At the end of December 2011, a leading SEO software developer, SEOmoz, held a survey asking consultants and agencies of all sizes and geographies to supply their current pricing and costs structures. The results of over 500 SEO companies that participated are tough to swallow for some, but incredibly important for business to understand the financial impact of not investing in SEO early. As the Google continues to modify it’s site rank algorithms, one thing is clear, SEO is becoming more and more specialized requiring site owners to seek outside, professional help if they want to compete in organic search on the major search engines. It wasn’t long ago that search engine optimization meant little more than optimizing one’s website making it easier for search bots to crawl and index. Things are much different today. I hate to throw down the overused phrase, but SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Fortunately for those businesses that jump on board early, SEO is a long-term facet of website development that can crush sleeping competitors.
Below is a graphic showing the various costs of SEO at the time of this survey. Enjoy!
While these result don’t represent the current pricing models of my company, it give you a perspective of what companies are “investing” in long-term SEO.
‘Project Based Pricing’ and ‘Monthly Retainer’ are Most Common
In the United States, it appears that the most popular SEO services completed on a ‘Project Based Pricing’ followed closely by ‘Monthly Retainer’. I’m willing to bet as more companies realize the importance of ongoing SEO, the ‘Monthly Retainer’ category will gradually increase. These pricing modules are followed by ‘Fixed Price Contract Services’ and ‘By-The-Hour Consulting’.
Hourly Rates of $76-$150/hour are Most Common
50% of all the firms report hourly rates of $76-$200 per hour while $76-$150 per hour is most common.
By-the-Project Pricing is Most Commonly $1,000-$7,500 per Project
Agencies report that their projects fall into four price ranges: $1,001-$1,500, $1,501-$2,500, $2501-$5,000 and $5,001-$7,500.