Nearly every business today must decide how much to spend on search engine optimization (SEO). This isn’t an if question. Robust online marketing is imperative for survival in a web-driven world.
The question every business professional must ask is, “How much will we spend on SEO?” Keep reading for all the information you’ll need to make that decision, plus some helpful tips on how SEO agencies work so you can be successful as you forge a crucial partnership with an online marketing firm.
SEO Payment Models
To understand the dollars and cents discussed below, you must understand payment models used by agencies. SEO agencies typically offer four main forms of services and payment:
- Monthly retainer: In this model, clients pay a set fee each month in exchange for an agreed-upon array of services. The monthly retainer is the most common payment model, because it provides the greatest ROI. Monthly retainer arrangements usually include regular analytics reports, on-site content improvements, press releases, link building, keyword research, and optimization.
- Contract services at fixed prices: Nearly all SEO agencies sell contract services. Often, before a client is ready to engage a monthly retainer, they will select contract services that they want to have completed. The services that an SEO agency offers are often advertised on their site, along with a price. A typical example of this is an SEO website audit which can help determine existing strengths and weaknesses in the client’s online presence, competitive analysis, as well as keywords that have the highest potential to return positive ROI.
- Project-based pricing: Project fees are similar to contract services with the exception that they are custom projects created specifically for a client. Pricing varies according to the project. For example, a local cupcake shop may ask an SEO agency to help them with theirlocal online marketing. The client decides that they want the agency to establish their social media accounts. The cupcake business and the SEO agency will decide on the scope and cost of the project.
- Hourly consulting: This familiar consulting model is an hourly fee in exchange for services or information.
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