How much does SEO cost on average? This is a common question that is asked, because most business clients are trying to make a comparison of companies that provide SEO services before they commit to one. The issue with answering the question is that there is not really a “one-size fits all” type of program that companies offer, and what you are comparing is the actual prices charged as opposed to the effectiveness of the program. Think about it this way, if you are comparing cough medicines and one bottle is 1 dollar and the other is 10 dollars, you will probably lean towards the one that costs less money. However if it stated on the bottle that was 1 dollar that you would need 50 bottles to cure your cough, while the other bottle would cure it with a single serving, you suddenly realize that you are not comparing two equal products. Why does one major league baseball player make more than another one? Probably because that particular player is better than the one that makes less. This is the same idea, that when you are comparing SEO prices you have to understand that one company might have an automated strategy that saves them time, but provides less results. The main thing to think about is what you are getting for your money.
Most articles that give ranges for SEO prices will say that a typical monthly program runs anywhere between $300 and $2000 per month. This is not taking into consideration any of the specifics of each case studied, and is only looking at the prices paid. If a phrase that you are targeting is very competitive, it is going to need more work to get a first page ranking than one that is less competitive. If the company you are considering builds automated links or doesn’t create unique content for you, then the strategy will preform less well than a different company that does. The numbers that you see as averages actually represent the typical advertising budget for small businesses and therefor SEO clients. The amount that they pay is going to have to do with several different things, namely being the competitiveness of the industry terms you are targeting, the amount of terms you are targeting, and how quickly you want to be on the first page. By considering all of these things, you will be able to distill a package down from almost any company.
Here is how our pricing works for ongoing SEO, and what you get for your money. All our programs are calculated by how many hours we work for you each month, and that work will be divided up into targeting the keyphrases you want to rank for. If you have 10 phrases that you want to target and they are all competitive, but you only have a limited budget we will probably discuss targeting fewer phrases so that an adequate amount of work can be done for them. If you do only a tiny bit of work for each phrase, you essentially get nothing for each one as opposed to rolling more time into a few phrases and getting results for them. Our programs are simple. We create pieces of content about your subject and targeting your phrases for you every month. Each piece of content must be at least 500 words, which will take about an hour to write and then link to social bookmarking sites (about 15.) We do about half the work each month for content that goes on your site and half that goes onto article marketing websites with a link back to your site. Each piece of content that is placed on another site is also hand-written and a minimum of 500 words, and also is spread via the same 15 social bookmarking sites. This provides unique content onto your website every month as well as links coming back into your site from content on the same topics, as well as a “social seed” of bookmarks that make the articles appear as though they are popular. We have found this strategy to provide consistent results for our clients over time, with only minor rankings fluctuations when algorithm changes happen. Our strategies follow the terms of service of Google and other search engines, so there is nothing to worry about as far as lost rankings when changes happen.
Using our formula for Big Bulldog SEO, you can see how much a typical program costs. If each piece of content takes one hour to do and we are targeting 10 phrases, we will want to do at least two pieces of content for each phrase monthly (one onsite and one offsite.) This will mean that we are working 10 hours for your business, which would calculate to $1,000 per month. If you wanted more time dedicated to one phrase then we either take time away from the other phrases, or add time to the budget. There are no tricks, and pricing for the work you get is straight forward. We will be able to suggest the amount of work that should be dedicated towards phrases in your market by looking into the rank and work load of the competing sites for those phrases. Our suggestions will try to create a work load that would get first page rankings in a time frame from six months to one year, although there is no way to predict rankings because the competition is also doing things that effect positions. There is also no such thing as achieving a position that is fixed, because the rankings of the competition are always in flux.
A company that simply quotes you a fixed price for SEO work is actually quoting you a price for a certain amount of hours. If you book too little work thinking that you are saving money, you will probably never get the rankings you are looking for and ultimately be wasting your money. You are not paying for a position, you are paying the best company you can find to work for you in order to help you get to that position. There are no guarantees with SEO, because while we are doing work that influences rankings so is everyone else. If a company guarantees that you will rank, they are probably doing something that can get you permanently banned over time, which is a terrible strategy. They might get you ranked quickly in order to start their payments, but those rankings rarely last. The phrase “you get what you pay for” applies to SEO perfectly, so the best advice is to work with a company that has provable results that they can show you from other clients, and then target a smart list of words and phrases each month that are achievable.