Over the past several weeks, I’ve been investigating some SEO lead generation services. I was curious about how these services worked and what kind of leads they produced. I can’t say I was shocked at what I discovered.
Probably 75% of the leads that come through are looking for digital marketing services for under $500 per month. That’s doable for some DIY consulting, but not for active management or implementation, let alone link building, social media, content, etc.
You can get a few good consulting hours out of $500 per month, but not much more.
But this got me thinking a bit about expectations. Many businesses looking for SEO for the first time really have no idea what to expect. In truth, ball parking SEO is very difficult.
What Determines the Cost of SEO?
It comes down to three things:
- The condition of your site
- The number of pages to optimize
- How aggressive you want to be
Here I really only want to talk about the second one. The number of optimized pages. The condition of your site can be fixed, and once it’s done, it’s done. The aggressiveness is more about how wide you want to go with your efforts (social, content, etc.) and at what pace.
But when it comes to on-page optimization, there is a strong correlation between the number of pages that need to be optimize and the costs involved.
In theory, a small site of, say, ten pages, can be optimized relatively quickly. But larger sites take a lot more time. The more pages, the more work there is to do. That work can be done in a short time (very aggressive) or spread out over many months (less aggressive).
On larger sites it typically doesn’t pay to go the less aggressive route!
I should also note here that there really isn’t any such thing as a small site. It might be only a few pages today, but SEO is all about adding value, and one of the best ways to do that is to publish great content.
How Much Content Does My Site Need?
It depends on:
- The number of keywords/topics your audience finds relevant
- Answers to questions your audience need to know
- Your desire to reach a larger audience
Starting out small does have advantages, as there are only a few existing pages to optimize. But growth requires more content, more pages, and more optimization. Larger sites have to both optimize existing pages and build content for a new audience. We can call that a (small) pricing win for smaller sites.
So how much does SEO cost? You can start by counting your pages. Not just your existing site pages but future site pages. The smaller you intend to stay, the less SEO will cost. But also, the less results you’ll get. And that just might cost you more than everything else combined.