If you’re here reading this, chances are you are wondering what it will cost to have someone run either part or all of your Search Engine Optimization needs. While SEO is not an exact science and everyone goes about it differently, we’re happy to share our methods and approach and what we feel is a good strategy for SEO.
Ideally, any company you are going to work with to perform some SEO services for you will employ a philosophy of SEO that will actually stand the test of time. What does that mean? That means that you are not doing anything unethical or against Google’s Terms of Service. This includes buying backlinks, creating spam content, or trying to “cheat” the system. And for the love of G-d avoid sites like Konker.io or Fiverr.com for your seo – they are full of spam services!
There’s one very simple reason for not doing any of these black-hat tactics – it doesn’t last! The whole point behind SEO is that you are building momentum towards a point where you are getting more free traffic per month than you could ever afford if you were to buy the traffic. Additionally, organic traffic tends to have a higher value than paid traffic if done right.
If you are going to do any kind of unethical types of SEO attempts, chances are that if they work the effects will be short-lived. And if you are only looking for a temporary gain – I would suggest just going with Pay Per Click Ads because they tend to outperform SEO in the short-run no matter which way you slice it.
First, let’s talk about some deliverables that should be included with any SEO plan before we jump into pricing and how much we feel you can expect to pay for a great SEO plan.
Keyword research is a major part of SEO. Like any major part of SEO, leaving it out will essentially render your entire efforts almost useless. If you have a new website or a website that is new to SEO and you’re trying to get ranked for keywords that are entirely too competitive for you then everything you do will essentially be a waste of time.
Conversely, if you go for keywords that are quite easy to rank for but don’t attract the right type of traffic to your website, what’s the point?
Doing good keyword research sets the foundation for what kind of site structure, content, and outreach you are going to need to perform to get your site ranking.
Good keyword research tools like ahrefs (pictured below) cost money to run – and these tools make up a good portion of why proper SEO is not cheap.
We feel that onsite optimization is one of the easiest and most effective ways to get your content to rank faster and outperform 90% of your competition. Most people don’t take the time to do onsite optimization correctly.
There are two things to consider with onsite optimization:
- Optimizing your content for the search engine spiders
- Optimizing your content for humans
When we speak of onsite optimization we feel that both should really be taken into account. You don’t really hear much about optimizing your content for humans, but its a key step almost everyone misses.
Once you get your traffic to your site you want to keep them there and build trust with them, don’t you? Of course, that’s the whole point. Optimizing content for humans means making the content easy to read, useful, and easy to navigate. That means making sure you have relevant photos, plenty of subheadings so that someone can scan your text easily, etc. You want to make sure that they can get the information they need quickly and easily so that they turn to you as a resource.
When it comes to onsite optimization for the search engines, that’s really just a checklist of things that need to be done on every page you are optimizing. This includes things like:
Alt tags in images matching keyword goals
Subheadings wrapped in an h2 tag
Making sure the title is in an h1 tag
Linking out to relevant, non-competitive websites in the content
Internal linking to other pages on your website
Ensuring that the word count for the page is sufficient
Making sure load times are fast for the page
Double-checking that the site is mobile-optimized
There’s even more to look at but that’s the main things you want to consider. If you’re looking to do more of a deep dive into on-page SEO I highly recommend Brian Dean’s extensive guide on on-page seo over on his website backlinko.com
Creating a regular posting schedule of new content is something we feel is essential to an SEO plan these days. While there are people who only post so often and still manage to rank, we don’t really subscribe to that mentality being effective if you’re going to hire an SEO firm to work with you.
It’s important that you are not just posting filler, but you do want to post often enough that the search engines see that you are active and engaging with your audience. All the statistics and research show that a website with regular updates gets much more favorable notice from the search engines than ones without updates.
How often you update your site with new content depends on a number of factors like how old your website is, how much you can afford to spend on generating new quality content, and your keyword goals.
The bare minimum we recommend to see traction is updating your site with new, useful content at least 2-3 times a month. If an SEO plan doesn’t include new content at least a couple of times a month we would be very hesitant to consider the plan effective.
Of course, posting with more regularity would be much better. It doesn’t take long to figure out that websites that post useful content on a daily basis typically perform exponentially better in the search engines than websites with only a couple new updates a month, but again – there’s only so much time and money anyone can put towards these efforts.
Outreach and Marketing
Outreach is an essential part of any SEO plan. There are many different ways to do outreach but essentially, it’s letting people know about your website and your new content. You can spread the word out on social media, grow an email list that you can alert to new content, guest blog for other websites, create linkable content like infographics – you’re really just limited by your imagination.
Recently, we even started creating unusual content for other websites like ebooks, cheatsheets, and other downloadable items for major players in the industry. We took content they posted and made it better for them as a gift – we wanted to start creating relationships with these major sites so that getting an opportunity to get a backlink from them would be easier in the future and you know what happened? Some of the people were so grateful for the hard work we put in that they gave us a backlink just based on the content we created. Pretty nifty, huh?
Whatever the method, just make sure there’s at least some kind of outreach plan from your SEO team.
So how much should all of this cost? Well, it’s not a straightforward answer because every campaign is different. Your industry can be more or less competitive than others. But let’s take the minimum effort we would expect to at least give you a starting point.
For an SEO company to perform all the tasks above and create a couple of pieces of new content for you every month I would expect to pay at least $750/month. Anything less than that and I can almost assure you that they are using bots or blackhat techniques to try to boost your numbers.
The amount of time involved in getting an SEO client and maintaining that account is massive. If someone is performing SEO services for you chances are there are at least 15-25 hours a month that is being spent on your campaign. While a company could outsource a majority of these tasks, there is still a minimum of 5-10 hours or project management per month that any SEO firm would have to do for a campaign and to factor in the time of the project management, and the costs of outsourcing we just don’t see how anyone with any SEO expertise would even dare to charge any less than that.
If you are serious about your SEO efforts and want to work with us, feel free to give us a call. If you don’t have the budget to hire an SEO team on a regular basis, know that we also have a great consulting service that will give you an SEO roadmap so you can run your project management inhouse if you have more time than money to spend on your SEO.