Macy StormSenior Content Creator
- 10 minute read
- Macy is a marketing writer with over five years of experience creating content for dozens of industries including food and beverage, home services, and education. She also specializes in creating SEO and PPC content. Her work has been featured by Search Engine Journal, HubSpot, Entrepreneur, Clutch, and more. In her free time, Macy enjoys trying new crafts and reading comic books.
You’ve heard about search engine optimization (SEO) and how it’s critical for growing your business online. So, you decide to do some research and look into getting SEO services. As you research, you look at the prices, and your eyes widen.
You sit there and think to yourself, “Why is SEO so expensive?” Luckily, we’re here to answer that question for you. In this post, we’ll provide you with three reasons why SEO is so expensive and how you can find an SEO company that works with your budget.
Before you scroll down, take a few minutes to watch our video on the cost of SEO! Then download the SEO pricing guide for easy access to this information whenever you may need it!
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Why is SEO so expensive?
SEO is so expensive for three reasons: It takes time to show results, it requires a lot of resources to build and maintain a campaign, and it often relies on the expertise of an SEO specialist to develop and grow your strategy.
3 reasons why SEO is so expensive
You may see SEO prices for as little as $99 per month or as large as $30,000 for a one-time project.
As you scan through these numbers and look at your options, you want an answer to the burning question: Why is SEO so expensive? Here are three critical reasons why SEO is so expensive:
1. SEO takes time to show results
When you invest in SEO, you’re not going to see results overnight. If a company promises to deliver top rankings in a few days, run away from them as fast as possible (we’ll explain later). A credible and reliable SEO company will use tactics that take time to show results — because that’s how SEO works.
Improving your ranking in search results takes at least a month, but often longer. When you’re using techniques that abide by Google’s terms of service, it takes time for them to work effectively and start improving your rankings. Think of SEO like gardening.
You don’t plant a seed in the ground and expect to see a full-fledged plant in the next few days. It takes time for a plant to grow, and it requires sunlight and water to thrive. With SEO, it takes time for your website to develop into a full-grown plant.
SEO uses a combination of strategies (we’ll dive into these more next) to grow your presence in search results. If you don’t expect to have a full-grown plant days after planting a seed, you can’t expect an SEO company to boost your site’s ranking in a few days ethically. That’s why SEO is so expensive — you’re paying for someone to work on your campaign continuously to improve and maintain your rankings.
Additionally, the right SEO company will take time to get to know your business, goals, and industry. Every industry and business is unique, so it takes time to understand what you want for your business and how your SEO company can develop a campaign that works for you. A personalized SEO strategy takes time to develop, but it drives the best results.
2. SEO requires work
When you look at SEO costs, you may not understand why it’s as much as it is. The reality is that SEO takes a lot of work. It’s not as easy as changing a few things and seeing instant results.
Let’s take a look at just a few of the tasks that go into SEO:
- Conducting an audit
Before any SEO company starts making suggestions on how to improve your rankings, they will review your site. This audit helps your agency establish a baseline for your ongoing SEO efforts and a plan for what to improve. An SEO audit requires resources to analyze the data and understand your site’s positions.
Without an SEO audit, you won’t know how to improve your website. Most SEO services include some form of an audit, though you can purchase SEO audit services separately. You can also use WebFX’s free SEO checker for a basic site audit!
Looking for an all-in-one SEO audit tool? You’ve found it.
SEO Checker provides data on key metrics to give you:
- Complete SEO score
- Content Grade
- Site Speed Analysis
- and more.
- Selecting keywords
If you want a successful SEO campaign, you must choose the right keywords. Your SEO services will include keyword research and integration. It takes time to find valuable keywords for each page on your site and integrate them into your pages.
Keyword research and integration takes work. An SEO expert will need to browse through lists of keywords to find ones that work best for your site. Not to mention, they’ll have to find new keywords (or integrate similar keywords) on every page of your website!
- Improving the backend of your site
The backend of your website plays a critical role in your SEO ranking. If your site isn’t technically sound, you’re going to miss out on potential customers for your business. You’re also going to struggle to rank at the top of search results.
A lot of work goes into improving the backend of your site. An SEO company will clean up code, improve page speed, and integrate responsive design. These are just a few of the many factors that go into working to improve your site’s technical SEO.
- Optimizing for local search
When you optimize for SEO, you want to reach local customers, too. If you want to know why SEO is so expensive, it’s because there are different subsets of SEO, like local SEO, that companies need to use to compete with other businesses. If you want to see successful results with your campaign, you must optimize for local searches, too.
Optimizing for local search requires integrating local keywords, as well as claiming and setting up your Google My Business listing. It takes time for your SEO company to build your local presence and help you drive more local customers to your business. Below, you can see a few bakeries in Harrisburg that have claimed their Google My Business listing in order to show up in local search results.
This list is just the beginning of what goes into SEO. There are dozens of moving parts and optimizations that come with SEO services. When you find yourself asking, “Why is SEO so expensive?” think of all the work, like everything listed above, that goes into helping your site rank in search results.
3. SEO requires expertise
Out of all the digital marketing methods, SEO is one of the most intricate and complex strategies available to your business. If you don’t have experience with SEO, you’ll struggle to drive results. When you hire an SEO company, you’re paying more for skill.
Think of hiring an SEO company like hiring a mechanic to fix your car. If you don’t have experience repairing cars, you’re going to go to the local garage and have an expert look at it. When you hire the mechanic, you’re paying for an experienced car expert to work on your car and solve your issue.
It may be more expensive than if you solved the problem on your own, but you’re paying for someone to use their expertise to help you. The same thought process applies to SEO. When you hire an SEO company, you’re paying for experts to work on your campaign and drive results for your business.
It may be more expensive, but you’re going to see better results with your SEO strategy. So, when you ask the question, “Why is SEO so expensive?” don’t forget that hiring SEO experts to work on your campaign is included in the price!
Navigating SEO: How do I find SEO for the right price?
As you explore SEO pricing, you may start to wonder how to find the right company at the right price. Since the cost of SEO varies widely, how do you find the right experts offering packages worth the price you pay?
It’s a challenging task, but you can expertly navigate your way towards the right SEO company by knowing what’s good and what’s bad in an SEO provider.
Good: White hat SEO techniques.
Bad: Black-hat SEO techniques.
If you want to hire an SEO company that works best for your budget, first look at their methods. Many companies fall prey to SEO businesses that provide very cheap SEO services and promise unimaginable boosts in rankings. If you see an SEO company making an offering to boost your rankings fast, they’re more than likely using black-hat SEO techniques.
Black-hat SEO includes tactics like:
- Keyword stuffing
- Link farming
- Reporting competitors
- Buying links
- And more
If you’re looking into SEO companies and they mention any of these tactics, do not partner with them. Black-hat SEO ends up hurting your rankings and violates Google’s terms of service. You risk getting your site banned and lower rankings.
Instead, focus on SEO companies that use white-hat SEO techniques. These techniques include:
- Creating quality content
- Using long-tail keywords and integrating them properly
- Optimizing your site’s load time
- Making your site mobile-friendly
- Optimizing your navigation for a smooth browsing experience
These are the types of tactics you want to see from an SEO company. You can start adding SEO companies that use these tactics to your list and narrow it down from there.
Good: Transparent pricing and plan details.
Bad: Vague pricing details.
Pricing is the biggest issue with SEO. Many companies will hide their prices to remain competitive with other SEO companies.
They also use it as a tactic to get leads to contact their business, which ends up wasting your time when their prices are too high. The best SEO company will offer transparent pricing. Transparent pricing means that a company publishes its prices online, allowing you to see how much it will cost and what you get for that price.
It helps you feel more informed, especially when you’re in the decision-making process. It doesn’t mean, however, that you should completely discredit any company that doesn’t share their pricing upfront. You can still contact them to learn about their pricing and packages.
It’s just better to work with a transparent company because they’re more likely to be upfront and honest about their pricing and services. Focus on agencies that are upfront about their plan details too. You should know what you’re getting in your plan.
Your business may come across some SEO companies that share their SEO pricing, but don’t share the details of their services. You’ll want to remain cautious with these companies because you may end up paying more for services and features you don’t need. If you want to find an SEO company at the best price for your business, look for ones that offer pricing and plan details upfront.
It will allow you to compare packages and see which one matches your needs the most.
Good: Customizable plans.
Bad: Cookie-cutter plan.
SEO plans should not be a one size fits all. You shouldn’t overpay for services or features you don’t need. If you want to get a good SEO plan at a realistic price, look for SEO companies that offer customizable SEO plans.
SEO services should tailor themselves to your specific needs. A small business isn’t going to need as extensive of an SEO campaign as a large enterprise. When you work with a company that customizes plans, you’ll get a campaign tailored to your organization’s goals, which can help you use SEO to drive the results your business wants, like more revenue or leads.
Find SEO services that work for your budget today
If you’re tired of asking, “Why is SEO so expensive?” it’s time for you to find the right SEO company that works with your budget and drives valuable results.
When you find the right agency, you’ll get a comprehensive, customized plan that delivers results for your business. At WebFX, we offer customized, transparent SEO plans that allow you to grow your business online. With our team of over 200 experts, we’ll help you create an SEO plan that works for your company.
Macy is a marketing writer with over five years of experience creating content for dozens of industries including food and beverage, home services, and education. She also specializes in creating SEO and PPC content. Her work has been featured by Search Engine Journal, HubSpot, Entrepreneur, Clutch, and more. In her free time, Macy enjoys trying new crafts and reading comic books.
WebFX provides digital marketing solutions with expert marketers, designers, and developers to increase visibility, conversions, and revenue. Learn more
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