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If you’ve browsed around this site, you realize SEO Services are offered.  Every so often, somebody will call or email requesting a proposal then throw in the zinger of “keep in mind that we have to keep our costs down.”

That’s akin to saying “hey, we really need your help but we don’t really value your services unless they’re almost free.”

Well Mr. or Ms. Poor Pitiful Business Owner, is your stuff free? I didn’t think so.

Understand this: investing in SEO Services isn’t like going to Macy’s and buying a shirt off the rack. There’s a lot that goes into SEO based on several key factors.

7 SEO Questions You Need to Answer

Don’t ask an SEO firm to shoot you back a flat ballpark price without supplying:

  • What are the primary keyword phrases you wish to rank well for?
  • Have you attempted to implement SEO before? If so, what were the results? Why are you no longer utilizing the firm you used before, or why are you no longer doing SEO in-house?
  • Which locales/markets are you targeting? Do you have physical offices in the cities or towns you’re trying to rank well?
  • How much competition is there? In other words, how many competing pages are there for each target keyword?
  • What is the competition doing from an SEO perspective? In other words, how many pages and links do they have indexed? Does it look like they’ve been doing SEO for awhile or are they just starting?
  • What is an acceptable time-frame to get onto the front page via Google Places and/or organic search? Generally speaking, a reputable SEO firm practicing white hat SEO will take anywhere from 3-6 months to get you onto page one depending on the competition.  If you don’t have that kind of time, SEO may not be right for you today. Consider PPC to attract more traffic if your needs are immediate.
  • What would equivalent PPC traffic be worth? Simply stated: how much would you have to pay for each click for the traffic you’ll likely get from organic front page exposure? This is ultimately the savings your SEO firm is providing you every single month by getting on Google’s front page.

A legitimate SEO firm can determine all of these things for you, but you should understand that type of research and analysis is going to be factored into the services or you’re going to have to pay for them upfront. It’s reasonable to pay around $200 for such an analysis because it takes considerable time and the analyses provided can be quite thorough and insightful.

But What if I Find the Same Services for Less Later?

You probably already know this, but the price you pay on anything is the same everywhere … there’s always a risk of discovering it later for what appears to be less.

Let’s say you want a book just released … you can buy and read it today to benefit from the gained knowledge immediately or wait until it goes on sale one year later.

That same book may cost 50-75% less next year, but the benefits of reading it would be delayed for a full year, too. Which would be more valuable … saving money while letting others get further ahead of you or getting and applying the knowledge right away?

Since it’s “just information,” you may be one of those unreasonable types that believes it ought to be free anyway so paying for expertise may be foreign to you. If so, what about the time investment to create and assemble the information to present it you in an easily consumable fashion? Better yet, how much time would it take YOU to assemble the information and condense it into something legible and understandable? How much is an hour of your time worth?

Don’t Penalize Your New Provider for Others’ Missteps

Look, everybody has been burned at some point in business. It happens to all of us, but the scars shouldn’t carry over from provider to provider.

It’s a lot like dating … just because it didn’t work out with someone with brown hair before doesn’t mean all people with brown hair are bad matches for you.

That said, why should I bear the brunt of some other marketing provider’s missteps? I may have some empathy that you wasted your money elsewhere but not enough to compromise my pricing because someone else didn’t do a good job. Do you discount your prices every time somebody hits you with a pitiful sob story … where’s the logic in that?

Remember: you’re seeking a result that has value to you so don’t shortchange yourself by looking for the cheapest provider.

Why SEO Pricing is Misleading

SEO pricing is VERY misleading because someone may get you front page rankings in three months whereas someone else may charge you 1/2 the “price” yet take one year to deliver front page exposure.

Now, would you personally be upset if you paid $5,000 today to get front page exposure within 3 months then found, what appeared to be, similar services for $2,500 six months later? If your business benefited from the front page exposure with the $5,000 service within 3 months, which would depend on how good the website was at converting visitors, you shouldn’t be.

Conversely, if you paid $2,500 today and it took one year to get results, you’d have significant buyer’s remorse, right?

Pricing is directly proportional to what matters today not what the price may be six months from now … worrying what something may cost down the road creates paralysis by analysis. Don’t waste your time engaging in a scarcity mentality.

Pardon the Pricing Soapbox

Sorry for getting onto the soap box, but price is such an insignificant factor when placed into proper perspective. There’s simply more to evaluate because paying $5,000 for something that could generate an extra $500,000 in business isn’t exactly fair to the service provider you beat down on price.

To make matters worse, a business owner wouldn’t be overly willing to send a fat bonus check after the fact to the provider for helping to bring in that $500,000, would he? He wouldn’t want to divulge that it even happened so that’s the rub.

It’s About Value, Stupid!

When you invest in or implement SEO Services, evaluate the proposal based on the potential impact of front page exposure on your business and your life.

For instance:

  • How well is your website converting visitors into leads or sales today? If it’s poor at converting visitors today, tossing more traffic at it isn’t going to do a lot of good. You need to get your website “house” in order before doing SEO.
  • What is an average transaction worth to your business?If you sell $1 trinkets on your site, it’s not going to make a lot of sense to pay an SEO firm $1,500/month or more to get onto Google’s front page because the return just isn’t going to be there. I’d be rich if I had a dollar for every business owner that peddles cheap crap that proclaims “if you could just get a ton of traffic to my site, we’ll both be rich.” Please move along to the next slap because I’m not interested in trinket commissions.On the other hand, if you sell real estate and the average sale is $220,000, spending $1,500/month makes a lot of sense. Doesn’t it?
  • What time-frame are you hoping to land on Google’s front page? If it’s tomorrow, that’s not fair because it’s extremely unrealistic. If it’s anything less than 3 months, it’s likely unrealistic if you’re looking for a “white hat” firm. If you’re all right with someone cutting corners and going over the line to get you front page rankings faster, understand it’s going to cost more and the risk is very high, too.

The bottom line is quality and speedy service will cost more than somebody who is willing to toss out a low price just to appease your suggestion to “keep the costs down.” That suggestion is ALWAYS implied because nobody goes to a provider and says “hey, charge me double because I like looking stupid to others.”

The question you need to ask yourself is what’s most important today: quality, speed, or price? You can’t have all three in equal proportion because the world doesn’t work that way. You may think you’re getting all three in equal portions, but one of those three elements is going to be compromised along the way.