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Budgeting for SEO in 2017

By Snap Agency March 30, 2017

If you’re a business owner, you probably already know that you need to be online. You probably also have a limited budget. Because of this financial restraint, you need to maximize the results of every marketing dollar you spend.

Hiring professional SEO services is usually the best option. SEO pros can analyze your business and determine which specific strategies will produce the best results.

When SEO is done correctly, the price you pay for services will be less than the amount you make from increased conversions and sales. In order words, the right kind of SEO is the kind that pays for itself.

Here’s your complete guide to SEO pricing.

SEO Payment Models

SEO is an ongoing process. Typically, results take about six to eight months for a measurable impact. Plus, there are tons of different SEO techniques. Some strategies will be very effective for your brand while others won’t be applicable. Because there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy, SEO agencies often offer some combination of the following pricing models:

Contract Services

Before committing to any long-term contract, you’ll probably want to try out the SEO agency first. Most agencies offer fixed-price services. You might want a website audit conducted, social media pages optimized or other one-time services. Contract services are a great way to see if the agency will be a good fit for your business.

Project Services

Project services are similar to contract services only for more unique ongoing services. Creating and publishing blog posts on a monthly basis is one example of a project service. Developing and maintaining social media platforms is another. The SEO agency you work with can help you figure out the specifics for what they offer in terms of per-project services as they may differ.

Monthly Retainer

This is the most common payment model you’ll find when hiring an SEO agency. The business owner pays a set monthly fee for services that are determined ahead of time, e.g., SEO services, content marketing, website development, etc. With this model, clients will receive monthly reports, including site analytics reports (you want to know how all of this work is affecting your website, right?).

This is usually the way to get the best results. Your SEO agency will be able to adjust strategies over time, which lets them fine-tune results. Your site will be continually optimized and constantly improved.

Hourly Consulting

Paying an hourly rate in exchange for SEO services isn’t very common. Occasionally, a business will pay a consulting fee for SEO information. This is usually only necessary if you need a very specialized piece of information or have a specific question you need advice for.

Average SEO Costs

Prices are often heavily dependent on the size of your business and the services performed. Costs which may be a bit on the high side initially can lead to a steady increase in customers and sales over time. Here are some (very general) price ranges:

  • Monthly Retainer: $750 to $5,000+
  • Contract Services: $500 to $7,500 depending on length and nature of contract
  • Project-based Pricing: $1,000 to $10,000+ for large ongoing projects
  • Hourly Consulting: $100 to $300 per hour

These figures are based on a Moz survey of 500 SEO specialists, consultants and agencies. The price ranges are very general. Individual business needs are obviously a big factor in determining pricing, which is why a personal consultation is so important.

What to Watch out For

When searching for an SEO agency, you want a team of professionals that cares about your success. Ideally, you’ll find SEO pros you connect with on a personal level.

During your initial consultation, be wary of any promises that sound too good to be true. Here are some claims to be a bit suspicious of:

Super Fast Results

Great SEO is a process of optimization and refinement. Meaningful results will appear anywhere from six months to a year. SEO agencies that promise instant results are either A) overpromising; or B) relying on black hat techniques that will only hurt your brand in the long run.

Outlandish Guarantees

You want your SEO company to do what they say they will, but be wary about any over-the-top guarantees such as “We’ll Double Your Profits in 3 Months!” and “You’ll Be the #1 Spot on Google.”

Hard-to-break Contracts

Your business will get the best results if you develop a long-term relationship with an SEO agency, but no SEO agency should pressure you into signing a long contract right away. Reputable agencies understand you’ll want a few low-cost, smaller options for service at first.

One-and-done SEO Tricks

There are tons of SEO strategies. But the secret to success is constant monitoring and data-based adjustment. Stay away from SEO agencies that claim they have a “secret formula” or other mysterious trick. More often than not these promises are nothing more than hot air.

SEO Agencies Will Save You Money

Optimizing your web presence isn’t a side project or part-time gig. You need experienced professionals in your corner. The right SEO agency has both the technical know-how and creative ability to successfully connect your business to new customers online.

While there are initial costs, over time your website will be a reliable source of conversions and revenue. By following the guidelines above, you can hire an SEO agency that will be the perfect fit for your brand and your budget.

Are you searching for an SEO agency to help your business survive online? Post your pricing questions below and we’ll be happy to help you out.