Cost Effective SEO: Finding What Works for You
Cost effective SEO (Search Engine Optimization) isn’t difficult to find and many companies include an SEO component as part of their marketing software. I’ve reviewed my favorites here so you’ll get a sense of what out there in the market and what the tools cost.
Really Cost Effective SEO
- HubSpot, the guru of inbound marketing, markets an SEO tool as part of their “All-In-One Marketing Software.” If you manage the software yourself (and create content yourself) the $200/month Basic software package, you get access to their fantastic keyword tool to help you determine rankings for current and potential keywords.The tool also makes keyword recommendations, shows you conversion opportunities, and shows you how competitors rank for your keyword targets. HubSpot’s keyword tool is perfect for marketers who understand the importance of keyword research but don’t have time for a steep learning curve. (I’m a HubSpot Certified Partner, so I admit I love the tool and I’m a bit biased.)
- SEOmoz, a leading name in SEO software, offers three service tiers. You can try out their PRO SEO tool free for 30 days. After that, $99 per month gets you tracking for five campaigns, 300 keywords, and 10,000 “crawls” of your pages weekly to identify keyword errors. Upgrades include the PRO Plus ($199/month), which ups the tracking numbers considerably. If you have a large website and $499/month on hand, SEOmoz’s PRO Elite tracks an impressive 30 campaigns and 3,500 keywords. SEOmoz is a robust tool – and that comes with a greater learning curve.
HubSpot’s Keyword Tool
Sort of Cost Effective SEO
- Trellian’s Keyword Discovery tool also offers a free trial, and the $69 monthly subscription to its Standard package gets you (among other functions) 1,500 searches per day, 100 keyword density checks, checks for spelling errors, and access to two dozen filters.At $49 per month for its Bronze package (though you can go past Gold and up to Platinum if your pockets are deep enough), SEO Results tracks just one keyword, but that service includes deep research and consulting. This company positions itself as an outsourcing service, taking the heat off your webmaster.
We’re Talking Free SEO
There’s cost effective … and then there’s flat-out free. Many SEO providers offer a free trial or Basic version of their software in hopes that you’ll want a paid upgrade later. Others have very serviceable tiers available at no charge.
- Everyone’s heard of Google Analytics, a pioneering tool in website analytics. If you link a Google webmaster account to your Google Analytics account, you get enough information on searches, queries and clicks to do some serious SEO research. If you’re into pie charts, AdWords and visitor trending, this resource will not disappoint. Be wary, however, of information overload.
- SEOBook Toolbar is a Firefox extension that comes with a free SEO Book account. This toolbar evaluates competing websites, pulling in marketing data points to get what SEOBook calls “a holistic view” of the competitive landscape. I haven’t tried it – but it is well reviewed.
- Though also free, the colorful SEOquake extension for Chrome and Firefox (in beta for Opera and Safari) is not exactly geared to the beginner. As CNet noted, “the icons and numbers will be unintelligible to the uninformed user, but users skilled in SEO techniques will immediately appreciate the wealth of detail this add-on provides.”
The SEOToolbar in Action
Is There Such a Thing as Too Cheap?
Yes, according to Jordan Kasteler of Search Engine Land. A less-than-stellar SEO provider “could be practicing outdated tactics that can get your site dinged for over-optimization. And if they can’t (or don’t know how) to measure their progress, you’ll have no idea if your SEO budget is actually doing anything for your site.”
So when you are choosing an SEO provider, look beyond the bottom line to determine if the service will truly deliver the ROI you’re expecting, in the form of better SERP, more visits and, ultimately, better leads and customers. If there is a tool we haven’t reviewed that you love – please let us know: what’s working for you?