What’s a fair price to pay for SEO campaigns?
Local search engine optimization (LSEO) strategies can vary greatly depending on your infrastructure, how big of a campaign you want, the competitiveness of the region (obviously a borough in New York is going to be tougher to crack than a small town in Connecticut!) and the quality of the SEO company. Usually you get what you pay for — sometimes you can score a deal with an underdog boutique agency, or you can lose out with an obscenely overpriced agency that counts on your lack of due diligence to make a quick buck.
SEOmoz undertook a massive survey in 2011 in which agencies, SEO consultants and other experts in the field revealed their pricing models. More than 600 experts weighed in, and while this isn’t an official survey, it certainly provides insight.
Plus, all experts provided their real name/contact information, and the sampling was big enough that the SEOmoz analytics teams went on record saying they stand behind the results.
The analyzers also used results from AYTM Market Research, which had data on the average hourly rate for LSEO campaigns around the world.
In the United States, the most popular hourly rate range is $101-$150 per hour. That was also the most common range in many European countries as well.
However, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have an hourly range of $76-$100 per hour. In India, the most common rate range was under $25 per hour — but before you start outsourcing, be forewarned. Since all SEO relies heavily on quality content, are you sure you want to depend on an agency where English likely isn’t the company’s native language?
Flat-rate fees (by-the-project pricing) are also popular in the United States and range from $1,000-$7,500. The majority (70.1 percent) of respondents said they offer this model. Of course, per-project pricing has a huge variance, since the size of projects can differ greatly.
SEO and LSEO are both ongoing endeavors, not a one-and-done strategy. Monthly retainers are common, and range from $251-$500 per month on average (13.8 percent of U.S. respondents fall within that range). On the high end, 11.3 percent of respondents said their retainers ranged from $2,501-$5,000 per month.
Some great news also emerged from the study: A whopping 88.5 percent of U.S. respondents said they provide “hands-on SEO changes to sites” while 79.1 percent offer “hands-on link building.” In other words, there’s no need to worry over the death of hands-on SEO.
The trend is toward inbound/organic SEO instead of “pure SEO,” according to results. Inbound marketing services can include SEO, conversion, analytics, social media and more. In fact, one-quarter of respondents said they’re mostly focusing on SEO, while 26.7 percent cite a broader range of services within their agency.
The average employee-to-client ratio is 1:1 or 1:2, and the vast majority of respondents say they mostly serve small or mid-sized businesses — which means a lot of one-on-one attention for startups and mom-and-pop operations.
Ready to up your LSEO game? Contact Be Locally SEO, your local experts offering a broad range of services and stellar customer attention.