“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
John Wanamaker

It can be downright frustrating at times to determine how effective traditional advertising is period.

However, determining advertising effectiveness and how potential customers arrive at your website does get somewhat easier in terms of SEO services and search marketing.

Using John Wanamaker's proverbial advertising quote to explain SEO services cost.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said or thought the above words John Wanamaker spoke long ago about advertising.

More importantly, I receive daily calls and emails from potential customers wanting to know why search engine optimization or SEO services cost so much.

It can be a challenge to figure out and get a firm understanding and handle of the various attributes that contribute to the rising costs of internet or inbound marketing, more specifically known as search engine optimization or SEO services.

In today’s post, I hope to shed light on the various pricing methods for SEO services as well as briefly discussing the attributes to account for to determine SEO services costs.

SEO services vary by supply and demand and by market

Because SEO services do not really have industry standards set in stone in terms of pricing services, the cost of SEO services are all over the board.

As with everything under the sun, the cost of SEO services is determined by market as well as the supply and demand of the respective market or markets.

SEO service offerings in Dallas, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Miami all differ based on their market attributes such as population, competition, cost of living, cost of doing business, taxes, etc.

Not understanding the SEO services agreement, and terms and conditions

When approached by potential customers, they are typically trying to shop around and compare SEO services based on price or the guarantee of a number one spot in search engines.

If you are buying based on the *guarantee* of a number one ranking position in search engines, then odds are you are dealing with a cheap SEO services agency or consultant. No one can guarantee position-based results, no one!

You get what you pay for in results and quality of SEO services rendered, whether you pay the cheapest or highest price.

Comparing and basing SEO services strictly on price can lead to over paying, or in some cases under paying, and the service provider under delivering.

Most of the potential customers that move on to become customers have had bad SEO experiences where they dealt with a fly-by-night SEO firm or consultant that was charging and billing astronomical rates, yet producing subpar results or not producing results of any sort.

In most situations, customers signed an agreement with a SEO firm or consultant for a monthly agreement with a 3 or 6 month minimum and a large down payment.

They essentially agreed to pay but did not know what they were paying for nor did they have a clear understanding of what SEO actions were to be performed and their respective expected outcomes.

One of the best tips of advice I can give is be sure to set reasonable and realistic timeframes for when to expect results, ensuring results are always tied to conversion metrics over set time periods.

Not considering or understanding SEO services cost attributes

There are many factors to consider when planning to hire out for SEO services that must be defined and thoroughly understood.

Though SEO services costs are all over the board, be wary of cheap or less than affordable SEO services.

Again, although costs vary, everyone has a cost of doing business that should be on par to fair market value of SEO services.

For instance, SEO services cost of a business run by a one-man shop is drastically different from that of a medium to large scale SEO services agency.

The reason their SEO services costs are different and wide ranging is due to the variable and fixed costs both incur to do business.

A single person organization tends to not have the fixed expenses of leasing an office or paying employees unlike the medium to large scale SEO services agency.

All business can be performed with a simple internet connection from home or at a coffee shop as well as using a cell phone or services like Google Voice.

With glaring fixed and variable cost differences, the hourly rate or project rate will swing drastically based on the liabilities that the SEO services agency or consultant has to account for.

It is safe to say that a proven SEO services agency or consultant at least spends some hours every week to keep the current of SEO trends.

Yes, there are commonalities shared between the two types such as time to plan, research, educate, implement, execute, and manage each project.

The actions can be the same although this is not always the case as each customer’s SEO services needs tend to be different based on their business objective.

Not aligning SEO services to clear and measurable business objectives

Speaking of business objectives, I can’t tell you how many times the nature of SEO services projects scope creep on the account of not having clear and measurable business objectives.

Because of such scope creep, this causes SEO services cost to skyrocket much like a space shuttle heading towards the moon.

My advice is to set clear and measurable goals when hiring out for SEO services.

Don’t just blindly hire and expect the best from SEO services agencies or consultants, or you’ll live to regret such a costly decision and SEO services nightmare.

Not reviewing and identifying specific SEO Services actions to be performed, and by whom

Another area of consideration for the cost of SEO services is whether or not the SEO services agency or consultant is providing local, national or global SEO services experience.

Be sure you thoroughly understand the SEO service offering and the process in which the SEO services will be performed.

Make sure the SEO services are being performed by the company you hire are not outsourced to another company as this can increase the cost of SEO services as well as introduce higher levels of risk.

You never want to hire any SEO services agency or consultant that is not qualified, experienced and not able to show you results.

Do your own research beyond their website of testimonials and references.

Check to see if the SEO services agency or consultant has any online reviews with sites such as Yelp, MerchantCircle, YellowPages, and so on.

Again, don’t just blindly hire because you’re in a hurry have SEO services implemented to increase website traffic and conversions.

SEO Services is not about cost, it’s about value.

One of the biggest things I’ve learned in life is that it’s not about the cost of some thing or item.

It’s the perceived value the thing or item brings to your quality of life.

I can change the oil in my vehicle, or I can gladly pay someone to do it.

I can pay someone to mow my lawn, or I can do it.

Either way it will cost me my time, effort and money on varying scales.

The important thing to consider in either case is what is the overall value achieved by the made decision.

What’s the return on investment?

Regardless the cost of SEO services, you must always weigh the cost of researching on the internet for practical SEO principles or buying SEO books and doing it yourself, or hiring out SEO services to an agency or consultant.

Which decision will bring you and your company the greatest long-term value?

I can’t answer the question for you or business, only you can.

My hope is to have provided you with a variety of vantage points to base your decision on, or at least to get you to consider the various attributes of SEO services in terms of added value and not cost.

What’s your opinion when it comes to why SEO services cost so much? I would love to engage in conversation and know your points of interest.



Written by Alvin Brown
He's an experienced and passionate serial entrepreneur, founder and publisher of Kickstart Commerce. Alvin possesses a great love for startups dominating their market using profitable digital strategies for greater commerce.