Now keep in mind, this is a different question than, "Do I need SEO?". The answer to that is yes. If people cannot find your website, you're in trouble because they are probably finding your competitor.
Unsure of what SEO is? Many of the people we work with refer to SEO as: "we need to show up in search engines". SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it is an inbound marketing strategy that helps you rank better in search engines for appropriate terms related to your business, product, service, etc. We want you to look at this as a way to get more leads, conversions, and sales as a result of getting BETTER traffic to your website, not necessarily just more.
So back to the subject at hand...should you include SEO on your website RFP? Here are some things to consider when trying to answer this question.
The first topic you should address is, "does an SEO strategy fit our budget?" SEO is not free and you shouldn't expect the person developing your website to just throw it in. It takes time, effort, and isn't just a set it and forget it type of strategy. If someone says they'll do your website SEO for free and it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This is one of those things that you get what you pay for.
But also take this into consideration...just because you think you might not have the budget for it, doesn't mean you know that for sure. You'll find that development and marketing costs will vary quite considerably, so if you know you need it (you do), you should at the very least consider including it. If you have to pull budget from somewhere else, it is worth it. Don't think of SEO as a cost, think of it as an investment.
Second you should ask whether you're going to have your developer do SEO or if you are hiring an outside firm to do SEO for you. Not all development companies offer a true SEO service and vice versa. However, remember that there are many aspects of SEO that are related to development, so having it done at the same time your site is being developed might provide better results. If you're hiring an outside firm but still want to correlate it with your website development, you should at least make note of that in the website RFP to ensure that there are no hiccups in the process.
Additionally, you should include language that ensures that SEO best practices are followed throughout the development of your website. We've said it before and we'll say it again...there is an easy way and there is a right way, often the right way takes more time, but it pays off in the end.
If your website RFP includes a content management system (CMS), be sure that you are including some language that pertains to you having the ability to manage the most important on-site SEO elements such as page titles, file names, headings, etc.
Finally, let me ask you this. Is it important that you are visible in search engines for your related products, services, brands and industry terms, yes or yes? If you are struggling with the answer, it's yes.
Even if you are a big player in your industry, it doesn't mean people won't shop around. Solidify your position as the industry leader and ensure you are showing up in search when that shopping around happens. If your competitors are showing up when the "searching around" happens, questions will arise even from your current customers.
To put it simply, you need SEO. What you have to determine now is how can I budget for it and how will we go about integrating it? Still unsure, give us a call and we'll answer any questions or concerns you may have...814.596.0020.