If you’re anything like the average business owner, you prefer straight-forward answers to your questions. With so many daily distractions that tear us from our action items – and countless managerial-level decisions that must be made – your head is full of data. There are a million calculations to be made every minute, so that you can give well-thought-out marching orders. Given all that, there’s nothing more frustrating than asking someone for an answer and getting a lot of dodge and weave and mumbling.
“How much does SEO cost?” Cue the crickets.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way. The short answer, according to a December 2011 survey of over 500 marketing professionals in 6 different countries, is this:
- Hourly SEO costs range from $76 to $200 per hour.
- By-the-project costs range from $1,000 to $7,500 per project.
- Monthly retainer costs range from $500 to $5,000 per month.
There you have it. Average SEO costs illuminated for all to see. There is an expanded answer, one that might suit you better, but it’s going to be tailored to your direct SEO needs and a lot of other details. And if no one has ever said that to you before, it’s about time you heard it straight.
Buying Search Engine Optimization for your website is a lot like buying gear to outfit your next outdoors adventure. Each piece of outdoor gear has a specific function that is directly tied to a need that you are likely to face out there in the wilderness. On a deep-woods camping trip, you need a hand axe or a brush thinner to split and trim wood for fire because nobody leaves those kinds of tools lying around in the forest. In a woodland area populated by predators, you need the right tools to survive the night and get through to the next day.
In a congested marketplace with numerous competitors vying for the same prospect traffic, you need keyword research, content development, a link building program and perhaps even a social campaign to secure your position in the search engine results pages. You need this kind of well-tailored SEO program to ensure that your site has a competitive advantage over other sites in the marketplace. You need it to earn revenues today and make sure that your doors are open tomorrow. You need it to lure traffic and survive.
Yes, the costs for outfitting will always fluctuate. Not every hiker is going into the deep woods. Your business may be the only one of its kind in a 500-mile radius. It’s all relative. So, when you ask an SEO professional about the costs associated with a campaign for your website, the correct answer is “Well, that depends on a few things…”
Because it does depend on a few things – a whole lot of things in certain cases:
- The overall size and reputation of your business
- The amount of competition you’re facing
- The kind of product or service you offer
- The size of the market
- Your specific region
- Everything else
It should be known that web marketers are the kind of people that approach every opportunity with eagerness and ambition. We love to answer questions and help our clients solve the problems that are preventing them from fully benefiting from positive search engine results. We’re not likely to be vague about aspects of our efforts or the expected outcomes, but we are likely to be careful about setting the right expectations for your need in your market against your competition. And after we’ve gathered some answers and some intel, we’ll give you the dollar figures for your SEO.
In the end, we know that you hope to draw more visitors to your website. With good content, quality products or services, and competitive pricing, a percentage of those visitors are expected to become customers. The more customers you can draw, the more revenue you’ll generate. All the numbers should figure into your SEO return on investment – a topic that sounds like a good idea for another article, another time.