Itamar Gero is the founder of SEOReseller.com, an SEO Services and digital marketing solutions provider that empowers agencies and their local clients all over the world. When he isn’t working, he’s traveling the world, meditating, or dreaming (in code).
With Google getting more than a trillion search queries per year and most users sticking to the first page results, investing in SEO to get those traffic on your site is necessary.
But most companies neglect SEO and this could be because SEO costs can be complicated.
SEO doesn’t have a standardized pricing structure. Agencies and consultant price their services according to their own guidelines.
You must do your research before you hire an SEO consultant. And then find out who’s offering the services that are worth the value in return for your money.
But how do you know if you’re getting the right price for an SEO service?
What are the factors that affect SEO pricing?
Factors that impact the price of SEO services
Different SEO companies tend to put different prices on their SEO services, however, you can still refer to some guidelines that will help you gauge the value of the service you’re getting.
Some of the main factors that influence SEO pricing strategies include the following:
1. The size of the website
The scale of a website has a considerable effect on the cost of an SEO service.
A small business website for an ophthalmology clinic will be different from a global site that sells beauty products.
A service website may have a few dozen pages whereas an e-commerce site will likely have a hundred, depending on how many products they’re selling.
The work will vary for each business. Costs will depend on the work that needs to get done and how the SEO company will create a strategy for them.
In connection with the size of your website is the fix it needs. Your SEO agency or consultant must know what condition your website’s in before pricing an optimization job. This is why SEO audits are normally the first analysis work.
For example, if a major algorithm update has plummeted your ranking on a search engine results page, more technical work and time may be necessary.
In some cases, an audit will reveal a site may need redevelopment to make it search engine friendly, which adds more to the price.
2. Business goals
The business goals will determine what SEO services will be needed. A new websitevthat aims to bring more traffic will need a website audit, web design, keyword researchvand content creation – to start.
If it’s a website that has been around but isn’t performing well, then it may need in-depth site and SEO maintenance, link detox (or link clean up) and site speed optimization on top of the basics which are site audit, keyword research, and competitive analysis.
The more work that needs to be done, the more resources will be required.
The competition also plays a role in SEO costs. A business in a competitive field will require more work to be done to beat the competition and rank higher on the search engine results pages.
The factors to consider when it comes to SEO competition are the industry, location and target keywords.
If you want to rank for a keyword that’s highly competitive, execute SEO initiatives that focus on consistency, such as publishing high-quality content, updating existing pages, link building, and updating metadata and meta tags among other things.
4. Service model
The service model you’re going to choose will depend on your digital marketing plan.
SEO companies tend to offer the same service models: hourly, monthly retainer and project-based.
👉 Also read: why SEO experts charge retainers
Companies also offer packages, which combine the most common SEO tasks, such as:
- Website audit
- Keyword research
- Content creation
- Backlink clean up
- Link building
- Website speed optimization
- UX optmisation
- Web design
- Skills and level of experience
SEO agencies will consider the skill level and wealth of experience of the SEO professionals working on your campaign. The more sophisticated and specialized the skills are, the higher the rate.
But instead of considering the price, think about the value you’re getting for the cost.
Although skill levels and expertise are not a guarantee for better results (and by the way, no agency can guarantee results), paying less means you get less results.
And in the long run, a cheaper service today will cost you more in the future because valuable optimization time and opportunities are lost.
5. Scope and size of the SEO campaign
The scope of the project plays an important role in SEO pricing. If the project needs to build a website, maintain it and produce content for it, then it will be priced differently compared to the same business needing a bit of link cleanup on its existing website.
Note that prices can build up as revisions to the strategy might potentially arise.
It’s important that you have your goals and the specifics of the SEO campaign’s scope nailed down from the beginning in a written contract.
Communication is key here.
A good SEO company or consultant will design a package that fits your marketing goal and budget.
6. Urgency of your targets
Time is also a key variable in the price of an SEO service. If you’re looking to achieve a number of conversions for a campaign in a shorter period than usual, the agency may quote a higher price.
7. Niche markets
Some niche-specific businesses will require specialized SEO work. For example, agencies specializing in marketing for digital nomads, gender-inclusive fashion or vegan snacks could charge more.
How much does SEO cost?
SEO campaigns can typically range from £500 to thousands of pounds a month. What you spend will depend on your goal for optimization work.
Some things to know about SEO pricing:
- SEO prices range from £500 to as high as £50,000 or more for SEO agencies.
- Hourly cost of SEO: £50 to £500 on average.
- An SEO strategy that works for one business may not work for another. Every business needs a different SEO strategy.
- Be on the lookout for guarantees or companies promising specific SEO results. SEO is highly effective and proven, but Google algorithm updates are unpredictable and nobody can control how search engines rank web pages.
- Additional fees may be charged depending on your strategy.
- Tools, content, and time further add to the cost of SEO services
How to tell if services are priced right
1. Check out the agency’s website
How will you know you’re getting your money’s worth? Vet the agency you’re considering by looking over their website.
Does the digital marketing agency’s site look professional, with content that speaks to their expertise?
Does it contain details about how clients can get in touch with the agency?
Is the website easy to find on search engines when you use relevant terms?
An agency that pops up on top of SERP rankings is likely to do the same for your business.
2. Review their SEO case studies
Case studies are an excellent way to learn about the quality of work and range of the company.
It lets you take a look at what they did with their previous clients which can also give you an idea of what they can do for you.
You can view case studies on their website or you should be able to get them upon request.
If a business is unable to provide you with these materials, then it can be a sign that it’s new or doesn’t have that much experience.
3. Read client reviews
Checking reviews will help you learn about the experiences of existing clients.
Reviews are reliable since they were written by people who had first-hand experience working with the company and want to share their thoughts on working with the brand.
Although companies usually post client feedback on their own site, you can also find them on third-party sites.
You’ll be seeing positive and negative reviews, so it’s important to be discerning and remember that what may work for one brand might not work for another.
Look for red flags like persistently bad client experiences. Some bad reviews may be normal, but multiple negative experiences that point to a recurring issue must be looked into.
4. Talk to the SEO consultant
The right SEO agency can change outcomes for your business, so deciding on one must never be rushed. Consult with a few services to compare not just their prices but approaches and proficiencies as well.
Interviews are a must because it will tell you whether the agency’s the right fit for your business.
Inquire about their processes and let them explain who will be working on your campaign.
Make sure your questions about SEO, from the services to the pricing, are answered clearly before making a choice.
When you choose the right agency or SEO professionals, keep an eye on key metrics to track results: organic traffic and conversions, keyword rankings, click-through-rates, local visibility, authority metrics, (e.g., domain authority) and the like.
5. Find out what kind of SEO the agency practices
SEO has many hats: black hat, grey hat, and white hat SEO.
Black hat SEO refers to questionable and dubious SEO practices people use to go against search engine guidelines with the intention of ranking higher in search results. These methods disregard content quality and pay no attention to the satisfaction of the user.
Practicing this method won’t do you or your audience any good. This tactic, which includes keyword stuffing and cloaking, often ends up being penalized by Google leading to lower rankings or being banned from the search engine results pages (SERP) altogether.
White hat SEO refers to SEO practices that improve your rankings while maintaining honesty and integrity. It adheres to the guidelines Google has set and aims to provide user satisfaction.
An SEO agency that promises unrealistic results (e.g., top ranking in less than a month for a highly competitive market, or the number one spot on SERP) is likely practicing black hat tactics.
Shady techniques may appear to provide favourable results, but Google’s increasingly smart algorithm will catch up and the penalties will set your business’s online presence further back.
Conclusion: find the best value for your money
Online visibility is essential to an effective marketing strategy and search engine optimization or SEO is a vital part of the equation. That means SEO services are an investment.
Although they’re not cheap, the value your business gets will be well worth the price.
Knowing what affects the fees of optimization services will help you determine if you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
A good jump off point to securing your investment would be to get an audit of your website.
An SEO audit tells you just how much work must be done, which gives you an idea of the cost you can budget for optimization.
Yes, an audit is going to be a big cost initially, particularly when you’re working within a tight budget. But a complete check of your site now prevents unforeseen costs later on when SEO specialists uncover fixes while doing optimization work.