The Real Cost of Search Engine Optimization
Since the dawn of the internet, businesses have searched for ways to leverage search engines so they could derive additional value from their websites. Optimizing a website was once a hit or miss prospect, but soon, a series of best practices began to take form
Search engine optimization (SEO) has evolved from a niche agency service offering to an entire industry. Any business that operates a website needs SEO — and where there’s a need, there’s money to be made.
As a result, there are plenty of SEO agencies that either doesn’t know what they’re doing or are actively trying to scam businesses. Their Google search engine optimization costs vary, but they usually sell vague “SEO packages” that are task-based instead of performance-based.
To get a full understanding of how much SEO should cost in 2019 — do SEO services work? as well as how it really works — let’s start with a little history lesson.
History of SEO
At least, it worked for a little while, but not for long.
At the time, search engines only matched results based on the words in search queries, so website owners had an incentive to try to game the system by stuffing their pages and keyword tags with the terms they wanted to rank for.
There also emerged the shady business of black hat SEO. Backlinks were spammed from bogus websites to boost rankings. People started offering SEO to companies knowing full well that their clients had no idea how SEO worked or what constituted value.
The SEO industry was born, but it had a lot of growing up to do.
It wasn’t until Google came onto the scene in the early 2000s that clear lines between black hat SEO, white hat SEO, on-page SEO, and off-page SEO were delineated.
Google created new search algorithms that prioritized the needs of the user rather than the needs of the website owner. Results were served based on factors like trust, authority, relevance, and context, such as the user’s physical location and their previous search history.
SEO companies had to change their game. Some have stepped up to the challenge, but sadly, most have not.
There’s more information than ever out there about SEO. And yet, the veil of mystery surrounding SEO remains for many companies.
Value of SEO
THE COST AND VALUE OF SEO
Today, the value of the SEO industry in the United States is approaching?$80 billion. There are hundreds of SEO agencies in the U.S., and perhaps thousands around the world.
What do SEO companies do? Unfortunately, many SEO companies today still don’t take a holistic approach to their services. Some still practice (and swear by) black hat techniques like keyword stuffing, which can damage your website’s rankings. Those SEO agencies that don’t use black hat tactics typically only provide partial SEO services, such as on-page SEO and content production.
They can get away with it because the businesses they serve are none the wiser. According to one 2018 survey,?38% of small businesses?still believe keyword stuffing is a good SEO tactic. In another study,?45% of the online entrepreneurs surveyed?didn’t even know?what SEO meant.
With so much ambiguity in the SEO campaign, it can be a real challenge to know how much you should pay for SEO services and which types of services you need. As we’ll see, SEO pricing is all over the map. But as with most investments, the more you invest, the better you’re results — as long as you’re working with a reputable agency.
You can get SEO services packages on a small budget, but you should have different expectations than if you have more to spend. Furthermore, you’ll need to find an agency that’s transparent about their pricing and about what they’re?actually doing?each day to give you results.
Average Cost of SEO Packages
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION RATES
SEO pricing packages range from just a hundred dollars a month to tens of thousands.
According to Search Engine Land, most businesses spend?less than $5,000 per month?on SEO in the United States. They also reported that the average amount an SEO company brings in from a single client each month breaks down as follows:
- 10% — less than $500
- 27% — $500-1,000
- 29% — $1,000-2,500
- 20% — $2,500-5,000
- 15% — $5,000-10,000
The most inexpensive SEO services are usually offered by freelancers or solo consultants. But most companies work with agencies because they’re more reliable.
Companies often look for smaller SEO packages prices, such as those under $1000, to save money. They may consider SEO a vague and secondary digital marketing strategy, so it doesn’t warrant a hefty piece of their marketing budget.
But a typical agency will bill their work for an hourly rates of $75 to $150 per hour. Even if you’re on a monthly retainer, the agency will always consider the work in an hourly format because of their overhead.
So, for example, if you were to pay an agency $1000 each month at hourly rates of $100 per hour to work on SEO,?they’d only do 5 hours of work each week?as agreed upon on their SEO pricing guide.
According to one survey, less than half of all small businesses have an SEO budget at all. Of those that do have a budget, the majority spend less than $100 SEO costs per month.
A monthly retainer budget of hourly rates of $100 at $100 per hour? That will only give you?1 hour of work per month?on SEO. Some SEO agencies will try to tell you that a few hundred dollars will give you a long-shot chance at ranking, but it your competitors are spending thousands on SEO, you’ll always be outgunned.
It’s better to educate yourself and understand how SEO works, then make a solid investment in a strategy that’s right for you.
That might be enough time to fill in a few SEO titles and meta descriptions on your pages, but that’s hardly a holistic strategy. With a tool like Yoast, all you need to do is fill in the blanks:
This type of on-page SEO work is important, but it isn’t enough for you to beat your competitors in search results.
Even for $500 per month, most agencies won’t do many link building, if any. And today, link building from reputable websites are essential. Without them, you can’t generate the page authority to rank anywhere near the top.
If you don’t have the funds to pay for serious SEO work, you can still invest to correct SEO issues on your website. But that’s almost of waste of your time. Furthermore, that’s not why most companies hire an SEO agency — they want to rank #1.
If you want real results, you need to find an SEO agency that?knows what they’re doing?and pay them to do some legwork.
SEO in 2019 isn’t just about putting the right words on the page. Successful SEO means gaining traffic organically, building relationships with other website owners, producing content based on a documented strategy,?prioritizing conversions, and earning legitimate backlinks per month to increase the authority of your domain.
SEO Pricing Models
Unfortunately, many SEO agencies today still don’t take a holistic approach to their services. Some still practice (and swear by) black hat techniques like keyword stuffing, which can damage your website’s rankings. Most of these SEO agencies typically only provide partial SEO services, such as on-page SEO and content production, and would offer the cheapest SEO package prices.
They can get away with it because the businesses they serve are none the wiser. According to one 2018 survey, 38% of small businesses still believe keyword stuffing is a good SEO tactic. In another study, 45% of the online entrepreneurs surveyed didn’t even know what SEO meant.
With so much ambiguity in the SEO campaign, it can be a real challenge to know how much you should pay for SEO and which types of services you need. As we’ll see, SEO pricing plans are all over the map. But as with most investments, the more you invest, the better you’re results — as long as you’re working with a reputable agency.
How much do SEO cost for small business? You can get SEO services on a small budget, but you should have different expectations than if you have more to spend. Furthermore, you’ll need to find an agency that’s transparent about their local SEO services pricing and about what they’re actually doing each day to give you results.
SEO PACKAGE PRICE AND RATES
How to sell SEO services? Most SEO companies sell their services in the form of packages or?SEO package pricing. You’ve probably seen them on SEO agency websites. They sell SEO services online. There may be 3-5 packages available on their search engine optimization prices, with a middle-of-the-road option labelled “Most Popular.”
The truth is, it’s now antiquated to sell search engine optimization package this way. Your agency won’t know the pricing of their SEO services until they talk to you and determine your needs. There are no one-size-fits all package; There are no fixed price SEO packs; there are only similar strategies. You get what you pay.
For example, if you’re a business consultancy that wants to rank #1 for the search term “business consulting,” you’ll need a considerable SEO investment that most “packages” won’t cover. There may be thousands of web pages competing for that term. It could take months of work before you reach your goal.
The agency offering you the package may take your money, but chances are, they won’t give you the results you want. Furthermore, your agency needs to keep things realistic. Just how much?would?it take to rank #1 for that keyword? Are SEO companies worth it? Is SEO worth it for small business? how much do small business SEO services cost?
Most agencies should know the answers to these questions. If they don’t, they aren’t using the right tools. For example, Ahrefs’ keyword research tool helps you determine exactly how much link building you’d need to rank for a specific keyword:
You should always have a clear understanding of where your money is going. If your agency can’t provide you with clear numbers like this one, they may not know what they’re doing.
Literally, you should be able to say to yourself, “I’m spending X number of dollars — I expect to reach Y level of authority with Z number of backlinks built.
Most SEO agencies don’t want to talk about this because they don’t want to be held accountable. Too many agencies will take your monthly retainer, show you a few blog posts, and neglect the backend of your website and any off-page resources.
It’s for this reason we don’t offer packages at BlissDrive. We’ve worked with plenty of clients who’ve hired multiple SEO agencies before us and have gotten burned every time.
When we start talking about link building and real work it takes to do SEO, those clients have no idea they needed those types of service. They’ve never received them.
Frequently Asked Questions about SEO Pricing
HOW MUCH DOES SEO PACKAGES COST IN 2020?
While determining the cost of SEO in 2020 will depend on the service provider and the amount of work involved, the average cost of SEO in 2020 ranges anywhere from $500 to $2,500 per month.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I SPEND ON SEO PER MONTH?
When it comes to owning a business, every dollar counts to get the most value out of your marketing budget. However, it’s important to note that the SEO plans and pricing will largely depend on the type of work your company will require to increase visibility.
Overall, your monthly local SEO package pricing should be anywhere from $500 to $10,000 per month on SEO, depending on the projects involved and how frequently the work will need to be completed.
IS SEO WORTH IT?
Are SEO services worth it? Investing in SEO monthly is one of the most important considerations a company can make when it comes to growth. SEO drives traffic to your company website, helping you rank higher in search engines, and provide your business with increased exposure and leads.
If your company has plans for growth, SEO is something that every business should utilize to connect with target audiences and increase profitability every month.
HOW MUCH SHOULD AN SEO AUDIT COST?
Whether you’re a small business looking to grow an established enterprise, monthly SEO audits provide your organization with an in-depth look at your online presence. SEO audits provide your business with a complete assessment of your current digital presence and how it can be improved.
Though several factors can play a role in determining SEO audit prices. most companies should plan on spending anywhere monthly from $500 to $10,000 per SEO audit.
HOW MUCH DO SMALL BUSINESS SEO SERVICE COST?
As a small business owner, spending money monthly on additional expenses can be overwhelming. While there is no set standard in terms of how much SEO will cost your business, Monthly SEO rates will largely depend on the visibility your company requires to grow.
How much to spend on SEO? Overall, you should expect your local SEO company pricing monthly anywhere between $500 to $2,500 per month for professional SEO service prices.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I BUDGET FOR SEO?
Regardless of your business or industry, an SEO company remains a critical tool in helping companies grow. When it comes to budgeting for SEO, several things will determine the overall pricing, including the company you partner with and the amount of work that will be involved. Overall, you should expect a monthly retainer budget anywhere between $500 to $2,500 per month for professional SEO.
IS SEO WORTH THE MONEY?
When it comes to SEO, there are no standard SEO rates. Pricing SEO will largely depend on the type of service your company requires monthly.
Though estimates for typical SEO prices will widely vary, you can expect to spend a monthly retainer somewhere between $500 to $2,500 per month on SEO service depending on what is included and how frequently the work is completed.
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