The cost of SEO services varies greatly, but there are many factors to consider in addition to price that come into play when a business is making a decision of who exactly to go with. Here I’ll concentrate on cost though as that is a main concern for all businesses when they address their internet marketing budgets. As a side note, the budgets set aside for internet marketing will increase in the years to come following the growth trend of online ad and marketing spend across industries. Businesses have recognized the potential of online exposure in light of growing internet use.
As with any other B2B service, businesses want to get the greatest ROI for what they are paying and should go to great lengths to evaluate it. Why should they do this? The answer is simple, because not only does greater ROI make for more efficient spending, but the companies that provide the best return for your budget, are likely to be the best SEO companies on the market as they are returning high quality and achieving results. Those that do not deliver acceptable ROI likely are not in the business to provide the best quality work for the fairest price, but to simply maximize revenue, taking a short-term profit-centric strategy.
Pricing Structure, A Main Consideration
Like firms themselves, the way vendors establish SEO pricing and charge their different clientele varies. This is the case for several reasons (besides the disparity in quality) as SEO companies structure their services based on their specialties, attempt to utilize pricing packages, price by the hour for consulting, push rates per project or campaign, or use monthly vs. long-term contracts. All of these structures exist and I will take a look at the most popular below drawing from an interesting survey that was done by SEOmoz back in December 2011 and the results were posted in January of this year. The survey asked consultants and vendors from around the world to offer their pricing and cost structures, and the final data represents information from 490 SEOs spanning several continents.
- Pricing By Project – This is helpful for companies that are set in their needs and plan for their online presence be it onsite optimization, link-building, or other services. Some companies know exactly what they need and will evaluate future action on a project-by-project basis. The SEOmoz research showed the most common rates were $1,000-$7,500, and over 70% of survey respondents indicated they offer such pricing.
- Hourly Rates – The survey research shows that the $76-$200 per hour rate is most popular as over half of respondents indicated that is the rate they offered for this pricing model. The hourly rates are appropriate for specialized work that may require less commitment than a full-scale project and could include particular SEO consulting.
- Monthly & Long-Term Contracts – Long-term contracts are usually a turn off for those searching for vendors as this is an indication that they are trying to lock the clients in regardless of the results that are achieved. The most common rates for monthly fees were $251-$500, per the SEOmoz survey.
There is no one size-fits-all SEO pricing strategy that covers all the required assistance of potential clients, but what is present in the industry is several cost structures that do make sense for clients per specific projects and needs. Clients need to be clear about which type of pricing best suits their needs and discuss this with various vendors.
I operate insightQuote, Inc., an agency that provides businesses with a means to effctively get quotes for a range of business services and head SEOCompanies.com, a site that provides a search tool for finding SEO companies matched to searcher needs. I write mostly on SEO topics and varying subjects relevant to the internet and online marketing. Note: Image used in article is freely licensed from Microsoft Office.