Get the most important digital marketing news each day.
How much does SEO cost?
How much should you be paying for search engine optimization (SEO)? Columnist Marcus Miller breaks down what factors go into SEO pricing.
How much does SEO cost? It’s the proverbial, “How long is a piece of string?” question. And if you think about it, this is not without good reason. SEO is not as easy to nail down as, say, sending out a direct mail campaign to 100 recipients. In some ways, it is not always as easy to measure, as many marketing activities may impact organic search traffic.
The cost of SEO is also directly related to the potential rewards. Ranking nationally for a highly prized keyword that may be £10 per click in AdWords will have far more costs associated with it than ranking for a locally oriented keyword. But even on a local level, there can be huge variability — and whether you want to rank in a state, county, city, town or micro-area like a borough or village will influence how difficult this will be. This, of course, influences the price of SEO for your unique situation.
In this post, I am going to look briefly at the benefits of organic search via SEO to better frame the question, how much does SEO cost? My goal here is to help you make an educated decision regarding how much you should be investing and how you measure results.
Whether you are a local business, small business, national business or even international business, I hope this guide will help you determine what your investment should look in organic search.
SEO prices: What determines cost?
SEO pricing has to consider the following variables:
- Situation. Where are you currently?
- Objectives. Where do you want to be?
- Timeline. How fast do you want to improve?
Only by looking at these three elements can any agency calculate how much SEO should cost for your business.
Let’s consider the following example:
- A local business site currently ranks in the 12th position for their main target keyword (and variations thereof).
- Competitors on first page have more links and higher authority metrics.
- Competitors have invested more in local SEO.
With this information, some metrics can be determined:
- An approximate amount of links
- An idea of how much work is needed on the local SEO front
- A rough timeline to achieve this
By analyzing a client’s current situation, understanding their objectives and determining the required timeline, we can calculate a price. There are lots of variables here, and we don’t always know what our competitors are doing, but an attempt should be made to calculate the level of work required and subsequent price.
And of course, the industry will in part determine costs. If you make $100 from a new customer, you can expect to pay less than if a customer is worth several thousand dollars. The marketplace, to some extent, regulates price (assuming the work is done properly). It is all about return on investment.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.