SEO Services: How Much Should You Be Spending?
Just about every business needs to make the decision as to how much they want to spend on SEO. Online marketing is crucial to surviving in today’s web-driven world. Therefore, a question that every professional in the business industry must ask themselves is how much money they will spend on search engine optimization. Below, we will help provide you with the information that you require to make informed decisions regarding that question as well as some valuable tips on how SEO marketing agencies operate, as this will assist you in being successful as you work to create a partnership with an online marketing firm.
Payment Models for SEO
In order to fully understand the money that is going to be discussed momentarily, you need to understand various payment models that are utilized by marketing agencies. As a general rule, these agencies offer four primary types of services and payments, which are as follows:
- Monthly Retailers – With this particular model, clients will pay a certain amount of money on a monthly basis and receive agreed-upon services. This is probably the most frequently used payment model due to the fact that it offers the largest return on investment (ROI). These types of arrangements include on-site content improvements, consistent analytic reports, keyword research, link building, press releases, and optimization.
- Fixed-Price Contract Services – Most SEO agencies offer contract services. In most cases, contract services are selected by a client prior to engaging in a monthly retainer. The types of services that are offered are usually advertised on the agency’s website with their price. An example is a website audit, which determines the strengths and weaknesses of a business’s online presence, keywords with the best potential to obtain the highest ROI, and a competitive analysis.
- Project-Based Pricing – This is very similar to the aforementioned fixed-price contract services except that project fees feature custom projects specifically for a certain client. As a result, the pricing will vary from project to project. An example would be that a local bakery is requesting assistance with their online marketing. They are interested in getting their social media accounts up and going. Together, the SEO agency and the bakery will determine the project scope and cost.
- Consulting by the Hour – This type of service is where consulting (information or certain services) is provided by the SEO agency to the client for an hourly fee.
Just about all SEO agencies will make use of the aforementioned payment models. In many cases, agencies will make use of multiple models and clients may actually use more than one at any given time. For example, a business could decide to purchase a contract service, enter into a monthly retainer, and work on a special project all at the same time – that’s three different payment models simultaneously.
Typical SEO Costs
What exactly should a business expect to pay when it comes to SEO? Based on the four payment models previously mentioned, here is a general breakdown of what you can expect to pay for SEO services:
- Monthly Retainer – $500 to $5,000 Monthly – The price of a monthly retainer will vary depending on the size of a business as well as the extent of an agency’s services. Smaller SEO agencies tend to offer monthly retainers toward the lower end and usually have a limited range of services, while larger full-service agencies have the higher monthly retainers since they have many more services to offer. As a general rule, the average monthly retainer is $2,500 and up.
- Fixed-Priced Contract Services – Prices Vary – As a general rule, when a business is just getting their feet wet with SEO, they will opt for a contract service. This tends to include copywriting (offered somewhere between $0.15 and $0.50 per word), link profile audit (between $500 and $7,500), site content audit (between $500 and $7,500), and social media setup (between $500 and $3,000).
- Project-Based Pricing – Prices Vary – Due to the fact the projects can vary widely, the prices can vary as well. In fact, projects can range anywhere from around $1,000 to $30,000 or more, depending on the scope of the specific project.
- Consulting by the Hour - $100 to $300 Hourly – Regardless of whether you are dealing with an individual or an agency, an SEO consultant typically charges somewhere between $100 and $300 for every hour that they consult with you.
Things to Keep an Eye Out for
When it comes to pricing with SEO agencies, there are always a few things that you need to be careful about. To ensure that you don’t deal with an agency that is dealing in unethical business practices, here is what to be cautious of:
- Guarantees – Unfortunately, SEO agencies are unable to provide you a 100 percent guarantee that they will be able to this or that for you and your business. Why? Well, it’s simple: this particular type of industry is constantly changing.
- Instant Results – While it is true that you can trick the system to get instant results sometimes, it will do you more harm than good in the long-term. More often than not, these types of results involve using SEO practices that are “illegal” when it comes to search engine webmaster guidelines. Google does look for these types of practices and the search engine will penalize those that use them, which will cause you to lose valuable rankings that could ultimately take you months to bounce back from.
- #1 Position in Google – If you are promised by an SEO agency to get that first spot in Google, you are going to be extremely excited. However, don’t get overly excited, as it is a promise that is often too good to be true. It is not a promise that they can guarantee you. It is something that has to be worked hard for – and, even then, it may still not happen.
- "Too Good To Be True" Monthly Costs – With SEO, quality service simply doesn’t come cheap. You want the best of the best, and it comes at a price. Don’t look for those unbelievable deals or rock bottom prices.
- Shady Link Building – Link building is an integral element of SEO. Without inbound links, it is impossible to have a website that ranks well within search engine results. Unfortunately, there is a negative side to the process. You need to understand link trust, which is simply securing trust in order to appearing high in rankings. Prior to entering into a contract with an agency, you need to make certain that they engage in ethical, white label link building services. If necessary, ask them where they normally obtain links for businesses within your particular industry.
Some Things to Consider
As you look for an agency to work with, you will want to consider the following things before you make a final decision:
- Since SEO takes time and effort, monthly retainer arrangements are often recommended. SEO is a long-term business investment. While there are instances when it will be best to utilize a major push and aggressive campaign, the best SEO results will be realized through a long-term, steady relationship. As a general rule, you won’t see results within the first month or two. SEO results are definitely not instant. Instead, you will see results come in down the road, which will continue to produce steadily for as long as you continue to invest.
- SEO changes, which means your rankings will as well. There are various competitors out there in your industry, and there are always new ones joining the field. As a result, your rankings will rise and fall. Not only that, but they will rise and fall as a result of the changing algorithms. This is why one-and-done techniques will not work. You will need to make sure to keep a constant eye on your analytics in order to keep your website ranking and performing well.
- All SEO services are NOT created equal. While it has been mentioned previously, all services are not created the same. You should also not look for the lowest-priced agency. Instead, find an agency that clearly defines its services and educates you.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of SEO. In today’s day and age, your business needs a website. The goal of that website is to improve or increase business. Unfortunately, if no one can locate your site, why even waste the time, effort and money on having one? This is why it is important to have SEO and locate a quality SEO agency to ensure people can locate your website/business.
- It’s recommended to hire an SEO service. While it is true that you could give the SEO thing a go on your own, it is often recommended to hire a professional to take over the reigns for you. They have the expertise and the skills to ensure that it is all done correctly the first go-around. If you try to do it yourself, you probably won’t get the same level of return on investment (ROI) had you simply hired a knowledgeable SEO agency.
It’s All Up to You
For the majority of businesses, SEO is the best return on investment marketing effort. The benefits that SEO provides clearly exceed the value of other types of marketing, including online advertisements, broadcast advertising, direct mailing, etc.
Once, it may have been a decision as to whether a business required SEO services; however, this is no longer the case. Now, it all boils down to how much a business needs to spend. In the end, assuming a reputable SEO agency is being dealt with, a business is going to realize significant amounts of revenue.
So, how much is that worth to you and your business?
If you need help getting SEO set up for your business, contact WebDetail to discuss it in more detail. We can answer any questions that you may have or simply start preparing a marketing plan, if you’re ready.