I talk about pricing and return on investment a lot on this blog, but it’s a very important concept. In this post we’re going to talk about SEO as a commodity, as I see a lot of companies selling it in this way and a lot of buyers looking to buy the cheapest price. This is a very dangerous concept. If you don’t yet know the ROI of SEO, check out that post as this won’t make a lot of sense without that knowledge first.
SEO is not a commodity.
Investopedia defines a commodity as:
The key here is: “commodities may differ slightly, but it is essentially uniform across producers” – This in itself is the core issue with the digital marketing and SEO markets in general. It’s the reason it’s seen as a spam or snake oil industry and why medium sized businesses are leaving hundreds of thousands and millions on the table as a result.
Other businesses see this as a commodity, meaning “producers” do not vary from one company to another. The problem of course here is whoever charges the least will end up winning the business of the company (assuming no crazy good sales techniques are implemented.) And of course if you know anything about SEO you’ll know the most important element is the skills & technical implementation of the company you are dealing with. 1.) Do they have the technical knowledge of Google. 2.) Are they able to efficiently implement everything to build a highly profitable campaign?
Who Does It Matter To?
The biggest problem is with medium sized businesses.
Why Medium sized? – 2 reasons:
- Large companies have done the research on SEO & Google and can see the ROI. They have teams in place and sometimes even entire departments. The investment and understanding has been made and usually they make a very very large amount of money through smart organic traffic. 5-10 million a month is not uncommon with large companies through organic search.
- Small businesses usually have SEO done “themselves.” – Very small businesses cannot afford companies that can really produce a difference and from the concept of the consultants, they should want to work with the companies and businesses they can generate the biggest ROI for.
But medium sized companies are where the issue happens. Usually I see 1 of 3 things happen:
1.) We Don’t Need It.
We don’t need it approach – We got to where we are without needing SEO, why start now?
I’ve heard people I HUGELY respect in business say this exact statement.
Others say something along the lines of: “Google’s smart enough to take care of it.” Or “I don’t want to risk getting penalised.” – All totally invalid arguments through lack of understanding or from being burnt by a bad seo company in the past AND then the assumption that SEO is a commodity and hence it is not possible.
To these arguments it’s very simple – 1.) Consult with a good SEO agency that can provide a high ROI service. 2.) Understand that although you might not “need” it to save your business, was more sales ever a bad thing? This is another channel when implemented correctly would result in more sale.
2.) We Have It Covered – The “Tick It off” Myth
This one is the biggest issue hands down.
The biggest negative ROI issue that is.
When medium sized companies “tick” SEO off as it is a one time task that needs to be done it is going back to the point that SEO is a commodity. So it doesn’t matter who does it, they only need to tick the box and once ticked we can move onto the other marketing channels… This happens a lot with social as well.
Hence we’re back to: SEO IS a commodity.
The problem? – It’s frecking not.
£100 or £10,000 for SEO? Which one is better?
If you answered it depends on the person, client, competition and search engine result pages then well done, you’re getting into the right mindset.
If you answered £100, re-start the post.
3.) We Do It Ourselves
Another dangerous one.
Usually an IT guy, maybe a content writer or even someone in the marketing department said he “knows a bit about Google” when recruiting. This instantly becomes a massive issue once the CEO or director of the company thinks SEO is covered (point 2). As a result the company never truly invests into smart ROI driven seo services and hence leaves a lot of money on the table in the process. It’s a lose lose situation here.
The Core Issue
Companies are leaving millions on the table in yearly revenue through not taking full advantage of advanced SEO. I’m not talking about the basics of making sure you have a title tag and keywords in your content. I’m talking about the specific on-page optimisation techniques that will result in 50% higher organic rankings for each individual page and the off-page techniques that will result in 10-15% organic traffic growth month on month on month (forever if your off-page consultants are good enough.)
Don’t just tick the box for SEO. It’s not a commodity.