How Much Does SEO Cost?
Pricing and Costs of SEO Services Explained
SEO costs might raise eyebrows for many companies initially. Let me share my 20-year experience with SEO pricing and how things have changed. But first, let’s talk about SEO pricing.
- SEO campaigns at large companies cost between $15,000 – $40,000 per month
- Mid-sized companies should expect to pay between $2,500- $5,000 per month for an SEO Campaign led by experienced SEOs.
- Smaller companies might get along between $1,200 – $1,800 per month.
Let’s have a look what that means for different companies and their expectations.
SEO Campaigns Under $600
Certainly, you can find SEO agencies offering packages for less than $600. However, from my experience, I’ve come to doubt the credibility of such campaigns. In my opinion, an SEO endeavor with such a modest budget is unlikely to deliver the necessary results.
As an SEO agency ourselves, I know firsthand that operating on such a limited budget isn’t sustainable. These bargain-basement SEO agencies often present visually appealing weekly or monthly reports, creating the illusion of progress. In reality, these packages rarely yield tangible SEO results or provide a worthwhile ROI for businesses in need of SEO.
When it comes to delivering meaningful outcomes, the old adage holds true: you get what you pay for.
Budget SEO Services
Throughout my career spanning from 2001 till now, I’ve encountered various offshore SEO companies. While some from countries like India, Pakistan, China and Russia have impressed me with their skilled IT professionals and exceptional content creation abilities, the overall picture remains rather complex.
In my pursuit of top-notch SEO expertise, I once engaged a promising SEO specialist from Pakistan. His impressive resume and previous work with renowned brands instilled hope. However, after assigning him a simple task, I realized that despite his qualifications, the challenges were significant.
For many offshore SEO experts, accessing expensive tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush proves arduous, forcing them to rely on publicly available resources. The lack of familiarization with the U.S. market often results in misguided conclusions and an inability to put themselves in the shoes of the target audience.
Allow me to share a poignant example that illustrates the eco-cultural differences involved. While explaining organic food for pets to a Pakistani content writer, I discovered he had no concept of the term. To him, food was a precious commodity, and the idea of keeping dogs as pets seemed impractical, as dogs were seen as mere annoyances or protectors outside the home.
This illuminating experience underscores the profound eco-cultural and knowledge-based aspects of SEO. Unlike mathematical IT services, SEO necessitates a deep understanding of diverse consumer mindsets and cultural contexts.
SEO Campaigns for Large Companies
Let me provide you an example , where companies invest half a million dollars or more annually on SEO. Picture this: a powerful web platform managed by a handful of SEOs, dealing with sizable budgets.
The math might seem daunting – an SEO specialist or manager costs between $65K and $120K per year in the U.S. With five SEO experts on board, that’s around half a million dollar in employee expenses for the agency, considering taxes and benefits. For it to make sense, these experts have to handle at least three other significant projects.
You might wonder, can such an investment in SEO be justified at all?
Surprisingly, it’s not worth much! These big campaigns often generate jaw-dropping returns on investment (ROIs). Market domination becomes a reality for companies that ace their SEO game. Even small-sized businesses can emerge as market leaders by hiring SEO experts, while competitors who don’t understand SEO or its value lose their market share.
Strategically-designed SEO campaigns pave the way for massive conversions.
Take the travel industry, for example. Imagine users repeatedly finding a travel website when searching for hotels, car rentals, or flights. That company could rake in hundreds of millions of dollars per year. The investment of less than a million for SEO is a steal when it brings back almost a hundred times more in ROI.
Giant SEO campaigns turn out to be more cost-effective than SEM/PPC. Unlike PPC, SEO doesn’t generate Cost Per Click (CPC) expenses. All you need to worry about are three things:
- Costs for the SEO agency
- Your SEO technology team implementing recommended changes on the website
That’s why smart companies love playing the SEO game: big rewards with clever investments!
SEO Campaigns for Medium-Sized Businesses
SEO isn’t just for big companies—it can benefit medium-sized businesses too.
Let me share an example: I’ve achieved the best results in conservative industries, where competitors don’t even know what SEO is. In these markets, success is practically guaranteed as the competition is low. We call these industries “Opportunity Markets”. In a particular project, within six months, we’ve seen conversions and visits skyrocket by over 300%.
However, there are challenges. Convincing clients about the value of SEO before signing the contract can be tough, especially in these conservative industries where they may not understand SEO well.
Some industries, like construction, have huge potential. Just one lead can lead to massive ROI, justifying years of SEO efforts.
While these markets offer great rewards, they can also be tricky. Constantly convincing clients about the value of SEO is a task, and selling SEO services to them can be tough when they don’t fully grasp what’s being offered. Nonetheless, venturing into conservative industries can bring impressive SEO success.
SEO Campaigns for Small Businesses
Navigating the realm of SEO requires understanding the suitability of campaigns for different businesses. For some, like local hairdressing or tailoring shops, SEO campaigns may not be the best fit. ROI might not be achievable even with smaller PPC efforts. Instead, listing in local industry directories like Google My Business proves more fruitful, especially for small local service providers.
However, for law firms and medical practices, the story changes. Local visibility in search engines can significantly boost their prospects. Even a small medical office or law firm can reap the benefits of SEO with campaigns ranging from $1000-$3000 per month, yielding successful results. In these cases, investing in SEO pays off handsomely.
SEO Pricing Conclusion
When it comes to pricing an SEO campaign, various factors come into play, such as expected ROI, target audience, and the industry you operate in. That’s why, in my experience, packaged SEO plans often fall short in delivering desired results.
Packaged SEO, featuring generic plans like “Starter,” “Silver,” or “Gold,” might work for certain products but not for SEO in my opinion. Tailoring SEO to your specific needs, goals, and business is crucial for success. The pricing of SEO services should be determined through in-depth conversations with the agency, along with a careful examination of your analytics and market.
For those serious about SEO but hesitant to commit to a yearly contract, consider requesting an SEO research first. A reliable and professional SEO agency can conduct thorough research, which may cost several thousand dollars, but it’s an investment worth making.
An SEO research not only uncovers hidden opportunities for your business but also presents a roadmap and next steps to initiate a successful SEO campaign. In fact, an SEO research serves as the foundation for your decision-making process and the agency’s strategies. If an agency doesn’t begin with this essential step, it might be best to look elsewhere for their services.
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