What are Fair SEO costs?

SEO Costs

As Search Engine Optimization (SEO) continues to grow, the SEO pricing debate continues too, because there is no uniformity of SEO costs between SEO agencies and SEO professionals. SEO costs ranges from free services offered by some SEO professionals to sky-high prices charged by premiere SEO agencies. So how can you judge what is cost-effective SEO pricing? How do you know the service rendered will deliver increased web traffic and increased search engine rankings? How do you know there won't be black hat SEO practices followed? And how do you know the cost is fair? Here's an attempt at finding a few answers…

Why are there no standardized SEO costs?

For starters, Search Engine Optimization is a service and not a commodity. Like most services, SEO costs vary depending on what seems profitable and viable for the SEO agencies and professionals. Many SEO agencies and SEO professionals provide standardized or tool-based SEO. Others provide thorough search engine optimization services customized to the site's needs. The amount of time, effort and personal attention SEO agencies give a client's website ultimately determines the cost of the SEO services.

SEO cost depends on your business

Besides the method adopted by the SEO agency, the nature of your business will also have an impact on the SEO cost. This is because of a number of factors including:

How competitive is your market on the Internet?

If you have a niche business in a not-so-competitive environment, it might be relatively easier to get increased search engine rankings. However, making the market aware of niche service offerings may require forms of other search marketing and online advertising. While the SEO service itself may be affordable and less expensive, it may need to be supported by comparatively expensive marketing and advertising. This is because, if your market doesn't know of your service and doesn't search for it, ranking high may still not drive traffic to your site. On the other hand, if you operate in a crowded, highly competitive market, getting increased search engine rankings will be harder and will require a high degree of effort. This in turn will result in an impact on the SEO cost.

How common, popular and competitive are the keywords you want your website to rank for?

Very common and popular keywords normally have high competition. This means, if people are looking for something, chances are that many websites would be trying to offer the product or service and capture the market. Ranking for keywords in a highly competitive space would require greater time and effort. This is bound to impact SEO cost and make it less affordable to small businesses.

How old and established is your organization?

Normally, old and well established websites with rich content are favored by search engines. As a result, it may be easier (and less expensive) to make an established website with good content rank high in search engines. This in turn can mean moderate SEO costs.

How large and dynamic is your website?

This is a tricky area. Normally large websites mean a lot of rich content. This should make it easier to achieve SEO compliance and high ranks in search results. However, large sites also mean more pages to optimize. This in turn means more time and effort. Also, search engines prefer websites that are focused. So a large site that has just one offering will rank better than a large site with multiple offerings. So, besides the size of your website, its complexity and degree of focus will have a direct bearing on how cost-effective SEO services for your website are.

Complexity of your website

Technically speaking, is your website simple or does it use complex internet technologies? Search engines prefer simple, HTML websites. However, business need and the need for aesthetic appeal may require the use of complex web technologies. However, this can make your website harder for search engines to index. SEO of a site that is not search engine friendly in design would require more effort and hence may impact SEO costs.

What search marketing services do you need?

Different SEO service providers define the scope of search engine optimization differently. Achieving ranks on search engines requires a multi pronged effort that includes optimizing your website, link building, social media optimization and other forms of online marketing to make your website popular on the internet. How well your website is networked with other relevant websites has a direct impact on search engine rankings. Ideally, you should be engaging your SEO agency for both on-site and off-site SEO services. The extent and scope of services you opt for will have a bearing on the affordability and costing of the SEO service.

The SEO agency you choose will impact SEO costs

As an emerging industry, Search Engine Optimization has attracted many agencies. SEO agencies range from large, established SEO consultancies that offer quality search engine optimization service to fly-by-night "SEO professionals" trying to make a quick buck in a booming and growing industry.

If you are an established company with large scale operations, it may be most prudent to opt for a large full-service online marketing agency that can serve you effectively across all internet marketing needs. While this will be costlier than a boutique SEO firm that offers affordable SEO services, it may be worth the additional investment. Below are a few business models commonly adopted by SEO agencies around the world.

Multi-national, full service search engine marketing agencies:

The scale of operations of the full service search engine marketing agencies is large and they seldom find small business attractive or viable. Large agencies may also be prohibitively expensive for small and medium size business enterprises. Many SEO firms are venture funded and need to operate at a large scale to be viable business ventures. This also results in an escalation of pricing for SEO and SEM services.

Fly by night SEO agencies offering freebies and cheap SEO:

Many SEO firms have taken the route of developing tools that claim to do automatic SEO. Some other SEO agencies have tried to create an impact by offering ridiculously low SEO costs. However, the effectiveness of these practices is questionable and argued by many SEO experts. While some SEO firms offer free or extremely low cost SEO because of a standard tool based approach, it has often led to disgruntled clients that end up spending much more trying to rectify the damage done. Ask yourself a simple question…does the cost seem logical and reasonable for the time it would take to optimize my site? More often than not, what seems like a fantastic deal is either a scam or unreliable.

Boutique SEO agencies & SEO Professionals:

Between the two extremes is an emerging niche of boutique SEO agencies and SEO professionals. With small scale operations, lean teams, a flexible structure and low overheads, they are able to offer highly affordable SEO services for small businesses. Many times, it also means a higher degree of personalized attention, customized service and better rankings in search engines. Praver Digital is one such boutique SEO agency that comprises of SEO professionals offering extremely personalized, focused and affordable SEO services for small and growing businesses around the world. Know more about our small business SEO.

When evaluating SEO agencies against their SEO cost, select the agency that best suits your business scale and needs. There is no common solution for all circumstances. A good SEO agency will not give pat answers but will work with you towards achieving your business goals. Beware of scams and frauds, be wary of dubious sounding certifications. Trust your instinct while discussing your needs with a prospective SEO agency and more often than not, you will get a fair cost for the SEO service.

Raghupati is the COO and Director of Operations at Praver Digital. Praver Digital provides high quality outsourced SEO services, web design services and content services to growing businesses around the world. We also offer white label SEO services to web design firms, digital marketing firms and advertising agencies.

Praver Digital is among India's leading SEO firms for growing businesses from around the world. Praver Digital offers outsourced SEO services, HTML based web design services, content services, and other outsourced services from our offices in India and USA.



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