SEO is very important to the online business with on average the number of leads the search engines produce being anything from 60% – 100% of the visitors to a website.
So as an SEO how do you work out your SEO pricing. I find this part of the job one of the hardest. Search engine optimisation and pricing, it is a minefield. Price too low and the client thinks your unskilled at your art, price too high and your run the risk of pricing yourself out of the job. So where’s the middle ground.
SEO is a two stage process the first being the on page optimisation where the structure and content is optimised to take full advantage of how the search engines rank a page / site. The second stage is off site optimisation this involves building links to the site from relevant sources across the internet. Pricing should always reflect the amount of time that is going to be spent on the optimisation process. A rule of thumb is an newly trained SEO’s time is worth £25 per hour and an SEO at the top of their game can be worth up to £175 an hour. So you should be pricing for your SEO service accordingly.
Word of warning, if you are a new to the world of SEO, know your own level. You don’t have to tell your customer, but if you price according to the the results you expect, then you shouldn’t go far wrong. There is nothing more irritating then an SEO who is over confident and under skilled, they give the whole industry a bad name.
Method one: Price on performance SEO
This sounds simple, you get the customer on first page and they pay you. This method is problematic especially with the introduction of personalised search. You may find yourself educating your clients on the search engines so they can validate the data you send over in your monthly report. I’ve talked to business owners who have used this type of service and it seems to turn into a pay us if you want to relationship. With the client only paying when they think the seo company has done enough. This may seem the fairest but its often the SEO company that is left out of pocket.
This opens the system up to abuse by not having a set metric. I normally see this sort of SEO pricing at the lower end of the market with uncompetitive phrases and localised search. Price wise you are looking at £50 – £150 a month on phrases with moderately low level of competing sites.
Method two: Fixed monthly fee
You agree with the client a fixed monthly rate no mater what the performance is in the serps. This is a risky situation for the customer as they have no regress if the performance is not up to standard. Most customers will need to see your past victories to make them feel comfortable with this pricing module. You may need to educate your client that SEO is not an overnight process and the monthly fee needs to be considered as an investment in the long term success of a website
Method three: Pay Per Action
this method is the most risky for the SEO company as they will only get paid on the event that a pre defined action is taken. This action can be someone signing up for a newsletter, a customer making contact with the client or directly making a sale of a tangible product. Normally this is worked out as a percentage of the sale normally ranging from 10% – 15%. At this point you start to leave the SEO world and merge with the affiliate marketing fraternity. I would only follow this form of seo pricing if you have total control of the website design. Leaving it down to a third party to implement conversions is not a good idea. A lot of work but the rewards could be good especially if it’s a large company with lots of customers
Which ever method you use for your Search engine optimisation pricing you must have a clearly defined contract. Your contract should be in plain English with in detail definitions of the criteria that is to be met. After meeting those goals you would expect to be paid by the client a pre agreed amount. SEO is not like a normal service it can be hard work. Some clients don’t want to pay the amount you quote. Sure, negotiation is part of business but always have a bottom pricing line that your not prepared to cross. This will save you from taking on unprofitable jobs