Just how much DOES SEO cost per month?
Many of my clients wonder what does SEO cost on average per month, how much does it cost me to do, why is it so expensive, etc. And every time I answer this question, I have always wanted to pull out a cardboard sign to emphasize why SEO is expensive. Why a cardboard sign?
Cardboard signs are a clear example of the poor man’s tough times. So beaten down by the world that he merely writes his message out on a sign hoping for a handout.
Lawyers do NOT advertise with cardboard signs. (Steer clear if they do!)
Neither do chiropractors, roofers, or dentists, who are worth their services. To better drive home the point, remember the first rule of marketing : If they did, you’d have to wonder: “Is this guy so hopelessly terrible at what he does that he can’t afford to get his message out properly?” What would it cost to get the message out properly, and if it was out and it converted people into clients/customers, what would he make in return.
You should be able to spend $1 and make $2 back, predictably.
Nobody wants to spend $1000 on hope… But EVERYONE would spend $1000 if they knew they would make $2000 back. Then would turn around and re-invest that $2000 to get $4000 back.
The biggest push back I get is that SEO/Marketing is too much of an expense. It is not an expense, it should be looked at as an investment. Marketing should be a predictable way to find business, make a return on that business and in turn re-invest back into your marketing efforts for even more new business. Nobody wants to spend thousands on “a pipe dream”, and that’s the biggest hurdle in sales (and why we have so many testimonials and reviews featured on our website – to help overcome that hurdle and doubt).
The point being, marketing should be a predictable multiplier of investment.
Now, consider that lawyer mentioned above. If you were to go to Google and place a bid for an ad, you could expect to pay around $70 to $140 per click. Keep in mind it may take 10 to 50 clicks to get a lead (someone who clicks over to your website), and it may take 10 to 20 leads to get a client. So that $70 x 25 clicks on average x 15 leads on average, or right around $26,000 per client. (and before you wonder too much, the prices CAN and DO go up beyond $300 per click!)
Why would an attorney be willing to pay $26k for a new client? Because personal injury lawyers make a great deal of money. Many won lawsuits can fetch mid-six figures easily, and the lawyer takes a good percentage of that case for their “No pay unless you win” methods.
Because of how much a new case means to a lawyer that drives up the cost of clicks to a point where it makes financial sense to pay because of the law of averages, which says you’ll make it back and then some (provided that they are good at what they do.)
Now let’s just look at one of those terms: Personal Injury Attorney San Diego (and it’s other similar keyword, San Diego Personal Injury Lawyers)
There are around 1500 monthly searches for the two variants, each worth about $90/click on average, or around $135,000 in advertising value per month (were each of those searches to click on an ad, which usually they don’t – in fact, it’s around or less than 10%.)
Being at the top of page 1 for a search like that could get you as many as 40% of all of the clicks for that search term. Nearly 90% of the searches will stay on page 1.
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A hot dog vendor in Detroit, MI will never sell as many hot dogs as he would in Times Square.
So what would it be worth to be in spot 1? From a PURELY ad-cost basis, 40% of 1500 is 600 clicks, at $90/click = $54,000/month in “free” advertising clicks by being in the organic section of the search engine results.
Now, if you were an attorney, what would that be worth to you? $54,000 per month, at least! And so what do you think an attorney is willing to invest to get there in his city? So how much do you think you’ll have to invest to beat him?
That’s the heart of the matter – that space is VALUABLE.
Is it worth less for other professions, like plumbers or roofers? Sure, but it’s still worth thousands of dollars in advertising which is at least 2 times your return on investment.
The investment is worth its weight in gold because once your goal is reached it pays for itself over and over as opposed to pay per click which is like shutting off the faucet instantly once you stop paying). SEO is more like prime real estate. I can move your hot dog cart, plumbing business, or dental practice to your location’s online Times Square. Over time that is invaluable because of the traffic that is generated in that spot.
So how much should SEO really cost?
Think for a moment about minimum wage employees.
The Federal minimum wage is $7.25/hour. The average drive-through employee at Taco Bell, who works part-time (20ish hours/week), makes about $580 per month (pre-tax).
Time and time again I’ve had businesses question my pricing. They thought SEO would be a one-time cost or thought it would be something less expensive. Then I walk them through the attorney illustration and numbers and they start to get it.
Then, the question is asked. “Does it seem fair to pay me, what is equal to a minimum wage worker in exchange for $100,000 or more of new business PER MONTH?”
Then I am asked, “Okay what is the cost to compete to get on page 1?” Do you think $500/month could compete? What kind of service do you think you would get for that kind of price?
Why would someone who can generate $100,000 online or more per month through their craft even want to work for $500/mo? …. (Hint, hint) They won’t!
After all of this conversation, most business owners start to understand that a fair deal is when a value is exchanged for value. And then they get it, and they usually will hire me.
The Skinny on SEO:
Cheap is one thing quality SEO is not. Anyone who tells you that it is cheap, and they can get you ranked for “20 keywords in 4 weeks” is probably trying to sell you something … that something is definitely not legit SEO.
FACT: Outdated SEO Techniques that may have worked 10 years ago are literally website poison today. If you want to know if something is worth hiring for SEO, ask them how their link building process works. If they tell you something along the lines of hard and fast… run for the hills. Your site will get penalized before you know it and will never rank where you want without starting ALL OVER.
FACT: In 2016 Google tweaked their algorithm without notice. With a number of large changes (Panda, Penguin, Pigeon, Hummingbird, etc.) your site could bounce around without you knowing. That’s where our reporting process comes in handy.
FACT: Staying on top of the newest trends and what is currently working is not easy. Trying to overtake people who use deceptive tactics can also be tough. Through constant research and development, we get it right every time.
In summary, we DO NOT have $500/month SEO service. But, what we do have is SEO that achieves results; SEO that will get you to page one. Our average client pays around $2500/month (some less, some more) for around 8 months (some less, some more).
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(We do offer services for $500/month, but that is not traditional SEO. It will add value to your pages and local business presence to also create more traffic, but nothing like ongoing SEO will.)