In this podcast episode Rebecca reviews the different types of SEO engagements and the fee structure associated with each option. She talks about what to expect to pay, what to expect in deliverables, and what level of success you can realistically achieve.
Types of SEO Fees
- On-demand SEO Coaching
- Inexperienced = $1 Per Minute
- Average = $2 – $3 Per Minute
- Experienced = $8.33 – $16.67 Per Minute
- My Rates = $3.33 Per Minute
- Hourly SEO Assistance
- Typical range = $100 – $150
- Inexperienced = $50 – $75
- Average = $171 (consultant) and $203 (agency)
- Experienced = $200 – $400
- My Rates = $200
- One-time SEO project
- Inexperienced = $500 – $1,000
- Average = $3,000 – $5,000
- Experienced = $15,000 – $25,000
- My Rates = $15,000+
- Monthly SEO retainer
- Typical range = $1,500 – $3,000
- Inexperienced = $500
- Average = $1,185 (consultant) $1,495 (agency)
- Experienced = $5,000
- My Rates = $1,000 – $3,000
Agencies will charge more than freelancers or independent consultants, as they have higher overhead, management in place, and usually a lot more experience overall.
The bottom line is you absolutely get what you pay for. You are paying for experience. Hiring someone with 1 year of experience is significantly different than hiring someone with 15-20 years of experience.
Experienced SEO consultants are not cheap, but they are cheaper than fixing what an inexperienced SEO consultant can do to your inbound marketing efforts.
Hourly SEO engagement can include anything and everything. The client provides a list of needs and the SEO consultant will execute and invoice at their hourly rate.
The downside of hourly engagements is they are haphazard in execution. The SEO consultant is forced to jump around and only touch a small part of the real work required. For this reason they are not overly effective.
Generally these last a few months and these projects can focus on specific areas like on-page SEO, website audits, or technical SEO activities. They are usually designed to establish an SEO foundation or fix a massive amount of existing SEO issues.
The downside of these engagements fall on client execution. It’s really hard to get clients to deliver their assignments and tasks in a reasonable timeframe. Virtually every client tends disappears no matter how much you nag at them.
Or even worse, the SEO consultant works with the client for months and once done, the client forgets entirely about SEO and does no ongoing work.
For these reason they are not overly effective, and as much as I’ve tried to make these work, they just don’t deliver as much success as I would like.
Ongoing SEO Retainers
Now that I have a solid digital marketing team in place, ongoing SEO retainers are my preferred method for SEO engagements. They allow for ongoing work, reasonable deadlines, and interactive clients.
I’m not alone and Ahrefs recently stated that 74.71% of SEO consultants charge clients a monthly retainer.
Here is what is typically offered in ongoing SEO retainers:
- Research for competitors and keywords
- Content audits
- Strategy and planning
- Editorial plans
- On-page optimization
- Off-page optimization and backlink generation
- Ongoing calls and coaching
- Google Tag Manager setup
- Google Analytics setup and configuration
- Structured data creation and testing
- Monitoring of Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools
- Ongoing reporting
- Website audits
These engagements lead to much greater success rates, since the consultant and client work together for 6-12 months. You have an opportunity to developer a true relationship, work on long-term strategy, and you can survive through those moments where work and life interfere and the client disappears.
What You’re Really Paying For
- Real-world experience
- Knowledge of best practices
- Knowledge of current trends
- Advanced SEO tactics and strategies – Google Analytics Goals, Google Tag Manager, Structured Data
- Time and ability of actual execution
- Access to advanced reporting – SEMrush, SpyFu, Ahrefs, etc.
The bottom line is this: an SEO consultant or digital agency will keep you in adherence with best practices, they’ll keep you on-task, and they make you accountable. An outside SEO consultant will keep you focused on SEO efforts and help you make sure you are aware of what really matters.
Today’s Episode Sponsor
A big thank you to Ahrefs for sponsoring season two of the SEObits podcast!
Ahrefs is Rebecca’s go-to SEO tool for all things backlinks. She uses it for reviewing client backlinks, as well as deep diving into their competitor’s activity to discover new linking opportunities.
As mentioned in the show, Ahrefs is offering an exclusive giveaway to podcast listeners.
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