Tips to manage your SEO services spend
How much is too much or too little?</>
You are probably often asked this question during a monthly SEO evaluation meeting.
How can be sure that you are not overspending on your SEO efforts or not spending too little?
At some point in every company’s existence, a decision must be made upon how much to invest in making themselves visible in online search results. With 1 in three purchases made online, half of all local mobile searches leading to in store visits, and 81% of shoppers looking online before buying anything, getting your name to the top of the pile isn’t as optional as it once was.
Deciding how to pay
First of all, paying for SEO work is not always just throwing a check at someone every once in a while. There are four different pricing structures that are most common today:
- Retainer model
This is the simplest method of payment, thus it has also been historically the most common. Here, the only monetary transaction that needs to happen between client and agency is the fee payment of a set amount each month.
- Client contract pricing
The majority of SEO companies offer this method as a means to build trust with a client. This is done to show that the company offering the SEO services can do what they say, thus allowing them to move into a monthly retainer form of payment. This type of payment is usually completed as per dictated by an offer from the SEO company’s website like a commonly done Technical SEO audit.
- Solely Project-based
As opposed to going with a contract pricing agreement, clients often have the opportunity to build a custom price for a custom project with the SEO Company. This is more common for companies that have a specific goal in mind rather than handing the whole department over at one time.
- Paid Consulting
Many companies go with this method as it provides companies with an option that is highly cost effective rather than time effective.
As all good SEO services should offer these methods of payment, it up to your company to lay out what their end goal is and decide on what matches that goal best.
What do professional SEO services historically run?
If someone’s throwing a figure at you, make sure you know the industry averages.
- Retainer pricing model for differing company sizes for per month charges
- Just emerging company (only local SEO)- Under $750
- Small to medium sized company ≈ $1500 (± $500)
- Larger companies- anywhere from $2000 to $6000
- Largest companies- Over $7,000
- Contract services can be hard to definitively predict price wise
- Small to Medium jobs- under $.25 per word for copy writing, under $4,000 for website site content audit, under $4000 for a full link profile audit, and under $1,500 for total social media site setup. All larger jobs will exceed these numbers
- Project-based pricing is infinitely variable when it comes to customizable projects, but most SEO work falls in the range of at least $1,000 all the way up to $40,000.
- Hourly rates are more measurable, most of which into the $100-$300 per hour
Additionally, there are a lot of “deals” out there that promise rock bottom monthly rates. If you find anything under $500 per month that promises results, you can rest assured, it’s pretty much always a scam (known as snake oil in the SEO community). On that same note, anyone that promises results instantly or in the first month is just lying to you to get money out of your wallet. You should always build at least some kind of relationship with an SEO agency before even considering signing up with them.
Even though every company is different, there are some hard and fast rules to take with you when considering what decision to ultimately go with.
Just like Google not being able to index sites overnight, SEO also takes time. This is why so many people call SEO a “long term investment” rather than the flipping of a switch. Besides being simple, this is why the monthly retainer method of payment has grown to be the most reliable- it provides the highest long-term ROI.
What’s the point of having a website if no one is finding it? There are potentially thousands of people searching for your website every day. It’s the responsibility of the SEO service to direct those people over to you with constant monitoring and optimizing.