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As I mentioned in an earlier article about how not to do SEO, ‘Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the technique used to make your site appear at the top of the search engines (mainly Google)’. So now you know what SEO is you may ask the question: do you need to pay to SEO your website?

Note, in answering this question I am tapping into my own experience with SEO, not all companies operate in exactly the same manner.

Choosing your keywords

People often say they want their website SEO-ing without first considering the implications and what’s involved. One of my standard pre-website questions is:

Do you wish to be found on the search engines?

Nearly everyone says ‘yes’. SEO is not a yes or no issue though so my next question is always:

If yes, what would you expect people to enter into Google to find your site?

At this point people often supply me with a lengthy list of generic keywords. There are two problems here. Firstly, SEO is priced per search term, so the longer the list, the more expensive it will be. Secondly, the more generic the search term the higher the competition and so the more generic, the higher the cost.

When choosing keywords you must try and strike a balance between ones that are achievable yet still have a high enough search volume to bring targeted visitors to your website.

Keyword research can be a big job in itself and you may need to pay a SEO company to do this for you. For large jobs it is money well spent as it means you don’t end up paying to get number one for search terms that are of no use to your business.

Don’t rush in

When a new site is launched it will not appear in Google straight away. When it does finally appear it could be several months before Google assigns it its full search engine ranking (this is to prevent fly-by-night spam websites).

What you can expect as part of a standard website build

If there is any chance at all that you want your site SEO’d (even if it’s not right away) always use a company or individual with SEO knowledge; many designers don’t really know or care what it is. To someone who knows how, building a web page to be search engine friendly and therefore SEOable in the future doesn’t take any longer than one that doesn’t. For this reason I build websites to be search engine friendly by default.

Although most companies (myself included) do not automatically include SEO as part of a website quote, it does not take too much time or effort to optimise the home page for your primary keyphrase and get some links to it (links ultimately determine a page’s position). Again, for this reason I can include this level of service free-of-charge. This is an economical way of doing it as you can leave the site for a few months to see how it hatches out before spending any money on it. Many of my clients have achieved top positions on Google without spending a penny.

How to bring the price down

If the price for SEO is too expensive you can bring the price down by three main ways:

  1. Have fewer keywords
  2. Have less generic/more specific keywords
  3. Localise the search terms (E.g. ‘web design Leeds’ instead of ‘web design’)

If you need a website with SEO call me on 07843 483 078 or get a free quote online.

Tim Bennett is a Leeds-based web designer from Yorkshire. He has a First Class Honours degree in Computing from Leeds Metropolitan University and currently runs his own one-man web design company, Texelate.