seo cost
Marketing & Advertising

SEO Cost: Stop Overinvesting. How Much Is Too Much?

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Search engine optimization is an integral part of any well-thought-out and future-oriented online marketing strategy.

However, since only very few team members in the marketing departments of companies are also experienced SEO experts themselves, the cooperation with an agency specialized in SEO offers itself.

Here, however, not only the scope of the services offered varies, but above all also the SEO costs. That’s why in this article we’ll get to the bottom of the question of what prices you should expect for your search engine optimization and which prices are definitely set too high.

SEO: A Brief Definition

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a subarea in online marketing that aims to increase the visibility and reach of a website.

The goal of optimization is to be placed as prominently as possible in the search results of search engines such as Google, Bing, or Ecosia and thus to reach more people organically, which increases the traffic on your own site.

A better ranking on Google and Co. can be achieved with very different measures. These include on-page and off-page optimization of your own website, but also researching certain keywords that bring with them great traffic potential and strategically placing these keywords in texts on your own website.

In addition, targeted advertising in a search engine, for example via the Google Adwords network, can also increase the visibility of a brand on the Internet. This is then called Search Engine Advertising or SEA.

How Can SEO Be Implemented?

Optimizing your own website for better findability in Google is a process that requires some time, patience, and above all, know-how. In addition, many companies and experts specializing in SEO work with different SEO tools and software that are extremely helpful in optimizing your website.

So, if one of the company’s goals is to increase traffic to your site via Google in order to reach more customers, you should first make comprehensive planning, noting both the budget for optimization, as well as the necessary resources to achieve your goals.

In doing so, many companies quickly come to the conclusion that successful search engine optimization is better implemented with a professional service provider in the field, as not only are the goals usually achieved faster and more sustainably, but when time and budget are taken into account, the costs for an SEO agency are often lower than using in-house resources would be.

In short, working with a service provider from the field is more worthwhile than using your own internal resources.

Working With an SEO Agency

Search engine optimization does not necessarily have to be implemented by an SEO service provider, but many companies decide to collaborate with an SEO agency in order to benefit from their competencies, experience and expertise, and thus at the same time achieve success more quickly.

But before you decide to collaborate with SEO professionals, you should be aware of both the advantages and disadvantages of professional search engine optimization with an agency.

The advantages

Professional SEO agencies not only bring the resources to work on the success of your search engine optimization permanently and with vigor, they often have years of experience in building more traffic and generating new customers through Google.

You can use this expertise for your business and benefit from the knowledge of the professionals. This will help you get closer to your goals faster and you can also be sure that only effective measures are used for your SEO.

The disadvantages

Every company will ask themselves at the beginning of the SEO journey: What does SEO cost? And this question is justified because if you spend money on SEO, you have to recoup this budget by winning new customers through your SEO measures so that this investment also pays off.

Which SEO costs you will have to pay depends on the individual price model of the agency as well as the scope of services of the offer.

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Which Offers Are There?

Each SEO agency determines the scope of services it offers itself, but there are many SEO services that you will find across the board at many companies. Here are the three most common services you will find at many agencies.

An initial SEO audit

At the beginning of your SEO journey, many companies first want to know exactly where you currently stand with your website performance. For this reason, an initial SEO audit is often part of the basic equipment of agencies.

An SEO audit usually includes:

  • a comprehensive analysis of your own website
  • an analysis of the performance of the competition
  • an analysis of the current position on Google
  • an analysis of the keywords for which you currently appear in the rankings
  • a recommendation for further SEO measures in the future

A single SEO campaign

If you don’t need an audit, but would like to create your own first campaign to improve your web visibility, you can often find agencies offering this as well.

The creation of such a campaign usually includes:

  • defining the campaign goals and content
  • Determining the measures and the duration
  • creating the individual campaign contents including the keyword set
  • publishing and monitoring performance
  • If necessary, the placement of search engine advertising via Google Ads, for example.

A permanent SEO package

Finally, many SEO service providers also offer a comprehensive package that includes not only an initial audit but also various campaigns and ongoing consulting. This means that companies can hand over everything to the agency and only have to take care of the project work and communication with the service provider themselves.

A permanent SEO package usually includes:

  • an SEO audit
  • a comprehensive analysis of the competition
  • the definition of a long-term SEO strategy
  • the adaptation of the existing web design or relaunch of the website
  • the creation and implementation of campaigns
  • regular keyword research
  • the creation of content for search engine optimization
  • a continuous SEO support

How Do the Costs Vary?

The cost of SEO depends on a variety of factors. One-time services are often more expensive than a continuous billing model, where a certain contingent is taken monthly.

In addition, the scope of the SEO service included in the price naturally also plays a role in the design of the pricing models. Accordingly, the more extensive the offer, the more costs will be incurred.

So how many dollars per month you have to invest depends on your own requirements.

What Does SEO Cost?

Of course, many factors play into the billing models of agencies, so there is no one answer to the question: What does SEO cost? But there are a few good indicators that give customers of service providers an indication of what price you should expect.

The SEO website ahrefs did a survey on this very topic in 2021 and asked what prices agencies estimate and with what regularity customers have to pay. It came out that about 75% of professional SEO consultants have their budget paid by clients on a monthly basis. On average, this amounts to between $501 and $1,000 US dollars.

In some cases, however, they are not billed by project, but by the hour. According to ahrefs, an hourly wage of $100 to $150 US dollars seems to be a common rate.

In addition, there are individual costs for Google Ads, for example, or tools for successful search engine optimization. Especially in the SEO area, tools for the research of keywords, the placement of these keywords in the SERPs of Google and for the traffic analysis of competitors can quickly become very expensive.

Therefore, you should also include these potential additional costs for SEO in your calculation.

What Are Red Flags in Pricing?

As in any other industry, there is a lot of pressure from the competition in the field of search engine optimization, and in order to remain attractive among the competition, there are many providers who push their prices.

This may seem interesting to clients at first glance, but if the price is too low, you should definitely be suspicious and question to what extent you can expect good performance for such a low budget.

If search engine optimization costs much more than what is the average within the industry, you should also be wary. Of course, search engine optimization and everything related to it involves a lot of time and work, but if the monthly or hourly amount for the agency is much higher than the average, the question arises how much more you really get in terms of performance for your price.

To get a solid idea of suitable SEO prices, it is, therefore, best to calculate exactly what additional contribution to your revenue you expect from the SEO measures, and what price you in turn will have to pay per visitor more of your website for the agency before hiring a service provider.

This final price is finally your personal indicator to directly recognize red flags in the pricing models of SEO service providers and to make an informed decision when choosing your service provider.

Conclusion: Together You Achieve More

The cost of a professional SEO consultant or an appropriate agency working in this field may seem relatively high at the beginning, however, you should consider this as an investment in the success of your business.

Competition on the Internet is fierce, and in order to improve your ranking on Google and ultimately achieve permanently more brand awareness, reach and also sales, the few euros a month are well worth it to get guaranteed and fast results.


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