How Much Does SEO Cost?


So, How Much Does SEO Cost?

Why is it so difficult to find a simple, straightforward answer to the question, "How much does SEO cost?"

We’ll tell you why. SEO is not a simple prepackaged service that can be sold at a fixed price. SEO is a complex process and the cost varies greatly according to a number of different factors that range from your goals to your competitors.

While we can’t give you a set figure on how much SEO will cost, we can give you an idea as to how much you may need to pay for SEO to actually see a return on your investment (Because that’s what this service is really all about, right? Growing your business and making you more money.)

The quickest and simplest way to get the estimate you’re looking for would be to contact us and ask for a quote. We’ll send you a simple questionnaire, investigate your competition, complete a free site audit, and get back to you with a set number. So, you can keep on reading or you can email us now.

Now let’s get into it!

What Determines SEO Pricing?

SEO pricing first takes into account three primary considerations:

  • Your Current Situation – Where does your business and SEO currently stand in relation to you competitors?
  • Your Objectives – What are your goals and where do you want to be?
  • Your Competitors – How saturated is your market? Do your competitors have a strong SEO foundation as this could mean that it would be more difficult for you to outrank them?
In short, the weaker your site, the more it will cost to beat them in the search rankings.

To get a better understanding, here are some common factors that directly affect SEO cost:

  • How competitive your keywords are. If you have big name competitors with a high domain authority, outranking them in Google search results will take more time and will be more difficult.
  • Whether you want to rank locally, nationally or internationally.
  • How much research is needed to determine keyword strategy, understand the industry, and design an effective digital marketing strategy.
  • The amount of content writing required. Longer, more involved content requires more time.
  • Your website’s existing SEO. Are there any technical on site SEO issues that need fixing.
  • The costs of establishing a brand and presence online.
It’s also important to understand that SEO can be a longer process, especially when done right, but can be justified with a significant increase in business. White hat SEO that provides long term, quality results often involves time consuming and tedious work that requires research and SEO expertise. After all, Google’s search algorithm uses more than 200 factors to rank a website and these change on a regular basis.

Pure, high-quality SEO can take months to see results. Be wary of anyone who tells you that they can give you great results right away.

How Much Should You Spend on SEO?

No matter what you decide to budget, SEO costs should be viewed as an investment for your business. Compare the costs of traditional marketing (Radio/TV/newspaper ads, billboards, trade shows, etc) vs. a professional SEO campaign that will continue to generate sales/leads for years.

When you are looking to implement SEO into your business and marketing strategy, you can either recruit an internal SEO specialist or a Digital Marketing Agency that specialises in SEO. If you want to do your SEO in-house, then it is likely that you will need more than one specialist to perform the amount of work required. Most specialists are paid between £40,000 to £90,000 per year.

It’s no surprise that many businesses partner with dedicated SEO agencies in order to achieve the best SEO results.

Types of SEO Pricing and What to Expect

When working with an SEO agency, there are three standard types of pricing:

  • Project Based – This pricing model is often a one off fixed price to the project scope. This model doesn’t fit ongoing SEO, but it may be applied to a particular content creation or web audit project.
  • Hourly Rates – While most agencies work to a monthly retainer pricing model, that retainer is usually based on their hourly rates and the scope of your project. Hourly rates are far more common amongst SEO freelancers.
  • Monthly Retainers – While monthly retainers are usually tied to a contract and a recurring charge, this payment model offers the most flexibility in services rendered.

Project Based

Project-based SEO services are popular. This pricing model is generally best for businesses that need temporary and specific projects/needs. With project based services, you typically agree to a contract that will clearly outline the project requirements, when it will be delivered and how much it will cost. This makes budgeting simple.

Some restrictions to the project based system include a lack of flexibility and there is the risk of being overcharged if any requirements change. Since a detailed contract of all deliverables is drawn up at the beginning, if your needs change or you need to modify your project, you will likely have to pay additional fees to cover the changes. And if you don’t have prior experience or knowledge working with SEO companies, it’s possible to be overcharged.

Hourly Rates

SEO services or consulting typically cost £70-£150 per hour. This may be the best option for those who plan to manage SEO themselves and just need a little help. When using this pricing model you know exactly what you will pay for and can accurately estimate your bill. The catch here is that SEO projects can take longer than expected. As a result the rates can get high for reputable SEO experts. Avoid anyone advertising super cheap rates; they might very well use black-hat techniques that can result in Google penalties.

The limitations of hourly rates is SEO takes months to gain traction to begin with. Another risk is that the person you hire could end up watching the clock rather than focusing on results.

Monthly Retainers

Monthly SEO services create long term partnerships over one off projects. This is the best pricing model for companies who want to outsource their SEO completely or are looking for close collaboration and integrated teams. A digital marketing agency managing your SEO campaign from end-to-end, and working with a company on an ongoing basis usually leads to a stronger partnership, better communication and better results.

Furthermore, instead of trying to squeeze one project into a certain number of hours, or accomplishing one objective in a set timeframe, the monthly retainer gives your SEO specialists the freedom to tweak and improve your strategy according to the results they achieve every month.

Monthly retainers usually require a long-term commitment (six months is a common time frame) which gives the agency sufficient time to show some positive movement in the search engine ranking.

The costs for monthly services on average range from £400 to £10,000 a month, but a good benchmark for the price will take to actually see some movement and results is around £1,500/month. It could take much longer to move the needle if you pay less than that depending on how competitive your keywords are and how strong your competitors are. This is simply because of the time and work required to make progress. Choosing a cheap option and not realising how that affects results is one of the reasons many businesses are unsatisfied with SEO results.

You Get What You Pay For

The saying “you get what you pay for” is especially true when it comes to SEO management. Effective SEO is not just listing keywords on a website and hoping the website reaches number one in google. It’s more of an art form that combines content creation, web development and content promotion. And the more you spend on SEO, the more you get. Cost is primarily tied to: 1) the quantity of work required to achieve your goals 2) the speed at which it gets completed.

A low-cost option may appear to be a good value at first, but unfortunately it is generally an indication that the specialist or agency is lacking experience or a track record of proven results. It may also be a red flag that the agency uses black-hat or lower quality tactics, rather than SEO best practices.

Not only does the cost often impact the maximum results achieved within a given timeframe, but there is also a strong correlation between higher spending and higher client satisfaction, proving that you really do get what you pay for with SEO. In a survey conducted by Backlinko, clients that spent more than the average rates were two times more likely to be extremely satisfied compared to those who spend less for SEO.

The Cost of Quality

We are a customer focused SEO agency backed by years of experience and hard work. Needless to say, we’ve learned what price point is most likely to deliver a worthy return on investment. We’ve found that those that spend around £1,500 a month see the best results. This figure gives us the time and resources we need to create and execute a strategy, continue to test and fine tune the performance of the website. Please keep in mind that Purple Penguin work with companies of all budgets and will always put in 100% effort to ensure the success of your project.

We are dedicated to creating custom SEO strategies to produce organic growth and lasting results. Looking for a Birmingham SEO Agency? Contact us today to see how we can help you achieve your greatest business goals.

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Digital Marketing

Purple Penguin provide digital marketing services across the West Midlands. Being an SEO agency in Wolverhampton and Birmingahm, we help increase leads and sales on websites. Our services include - SEO, PPC, Social media, content marketing and website design.

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