Pricing for SEO services are like opinions, everywhere you go everybody has a different one. One of the most difficult things to do when searching for an SEO company is to compare prices and services with each other, because they are so vastly different from one SEO to the next.
For me, setting the pricing for SEO has been just as difficult. Questions that come into play are, how much markup should there be? How much profit? How much are legitimate business expenses? What services are necessary to achieve results, and what services are padding?
For us, the main question is this: How many necessary services can be part of a package and still keep prices low enough to attract clients, yet enough to make a profit as well. While SEOs must constantly evaluate search engines, we must also evaluate strategies to achieve results. As search engines change so do the strategies, and right along with that, so does pricing.
For the purchaser of SEO services, you want to look at the quality of the services being offered and compare that with the next guy. All SEOs will tell you they will achieve top rankings. But what methods are used to get there, and do those methods matter? For some, the initial response will be “No, the methods don’t matter as long as I am at the top”. But before you think that, consider the ramifications of “bad” SEO methods.
Many SEOs employ methods that, if caught, can get your site banned from the search engines. If you are willing to take that risk, certainly that is fine, just so long as you know that risk up front. Other methods utilized are geared primarily for top search results, but not at all for the visitor after they arrive. In these cases, what good is a top ranking that cannot convert because the SEO makes changes that work ONLY for the search engine.
Not all SEO methods are bad and not all are good. You can get ‘good’ SEO services from many SEO providers very inexpensively, and you can get ‘good’ SEO services from many SEO providers very expensively. But you can rarely get GREAT SEO services inexpensively.
Quality alone is worth paying for. While the old Ford Pinto might get you to your destination just as effectively as the Lexus, the Lexus gets you there with more comfort and style and long-term reliability. Same quality SEO providers. They’ll get you top rankings just like the cheap providers but you won’t always get the same comfort (conversions), style (professional appearance to visitors), or long-term reliability (long-term, not just temporary placement).
A quality SEO provider should have his eye on marketing your site, not just achieving top rankings. They should also provide a set of reporting tools that will allow you to track your return on investment, not just your top search positions. Bottom line: quality SEO providers will help your top listings convert into sales at a much higher rate than the low-quality SEOs. If you look at it on a cost per-sale-level, the “cheap” SEO providers aren’t so cheap after all.