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If you do a Google search for “SEO cost per month,” you’d find that the majority of publications give the same answer – it depends.
And they’re not wrong. A quick survey of service providers would show widely varying prices. That’s because, like many services, there are a lot of factors involved in determining a cost for SEO.
The investment largely depends on your current business situation, where you want to be (goal or objective), and how fast you want to get there (timeline).
SEO is a marketing discipline that’s primarily focused on increasing organic traffic from search engines. However, not every company needs SEO.
You see, the determining factor of whether a business needs such a service is consumer behavior. Specifically, how do people find your products today? Are users searching for what you do on search engines?
One of the first things I do when approached by a potential client is to check to see if people are looking online for the services or products they offer.
Because even though most businesses have consumers that are looking for their products online, the reality is not all organizations have the same advantage.
A quick consultation with an SEO professional should reveal essential information that can help you make the right marketing decision.
Ask yourself this question, why exactly do you need SEO? The answer would determine if you’re looking for a one-time project or an ongoing engagement with an SEO firm.
Then there’s your target market, which affects what you have to pay for SEO. Generally, a larger and more competitive target audience means you’ll need a bigger budget.
If you sell a generic online service with a worldwide consumer target, expect a higher investment for good results. However, a much lower investment is possible if you own something like a specialty restaurant in a small town.
What SEO Services Comprise Of
The SEO process requires continuous work that evolves with the growth of your website and the ever-changing algorithms of search engines. SEO takes time; research and planning are necessary for attaining success.
When you hire an agency to do SEO, they would be doing any or all of the following activities, some of which are one-off, while others may be ongoing.
- Website audit
- Market analysis
- Competitor analysis
- Keyword research
- On-page optimization
- Off-page optimization
- Technical optimization
- Link building plan and implementation
- Content strategy
- Website management
How Much Should SEO Cost?
While SEO prices vary widely, quotes usually fall under an hourly or a fixed price model. Let’s look at the benefits of each.
When the work can be divided into distinct tasks, and you only need those specific things done, then hourly rates may be a good idea. For example, if you need to claim your business listings or build additional citations on sites like Yelp or Google My Business, this model may work.
Agree on a rate with your consultant and the estimated hours needed to get those tasks done. Be sure to assess the output after an agreed number of hours to see if you’re getting value for your investment.
By far, this is how most professionals and agencies operate. Services are offered at a fixed price but can be part of a more extensive SEO campaign. Think of this type of pricing model as project-based or monthly pricing.
Project-based pricing may be ideal for more complex campaigns, where an agency charges you on a per-project basis. And depending on your objectives, agencies will often submit a custom proposal to do specific SEO services.
An agreement with project-based pricing will have an outline of all deliverables and due dates.
With this model, you know what you’ll get and how long it’s likely going to take for the results. Project-based pricing is a great way to try out SEO services before committing to monthly pricing.
Monthly pricing is the most common form in the industry, mainly because of the extensive, ongoing nature of this kind of advertising. Here, clients pay a fixed amount per month in exchange for a predetermined set of services.
Monthly pricing requires a mid to long-term commitment on your part. Most SEO companies need clients to commit to at least six months of service.
A long-term collaboration often leads to better results and client-agency relationships. The downside is that you could get stuck in an agreement, even if you’re not happy with the results, so hire wisely.
Ask for a list of deliverables, so you know what to expect. This way, you’re managing your expectations, and there’s the assurance that you’ll be getting value each month.
With any pricing model, there’s always the possibility that you might be paying too much. Especially If you’re not that familiar with SEO, so it’s a general rule of thumb to at least know the average hourly rate.
Here you go.
Average SEO Rates
The average hourly rate is $150 per hour. Services can range from $100 – $300 or more per hour, depending on the professional’s experience and level of expertise. Monthly pricing can vary from $1000 – $30,000 monthly.
All in all, SEO services aren’t expensive if you consider the ROI (return on investment). Whatever your budget, the cost of search marketing is an investment in your business. And with any investment, your concern should be getting the best possible ROI.
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