How much should SEO cost in 2019?

Man carrying a sign that says 'pricing strategy' in front of a chalkboard with arrows on it

Small businesses aren’t always aware of how much to pay an SEO company when they sign up for their services. Some SEO experts charge huge amounts of money and businesses aren’t sure if that price is too much. Others charge a pittance which makes businesses question whether they can actually do the work.

This blog post will help you navigate through these two extremes by teaching you everything you need to know about purchasing search engine optimisation.

The key questions we’ll cover are:

  • Is paying for SEO worth it?
  • How much should I pay for SEO services?
  • How long does it take to start working?

The information in these three sections will give those looking to purchase SEO an idea of what SEO costs.

Let’s get into it!

Is paying for SEO worth it?

Businesswoman shrugging with question marks drawn on a chalkboard behind her

We’ll start this section out with a brief overview of what SEO is and how it works.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation which is the act of making your web pages appear higher in Google when someone searches a particular set of words.

These sets of words are known as ‘keywords’ and need to be implemented into your page’s content so that Google can place it above less relevant pages.

This is the first thing an SEO company should do when applying SEO to your website, yet most companies are unaware of even this basic step.

SEO helps you outrank competitors

Now, does having your website appear higher than your competitors’ in Google’s search engines really help your business? The short answer is yes.

Imagine walking down the high street in your local town, and every store is selling blinds. Then imagine a customer who’s looking to purchase blinds walking down that street; they’re going to walk into the first shop they see.

You want to be the first shop on that street, known in the SEO world as ‘Position 1’, so you get a bigger cut of those blind-seeking customers.

A red box drawn around position 1 in a Google search for 'blinds in manchester'

When someone searches ‘blinds in Manchester’, which happens 590 times a month, they will be given ten different sites on the first page of Google.

60% of people searching for a service on Google click the first link, 30% click on the second and the percentage deteriorates from there.

Most people never make it past the first page so it’s important to not only be on that page, to be s high up the list as possible.

‘Blinds in Manchester’ is obviously not the only term customers are searching when looking for blinds, they might search ‘vertical blinds in Manchester’ or ‘window blinds in Manchester’ but these terms have a much lower volume of searches and should be focused on only after the higher-volume search terms have been optimised for.

Table showing the search volume of three sets of keywords

Unfortunately, a lot of SEO companies focus their efforts on low volume keywords that aren’t being searched very often and this does little to increase their number of clients or customers.

When you hire an SEO expert, you want to make sure they’re ranking you for the keywords that will bring you the most customers, not random keywords that have search volumes of 10 or 20.

Other important elements of SEO

Keywords are one way of increasing traffic to your site and its part of what we call on-site SEO.

Other types of on-site SEO include linking internally across all your pages, implementing meta descriptions and tags, increasing your site’s load time, optimising it for mobile phones, etc. Basically, any changes you make to your actual website counts as on-site.

Off-site SEO is to do with anything off your website such as backlinks. Backlinks are links from other websites to pages or posts on your website. They essentially show Google that your site knows what it’s talking about and deserves that top spot in the searches.

Thankfully, The Web Designer Group’s in-house team has a tried and tested SEO strategy that focuses on high-volume keywords, internally linking all your pages, performing outreach to get you more backlinks, all of which is optimised by AI technology.

This AI technology tells us exactly what keywords to use and helps us create content miles ahead of other competitors in your field. It also gives us the ability to reach out to respectable websites for backlinks and boost your site up the rankings.

If you find the right SEO company, and make sure they’re ranking you for the right keywords and properly linking your content, then it’s definitely worth paying for.

To quickly sum this section up:

  • SEO is based primarily on implementing keywords in your website’s content
  • You want to outrank your competitors for the best keywords in your industry to increase your number of customers.
  • Avoid ranking for low volume keywords until you’ve ranked for more useful keywords.
  • You want to work with an SEO company with many strings to its bow so you have every tool necessary to beat your competitors.

How much should I pay for SEO services?

Outstretched palm in front of a chalkboard with money drawn on it

This is a difficult question to answer because different businesses need different levels of SEO.

The reason for this is because the price of SEO is totally dependent on how a business is currently ranking, and how difficult it is to rank them for the best keywords in their industry.

Most SEO companies charge a set price for SEO projects without looking into what work needs to be done.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve called a company that needs minimal SEO work and they’ve told me someone is doing it for £600 a month because that was their standard price.

Not only does this standard price take excess money from a company that might otherwise need it, these service providers can’t justify what they’re spending that money on.

That’s why at The Web Designer Group, we do a full SEO site audit when you sign up with us. We can assess exactly what work needs to be done and when we speak to you on the phone we ask you what your budget is and tailor an SEO strategy specifically for you.

You also want to watch out for dirt-cheap SEO service providers who say they can rank you in the top spot for £100 a month.

Lots of small businesses bite these SEO company’s hands off to rank high in the search engines but the reality is, you’ll probably stay exactly where you are because there isn’t much a company can do to boost your SEO for such a small amount of money.

These companies might even use black-hat SEO tactics which are frowned upon by Google and could cause them to punish your website.

For example, a cheap SEO company might use link building schemes like PBNs (Public Blog Networks) where they give you cheap and easy backlinks from dummy sites.

It’s important to make sure you’re aware of what your SEO company is doing in these situations. Just to plug our own company again, we provide all our clients with a free SEO program which shows them their increase in rankings in real time and exactly how we go about achieving it.

The one thing I can say about pricing SEO is that is needs to be a monthly fee. There are two main reasons for this:

  1. Blog posts are the best way to get your site ranking on Google because every post is basically a new page for you to implement keywords on.

The more you write on a topic, and the more keywords you rank for, the more of an authority you will appear on the topic.

The higher your authority, the higher you appear on Google’s search engine.

This authority is known as Domain Authority, and is influenced by internal links, and by having a company with high authority link to your website.

The best way to improve your internal linking is to build a system of blog posts that all link to each other, creating an internal network of posts that boost each other’s authority.

For example, you write a blog on the pillar topic ‘Trendiest blind designs in 2019’. You then write a more specific post, or sub-topic, on one of the types of blinds you mentioned in the pillar piece.

You then link the pillar piece to the more specific piece and vice versa.

Do this for each type of blind in your main piece and you should have a sturdy internal linking structure before you know it.

  1. Google changes its algorithm constantly and if you want to keep up with the constant changes, you have to keep on top of your SEO strategy. Any experienced SEO strategist will tell you this.

Countless companies sit pretty in the top spot of Google only to be hit with a massive algorithm alteration, such as the recent Domain Authority change, and have lost their place instantly.

It’s important to make sure your SEO experts are on top of these changes. If you chose to sign up with The Web Designer Group, for example, you would receive access to a program that shows you how your site is ranking in real time.

This means that if you notice a huge dip in your rankings, you can call us up straight away to find out what’s happened and what we’re going to do to work with the algorithm change that caused it.

To quickly sum this section up:

  • Paying for SEO that is specifically tailored to your business is important.
  • You want to avoid set prices and SEO scammers who charge £100 to rank on the first page of Google
  • And, it should be a monthly fee so that you can have blog posts written for you every month and so you can keep up with Google’s frequent algorithm changes.

How long does it take?

Team of business people drawing up a plan on a chalkboard

Again, the time it takes to rank for a keyword is dependant on how difficult that keyword is to rank for.

The word ‘difficult’ is a bit vague, what I’m actually referring to is the competition for the keyword, AKA how many people are trying to rank for it.

For example, ‘blinds in Manchester’ is quite difficult to rank for as a lot of blinds companies must be doing SEO work to improve their rankings for that term.

However, ‘tailor in Manchester’ has half the competition, even though it has more searches a month than blinds, which means tailors in Manchester are obviously not as on-the-ball with their SEO projects.

This is why giving your customer a time limit on how long their SEO will take without looking at their field of expertise is as pointless as set prices.

Fortunately for you, and for SEO experts in companies like ours, there are ways to get the ball rolling quickly.

  1. First of all, SEO companies that have a Google partnership like ours have the ability to get you ranking faster.
  2. Secondly, we do a full SEO site audit on your site as soon as you start working with us, make the changes it surfaces, and give you an instant Google rankings boost.
  3. Thirdly, we set you up on Google Search Console. This system allows us to index every page we change or create for you with Google giving them a nudge to read through it as soon as possible.

I mentioned earlier that we give you an audit tool when you sign up with us so you can see your progress in real time. This makes it easy for you to predict how much time it will take us to boost you up the search engine and show you that the work we are doing is working.

So many SEO companies say they can get you to page one of Google in three months and not only do they not deliver, it’s very difficult to get in contact with someone to find out why.

Conclusion

In this article we’ve given you an overview of whether SEO is worth your time, what you should pay for it and how long it should take.

Most of the answers were along the lines of “there isn’t a set price” and “there isn’t a set time limit” but that’s just the reality of SEO projects.

Because it’s an industry where SEO experts are essentially selling a promise, I can understand why companies have resorted to promising set time limits and set prices just to get the sale over the line.

The reality of the situation is, the cost of SEO should always be tailored to the customer and a time limit should never be given.

The most an SEO company can do is use SEO site audits to fix issues with your website, set you up on Google Search Console and index all your new and improved pages, and give you a tool to see your rankings increase in real time.

I hope this blog post has helped you when it comes to buying SEO for your business. Good luck with all your future SEO projects!