The SEO Pricing report is in and it looks like this (as of July 25 1am PST):
|Site Review + Consulting||$500||$2,500||$10,000|
|Hands-On Editing of Pages/Code||$2,000||$10,000||$50,000|
|Manual Link Building Campaign||$500||$5,000||$20,000|
|1-Day SEO Training Seminar||$750||$4,000||$12,000|
|Keyword Research Package||$100||$500||$2,000|
|Viral Content Development + Mktg||$1,000||$7,500||$20,000|
|Web Design, Development + Mktg||$5,000||$25,000||$100K+|
|Monthly Retainer for Ongoing SEO||$2,500||$7,500||$20,000+|
Those are the numbers promoted by SEOMoz, based on the experiences of the SEOMoz firm. You have to understand that the report is likely intended to promote good will in the SEO industry (get back links), support potential clients looking to better understand SEO as an industry (feel good factor), while still protecting SEOMoz from going out too far on a limb. Such a report also has to position SEOMoz properly, since they publish such high rates over there ($1000/hr for consulting.. does that make them high-end?). I don’t know anyone who has actually paid those rates, although I did witness one SEO firm pitch a client at $60k/month on contract. As with all business, I am sure the costs are backed by a business service proposal, so how can you critique based on cost? I’d certainly pay $60k/month to rank where I could boost my profits by $70k/month while managing risk within my established business model. Wouldn’t you?
Anyway notice the broad range of prices… a training seminar from $750 to $12,000 per day. That broadness pretty much guarantees no-one will be offended, but the reort still does a decent job of suggesting what can be expected when pricing SEO services. The only problem is… where is the SEO?
I do SEO training on a fee basis. I charge for my time, and my rates are reasonable. However, my requirements are also reasonable. If I travel, I am spending time on your project. Do you like to pay my hourly rate as I fly or wait in line for security? Of course not. But someone has to reimburse that time, right? So is there work to be done in flight? There certainly could be. So in advance, we can work out how much travel time is available for work, what work can be done that is of value to the client, and agree on pricing and deliverables. I don’t waste my time or your time while traveling, and I don’t have to inflate my seminar fees to cover the uncertainties associated with travel. See how business works? Now what is that daily seminar going to cost… $750? $12,000? How could any one know? Travel was one example.. how many people teach? What are their qualifications? Or perhap smost important of all, how many students will there be?
As SEO grows up it realizes it is not SEO but consulting. At the very least it is contracting, with a “general contractor” almost always needed, and of course taking a management fee. A “keyword research package” in the table above could be a scan of WordTracker and Keyword Discovery databases, or an investigation into the semantics of a competitive SERP. One costs $99 when outsourced, the other can’t be outsourced. Which are you getting for your $100 to $2000 price?
SEO as an industry is growing up. It’s really consulting, with an agency model available for those who want it. What happens to a pricing report in that case? Let me see, consultants charge between $10 and $4000 per hour, right?