In our many years optimizing websites we've encountered one question that is at the top of any potential client's list; What should SEO cost?
Below we present information from an SEO industry perspective as well as our own company's perspective on deciding the value, cost and need for SEO.
(To the right we've posted an Infographic created by Moz.com which represents the cost metrics for SEO based on the input of 500 SEO agencies. Click the image to view the full-sized version. Click here to read the Forbes article refrencing this infographic)
When considering whether SEO is worth the cost you should first decide what you have to gain. This means determining your “conversion” metrics.
What do you define as a conversion? This can be a lead generated, an ad viewed, a sale, a subscription, a Social share, a download, etc.
What do you earn from a conversion? This is based on what you get monetarily from that ad view, average sale, lead, etc.
What percentage of people who visit your site generate a conversion? This is your conversion rate and the average general online conversion rate is around 2.5%. Niche sites tend to convert higher.
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How much traffic is required for you convert enough people in order to generate a profit on your SEO investment? This is the key to it all. Can you make enough if you invest in SEO? This is where the SEO can provide a lot of information. Looking at the keywords you’re targeting and their respective search volumes (i.e. how many monthly searches) as well as the competition for those keywords can tell you whether you should invest in SEO or which type of SEO.
A small niche site could generate a higher than standard conversion rate so it would need less traffic to generate a profit. A more general site would require a higher traffic rate as its conversion rate would be lower so it will take more people to generate more revenue. A local business has an industry niche as well as a geographical niche so it should convert at a much higher rate and only require local SEO. Normally the more niche the site the smaller the size of the potential audience. There are simply fewer people searching. Competition is also lower on niche keywords than on general ones.
How does this help me determine what I should pay for SEO?
This gives you the tools and information to determine what you need to generate in terms of traffic to justify a spend on SEO.
Now it’s time to determine if the SEO is worth the cost.
What makes an SEO have value is their experience as knowing what needs to be done and knowing how to do it are two very different things.
In the last few years the SEO industry has seen a flood of new providers calling themselves “SEO Experts”, “Gurus”, “Specialists”, etc. Many rely upon outdated link-building schemes, blackhat SEO techniques and other methods which will cause more damage than good.
It is recommended that you invest in an SEO provider that has at least 6 years of direct agency experience. Someone that worked as the SEO for a corporation usually has experience in that company’s industry and with that company’s website. Agency based SEOs have a range of industries and sites with which they’ve worked.
To determine if they’ve been active for this period of time is easy. Simply go to www.whois.net and lookup their domain name and see
how long they’ve been in business. You can back this up with the Wayback Machine (http://web.archive.org/index.jsp) which will allow you to see older versions of their website to see if they’ve actually been live online all of the time they claim.
Next, if they can’t rank themselves then they likely cannot rank you. If the SEO provider you’re speaking with tells you how good they are, ask them to provide you with rankings for their own site. If they’re not ranking well for keywords such as their city name plus “SEO” or other services they offer, then they’re not likely not able to do much for you.
Knowledge is power. We recommend doing a little research on your own to learn about what key aspects influence rankings in the major Search Engines. Visit sites like Moz.com, SearchEngineWatch.com, SearchEngineJournal.com and other industry leading websites.
If you have any questions about SEO pricing or services, please give us a call. We’ll be glad to answer them. 888-265-6007
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