Like a fine handmade piece of art that’s totally unique, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) requires attention to detail. No two campaigns are alike because keywords, goals, products/services being offered, etc. all vary. And due to such, boxed SEO services scare me.
When I see SEO companies offering different “packages” for a set price with predetermined deliverables I get jealous. Why wasn’t I born with psychic powers that grant me the ability to understand companies before they walk through the door?
In reality though, there is simply no way to determine the cost of an SEO campaign before understanding the variables and how much work is involved.
Here are some of the things I see on a regular basis that greatly affect SEO pricing:
A restaurant may only have a few locations, but on the other hand they could have 100+. Since restaurant marketing is very localized, each extra location is extra work.
Number of Products
Over the years I have worked with a wide variety of e-commerce websites and have found that the number of products being sold is directly related to workload. One can sell luxury watches on a website and target only broad keywords, or they can focus on improving ranking for specific brands. Obviously targeting keywords for 10 luxury watch brands will be more difficult than targeting only 3.
Past SEO Efforts
I find it extremely difficult to give pricing for SEO prior to analyzing existing ranking. For example, I’m currently working with a large food company that brings in just shy of $1 billion per year and they rank on the first page of Google for very high traffic, competitive keywords. Bumping their ranking a few positions will produce huge results, however a company on the 5th page of Google will require much more work over a longer period of time.
Social Media & PR Efforts
I’m a firm believer that online marketing initiatives must fire on all cylinders, and an SEO campaign that’s backed/combined with social media and PR will see better results. If I go into a large project and see that an experienced social media team is in place and a PR firm has been hired, I know that it will be easier to improve site ranking. However, I usually prefer to handle all 3 elements in-house.
To wrap this up, there’s really no way an SEO company that offers prepackaged services is going to produce the best results. It’s sort of like buying a bespoke suit in Beverly Hills compared to a suit off the shelf at a flea market. Which would you prefer?