In the web-driven world of today, deciding if you should get search engine optimization (SEO) services is not an option anymore. It is essential. Before we begin, it should be understood that you can’t just decide on an SEO service and go on with it to achieve 99.9% conversions. Businesses need to understand the type of service they need and the period of time they want it for. Once that is established, there will be no disappointment later on in the conversion phase.
To be clear, SEO is one part of the complete Inbound Marketing process. It brings in traffic, and not just any traffic but the most targeted traffic to your site. According to Search Engine Land,” It is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines. These referrals can turn into strong leads and sale for the business.
But, for instance if you are selling real estate, this is not something that people buy instantly as it requires in depth research and time to come to a decision. That could take anywhere from days, to weeks and even months to happen. In that case, SEO can bring the most targeted visitors but because buyers cannot indulge in impulsive conversion, a business owner might think that SEO isn’t bringing results, although it well may be.
In such cases, it is necessary to have a detailed and well-searched Inbound Marketing plan that slowly nurtures the potential customer and takes them towards the conversion funnel.
SEO is a complex process that brings organic traffic to your site. If you are getting high ranks on your website and the conversions are getting a boost, SEO is working for you. However, if you lack the ability to invest time and effort in improving your site’s stats, an SEO consultant will do it for you. The goal of every website is to show up on the first page of Google, Yahoo and Bing search engines. If your site is on the second page, no one will know you exist. Better visibility on search engines can lead to increased brand awareness and high sales.
Cost depends on multiple factors like how big the website is, how competitive the industry is, what kind of short and long term goals a company has, what pricing model they are using and more. As far as the pricing is concerned, there are different models offered by different companies. That includes hourly pricing, monthly pricing, pay per result SEO, fixed jobs and more.
Choosing an SEO consultant is like buying a car- everything depends on what you want. Do you want a Hyundai or a BMW. Many questions are asked when you go to buy a brand new car. “What can you afford?” or “How much do you want to drive?” and so on.
First things first
Let’s look at different pricing models and then see some actual numbers to give you an idea, and specify what your needs can be.
This type of SEO doesn’t run on any specific pattern or formula to success, so it’s advisable to NOT choose this kind of SEO. Setting unrealistic goals to achieve quick results is just not the way to do SEO. It is both useless and also lands you in Google’s list of shady websites that can get punished. This article explains in detail why pay per result SEO is actually a big risk.
Project-based pricing models are devised specially to cater to a client with a project in mind. Price depends on the type of project. For example, a local shoe shop asks a consultant to help them with their local online marketing. It will need social media presence and the client will explain what they need. Considering the needs, both the SEO agency and client will decide on the scope and length of the project and the pricing.
This is the most common payment model used by businesses. It includes a set fee, which is paid every month in exchange for an array of services like regular analytics reports, keyword research and optimization, on-site content improvements, link building campaigns, blog management, content generation and more. It provides the greatest ROI.
Almost all SEO agencies sell contract services. Often, monthly retainer clients also agree upon a contract service that is suitable for their needs. A common example of this is website audit, which surveys the client’s site and analyzes their online presence. It also does competitive analysis, strength and weakness analysis and keywords that can yield the maximum ROI.
This familiar model provides hourly services in exchange for a fee prescribed by the agency before subscription.
Most agencies and clients use all of these models. A client can simultaneously get a monthly retainer, use an agency’s services for a special project and sign a contract as well, thus entering three models at a time.
Whatever pricing model you go for, here are the few things you should keep in mind:
This discussion can’t be complete without fair warnings of things you should avoid.
I will highly urge you to go read this great article by Josh Steinlee on SEO pricing, where he describes choosing SEO agency as if you’re choosing a mechanic for your Rolls Royce. The article also has a very helpful infographic. In other words, to hand over your brainchild to an agency requires mind and heart. It can be a huge risk too. Make sure you research the agencies well and compare them. Talk to other people in business about their Inbound Marketing strategies.
Also, take a look at the Periodic Table of SEO Factors which explains everything, from choosing SEO to its effect on your website. In the end it is you – the business owner – who decides what’s best for your marketing. Online ads and direct mailing all have their own special share in marketing your product, but the organic audience SEO brings to your website is one of a kind.
It is the beginning of a relationship which can turn into potential leads and potential customers. Make sure you ask the SEO agency if they have dealt with a business similar to yours in the past. Try to hold face to face meetings with agency representatives to have better and open communication. Hopefully this guide will have answered many of your questions related to SEO pricing and help you formulate a unique marketing plan that is best for your unique business.
Moosa Hemani stands out for many reasons, but one is simply for his exceptional desire to contribute to the SEO community through his writing and participation in social media. You would be hard pressed to find a highly-visible SEO site that he has not contributed to in way. He is also a truly nice guy, which always impresses me. There’s no ego, but there is confidence. I’d be honoured to have the chance to work with Moosa.