SEO Cost: Why Premium SEO is Cheaper in the Long Term

If you are a business owner who has exhausted the traditional marketing solutions for your business, then you are perhaps a little fed up spending your businesses hard earned money on advertising that either yields little results or is incredibly hard to measure the impact of.

In the 21st century, many businesses rely on internet traffic to promote or sell their products and/or services, and many businesses are moving away from the traditional marketing tools such as flyers and newspaper advertisements and are looking for digital solutions.

With so many options available in the digital world of marketing it can often be a tricky decision on how best to spend your budget.

It may seem like a good business decision to spend the least amount of money possible – but that is not the case.

Search Engine Optimization Pricing

Let’s start by using search engine optimization as a good example of why often the more you spend, the better off your business will be.

The cost of SEO is discussed heavily in SEO circles but has the biggest impact on clients and the return on investment they should expect to see.

In reality, a good SEO service should pay for itself and deliver a profit for the investing company – after all, if you told me I would have to spend $3,000 per month on SEO and I would only ever see a return in sales of $2000 then I would not employ an SEO agency.

However, if for my $3,000 per month investment I am seeing a $6,000 return of which $3,000 is profit, then I will be more than happy with my decision.

Let’s take this one step further and consider scale.

What if I could then say, ‘okay, let’s spend $6,000 per month on SEO and see a return of $12,000 in profit’.Click To Tweet

Am I going to take this deal – of course I am!

We will further illustrate the point of how SEO pricing is almost irrelevant and the real question should be what return am I getting for my SEO cost in the long run?

SEO Services Pricing Vs. Google Adwords

If we compare search engine optimization pricing to Google Adwords pricing, then we can see more clearly the long-term benefits of SEO and dive deeper into the idea of search engine optimization cost being less important than we first thought.

Let’s take a look at some Google Adwords costs and compare them to potential SEO pricing.

In 2016, the legal sector leads the way in terms of Google Adwords cost per click with the term ‘best mesothelioma lawyer’ reaching a whopping $935.71 per click, but let’s take a look at a less expensive term.

The keyword ‘personal injury lawyer atlanta’ attracted a cost per click of $132.23.

Adwords Cost

Now that might seem an insane amount of money to spend per click, but if the value of each client was let’s say $10,000, then it could be profitable to go after this keyword using Google Adwords.

Now let’s say that the cost per click was more reasonable – let’s say $100 per click.

Let’s say clicks convert at a rate of 2% of visitors signing up for their services.

So they would need 50 visitors for every 1 sign up.  50 x $100 per click = $5,000

This would leave them with a profit of $5,000 per client acquired using Adwords.

Now this is a decent strategy and one that can be scaled up to more keywords and it is easy to track.Click To Tweet

Now let’s think about this from an SEO point of view. On average the term attracts around 720 searches per month for the exact phrase match.

If we can achieve a number one organic Google ranking, then we can expect to attract 40% click through to our website. This would give us 288 organic visitors per month based on that one keyword.

Now, if we are to assume that 1 in 50 convert we would see 5 paying clients for this term – each of these is worth $10,000, so that gives us $50,000.

Now, to get these 5 clients using Google Adwords this start cost us $25,000 per month. You should to see the value of SEO right now.

SEO Pricing – What is a Fair Price to Pay?

Having given that illustration it is now easier to consider the cost of SEO and what we should expect to pay.

SEO Cost

In the illustration we were kind to Google Adwords (the actual cost per click according to AHREFS is $138.65) and we only gave the example of achieving one page one keyword ranking from SEO.

In reality, other related keywords that are a broad match are also likely to rank highly and attract much more than the 5 clients per month.

It cost $25,000 per month using Adwords to attract the $50,000 per month of business so is it fair to expect to pay just $500 per month to an SEO agency?

Of course not!

In reality, any figure less than $25,000 per month will be a sound investment and the long-term picture would be even more fruitful when other keywords can be targeted.

A more realistic figure might be anything from $7500 to $15,000 per month for this service.

No One Size Fits All Packages

The illustration we have given would not work for a company that has a client value of $500 and this is why you should never work with an SEO company that offers packaged pricing.

SEO Pricing Package

It is impossible for any two projects to be the same. A good SEO pricing strategy will include a whole range of factors including the competition, the costs of pay per click, the resources needed to rank and many other influencing factors.

Usually, the more profitable the keyword the more competition you will expect to face. Although this is not a hard and fast rule and there are exceptions.

Why SEO Is Not Cheap

I think we have pretty much covered this but let’s look at a couple of analogies.

If you were to buy a house, and you wanted 5 bedrooms, a sauna, a cinema room, a hot tub and a swimming pool – do you think it would cost the same as a 2 bedroom apartment that has been converted from an old warehouse?

Of course not!

On top of this – the cost of the 5 bedroom house will be more upfront, it will have higher maintenance costs and ultimately it will cost you more money.

BUT… the upside of the 5 bedroom house is that it gives you a higher standard of living, makes you more comfortable and is something to be proud of.

It is also a good investment and is something you can sell for much more later.

Search Engine Optimization Costs

The same could be said of your business website.

A reputable SEO company will continue to work to ensure your prime location (Google position 1-3) and it will cost you money but in return you will get the customers, the satisfaction, and ultimately a huge return on investment.

If we go back to our comparison of SEO and Google Adwords, then it seems another fair analogy to say that Adwords is like renting a property – you can only stay in that location if you continue to pay your rent, whereas SEO is more like buying a house – it cost you X amount in monthly payments, but the investment will pay back in the long term.

SEO Pricing Conclusion

So you can hopefully see from these illustrations that search engine optimization is not something you can set at a fixed price.

It is also a service that requires knowledge, staying up to date on strategies, and you will pay a premium to work with a company that knows search engine optimization inside out.

This premium will almost always offer a good return on investment and that should be the question you are asking – what can I expect my investment to return?

So stop asking how much is SEO going to cost and start thinking about your marketing in terms of ROI in the future.Click To Tweet

I will leave you with this one last thought.

How much does a guy flipping burgers earn each month for doing that job that requires very little skill and very little knowledge?

Do you think your SEO agency is going to provide your business with a $25,000 per month profit for the same amount of money as the guy flipping burgers is earning?

No… I didn’t think so.

You should look to get a good price for your SEO but above all you should look to work with a company you trust and can deliver a good return on investment.

Whether that investment is $1,500 or $25,000 per month – it does not matter as long as it is profitable long term.

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SEO Cost: Why Premium SEO Is Cheaper In The Long Term
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Justin Herring

Founder & Head of Digital Marketing at YEAH! Local
Hey! I'm Justin Herring, co-founder at YEAH! Local. Having been burned by SEO companies in the past I decided to start my own focused on "Results".

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