Your SEO Pricing Questions Answered

The essence of running a business is to sell. That is only possible when potential customers become aware of its existence and what it offers. SEO is designed to do exactly that. Amplify business’ visibility at the top of SERPs where millions of product and service hungry people browse all day in search of them. SEO drives the relevant part of this huge online traffic to your business. While many strongly agree on the benefits of SEO, its value is still debatable. This is evident by the many questions surrounding SEO pricing and the purpose of this article is to provide answers.

Why is SEO costly and is it really worth paying for?

Most business owners who’ve been skeptical about the high nature of SEO pricing have resorted to DIY in a bid to evade the expense of having it done professionally; the results -below par if not catastrophic. SEO is more than just reading a couple blog posts and applying what you learn. It’s a full time campaign that requires advanced research and analytic skills, language and writing flare, influential networking and outreach capabilities among other expertise. It swallows huge amounts of time. Special software are necessary for optimal results and they don’t come cheap. How then is all this expected to be a cheap affair? In addition, SEO gives you returns on what you invest. Yes, SEO is an investment as it elevates brand awareness which pumps up organic website traffic and creates a surge in new leads. These eventually translate to sales and thus increased revenues. By shifting your mindset from expense to investment, you’ll realise it is worth every penny.

What do I get when I pay for SEO?

What you get when you pay for SEO depends on what the agency is offering for that given price. There are different SEO pricing models which we shall look at later that offer a variety of SEO services. Here are the foundational ones you should expect to hear when discussing charges. While the list is not comprehensive, these are core tasks that your agency will perform in a typical SEO campaign.

  1. Research (keyword and market)

  2. Competitor analysis

  3. On-page optimisation

  4. Off-page optimisation

  5. Content development

  6. Reporting

What factors influence SEO pricing models?

A combination of factors influence SEO pricing models. Time and breadth of work are common metrics for setting prices. Fresh sites for example, need a lot of work and are more time intensive than established sites that have had some form of SEO done before. The same applies to businesses in highly competitive industries that demand a stronger push. The clients’ goals also play an important role in price determination. Where do they want to rank? Locally? Nationally? Globally?

In addition, more experienced agencies charge a notch higher than budding ones. Here are some common pricing models depending on the aforementioned factors;

  • Hourly billing

This is where the total hours spent on SEO whether monthly or as demanded are calculated using a specified rate per hour. It is ideal for those who already achieved their SEO goals and need a few tweaks here and there every now and then.

  • Monthly retainers

This is a fixed amount payable monthly for a long term ongoing contract. This is especially true when starting out as you will need up to 6 months of continuous and intense SEO to bear fruits.

  • One-off service

In this plan, you don’t get locked in a contract. Pay is for a one time service normally on-site optimisation. Here, the size of the website may be a determinant of price in some agencies.

  • National SEO

This plan is for businesses aiming for a nationwide coverage. It is very competitive as it means battling it out with other businesses in the category on a national level.

  • Local SEO

Local SEO is aimed at ranking businesses within a smaller geographic area. It requires a far different set of services such as GMB, directory listing, citations etc. and that are less demanding than national SEO. Nonetheless, local SEO is just as competitive.

  • SEO Audit

This service offers a health check of the website by evaluating its performance on search engines, highlighting areas of weakness and recommending improvements. The exercise usually take a few hours and can be charged at a flat fee or hourly rate.

So, how much then should you budget for SEO?

Well, given the above parameters, you really can’t place a definite price tag on SEO. Even if you could, there are more important considerations other than price. Take for example, the expertise and reputation of the agency, your business goals. These are more critical than price. Even though too high a price is not a guarantee for quality, extremely cheap offers are a red flag. Unless they are promotional discounted rates, cheap is a direct reflection of the amount of time and effort that will be put towards your campaign. Simply put, there is not right or wrong budget as long as it gives you back returns on what you put in. Invest as much as the value you put on appearing at the coveted spots in search engines.