There are thousands of SEO companies out there, all with different pricing and payment models. Getting your website, videos and social properties found in the searches doesn't come cheap. But how do you know how much you should be paying for quality SEO services? That's what we are going to cover now...
Getting rankings for websites, videos and social properties does differ. For instance, within our company, it doesn't cost as much to rank a video in YouTube or Google search results as a website does. So for this post we will solely talk about what it should cost just for websites.
You need to keep in mind also that results don't happen over night either. You won't make one payment to your SEO company and see immediate results. It does take months to rank a website properly. Anyone that tells you that they can get you ranked within a month or so, you should run from. It is possible to get very quick ranking inside of Google, but these sites are quickly targeted by the search giant and quickly de-indexed (Google completely removes your website from search).
The costs involved will also vary greatly depending on your field of expertise (or at least it should if you are dealing with a reputable SEO company). If you are a DUI attorney or Divorce attorney, the costs of getting high rankings will be much greater than that of a house cleaning business. If you don't believe us just go to Google Adwords tool and check to see the difference in what it costs for PPC between the two.
It's pretty much industry standard that the least amount it is going to cost per month is $750. But as we mentioned above, could go much higher.
If you come across an SEO company that charges a flat rate for everyone, say $600, ask yourself, "how can they?". If you use our example from above with the attorneys and a cleaning business, you can see that the costs of getting 2 entirely different companies to rank can be quite different.
Some companies also offer a couple of different models, such as hourly or per project. Please Note: The ONLY Model That Our Company Uses Is MONTHLY.
John Lincoln wrote a post on Search Engine Land that breaks these different models down and gives the pros and the cons:
Should You Pay For SEO Hourly, Monthly Or By The Project?
Hourly SEO Payment
For many businesses, an hourly payment model for SEO can be very appealing as it offers what feels like very quantifiable and straightforward terms. As you might imagine, though, there’s often more than meets the eye when it comes to hourly pricing.
Even just by looking at the Clutch.co report or the survey from Moz, you’ll notice that hourly prices can vary wildly from company to company — anywhere from $50/hour to $300+/hour. How much an SEO firm charges can depend on a variety of factors, including the size of the firm, the services they provide, the reputation and demand they carry, their location, and more.
To better understand if this type of payment model is right for you, consider the positive and negative aspects:
Hourly SEO Payment Pros
- There is a high level of accountability and transparency. When each hour is logged, you can more easily keep track of exactly how much time is being spent on particular aspects of your SEO campaign.
- You can allocate time very specifically. This can be particularly helpful if you have a specific deadline to launch a product or website, or if you only want a limited time devoted to different aspects of your SEO.
- You have a set hourly rate. If you’re working with a limited budget for SEO, hourly rates can make it easier for you to predict costs, especially in the short term.
- You may get a breakdown of service costs. Hourly rates can often make it easier to break down specific services and determine how much each will cost.
Hourly SEO Payment Cons
- You may not see results as quickly. SEO often requires more time than most companies imagine before they see a return. As a result, many are upset when they discover that they may not be able to accomplish their intended goals without exceeding their set hourly limit.
- You could run up a larger bill than your budget. Hourly rates can escalate quickly, especially if the work needed to optimize your business is more involved than you initially thought.
- What happens in an all hands on deck situation? Many SEO services can call for a coordinated group effort to get results. With an hourly structure, each employee generally logs their hours separately, even if they are working on a task as a team. Thus, an SEO firm may be limited in the amount of manpower they can devote to your project if they have a limited number of hours to work with.
- You could end up with fewer hours when accounting for service fees. If there are service fees associated with the SEO strategy your business requires, the cost of those fees may eat into the number of hours the firm will put in your contract.
- The business relationship is much more cut-and-dry. Just as hourly employees often don’t feel as tied to the larger goals and direction of a company as salaried employees do, an hourly rate with an SEO firm can be more focused on a limited perspective instead of building a long-term relationship. (This is not always the case, however.) Read The Full Article Here...
That's a good article well worth the read because of the way that he lists the pros and cons. Because of point #3 in the cons of hourly is the reason we don't do hourly. The greatest take away from that article is where he states later, (and we have said this before) is that SEO does not have a "One Size Fits All".
Another important factor to take into consideration is what are you getting with your SEO campaigns and what services are they providing.
With our company there are some things that we do that are proprietary information, and we don't share. However there are several things that we do and share with our customers on a monthly basis.
Katie Birkbeck wrote a post on Blue Corona about what your SEO company should be doing:
What Does an SEO Company Actually Do?
SITE STRUCTURE ANALYSIS
While Google and the other major search engines (who don’t really deserve mention, though I know Bing is trying really hard) stress that they want you to design your sites for users rather than search engines, let’s face it – it needs to be structured properly for the engines to read if you ever want to get those users. Things our web team looks for include:
- Robots.txt – This is the file that is used to prevent search engine crawlers from crawling and indexing pages on your website that you want hidden from public view.
- Site errors – These send signals to search engines that your site is not trustworthy and thus not worthy of being a premium listing spot. Common errors include 4XX errors, duplicate page content, duplicate title tags, missing title tags, and crawlers blocked by Robots.txt.
- Indexed status – Indexed pages have been found by search crawlers (like the spiders for Google) and deemed to have enough quality for relevant search phrases. Indexed pages will show up in search results and can drive organic traffic to your site.
- Sitemap – Your XML sitemap is a list of all the pages on a website that you want a search engine to index (not to be confused with the robots.txt which tells a search engine which pages not to index).
- Page speed – User experience is important for search engines – they know that users are impatient. This is why site speed if a factor in how well your website ranks.
- Meta elements – Duplicate title tags, meta descriptions, and site content can all negatively impact your site’s search engine rankings and click-through-rate. Ensuring your meta elements are optimized will better your chances of being found on the SERPs.
Once all the technical stuff has been taken care of, we move onto:
This is where I and the rest of the SEO team come in. By checking out the content you already have on your site, we can diagnose a number of issues related to:
- Poorly ranking content
- Duplicate content issues
- Missing pages
- And more
Ultimately, your website content is the most important thing you can have – it’s what will attract visitors and convert them to leads. So once we get an idea of the content you already have, it will help us decide how to structure our plans for your website moving forward. Read Katie's full Article here...
From our snippet of Katie's article, that's only what happens with on page or on site optimization. There is so much more that happens off page or off site optimization.
So there you have it. If you are employing an SEO company on a monthly basis - at least $750 a month. As for hourly - $50 Plus.