Search Engine Bytes
 by Casey Markee

Question of the Month



My webmaster wants to charge me $250 per month to maintain my website at the top of the search engines... is this a good deal?

Time and again we are asked "how much is the 'going rate' for keeping a web site at the top of the search engines?"

The answer is simple. Treat it like advertising. Just as you would when you take out an ad in a magazine or newspaper and track your results. Do the same with the search engine "position maintenance".

I hear you saying...

"But I can't really tell how much business I will get if my page comes up on top... and I'm not sure if I should spend the money".

That's right. And, that's exactly the question you are faced with when you place any ad -- whether it be radio, TV, magazine, newspaper, etc.

All advertising is a risk in the beginning. It is a process of discovering what works and what doesn't work. However, if you track your results you find out quickly if your advertising dollars are being well spent. Search engine position maintenance is no different and any fees you pay for such services should be looked upon as advertising costs.

Now from here, the question gets stickier. How much of a fee is reasonable? Here's four examples I'll use to illustrate.

  1. If you own a hardware store in Spokane, WA then $250 per month is probably too much. Why? ...because the keyword category is not very competitive and, therefore, position maintenance should be pretty easy -- i.e. less time intensive. A webmaster working on this project might be able to design a single page that will stay in the Top 10 for several months.

    Another consideration is, $250 per month can probably be better spent on local advertising where you have an opportunity ...

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