How much does an SEO strategy cost?
Last modified: 2018/11/13 | Approximate reading time 4 mins
If you’re a business running a website, it’s likely you know a thing or two about search engine optimization or SEO. If you haven’t heard about SEO, you’re missing a key element of creating and maintaining a strong presence online. So, if you’re looking for concrete ways to increase visibility and reach, we’d suggest hiring an SEO expert to get the job done.
But, when creating your yearly content marketing budget, how much is this going to cost? Knowing what this strategy costs before diving in head first is important for most businesses, so we’re here to break it down for you!
Here’s how much you should expect to pay for SEO strategy
SEO costs: understanding the variables
When it comes down to the costs involved with SEO, it isn’t as simple as setting one solid price and going forward. In fact, there are plenty of variables and costs involved in an SEO strategy and it’s important to understand these in order to know the cost breakdown. Ask yourself as well as your SEO expert: how competitive is your industry and further, how competitive are the areas which you serve?
Prices will also depend on your concrete goals as well as how far along you are in the optimization process. Your business may already have some SEO strategies in place, simply hoping to improve on what you’ve got. In another case, your SEO strategy may be nonexistent, and thus, you could be starting from scratch. Regardless of where your business rests, we’re going to break down the potentials for all of these variables as well as the costs involved!
When it comes to determining what your business SEO needs are, you’ll need to begin thinking about the behaviour of your target customer as well as the marketplace you’re working within. What does this mean exactly?
Well, the point of creating an SEO strategy is so that consumers can find your website, products and services more easily, thus increasing your visibility and reach. Now, if you’re working within a competitive marketplace, although people may be searching for services you offer, you might not be popping up first, second or even third in search engines. Therefore, both the size of your market as well as keywords and phrases directly related to your business are important in how you approach an SEO strategy.
Again, if you’re working in a competitive marketplace, your SEO budget will have to be much larger. In contrast, if your products and services stay within a specific niche, you won’t have to work as hard to reach your customers. Taking some time to really understand your target consumer motivations as well as the best strategies to reach them will help you determine the services you need and in turn, the price of everything.
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SEO services: what should I expect?
For most, working with an SEO expert or agency will be where to begin. A great SEO strategy doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, the best strategy is something ongoing. SEO efforts need to be continuous and changing, since technology, the internet and search engines are always evolving and developing. Some of the services that SEO agencies may offer are the following:
- Market analysis;
- Website audit;
- Competitor analysis;
- Keyword research;
- Both on and off page optimization;
- Link building and strategies surrounding this practice;
- Account management.
So, what can I expect for SEO costs? Well, as mentioned, the costs of development will come down to several variables and here's the easiest way to consider the breakdown:
Average hourly rate: $100-150
Hourly rates for SEO development will be most useful when tasks can be broken down into distinct things that can be completed in a timely manner. This will be the best method if you already have an SEO strategy in place and are looking for ways to improve on it. If working with an agency, make sure to openly communicate about the amount of time specific tasks will take.
This way, you can avoid unsightly costs or waiting around for things to be completed. Once all of the tasks have been completed, follow up with your agency and assess what’s put in place.
Fixed: $100-$600 per service
Monthly retained: $1000- $35,000
Most SEO agencies stick to a fixed pricing format. Specific services are offered at specific costs, and generally, these can be combined to offer several pieces to a larger SEO strategy. This type of offer is best if you’re looking to complete a clear-cut project or your company has put aside a monthly stipend set aside for your SEO strategy.
If you have a complex project in mind, this style pricing scheme is right for the job. Many agencies charge per-project and will offer custom services suited to your company needs. Agencies should also provide an outline that covers all individual costs as well as a detailed timeline. This is a great option for businesses with no previous SEO experience as well as those who have never worked with an agency before. This is because it allows you to try out a service or two before committing yourself to a monthly-retainer.
In another regard, retainer-based pricing is an option for those who are looking to build an ongoing relationship with an agency and develop an SEO strategy over time. This is the most popular option in the SEO marketplace. Essentially, you pay a fixed price in exchange for monthly services. Retained-based pricing generally requires a mid-term commitment. However, this is a favourable model as it generally leads to better results due to the nature of collaboration and communication involved.
When going into a meeting with a new agency, know the average hourly rate. This will help you to avoid paying too much for certain services, a common issue with this pricing model!
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