What is the cost of an SEO promotion campaign?
How much do I have to pay to get my first page on Google?
How much does SEO cost for an online store?
How to calculate the price of an SEO service?
There are legitimate questions that any person looking for an SEO promotion solution for his site puts it.
With such a large variety of offers on the market, the process of choosing the right provider for SEO strategy and the campaign can be a very tedious, time-consuming and even risky business venture.
In Ireland, there are SEO deals with SEO prices from 200 euro/month, and prices over 5,000 euro/month.
The short answer to the question in the title is: Depends on (obviously, everyone’s answer).
When you understand the things that make up this price, you can make the right decision for your business and you can choose the best offer to reach the business goals you have set.
SEO is not “dear” to gain the admiration of someone, but for the positive impact it has on sales, that is, for its contribution to the growth of its turnover.
1. The Importance of SEO. What kind of people do we get on this site through this channel?
In order to keep this material within reasonable limits, we will assume that the importance of this online promotion channel is generally accepted.
Obviously, it’s a good idea for an online presentation or online store to get as many visitors to search engines as possible, especially because of its functionality, this mechanism gives us the opportunity to appear in front of people exactly when is interested (makes a relevant search).
But it’s important to make a distinction between the two types of visitors who come to a site after a search on Google:
- visitors to brand searches: are those people who use the search engine to reach a site already known; for example, people looking for Google womanlike “ebay” or “dormitory bedroom furniture” have very clear in mind the sites they want to reach.
- visitors coming from non-brand searches: are those people who are looking for words that are not associated with a specific brand. In this case, people are open to existing offers in the market, meaning they do not have a predilection towards a particular brand.
The big stakes are the second type of traffic, non-branded organic traffic (for more details, see also section 4 of the article on SEO campaign monitoring).
Relevant visitors attracted through this channel typically have a very good conversion rate (even if not measured directly, but by assisted conversions) and can be attracted to other promotional mechanisms, such as a newsletter or remarketing campaign.
2. Is SEO a cheap or expensive promotion channel?
In the short term, SEO is an expensive or even very expensive promotion channel, depending on the degree of difficulty of the chosen words and the level of competition.
The most common comparison is with PPC – paid advertising when you click on Google Adwords or Facebook Ads. With PPC, you go directly to the front page of Google for the words you are interested in as soon as you activate your campaign.
You start to get visitors and some of them will buy your products.
Payment to Google is made at a click, and if you have a 1% conversion means you pay 100 clicks to get an order.
For example, if you activate in a domain where, due to competition, the price of a click reaches 2 euro, you pay an average of 200 euro to Google for each registered order.
In SEO, it may take a few months for the ROI to become positive, meaning the revenue generated by SEO optimization exceeds its budget. The major advantage is seen in the long run.
The chart below shows two types of campaigns (SEO and PPC) and the budget allocated to them over a 6-month period.
The PPC campaign brings a number of red line visitors, while the SEO campaign brings the number of blue-flagged people in terms of using the same budget (the image is an example of the concept, the sums are not important).
We observe that PPC has a volume of traffic proportionate to the allocated budget, which is kept constant during the campaign period. At the time of completion, however, this traffic completely disappears.
For the SEO campaign, in the first 4 months (the image is an example of the concept, in a real campaign the interval may be higher or lower), a smaller volume of visitors is attracted to the site than in PPC, by reporting to the same budget invested in the campaign.
In the example below, an equality between the two channels occurs in the 5th month, after which the traffic generated by SEO exceeds that in PPC (attracted to the same budget).
The exciting phenomenon is visible after finalizing campaigns, that is, after shutting down the budget for the two directions.
In the case of SEO, the site continues to attract a significant number of visitors, for which no one pays any money at this time.
Moreover, growth rates continue for a while (even at a lower pace) before they stabilize.
How long does this effect last? If the growth is organic, done by white-hat methods, according to Google’s indications, the answer depends on one main aspect: what SEO efforts are made by competitors who are struggling for a better positioning on the same keywords.
3. What is actually done in an SEO campaign? What are the main costs?
In order to detail the activities that take place in an SEO campaign, a series of dedicated posts, not a single paragraph within an article, is needed.
Over time, we’ll post blogs about this topic, but by then we’ll just name a few of the elements that include an SEO campaign and which allocates the bulk of the budget set:
- 1. SEO Campaign Setup: Proper business understanding, keyword analysis, installation of monitoring systems (see article on how to properly monitor SEO); A professional monitoring application is costing around 250 euro/month for each site under review, with variations depending on the number of monitored words.
- 2. Initial SEO Audit: Here are the major on-page issues that prevent the site from being properly indexed by Google. A multitude of elements are analyzed, such as site structure, page canonization, duplicate content issues, correctly implemented page, load speed, need to implement structured data, configuration of parameters in Google Search Console, etc. (details in this article); This activity is carried out by an SEO specialist, whose cost normally varies between 30 and 50 euro/hour in Ireland.
- 3. Initial off-page audit: link profile, anchor distribution, disavow request to Google, and others. For this activity premium tools such as Moz, Majestic and Ahrefs are used, costing between 99 euro/ month/month for each of them (of course, the cost is not fully supported by a single customer). This action results in the link building strategy.
- 4. Link building campaign, which usually includes links to editorial materials, personal or specialized blogs, news sites, discussion groups, or online forums (see the difference between advertorials and a native advertising campaign). Most of the client’s budget goes in this direction. For example, for an agency that negotiates significant volumes, an average cost of 25 – 30 euro/material published in a blog with a TrustFlow ok, or approx. 200 euros for an advertorial in premium media.
- 5. Copywriting services, site texts, press releases, premium press articles, or blog posts. Normally, the services of a copywriter specialized in SEO content is located in the area of 40 – 80 euro/material (depending on size and destination).
- 6. Campaign management and client reporting. This section covers all the activities carried out within the agency by the Account Manager of the project, which allocates monthly a number of hours in order to report to the client and manage the relationship with him/her. Like the SEO specialist mentioned in point 1 and here we are discussing an hourly fee.
4. What Are The Features Of A Cheap SEO Campaign? What risks is your business exposed to?
In order to “optimize” the costs presented in the previous paragraph, many SEO service providers have turned to solutions that are more “ingenious”. Of these, we only mention a few.
All this allows a vendor to offer a “price bomb” or a “super promotion to SEO”, but each of them presents a number of risks:
1. Get automated backlinks on poor quality sites, often from other countries like Russia, Vietnam or China;
2. Enrollment in hundreds of free directories, possibly within the first 30 days of the start of the campaign;
3. Use of duplicate content either on the site (copied descriptions from other sites) or outside of it (identical articles posted on multiple sites);
4. Inability to identify on-page optimization issues (a specialist costs money) and prioritize solving them;
5. Failure to make a precise diagnosis of the link profile (free Moz, Majestic or Ahrefs accounts, which provide access to a very small number of information);
6. The difficulty of monitoring in real time the progress of the campaign and how the site responds to the actions (again, a professional monitoring solution costs money). Most likely, “reporting” is “on demand” and involves passing some keywords and corresponding positions into an excel spreadsheet.
7. Perhaps the agency does not have a headquarters in which it operates, which is why it will be very difficult to conceal it if something goes wrong;
By combining these things to a greater or lesser extent, significant “savings” can be made, which results in more attractive prices for inexperienced customers.
5. What are the main ways of pricing a SEO campaign?
In industry (not just in Ireland), there are three main ways to pay for an SEO service:
1. Hourly payment – usually used by freelancers and specialist consultants, less than agents. Deliverables are often in the form of an analysis that results in a strategy. Normally, it does not involve operational activities, effective implementation. The hourly cost varies according to the “quote” of the specialist, the complexity of the items he is asked for, and the cost of the tools he/she needs to have access to doing.
2. Pay for a specific delivery – typically used when the customer already has a strategy or manages his own SEO efforts. Examples of concrete deliverables: 10 articles on blogs, 2 press releases, on-page technical audit, etc. Specific to this type of collaboration is the lack of goals by the provider (be it agency or freelancer).
3. Pay for a complete SEO campaign with clear objectives – the most common method of working in SEO agencies. Practically, given the client’s budget, the SEO goal and the time horizon, a strategy is implemented that the agency implements and for which success assumes its responsibility.
In order to determine the price of an #SEO service, an account is taken of the type of collaboration (one of the above), the time the client wants to achieve the results, the existing competition in the field and the current SEO visibility of the domain in Google before the campaign starts).
* Pay only to achieve goals. It is a “hook” often used by suppliers of “cheap SEO” (see above) to attract customers. Typically, these goals are at the level of positions (on a number of words, with or without serious competition). We apply SEO black-hat techniques, which result in rapid growth, but often followed by a Google penalty.
6. Guarantees in SEO. What can and can not promise to a customer?
A common perception among clients is that “if you do not offer SEO guarantees, you are not good.” If you do not guarantee a customer to be ranked No. 1 in Google after 3 months of a campaign, keywords that are often completely fanciful means you know nothing and you are just an opportunist willing to take their money for nothing.
Warranty marauders are, however, successfully exploited by suppliers of “Cheap SEO” (see above), who have understood what buttons must press in the mind of the customer to get the money off. Given the multitude of factors that can influence the outcome of an SEO campaign, a responsible vendor is very reserved for “classical” guarantees.
For example, in an era where personalization is the key concept, a site can appear in Google on different positions in different cities (even in the anonymous browser). It is also known that the traffic volume reported by Google Keyword Planner is very approximate and may have extremely large variations: how can a precise traffic goal be set in these circumstances?
In addition to these factors (to be called “market”), there are situations where SEO recommendations are very difficult (or not at all) to be implemented by the customer’s technical team, or cases (more rare but still encountered) , where the site is hacked and receives a temporary penalty on Google for this reason.
The most appropriate goal in a search engine optimization campaign is the SEO visibility of the domain, a group of representative keywords (usually 200-300 words, but there are sites we monitor and 8,000 keywords daily).
How much does an SEO campaign cost? Although the answer is the same as at the beginning of the article, you certainly have at least a few criteria to judge an SEO offer from a financial point of view.
While there may be cases where the cost of some SEO services is lower than the value you actually get (for example, in a non-portfolio agency that is trying to build a name), most of the time, as in the case of any other goods or services, you receive the value for which you pay.
Profitability of SEO investment can be calculated if the necessary measurement tools are in place, but the ROI on this channel becomes positive almost in each case only when the strategy is achieved in the medium or long term, never in the short term.
SEO is not a star-pack package that you buy from a shelf, unpack it and push it to the server where you have your site hosted to better rank in Google. There are no magic, shortcuts or secret recipes, but everything that matters is the experience of the people who manage the SEO campaign, coupled with the performance of the tools used.