"How much should I pay for SEO?"
Everyone with a website who's serious about ranking it on Google has asked themself this question at some point. But what's the answer?
The Truth About SEO Pricing
The truth is that there's no straightforward answer to the question, "How much should I pay for SEO?"
The reason being is that SEO contains contains far too many variables. How an SEO specialist will go about optimising your website for a high search ranking will depend on factors such as:
These and other factors will impact on the strategy (and in turn, the price) of your SEO campaign. But does this mean that there's no way to budget for an effective SEO campaign?
No, it doesn't. Rather thinking in terms of an overall SEO budget, a more practical approach is to consider your options around SEO pricing models.
However, in May 2018, the good people over at Ahrefs conducted some research to reveal the costs of SEO.
They surveyed the SEO industry to find out (amongst other things) how much they charge for their services. Here's a brief summary of what they found.
Now let's talk about some SEO pricing models.
SEO Pricing Models
There are various SEO pricing models out there but for the sake of simplicity, let's consider these three:
Results Based (Pay-Per-Rank)
Results Based SEO, as its name suggests, means an SEO strategy where you only pay for positive ranking results. How does this work in practice? The answer to that question will vary depending on the service provider but generally speaking, your service provider will start optimising your website (along with other SEO techniques) and only charge you when you start to move up the rankings until you eventually occupy the first spot on page one of a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Some providers will charge you for each individual rank you achieve, some will charge you for a range of ranks, as well as a maintenance fee for staying within a particular range.
The Pros of Results Based SEO
The Cons of Results Based SEO
Flat Monthly Fee
This SEO pricing model is the most common. Your service provider will charge you a flat monthly fee for the ongoing process of optimising your website as well as employing other legitimate SEO techniques (content marketing, backlinks, etc). But how much you actually pay may vary depending on the competition that exists in your market or for your particular keywords.
The Pros of a Flat Monthly Fee
The Cons of a Flat Monthly Fee
Flat Campaign Fee
This SEO pricing model involves paying a flat fee for your entire campaign. For example, you may agree to pay your service provider £X to get your website onto page one of a SERP and they will then set about achieving that with all the SEO skills and techniques at their disposal. You might pay them the entire fee upfront, half up front and then half on delivery, or the total on delivery, depending on the service provider's terms.
The Pros of a Flat Campaign Fee
The Cons of a Flat Campaign Fee
Which SEO Pricing Model Is Best?
The best SEO pricing model is the one that's best for you and your budget. I know that sounds like a bit of a cliche, but it's true.
For example, if you run a small or micro business then you probably have a modest marketing budget, so a results based (or pay-per-rank) model may work out best for you because the periods when there's nothing to pay (due to no SERP advancement) allow you to save for future results. Whereas a flat monthly fee could work out to be expensive in the long-term if results are slow.
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