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SEO Pricing — Frequently Asked Questions

October 19, 2016

SEO pricing can be rather confusing, and clients are naturally skeptical when they aren’t sure what the final bill is going to be, aren’t sure they are going to be getting their money’s worth, and aren’t sure whether their investment will pay off.

However, keep in mind that just because an SEO pricing structure is complicated doesn’t mean it’s unfair or unworkable; in fact, a certain degree of complexity helps — as long as it’s transparent. Here are several SEO pricing FAQs we hear regularly. We hope they will help you sort everything out!

  1. Why is SEO so expensive? Most companies get sticker shock when they see the monthly campaign cost. But SEO is an investment, so it’s important to consider the cost in relation to the associated return — e-commerce revenue and sales leads. In addition, SEO is labor intensive. It takes many, many hours from writers, editors, outreach specialists, analysts, link building specialists and campaign managers to execute campaigns. Insiders know: A low-price SEO campaign is the one to be skeptical of.
  2. Are package SEO deals a good option? They are not. We’ve written about this topic extensively — read this analysis of package SEO deals to get a handle on the many drawbacks. Beware! Cookie-cutter SEO packages at best produce mediocre results, and at worst can actually do harm to your organic search engine visibility.
  3. Why can’t I just do a month-to-month contract? Understandably, many clients are reluctant to lock in a contract for several months, especially with a new agency. There are a couple of significant reasons why contracts of some duration — three to six months, typically — make sense. First, it will take any SEO campaign several months to ramp up and produce results that can be evaluated. Second, SEO campaigns usually involve a substantial amount of upfront labor, the cost of which the agency spreads out across the duration of the contract; in a month-to-month scenario, the agency may well skimp on that all-important upfront work. Read this article to get further insights on month-to-month SEO deals.
  4. Why won’t the agency guarantee results? Any SEO firm that guarantees results is a fraud. There are far too many variables and unknowns for results to be accurately predicted. For instance, the agency cannot know what changes your competitors will make to their SEO campaigns, how targeted keyword volumes will grow or shrink over time, how effective your company website will be in converting traffic into leads or orders, or whether game-changing results will start kicking in after three months or 10 months. What an agency can and should guarantee is that it will do work in exchange for its fee. This is why transparent reports that detail month-to-month activity should be part of the deal. Pay-for-performance pricing models seem logical and attractive to many clients, but are not really workable for SEO campaigns given the unpredictability of results.
  5. What work is actually going to be done for this big monthly investment? SEO execution tasks vary in type and degree depending on each client’s situation (a reason why package deals are bad), but in general, the agency will be doing some mix of the following:
    1. On-site optimization, both technical and also keyword-driven content additions.
    2. Off-site optimization, consisting mainly of article publishing for link building, but also non-content activities.
    3. Content thematic development, writing, editing and publisher outreach.
    4. Traffic analysis and analysis of other campaign KPIs.
    5. Testing, campaign modifications and ongoing keyword target refinement.
    6. Client communication, including gathering input, brainstorming, reviewing reports and seeking feedback.

Do you have additional SEO pricing questions? Please contact us now — we’re happy to try to answer them.

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