SEO Pricing – How Much Should I Pay for SEO Services?

SEO PricesWhen searching for SEO service prices, you’ll notice two things: That SEO fees vary wildly, and that often they are not listed at all, requiring you to request a price quote. SEO prices range from “free” at one extreme to ridiculously expensive at the other, with a broad spectrum of seemingly arbitrary fees in-between. When you’re searching for SEO services that meet your needs and your budget, it’s helpful to be aware of what’s being offered and what the various pricing methods are all about so that you can choose wisely and avoid any costly wrong turns in your website marketing strategy.

Unlisted SEO Fees

Many SEO firms don’t list their prices, instead requiring you to contact them for a price quote. In some ways this makes sense since all websites have different service needs, but it is also often intended as a tactic by SEOs to have you get in contact with them so that they can begin a conversation with you with the aim of convincing you to engage their services. Talking about your site with you before offering a price is certainly not a bad thing and it’s always important to determine what will be required to get the site the visitor traffic that it needs but, when you contact an SEO with unlisted prices, be sure that the focus of the discussion is on identifying your specific requirements and that you are offered pricing and services which are well-suited to your needs and your budget. Often, SEOs with unlisted prices turn out to be priced very high, usually unjustifiably so.

“Free” SEO Services

As the saying goes, nothing in life is free, at least not really. Some SEOs offer “free” or “pay for performance” services which require you to pay only if they achieve agreed results on search engines for your site. That sounds great, a real, risk-free “no-brainer” of an offer, right? The problem however is that, to offer their services in this way, SEO’s need to handle the project in ways which might not be in their clients’ best interests.

They may need to enter into a contract with the client in which specific benchmarks must be achieved in terms of certain keywords or keyphrases acquiring agreed rankings on search engines, goals which will then be targeted to the exclusion of all others. The SEO will target keywords which they know will perform well in terms of rankings on search engines, but not necessarily the most effective keywords in terms of delivering quality visitor traffic from people who are seeking what your site offers. It’s one thing to boost rankings on search engines, but another thing entirely to boost website sales, sign-ups and conversions. With that service model, the SEOs focus is more on getting you to pay for their services than on getting visitors to your site to pay for yours. They may work hard to acquire the agreed rankings for the agreed keywords, but there is little incentive for them to do more than that or to explore and capitalize upon other opportunities to advance the aims of your website. And, if they do offer more comprehensive services beyond what was initially contracted, these services will generally be charged outside of that agreement.

SEOs with “pay only for rankings” services also need to account for those clients who, despite having their site optimized and seeing its rankings and traffic improve, may simply choose not to continue with the SEO beyond the free stage. That is, they may choose not to pay the SEO even if the agreed goals have been met, perhaps simply because the resulting improved rankings did not convert into increased sales or conversions. The SEO needs to account for these losses and you can bet that it doesn’t come out of their pocket, but is instead embedded in the fees that their ongoing clients pay. This results in higher than necessary fees for those clients who do continue paying.

While “free” SEOs seem like a safe and obvious choice, it’s important to realize that nothing is free and that engaging one of these services is not necessarily as wise or risk-free of a choice as it might seem on the surface. This is also the pricing strategy preferred by SEOs who are new to the field and have not established themselves with a large number of happy customers, or are not specialized in the required skills and offer the services only as a sideline to their main field of business, and that is all worth bearing in mind when you’re considering this option.

SEO Price Range

Search engine optimization, done thoroughly and properly, involves a huge amount of work and expertise. Anyone can learn about it and do it successfully for their own site, but it takes time both in terms of implementation and experience. Because of this, be very wary of SEO prices that are suspiciously low. There are no quick fixes or “magic bullets” when it comes to optimizing a site for high search engine rankings. Search engine submission is a commonly offered low-cost service, but it hasn’t been necessary to submit sites to search engines for over ten years. All of the major search engines, including Google, will find your site on their own without it being submitted for inclusion. With a new site that has not yet been indexed, there is no reason to not submit it, but even then it is not a service worth paying for, however low the price may be. Most website designers and developers also often “include” SEO when they are building a new site, and this is usually a minor add-on to their other fees, but you should make sure that they are explicit about what exactly they will be doing for this fee. Again, if it’s only a small fee, it’s unlikely that they’re doing anything that will benefit your site on search engines as much as thorough and specialized optimization.

Some SEO fees on the other hand are ludicrously high. I have encountered some SEOs who quite happily want to charge many tens of thousands of dollars (or several thousand dollars per month!) to optimize a site for search engines. In most cases, such an extravagant fee cannot be justified. It is certainly possible to engage in enough work to account for fees like that, but it would have to include everything from on-site optimization of every page, optimization of the site architecture, copy writing, social media marketing, press releases and essentially everything that can possibly be done to improve a site’s exposure on the web. Even then, such high fees are largely arbitrary and simply aimed at those online enterprises that think nothing of dropping that kind of money into their marketing campaigns. The big SEO firms that offer exorbitant fees do so themselves to finance their own large marketing budgets and to pay their dedicated sales forces, rather than operating efficiently with a focus on service delivery.

The Bottom Line on SEO Prices

SEO takes work and you should expect to pay a reasonable fee for the service, but be cautious when choosing an SEO whose prices are suspiciously low or unjustifiably high. Any SEO should be happy to offer you a price that fits your budget, your goals and your requirements. If you are given a generic price, expect a generic solution that may not address the specific needs of your website, the unique opportunities and challenges it presents, or your budget.

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