The cost of quality SEO
Here at GO Creative we receive a lot of search engine optimisation (SEO) enquiries from potential clients, so we decided to break down the cost structure. Before we dive into the costs associated with SEO services, it’s important to distinguish between effective SEO and subpar optimisation services. In this article, we’re not going to focus on the plethora of providers out there who propose to provide SEO services for ridiculously low prices.
There are many supposed SEO companies offering comprehensive digital marketing for just a couple of dollars a week. Some may operate through a professional-looking website, while others network via freelancing platforms like Fiverr or AirTasker. Either way, if the price of services looks too good to be true, it’s probably because it isn’t. Whether they’re based here in QLD, elsewhere in Australia, or overseas, you’re going to get what you pay for.
For the remainder of this blog, we’ll therefore focus on the cost of high quality, effective and worthwhile SEO. But first… how to find it!
Finding quality SEO services
Most people don’t know or have the time, inclination or energy to extensively research the difference between quality SEO services and bad services. Focusing on price, however, is definitely not the best method though. Bad SEO, especially if some malpractice is involved, can be worse than no SEO with the likes of Google even banning certain websites for employing dodgy practices to try and shortcut the system.
Cheap SEO is often provided by agencies, or individuals, who use quick, easy shortcuts to make up for their incredibly low fees. Search engines don’t differentiate between your company and the agency in charge of your SEO. If they see fit, they could hit you with a penalty or even remove your domain from their entire database.
Another worst case scenario is a simple scam. Ridiculously cheap quotes for SEO are often put forward by scammers who are waiting to receive your hard earned cash before either running off or doing such a poor job you’ll wonder what they did at all!
It’s always worth investing time in finding the right SEO company with a solid understanding of your company and goals to formulate a truly effective SEO strategy.
How SEO costs are structured
SEO is a strange beast. On the one hand it is absolutely essential in today’s smartphone, digital and internet-driven marketplace. On the other hand, it can often be difficult to ascertain just how effective your SEO strategy actually is. Some clients like to try to measure it purely by Google or Bing rankings without considering the actual increase in revenue caused by the implementation of good SEO practices. Because such black and white returns can’t possibly be guaranteed (so be wary of empty promises to lure you into signing a contract) most reputable and respectable SEO professionals charge according to time.
Most SEO services are billed by the hour spent on your campaign. The range for these rates can be anything from under $70 per hour to $200 an hour, though most sit somewhere in the upper middle.
If you’re operating on a budget, you obviously want that money to stretch as far as it can. So it’s important to not only think of the financial cost of the hourly rate but to consider how many hours per week or month are being expended on your SEO strategy.
Consider it a different way. It may cost a business more in overhead costs to keep their shops running an extra hour or two after business hours, but if those extra hours bring in tons of customers, wouldn’t you say the investment was worth it? The exact same thing applies with SEO.
The real cost of subpar SEO
There are plenty of SEO plans that come in at under $500 per month. Once you begin to strip out the agency margins, expenses, and then work out the hourly rate based on the amount of money remaining, you’ll be shocked at how little time is going to be actually spent on your company’s SEO. Aside from the fact that it’s just impractical to expect any actual SEO improvement with such limited time allocated, cheaper SEO service providers are often simply inexperienced and ineffectual and thus make their money through a high quantity of clients but lower quality of service.
Or they could be outsourcing the work themselves for ridiculously low rates and equally low effectiveness. Subpar SEO can end up costing your business a lot more in both opportunity cost and bad optimisation results in the long term.
And all to just save a few bucks today.
Of course, bad SEO strategies can be reversed and fixed over time and with effort, but that’s bound to be a lot more expensive than simply paying for high quality SEO from the beginning. It’s also worth noting that sometimes a complete rebranding and domain redesign from scratch is the only way forward (especially if your domain has been penalised or banned). That’s bound to make a dent in the bottom line and push your company back (potentially) years.
Effective SEO takes time
How much time does implementing an SEO strategy take? Like the adage about the length of a piece of string, there’s no set amount of time that applies to every single company and website. Unfortunately, search engines’ ranking algorithms don’t operate like a single switch you can flick on and off. Our job would be a LOT easier if it were.
SEO done properly takes a lot of people-hours over an extended period of time. Of course, the size of your budget will directly determine the amount of time your chosen SEO agency will be able to dedicate to your strategy and how long the time frame is expected to be.
When vetting different potential agencies to work with, have an open and honest conversation about your goals, how tough your industry competition is and how quickly you want to see marked results. If your goals don’t match your budget, you may find yourself slightly frustrated at the pace at which your SEO is moving.
SEO is like training for a marathon: you need to invest the time and keep at it consistently and extensively. When engaging with an external agency that increase in time translates into an increase in money. Hence, the bigger your budget and the more you choose to invest in SEO the more time you’ll receive from your provider.
Getting down to brass tax
Realistically, what are we looking at in terms of SEO investment?
Our SEO plans, for example, come in a range of price levels to suit everyone from small businesses with little to no competition online, through to larger businesses looking to aggressively expand. For the right result for most businesses, the monthly plan costs in the thousands per month. This might seem like a lot, but bear in mind what we outlined before. The more you pay, the more you get. And the more time invested in SEO, the better and faster the results.
The key point to remember here is that money spent on SEO shouldn’t be seen as simply expenditure. View it as a necessary and worthwhile investment because that is really what it is. To help you gain a better understanding of what sort of budget you might need for effective SEO for your company, get in touch with the GO team for a free, no-obligation quote.
Let’s chat about finding the right SEO strategy for you
We’ve heard it all from clients. Some experienced negative search engine ranking movements. Some were tricked into paying for backlinks and were penalised by Google for it. Some paid for services they never received. Some lost their websites and domains.
Some were smart enough to turn to GO Creative first. We know that our time is valuable and your company’s money is valuable too, which is why we want you to make sure that by choosing our team of SEO experts you can rest assured you’re getting high quality service.
Part of our premium offering is our free SEO audit. At no cost to you, we’ll run a thorough check of every bit of online presence you have. Website content, social media, business listings, reviews–you name it, we’ll have checked it! Armed with tangible information, we’ll prepare a report that summarises our findings, lays out a proposed solution, and outlines the required budget.
That way you’ll not only know exactly what we are capable of doing and what we plan on doing further, you’ll also know exactly how much your SEO is going to cost. It’s just one of the many ways we stand head and shoulders above the rest of the Queensland SEO market. Ready to get started? Let’s GO!