Search Engine Optimization Pricing

I’ve written about this in my Search Engine Watch column, to some extent, but I think it’s worth a little more detail.

It seems to me that many prospects who call into Vizion Interactive want to gravitate – almost immediately – to the question “how much do you charge for search engine optimization services”.

This is why I have made it my mission to try and help people understand what goes into a search engine optimization project, so that they get a better understanding why there should not be a “cookie cutter price” for search engine optimization services.

Imagine if you were to build a house. You would probably need to get a quote for the land, a quote for the various builders (quality varies), a quote depending on the square footage, etc.. All of these things must be considered because it’s a unique project based upon what you want.

It’s the same thing with search engine optimization. Some websites are “ready made” for search engine optimization and may require “nothing more” than keyword research, competitive analysis, site structure/Information architecture analysis, standard recommendations for titles/meta descriptions/meta keywords, a sitemap, etc.. However, some other websites may be lacking on content for keywords that the prospect has mentioned that they “must” be found for, or they could have a lot of issues with the way that their site was designed/developed that may need to be addressed.

Certainly, there are firms who offer “Package Pricing” for SEO. It doesn’t make much sense to me, but I guess it’s pretty much the same thing as templated websites. I’ve even seen some SEO firms sell the SAME RECOMMENDATIONS (titles/descriptions/keywords) to several websites in the SAME INDUSTRY. What a rip off, huh? No research. Nothing custom about it. I guess it would have been okay for these websites if the owners had been told “we’re selling you templated SEO recommendations” and if the pricing reflected this. However, this firm was/is charging almost as much as our firm does.

For those of you seeking a “package deal”, I strongly urge you to read/study search engine optimization a little more before you jump into hiring a firm. You should begin to understand that you should be creating a “scope of work” for search engine optimization. At the end of the day, you are paying for time/talent. And, if you’ve ever tried to hire an SEO, you know that the good ones don’t come cheaply. So, the more talent involved in your project, and the more time that it takes, the more that you can expect to pay.

  • Well, what happens here in Europe more and more is a compensation based on what has been achieved. A percentage of on-line turn-over from a webshop i.e. becomes more standard then special here.

  • I know exactly what you mean here. I think that the root of the problem is in SEO having become a buzz word – something people think they ought to need – and then when they need it explaining (it's not that f**king complcated…) they glaze over and just ask how much it'll cost. This totally plays into the hands of people who do a 'standard rate'.

    I'd far rather spend time with someone going through a strategy and showing them what needs doing, so they understand the cost breakdown. Then in some cases it can be converted into a 'monthly rate', because that's just what SEOs do.!

  • If you are accepting clients in the same field thats pretty close to a conflict of interest (would not happen at most ad agencies-ie auto accounts, beer accounts etc). But that more an ethical question. If clients don't see the value of a long term relationship (with some sort of agreed upon metric) they should not be viewed has true clients. Most advertising agencies sign agreements with their clients and do not accept job by job assignments. Same thing should be happening in the SEO fields.