Short answer: probably.
Companies, organizations and individuals pay hundreds, thousands and many thousands of dollars each month for SEO management. Given the cash outlay, I’d think many folks would like to know if their SEO out of pockets are worth the cost. There is no single answer for every instance, but for a small business with local customers the answer is often you’re paying too much, too often or don’t need a monthly SEO campaign at all. What no SEO!? Are you crazy?? No, I’m not suggesting dropping SEO. I’m suggesting re-evaluating your SEO management fees and respective ROI.
Here’s a simple question to ask your SEO company: What exactly am I paying for?
A well run SEO company will not be offended by this question. More likely, they will gladly let you know all the ongoing tasks they handle on a daily or weekly basis. These should include writing new blog posts, on-page SEO, site optimization, Google posts, updating social pages, email marketing, creating SEO reports including SERPs, conversion, analytics, tweaking older content, monitoring Google Analytics and Search Console. The most important of these tasks would be creating fresh content geared toward conversion and SEO. The rest are certainly important but not as much as content and on-page SEO. What I mean by that is well written, customer driven content trumps everything else. In fact, it’s the content that drives everything else – sales, lower bounce rate, engagement.
Many SEO companies charge the same fee each month like a never ending car note. I’d argue a proper SEO pricing model should more like a mechanic – fix what’s broken and come back for tuneups. Keeping with the car analogy, most cars don’t need daily, weekly or even monthly tuneups and neither do many websites. If you have an established site with solid rankings your Google search rankings won’t plummet when you scale back your SEO expenses or even fire your SEO company. Well, they could tank if your SEO company undid all the prior work you paid for. This of course would be unethical, so let’s assume you’re not dealing with shady SEO operators.
Lessening your SEO doesn’t necessarily correlate with rankings dropping. Your page ranking could very well hold for some time without further effort. It’s a fact SEO takes time to gain traction and generate high rankings but once page ranks with Google and Bing have taken root, the a lot of work is complete. At a certain point, you can scale back your efforts and tighten the budget. But it’s important to monitor your page rankings with monthly reports. Content is king and if your content is still relevant your ranks can hold up quite well. Of course there are a variety of factors that negatively or positively affect page ranking.
Red flags which can hurt your rankings.
New competitor enters your market
Bad social reviews
Broken web links
Slow loading site
No meta data setup for new posts and pages
Website not being mobile friendly
Malware or security issue
Some of the above are not directly related to services an SEO company would provide. An SEO company can’t control new market entries or stop a bad review. Site speed is an important Google ranking factor but once a site is optimized it doesn’t slow down the day you fire your SEO company. Malware infected sites can definitely mess up a site’s good standing but if a site is properly hardened it won’t be vulnerable because you said goodbye to your SEO company. Mobile friendly is a must especially if you want to get found on mobile searches. But a site won’t become non-mobile friendly because you asked you let your SEO company know to scale down their services and lessen their fees.
The point of all this is to evaluate and re-evaluate what you’re paying for and what are the results from the monies you spent on SEO. Remember you’re in charge, SEO companies want your business but they need to earn it week in and week out. Getting you high rankings shouldn’t be a pay me monthly forever relationship. Rather, the relationship should be open and above board so everyone is pleased from both sides.