I get asked this question a lot. As if SEO is a uniform commodity. Yet no one walks into a shoe store and asks, “How much does a pair of shoes cost?” But, thanks the internet, people are impatient for definitive answers to vague questions. OK. So, here’s the answer: Anywhere from $1 to $250,000+ a month. This is directly from a survey taken of over 500 agencies specializing in search.
What’s With The $99 Per Month Offers?
Go ahead and Google, “SEO Services Low Cost”. Know what you will see at the top? $99 a month! Save $50 now! and $10/hour! Those guys are not asking you any important questions about your business and goals. They are giving you a quote upfront and a very attractive one at that. They will even guarantee you a top ranking in the search engines. That’s even crazier than the price and we previously warned you about that nonsense. If you still are interested in them, go ahead and try to call them. On the off chance you get someone on the phone, good luck understanding them.
So Does More Expensive Mean Better?
When you go for the very bottom, you are going to get what you pay for. However—this does not mean going for the much higher monthly retainer is the right fit for you. Often more expensive means a lot more services and more personalized service. You want the latter. You don’t necessarily need the former.
If you are the only dry cleaner in MooseJaw Maine, you don’t need anything except a one time set-up making sure the words “dry” and “cleaning” appear on your site, plus have a simple Google+ page with the correct address and telephone number. Perhaps a nice testimonial about how good you are at getting moose blood and guts out of hunting jackets. Done. If you are a national company in the insurance, gaming, or weight-loss industry, however, it’s going to take a bit more effort.
What Are The Extra SEO Services
- A Thorough Audit. Actually, this isn’t an extra service as much as a Must Have for any site beyond the dry cleaner in MooseJaw. How can you tell where you should be going if you don’t know where you are? Get a complete audit of the good, bad, and what-needs-to-be-fixed-yesterday-or-Google-is-going-to-penalize-you is important. Equally important: recognizing you can’t make every change immediately and need to have the recommendations prioritized. The recommendations should be uber clear and spell out exactly what needs to be changed and how to do it. Ideally, the agency making the recommendations can incorporate them into your site themselves. (once you give the OK)
- Regular Recommendations. Once the site is optimized for SEO, you can’t just leave it. The SEO for the site is like a plant—it needs nurturing, maintenance and TLC. Your site needs consistent updates with relevant and share-worthy content. Especially in the areas you want to rank high on.
- Regular SEO reports. What are the top keywords that users on finding your site? Which other sites send the most traffic to yours? What pages are users spending the most time on? These questions—and many more—are the ones that you should see in a monthly report that you can easily understand and share with your team.
- Content Creation. You know your business best, so ideally, someone in-house should create the content with the guidance and editing of your agency. Not everyone has time to do that, however, so sometimes the agency also writes the content themselves. Depending on the amount and quality, this can get pricey.
- Social Media. Setting up the social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc) is relatively easy for agencies. Maintaining all of them is not. A good agency will ask if you truly need all the different outlets—especially something like Pinterest when all you are selling is software. Once again, you know your business best and ideally, someone in-house is in charge of this if you choose to use social media. We don’t live in an ideal world though so sometimes the agency will take this on themselves. You pricing mileage will vary on the number of updates and how engaged your audience is.
- Email Marketing. Email is not dead and can be a great way to drive traffic back to updated sections of the site and engage users. If you have an organically grown list, you should take advantage of this. Price will vary depending on the frequency of the emails and who is taking care of the content.
- Webinars, Videos, E-books, Podcasts. All great stuff that can help improve SEO and the experience for your users. It has to be done well, however. Most agencies do not have all the resources to do this in house and will have to work with other vendors. Depending on the production values you’re looking for, some of this could get pricey.
If you are a large company that relies on site visitors for most of your sales, it makes sense to work with an agency that offers all these services. If you are smaller or can’t afford all of these, a good agency will work with your budget to figure out what is going to give you the most digital bang for your buck and start with that first. As your traffic and sales increase, then you can gradually add the extras. And remember, if you truly can’t afford to spend anything, you can take on learning more about SEO yourself and incorporate some of the recommendations above.