Just how much should SEO cost?
If you have a website and are trying to promote a product or brand, you know that SEO will play a big factoring in your marketing campaign. But just how much should you set aside for that? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as straightforward as you might like.
It’s almost like getting a car. You can’t just go into a car dealership and ask how much a car will cost. The dealer will probably answer you with an “It depends.” Then he’ll start asking about what you’ll use the car for, how much driving you’ll be doing, what you do for a living, and so many other questions just to find out which car is best for you and your needs. And then you still probably won’t get a straight answer.
In SEO, many factors also affect the price. So before going out to shop for SEO professionals, know what could boost the price up, or lower it down.
- Temporary or Long-Term?
Before anything else, you need to determine if your SEO needs is for a one-time project or if it’s going to be a long-term relationship.
If it’s only needed temporarily, like if you’re launching a new website and just need redirects managed, then you shouldn’t be asking how much SEO costs. Rather ask how much the SEO project will cost you. Pricing will then be on a per-project basis. The SEO firm will likely tell you that the project will take so and so number of months to finish and will cost x amount of dollars.
If, however, the needs are more indefinite and long-term, then you will likely be billed a monthly retainer instead. You might be told that this much per month will get you these services.
A survey by Moz showed most SEO firms charge on a per-project basis. Not many will charge by the hour. In the US, though, monthly retainers are more common. Asian firms tend to go the project pricing route.
- Firm Size
When it comes to SEO firms, bigger doesn’t always mean better. Large SEO firms typically have 50 to 100 employees and usually have one-size-fits-all services for small and local businesses that have the same needs. This works best with small businesses with limited budgets and SEO needs, both.
Smaller SEO firms usually have less than 30 employees. But they offer more high-end and customized services. They both have their places so it’s important to find out what fits better for your business.
If SEO is highly critical to your marketing strategy, and if you value personalized service, then you’d probably want to work with a smaller firm.
- Target Audience
Your target market or audience will greatly influence what you’re willing to pay for SEO. More competitive markets could mean more expensive SEO services, too.
So how much does SEO cost? It will depend on the three factors listed above.