your SEO agency needs to have a strategy for developing those all-important backlinks.
Backlinks are simply when another site links to you.
For example, you sell dog products (toys, food, beds, etc), and you write a great piece about ‘How to keep your dog cool during the summer’.
This is what Kurgo has done:
Image Source: Kurgo
Then, a lot of articles about dog care may link to that page as a resource when writing about a similar topic.
And if you write a lot of consistently good content, you might get featured in lots of round-up posts, such as ‘The Top 100 Dog Websites’, like this one:
Image Source: Feedspot
This leads to a lot of backlinks.
As you can see below, Kurgo has over 96,000 links from 274 websites from just its blog.
Image Source: Moz
Google (and other search engines) simply love backlinks and will boost your ranking if you have a lot of them.
And it’s easy to see why.
People only link to content they like, so it’s essentially a sign of non-biased approval. Almost like a ‘Like’ on Facebook.
Backlinks also help Google connect relevant content together and form a kind of invisible map.
The more links you have, the more important you appear on that map.
Plus, links on other websites will bring you more traffic, and again Google ranks you higher the more traffic you have.
It’s a great positive feedback loop.
Backlinks from popular and authoritative sites are best (for example, the biggest sites in your industry, or news or academic sites).
There are many link building strategies, such as guest posting, or manually reaching out and asking for links where applicable.
Good SEO agencies also perform competitor research, where they’ll find the source of competitors’ backlinks and try to use that information to generate your own.
Local SEO (if applicable)
If you have a business that serves a specific area, such as a city or a state, then you need local SEO.
This is particularly common for brick-and-mortar businesses, such as restaurants and shops, or local services like plumbers or gardeners.
Different SEO rules apply for local businesses.
Directories, reviews and ratings matter hugely for local businesses. SEO agencies will prioritize getting as many listings and reviews as possible, and perform regular audits to make sure they’re all identical.
You also need to keep a fully-optimized Google My Business profile, so that you can appear on the map Google shows for local searches.
E-commerce SEO (if applicable)
E-commerce sites tend to have a hell of a lot more pages than local business sites, because of all the products.
For this reason, site architecture can get extremely complicated and the amount of technical errors huge, so technical SEO is usually a main focus for e-commerce businesses.
Firstly, you want a simple, flat site structure so that Google can index all your pages easily.
Then you need to make sure your keywords are the best fit for each product and category, as well as on-page SEO (i.e. making sure the keyword is in all the right places).
Although it can be difficult, product pages should have decent word counts, since lots of short-content pages can get penalized by Google.
Strategic internal linking is also a main focus. You’ll naturally have a lot of internal links on an e-commerce site, but doing this strategically can reap high rewards. High-authority pages can be used to spread their ‘link power’ to specific pages that you want.
For example, including a link to a product you want to sell in a high-performing blog post.
Product review schema is also worth doing for e-commerce sites, for example so the product rating is shown directly in Google.
Optimize for the latest trends
Did you know Google is changing its incredibly complicated algorithm (the way it works out who to rank above who) all the time?
You need to have an SEO agency that is aware of these changes, instead of turning the same old tricks that don’t work anymore and may actually get you penalized.
For example, as of just a few years ago, certain industries such as finance, medical or legal blogs need to also be careful to have and maintain high E.A.T (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trust) in order to not get penalized by Google as being spammy.
Monitoring your SEO and reporting results back to you regularly in an easy-to-understand format is crucial.
After all if they don’t monitor, the SEO agency can’t know how well they’re doing, and if they need to alter their plan.
Image Source: Agency Analytics
How an SEO Agency Should Customize Your SEO Plan
Every business is unique. Here’s how an SEO agency should go about analyzing your company.
Customer Behaviour Analysis
Who are your customers and how do they behave? Every industry is unique, and whether you’re a B2B or B2C company will make a huge difference.
SEO for a local restaurant, as opposed to a software company, requires completely separate strategies.
An SEO agency should build up a complete picture by looking at where your customers are currently coming from (direct, organic search, social media, ads?), how those customers currently interact with your site, and your current conversion rate.
No decent SEO agency will miss this step. Analyzing your competitors, particularly those that are doing better than you, can give essential insights into already-tested techniques to give you more impactful results.
As mentioned earlier, every SEO agency should perform a thorough site audit to see how much technical SEO is needed.
Image Source: Moz
Your current SEO status and marketing plan
What is your current SEO status? The higher your current ranking, domain authority and number of backlinks and ranking keywords, the better you’re in a position to go after more competitive keywords.
Image Source: Moz
They should also look at where you are focused in your overall marketing and incorporate their SEO plan into that.
What does a monthly SEO quote normally depend on?
An SEO quote normally depends on:
- The size of your site – for example, as mentioned before, an e-commerce site will have a lot more pages than a local business site, and will require a lot more work.
- Your industry – some industries are more competitive for SEO than others, with keywords being highly competitive. Therefore, to get to the top of Google takes more effort.
- Your goals – if you aim to be number one in Google for a highly-competitive keyword, that requires a lot more resources.
- Level of service – is there going to be someone managing your SEO end-to-end and reporting back to you, whom you can contact 24/7? Or is the service less intense than this?
- Custom plan – some SEO agencies charge more for a ‘custom’ plan over a ‘standard’ plan, which means you need to pay more to get an SEO plan truly customized to your individual business.
Monthly SEO Packages Duration
Monthly SEO normally incorporates a minimum of 3 to 6 months, as this is how long it takes to produce a decent content amount and pipeline, and to see results in the search engines. Content always takes time to climb the ranks, so some patience is required. In some cases, it can take up to a year.
Questions to ask an SEO service
What strategies will you use?
Now you know a bit about what strategies can and should be used, you should clarify exactly what you’re going to be getting. For example, if you’re a local business, are they going to incorporate Google My Business and directory audits? If not, move onto someone else.
How long will it take to rank?
It’s important to have realistic expectations here. If an SEO agency promises instant results just to get you on-board, they’re probably not the most honest of companies, and are OK with making promises they can’t deliver.
The truth is, though you might get some small wins immediately, your overall SEO will take time to improve, and a trustworthy and legitimate SEO agency will make you aware of this.
Which backlinking strategies will you use?
Backlinking strategies are important to pay attention to.
Unfortunately there are a lot of dodgy (otherwise known as black-hat) link building techniques that some SEO agencies still stoop to.
These include buying links (strictly prohibited by Google), private blog networks and link farms.
Big names have done this in the past, such as J.C. Penney in 2011.
Your number of backlinks will go up, you’ll actually see your rankings drop in the long-run.
So make it very clear you only want white-hat link building techniques to be used.
Ready to invest in monthly SEO?
If you’re considering improving your SEO, don’t hesitate to reach out to us and see how we can help.
At Ranq we are a boutique SEO service, which means all of our customers get a completely customized SEO strategy. There’s no ‘standard’ plans available here.
Because we only take on 4 clients, you’ll also get a very high level of service.
We’re experts in both normal, local and e-commerce SEO, and will be able to deliver whatever your particular business needs.
And it goes without saying, we only use white-hat linkbuilding techniques.If you’re interested in a great but affordable monthly SEO service, give us a call for a quick chat now.