SEO is a service based industry and it’s difficult to arrive at specific “guidelines” regarding what the cost of SEO should be. Many factors affect it – the competitive landscape, market demand, and what suits an individual business.
Like any business, different factors are involved. The cost structure of a home based single-person organization which uses a cell phone and Internet connection will be different from that of a big service-based agency. These cost differentials need to be taken into account when preparing SEO cost guidelines.
Get your numbers right
Before spending significant funds, you need to calculate conversion rates of website traffic to actual sales. Your marketing or SEO firm can help you with this. All related analytics should be considered.
Pay for Performance
Reputable companies often offer “Pay for Performance” plans. With these, you pay previously decided fees only when you get the desired results. This might take even six months and cost more. This system is essentially designed for clients with an established rate of traffic-to-sale conversion and who can see tangible returns with increased investment.
Shopping For SEO
There are a few types of companies you need to be wary of for when you go SEO shopping:
- Companies emphasizing links as being the main SEO selling point. Sure, some companies use quality tactics to acquire organic links and others use link profile analysis to remove bad links. Typically, these are ok. But steer clear of companies in the business of selling and buying links.
- Companies with armies of SEOs who perform the work offshore. Avoid getting involved with companies not having their experiences and first language as your target culture and native language.
- Companies with dirt cheap SEO rates. They might not be fully committed to service and education.
- Companies assuring top rankings. This is not an easy thing to guarantee. The assurance itself essentially cheapens SEO discipline.
Typical SEO Costs
How much should you get ready to spend on SEO? Some payment models are described below.
- Monthly retainers: $750 to $5,000 every month. In this range, clients pay according to their business size and the services offered by agencies. SEO agencies with lower rates offer limited services. Businesses having greater needs pay higher rates to SEO agencies offering full-fledged services. The monthly retainer amount paid by most businesses is in the range of $2,500 to $5,000.
- Fixed price contract services: Prices vary across agencies. New businesses wanting to test SEO waters usually select a contract service initially. Typically, contract services comprise SEO copywriting (at $0.15 to $0.50 per word), site content audit (at $500 to $7,500), link profile audit (at $500 to $7,500), and setup of social media site (at $500 to $3,000).
- Project-based prices: variable price. There are a wide range of projects and prices are based on individual projects. The cost of most projects lies between $1,000 and $30,000.
- Hourly consultation rate: $100 to $300 per hour. The hourly charges of individual SEO consultants and SEO agencies are usually in the range of $100 to $300.
With SEO, more than an attempt to beat Google and large companies, the focus is on trying to beat local competition. This is not too difficult a battle to win.