I'm wondering that if you only do custom prices, many people might be a bit leery that you're doing some funky math on them or that prices are completely subjective and even arbitrary. They'll also feel the need to haggle and barter down with you.
I think any successful company needs some solid figures to work with. I understand that each industry is different - perhaps a solid pricing formula for a keyword ranking based on the number of results returned for that keyword ... or something like that. Just some sort of solid figure that people can hold onto. SEO is an industry where people shop around, and if they just get a vague price range from you, it's going to make them want to go elsewhere where they can see exactly what they're buying and how much it is.
You shouldnt necessarily price SEO on position but on traffic, which isnt always the same thing. A good SEO company will be able to find a niche for some of the keywords that your customers will be using and therefore gear your SEO towards that. This may mean your on page 2 even, but you still get the traffic.
Sometimes I have accounts that want aggressive results, this entails the bulk of the work being done in a short amount of time and then maintenance to retain, increase and social branding.
In this case, custom and monthly apply.
Pricing is based on the time it takes to accomplish that goal.
Great feedback Lea! Each client has different objectives and goals. That being said, i think it is important to take the time to fully understand the clients business and goals in order to project milestones and price your services. I wonder, would you consider or do you already charge clients an initial fee for this time? Or do you typically just have them sign a service contract?
I find that pricing SEO is complicated. Many firms offer one-for all packages. I think custom prices are the way to go, due to differences between business.
Anyone have ideas on how to price SEO?
There are only two things to consider when it comes time to price an SEO project.
1. Ranking webpages at the top of the organic search results regardless of competitiveness of the keyphrase markets.
This can be accomplished with class and dignity and in the challenge of fair play or you can twist and cheat the search engine into thinking you have important web content (to the extent they’ll take)
2. You have to be able to evolve a search engine marketing campaign when the webpages start squabbling at the top. The webpages have to jump from 6th to 3rd next round. It has nothing to do with PR, it has all to do with getting webpages to the top and then naturally sustaining them and bringing up the rest as best you can.
Note: Again. There is a certain humility that comes from consistently and silently as possible, playing fairly as best you can and still kicking their puffed-up asses down the ladder a couple pages. I personally start feeling sorry for all these SEO people (they consider themselves) stuck in their link scheming ways and feel the numbness of the poor website owner who hasn’t a clue about his web sites are under sneaky search engine manipulating techniques. These are the webpages corporate Joe entrusted to the SEO. His future in the search engines under his existing domains are in jeopardy. The link building tricks bruise the domains for a long time. Joe's corporate image is at risk. Integrity is ridiculed at this level. Joe Bob plumber does not want to know who are his link partners, especially the spammy ones the search engine is most aware of or even has already red flagged them as regularly being in a bad network of linkers. I don't know if that made sense but poor old Billy Bob the Town printer, he doesn't ever want to see the dumping grounds all over the Internet his webpages have become; ..smell that? This is the swamp his webpages now lurk.
Whether the keyphrase targets are competitively squabbled for by clever search engine optimisers or whether they take the form of long tail keyphrase net casting (that's all the secondary and auxiliary keyphrases some of them the web owner and the the SEO wouldn't think important to the bottom line, these incidentally, get discovered later on with traffic analysis), the price should be based on the results generated by optimized webpages. How many more qualified visitor's (qualified visitors meaning the ones that find the web pages because they performed a keyphrase search) are does his work enhance turning traffic into paying customers.
SEO in itself is quite useless for the average joe business owner or corporate presentations. Search engine optimization must also encompass the process of turning traffic into telephone calls, or orders, or whatever. Remember that SEO is a form of Internet marketing, a cost-effectively one that, when well done, drives in high volumes of quality traffic.
As there is only so much SEO one can perform on-site, on every web page. The fees should be based on these on-site optimization skills and their capacity to consistently rank highly for keyphrase searches.
A monitoring time of 6 months to one year is essential for the search engine optimizer to ensure that the search engine results pages performances are secure and to do only that which is necessary to attain and sustain decent enough rankings to warrant rehiring, whatever that may be.
Therefore, for me, SEO pricing becomes a cost per page and a cost per contract formula.
There are various ways to do seo, you can do the package deal or you can offer individual services breaking apart seo into several functions. Each have there positives and negatives. You will probably get more volume by breaking the functions into various sections, but a higher payout if you can get people to buy in to a package deal.
I agree with Site Tutor, A Monthly fee is the best solution as SEO Work is generally an ongoing process, however the monthly fee does need to reflect the strength of the keywords. I recently carried out some SEO work for a company and moved them from page 5 to page 1 in no time at all in an industry that wasn't that competetive and my fee reflected that, whilst i am very aware that some companies charge a basic flat monthly fee regardless og the strength of the keywords.
Not only does every client have different goals and objectives, but, they also face different levels of competition in raising their site to the top of the SERP's. Some clients can be place at the top wi 20 -30 hours of work while others may take 100+ hours of work just to make the bottom of the 1st page. Every job is different ... weather we like it or not ...