Originally Posted by headz77
First of all- they would have no idea how to choose one. If you have no knowledge of the field it is really hard to know who is legit.
Absolutely correct. I think this is a better, more positive way to shape this discussion.
I do think Sean's general warning, using the less than legit SEO's, is completely valid. In fact, of the dozens of times I've helped just lawnsite members try to identify a good SEO, or even web developer, I can think of no SEO's and, sadly, only a couple of web devs. This sucks. It's something that ultimately has to be countered because they do give the legit guys a bad name. I also completely agree that so much of these issues arise from cost-driven issues. If you're hiring Dave Mihm, you're paying for legit service. If you can only afford $150 a month, Premium Super Bronze Plan from GetYourLocalBizToNumber1-SEO.net, you are going to get the dregs.
It's really no different than if a homeowner calls you to mow their 1/4 acre lot, but can only pay $20, when you quote $45. When you, hopefully, turn them down, where do they turn? They turn to the $20 scrubs and, as everyone on here will tell you, they will eventually get burned. If it's one thing the membership of site knows how to do, it's rail against those very guys. But, they'll defend their $50 fee until they die, as they should. SEO is no different, just like lawn care is no different than any other product or service.
I will say that it is very safe to say that, if you can only budget $100-$400/month for SEO, you really out to just try your best to bring it in-house. At "typical" small biz rates of $50-$100/hour, that doesn't give you much time/effort. If you have a baseline ranking that you like, or want to see some tweaks, smaller, crafted agreements are just fine. But, for full-blown initiatives, you should save your money, learn, grind, and hopefully grow to where you can hire the help you may need.