Search engine optimization pricing can be a difficult concept to grasp. More precisely, the idea of how much you should pay for an SEO campaign can become difficult to solidify. There are many SEO agencies that that have a wide variety of search engine optimization packages and services and the prices range from a few hundred dollars per month to many thousands of dollars per month.  It is not uncommon to see search engine optimization service rates of $3,000 – $5,000 per month. So how do you know what is an affordable search engine optimization monthly fee for your specific business and needs?

What Fits Your Needs?

Determine which search engine optimization packages are suitable for your business. Are you a local business or a national brand?

Search Engine Optimization packagesIf the goal is to conquer the search engine results pages for a term like “lose weight” but you are looking for an affordable search engine optimization package in the range of $500 per month, most SEO agencies will either laugh at you until they can’t breathe any more, show you the exit or show you the exit while they are laughing so hard, gasping for air. And, if any SEO experts agree to take on a client for a highly competitive, national keyword phrase and niche at a very low monthly rate, be wary of the quality of the services that they offer. Remember the adage, you get way you pay for! In this case, you are probably buying a spam ladened SEO campaign that will most likely result in a website that gets penalized by the Google Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird or other filter.

Understanding the type of search engine optimization package that you need in order to accomplish your objectives is crucial and a good SEO consultant will be able to guide you through this maze.

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What is the Target?

What is the objective of your campaign?

  • Is it lead generation
  • Brand recognition
  • List subscriptions

How are you going to measure your success?

  • Number of new leads
  • Number of new list sign ups
  • Number of products sold online
  • Volume of website traffic

Your search engine optimization consultant should be able to give you metrics to measure the success of your SEO campaign, month over month.

The metric for measuring success will be dependent on the type of company that you run. For example, a local roofing contractor will most likely be focused on the number of leads or phone calls that come into the office every month. Whereas a jewelery company will be more focused on the number of sales made on their website for the month.  However, in both scenarios, these businesses should also be looking at website visits (unique & returning), bounce rate, acquisition metrics (organic, referral, direct), content keywords and much more.

Why is this important? Because, if the website is performing well, there may be even more opportunity to increase the performance by assessing the site visitor’s behavior while on the site. For example, a trend may be identified where a particular web page has the highest entry point into the site and that page is NOT the home page! Furthermore, that page may not be optimized to convert traffic, explaining why the bounce rate is higher than it should be. a slight modification to that high entry point web page can make a large impact on the conversion rate of the website. If you or your search engine optimization consultant is not analyzing the website traffic, you’ll never understand this customer behavior.

The following video is an excellent case study of Texas.gov and their usage of Google Analytics to measure the effectiveness and success of their search engine optimization service and implementation. It is a MUST watch video…

Also, make sure to set your expectations correctly from the onset. Long lasting search engine results are built upon safe, carefully thought out search engine optimization strategies. Blueprints and strategies that are implemented in a methodical manner over a consistent monthly campaign. Results can take six to twelve months to see, especially in competitive niches.   In less competitive niches, we have seen our client’s obtain results in 3 months or less however, nothing is guaranteed when it regards Google rankings. The best advice is to be persistent and patient.

It all comes down to NEW…

For many companies, it boils down to obtaining new customers, new patients, new clients, etc. If this is the case for your business, do you know what the life-time value of a new customer is for your business?  You’d be surprised at how many business owners do not really know this value. Interestingly enough, without this number, you really cannot make a determination of how much you should budget any search engine optimization packages.

Lets take a hypothetical search engine optimization candidate. We’ll call him Mr. Goode, a partner of Goode & Goode Law, a personal injury law practice in a local community. A quick calculation is to look at the yearly value of a client and then multiply that by the length of years that person remains an active client.

In Mr. Goode’s case, their average profit from a client on retainer is $10,500 and the average length of work lasts 4.75 years. Therefore their Client Lifetime Value would be $49,875. A more accurate method of measuring the Client Lifetime Value would be to use a discounted cash flow equation and since the topic of this article is not about complicated financial equations and projections, we’ll just tell you that the Client Lifetime Value works out to be $33,600, assuming a 80% retention rate with clients and 5% discount rate.

Therefore, if each new client is worth $33,600, how much would Mr. Goode be willing to pay for search engine optimization services? Does a $3,000 monthly search engine optimization package that yields just two new clients per month reasonable? Most attorneys would agree that this type of return is well worth the investment.

When the topic of pricing is addresses with our agency, we always ask our customers to take a close look at the items we discussed above. This will help in understanding if they truly need to engage with a search engine optimization consultant and if so, how much marketing budget should be budgeted into their annual spend.