How Much Does SEO Cost In Australia & The Price Of Quality SEO.
One of the most common questions I receive is in regards to the cost of SEO – what do I get and how much will it all cost? Businesses owners are confused, not only does every agency have their own process but the quality of those processes can differ significantly too. From the outside, the difference between high quality and poor quality can be one and the same making your decision that much harder.
The problem is that SEO isn’t an exact science, you can’t simply add 1 + 2 and equal three. This contributes significantly to the difference in opinions and the differences in the process. To make pricing SEO even more complicated we also need to factor in qualifications, experience, reputation, history of results, location of staff, physical office vs. freelance and much more.
However, price alone doesn’t determine the quality so as a business you also need to be concerned with service quality and precisely what level you’ll be receiving. The outcome of poor quality could be significant:
- A search engine penalty that significantly decreases search visibility.
- The removal of your website from search engines completely.
- Wasted marketing budgets with nothing to show for it in return.
- Temporary increase in rankings before one of the scenarios above eventuate.
Hourly rates for SEO professionals
Sometime ago MOZ a global leader in SEO recently released the results of a survey which reviewed the
from 10 different countries.
The results highlighted that most agencies in first world countries offer services within the $75 – $200 dollar price range per hour and as expected offshore SEO rates were typically much less. Although hourly rates still won’t determine quality it does provide some insight into the type of SEO services you might receive.
You might consider:
- Reputable Australian agencies will charge accordingly within the $100 – $200 range per hour.
- Agencies using offshoring may provide cheaper packages but the experience may also be less.
- Professionals operating at less than $75 per hour in Australia are likely due to their level of experience and specialisation.
Monthly retainer and ongoing SEO prices
Rand’s survey again highlighted the breakdown of SEO agencies and the average client’s monthly cost for ongoing SEO Packages.
It’s important to note that the above results are in USD and given that Australia is a more expensive country you can expect prices of local agencies to be somewhat higher. As you can see the large majority of agencies charge within the $1000 – $2500 price and there is a reason for that.
SEO takes time and time equals money. Not only that but if you want to build a successful campaign it means you’ll likely need content, conversion rate optimisation, social media marketing and a range of other skills so that your campaign has the greatest chance of success.
Let’s say the agency you’re working with works with has staff that work at the $100 per hour, you might receive.
- $1000 – 8 hours of technical hands-on and 2 pieces of content
- $2500 – 15 hours of technical hands-on and 8 pieces of content
So the amount you spend doesn’t always translate cleanly into a breakdown on hours.
For monthly retainer packages you might want to consider:
- How many hours are included of an SEO professional’s time?
- Is content created on behalf of my business?
- Are tools purchased specifically for my campaign i.e. heat map tracking?
- Are other costs factored into the price?
- Am I paying for reputation or significant experience?
- Am I paying for the billing and tracking of their time?
- What is the level of competition?
- and most importantly what are your expectations?
All the above determines the price that you specifically need in order to make your campaign a success.
SEO Pricing Models
Just recently Rand Fishkin surveyed 400+ SEO consultants and agencies asking deep questions about their structure, fees, employees, projects, and more. The results of their fee model was as follows.
Let’s discuss these models and what benefits each of them may have.
Hourly rates may be used for consulting or where work can be broken into specific tasks you need. The benefits of hourly is you’re paying exactly for the time required to manage your campaign. It’s important to remember that hourly rates may have additional costs associated to track consultants time and any billing that results from it.
Fixed price or project specific
Most SEO agencies and consultants will have a number of fixed price services.
For example, this might include:
- Conducting an SEO Audit
- Keyword Research
- Competition reviews
- Resolving specific onsite issues.
- Monthly retainer
If you need ongoing services then you may decide to purchase a package that provides you with ongoing services, tracking, reporting, marketing and consultation. If that’s the case you might look at an ongoing price that you pay at the start of every month.
For example, you might want an SEO specialist to work with your business on a monthly basis or for the lifetime of a project.
In very rare circumstances an agency maybe provide performance-based campaigns where they may take a percentage of the profits generated for each lead generated above an agreed threshold. The reason this is rare is that there are simply too many factors to consider on how to manufacture a successful campaign such as the brand, business reputation, the product, the website and the expertise of the SEO agency.
Again I compare it to fitness in that just because you hire the best personal trainer in the world it’s also the mindset of the trainee that needs invest their own time to achieve results.
Setting realistic expectations for an SEO campaign
Most business owners have become obsessed with rankings when what they actually need is a greater number of leads. Rankings don’t equal sales, they’re simply vanity metrics you use to boost your ego and waste more time.
Within any SEO campaign, you should know –
- What percentage of your traffic is organic search traffic
- What percentage of your traffic actually converts
- What rate traffic converts at
- What an average customer is worth or how much your site is currently generating
- …and whether those numbers are improving each month
Having this information provides you with a baseline and what you need to make your site profitable – and when that happens, SEO is no longer an “expense”, but an “investment”.
The expectations for your SEO campaign, i.e. increase customer enquiries by X amount, and the level of competition will help your agency price your campaign so that you have the best chance to achieve success in an estimated period of time.
It’s important you understand your average customer value and where current leads come from as it will help you understand what you need from your SEO campaign to generate a positive ROI. Remember that goals based on increasing customer enquiries can be improved in a number of ways:
- Improving the design of your website to encourage more conversions.
- Improving the relevance of your content to rank for a wider range of keywords.
- Create new content to increase traffic and attract more of your ideal customer.
- Boost your authority to perform stronger for more competitive keywords.
Many of the above can be done with the traffic you’re already receiving. Even websites that rank #1 won’t generate enquiries if the site isn’t designed for conversions. Don’t be stubborn through your campaign, if an agency tells you that your website is underperforming because of a number of reasons then help them to resolve those issues.
Average campaign length
If you decide to select an ongoing SEO package agencies may choose to have a minimum term while others will have no lock in contracts. If you select a lock in contract just be sure that you have referrals, case studies and examples of results so you’re aware that you’re receiving a quality service before committing.
The advantage for minimum terms SEO contracts is that it allows the agency time to get runs on the board. If you are looking for results within the first month then you could be bitterly disappointed, SEO isn’t an overnight fix and results can take time. As mentioned earlier the sooner you and your agency can make your site profitable SEO is no longer viewed as an expense but more so an investment.
How to determine the quality of SEO
Unfortunately, I know a lot of small businesses who have placed trust in their SEO agency, only to have their online businesses destroyed from poor SEO strategies. Cost doesn’t discriminate either, I’ve seen struggling start-ups spend thousands of dollars only to realize they’ve received nothing but a search engine penalty in return.
There is absolutely no point in having a website if nobody can find it which is why all businesses should invest in some form of SEO services to build traffic to their website. So what are your key takeaways from this article:
- SEO results take time. SEO is a long-term investment for which monthly SEO works
- SEO and Google algorithms change all the time and so will your rankings.
- SEO is not a once off and when you stop your competitors won’t.
- Understand the price for quality and time.
For most businesses SEO provides the highest ROI marketing effort. If you need help in weeding out the good from the bad then contact us and we’ll provide you with some friendly advice on whether or not you’ll get value for money.