SEO Costs: Why The Fixed-Rate Model Is Outdated
In the search engine optimization (SEO) industry, there lies a misunderstanding of the very concept of the SEO services. There is a disconnect between SEO packages and the actual SEO costs that are associated with the packages. We see SEO packages from hundreds of companies that create and bundle SEO services together to create intro packages, silver packages and gold packages. The general public has come to understand as SEO services as these SEO packages, and thus, are left with the feeling that SEO services are something that comes as a fixed price, no matter the various influencers that may dictate otherwise. This system worked in the past, and if we were writing this in the early 2000s, then it would be kosher. However, times have changed, and it is no longer about a prospect buying a package and then waiting for a result, the SEO industry has moved on.
For any company that is working in the modern SEO industry, they know that credible work to increase search visibility requires a significant amount of effort by the company or specialist. Nowadays, you need to look at the competitors within the niche, analyze the industry and determine weak and strong points, look for opportunities to improve the site and carry out a forecast when it is possible to achieve measurable results.
As the SEO industry has moved away from the 2000's style of SEO, the pricing models have started to move as well. Any respected company can guarantee a top three Google search results with some results, but driving traffic and convertible leads is a science. There is a fair amount of data and variables that affect the current search environment. As a result, companies have moved away from the fixed cost method of SEO services and are opting for a more customizable approach to your specific SEO needs with the following factors that may affect cost.
- SEO Audit
- Deep-dive Keywords Research
- SEO Content Marketing Strategies
- Link Acquisition
These factors and more are significant and exist before any desired result is achieved. For instance, if we are looking to deliver a high-quality blog to a particular site. You have research work in the keywords and topic research—the physical copywriting, and then copyediting to ensure that the quality is significant for the site. Finally, you then have the user integration and user experience professionals who will need to layout the blog, so it looks excellent and appealing for potential clients to read. It's more than just submitting a guest post on a certain blog; it is a slow-cooking process.
What is an SEO Package?
Let's take a bit of a dive into what we mean when we talk about SEO costs, SEO services and SEO packages. First, SEO costs.
SEO costs are simply the cost or expense that is built into the delivery of SEO services. Costs can range from a few hundred dollars for essential services to thousands of dollars for more substantive and complicated work. Costs will vary depending on several factors, which we will get into a little more detail down below. Next, SEO services are the very services that a company can offer to improve your website ranking on Google. These include, but are not limited to:
- Keyword Research
- Website Onpage Optimization
Most companies that work in this space package their services. So, you might be asking what an SEO package is? We will dive into specifics on what is included in the standard package a little later in this article. But these packages provide clients with a variety of services that will help their site rank over time. This can include basic packages that only cover the essentials, to more advanced packages that cover analytics and marketing techniques. Each company is different, and no two SEO companies approach the process the same.
In today's digital world, having a site is not enough; you need to continue improving, crafting, and maintaining your website to attract new clients and stay relevant. Naturally, you may be asking, well how much do SEO services cost and who does them?
SEO Package Pricing
When it comes to SEO costs, there are two separate schools of thought. As you could expect, the average cost of an SEO campaign compared to the average cost of specific SEO services can vary according to the needs and industry that the company works in. Later on, we will touch on the differences between SEO services pricing, but for now, think of it this way. A niche fintech company will have fewer competitors than your average general store, so one of those companies will have less traffic, and pure volume of competition. Thus, the work to move the site from the back pages of Google is significantly different.
As well, most SEO companies do not offer a customized approach to these services. You have a basic package, an advanced package and a superior package. The differences between these fixed-cost packages are not too much, and many are marketed to companies pick the advanced package to go forward. So, what is generally included in these types of SEO packages?
What comes with basic SEO packages?
Basic SEO packages are a good starting point for many companies. These packages generally have a fixed price and offer straightforward SEO services. This includes working on the website ranking organically, some changes in content and a focus on local SEO. The local SEO costs are generally in the mid-range in terms of price, but the more complicated the industry, the higher that costs can run. The average cost of an SEO campaign basic package can run into the hundreds and may include:
- Keyword Research
- Meta Tags and internal link building
- Basic on-site work including optimization and content editing
- Monthly reporting
Price Range: $500-$700 per month
What goes into more advanced or superior SEO services packages?
Building on basic packaged, most advanced packages come with the basic package included, and some additional services depending on the company. These other SEO services cost clients and make people wonder if the SEO management cost and the SEO analysis cost is worth the investment. As the cost of SEO marketing can be high, companies are weighing the pros and cons of this essential service. As SEO optimization services cost varies between most companies, it can be tough to find that perfect fit to balance your budget and SEO cost. Typically, advanced SEO services pricing is higher, and you should expect to pay top-notch SEO package prices. Here is what is generally included in these packages:
- Keyword research and deployment
- Local, Provincial/State, National ranking
- Meta tags, internal and external link building
- Advanced optimization and content re-writes
- Heat maps and usability reports
- Content and marketing strategy
- Monthly reports
Price Range: $1000-$1500 per month
SEO packages with a fixed cost and why it's ineffective
What if we told you, the flat rate SEO servicing pricing model is broken, and it is not serving you the way that it could? Well, you might be a little shocked, but from our end, it is not a great way to conduct business in today's environment. Let us explain why.
Back in the heyday of SEO with the launch and popularity of Google, SEO was a new skill. People would pay hundreds, if not thousands per month for an opportunity to be on the front page, and nothing else mattered. The market-determined SEO package prices and that market wanted results.
If you are familiar with the industry, you may be aware of blackhat SEO methods. These methods are used by companies that do not want to put in the work and want to generate results that will not last. Here are some of the common methods of blackhat SEO:
- Keyword stuffing
- Outrageous Link Buying
These methods may work in the short term, but after the company delivers that number one ranking, they will quietly disappear as your site starts to drop. These methods are meant to shoot a website up the search engine, but as soon as the algorithm or spiders go through the site, this ranking will start to free fall. We have done the work to correct these sites and let us tell you; it is a process and a half.
However, times have changed, and the individual business and the niche that they operate in really determines the amount of work that an SEO professional needs to put in. Here are some of the things that could affect the price and work level of a project:
üThe type and scale of the project. If the prospect is a new business in a competitive field, the work rate is going to be significantly higher than if you are an established player in a niche field.
üThe condition of the website. If the sits are modern, with built-in links, tags, and titles, most SEO professionals will only need to tweak. But, if we are working on a site that was last updated in 1998, then it is going to take significant staff-hours to get it up to stuff.
üThe geo-targeting that is needed. When working on a local scale or a national scale, that difference will severely impact the level of effort that is required to get the site ranked on the leading search engines.
üIf there has been previous SEO work done on the site. Previous SEO work can provide a base to grow a campaign, but it can also mean a complete re-write if done incorrectly, or with black hat SEO methods.
With this in mind, the current SEO services cost model for many traditional SEO agencies is entirely incorrect for the current climate. They do not care if you are big or small, in a niche, or an established industry, they will charge the small ma and pa store the same as the multinational company.
As an example, SEO agencies with fixed-price packages use one of the largest conveyers of low-quality but readily available links can be found in the forums at Blackhatworld. This site offers packages with backlinks that users or companies can buy. Deals such as $59.90 for 100 links are commonplace and can be purchased with any major credit card.
Although these links can look legitimate, the benefits will quickly evaporate, and these poor backlinks will start to affect the site's ranking. If a site goes through with these backlinks, their ranking will start to drop, and it will drop quickly. Along with keyword stuffing and cloaking, link buying is not a recommended SEO practice, and any quality SEO company will avoid these short-term and cost-cutting processes like the plague. If you are not planning to use such low-quality SEO services, skip the fixed price model and embrace customized SEO pricing.
When it comes to the algorithm changes, it can be a little confusing for what changes in the backend, and how it can affect your website. SEO professionals are tuned into these adaptations and can make the necessary edits before the changes are activated. All of the search engines complete updates fairly regularly, and balancing the requirements of Google takes skill and expertise that only SEO professionals can deliver. Let's take Google algorithm updates for a quick case study on how these changes happen.
Google last changed its algorithm that governs SEO on May 4. This change, only a few weeks ago, meant that thousands of sites and its content would need to adapt to this new core change. As SEO companies scrambled to ensure sites continued to be within the defined rules, and content was refreshed to match the changes, the work level increased. If websites were left alone, their ranking would drop as soon as the Google spiders realized that they were not within the preferred guidelines. This is not good and would mean significant work later on in the year for an SEO expert. Google releases a new core update every six months or so, and as campaigns need to be adjusted, fixed price campaigns can suffer.
Our team does their homework and will look at your site, and the niche that you are looking to get ranked in. Once we determine your needs, we will provide the service that will allow you to meet your goals as a company in organic search.
Call us today, and see how through hard-work, award-winning SEO, great marketing and data-driven results, we can host your site to the top of the leading search engines. You can start enjoying digital traffic and motivated leads like never before. Let's chat about our SEO plans and pricing and see what we can do!