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The True Cost of SEO

April 21st, 2008
8 Comments


I was speaking to a potential client last week and he mentioned that he had already spent a lot on PPC and now wanted to try SEO so he could get some “free traffic”. I hear this all of the time.

While SEO can provide an amazing ROI, there still are costs associated with it — and they can add up. So for all of you readers out there who are thinking about hiring a SEO consultant, here are some of the costs that you are going to want to put into your spreadsheet:

  1. Consultant’s fee (or employee’s salary/time if using in-house)
  2. Legal fees, if needed, to get contract done
  3. Travel expenses for consultant (if needed and not included in contract)
  4. Staff time to interact with consultant
  5. Staff time to implement recommendations (or deal with outside developer – don’t forget to include outside developer’s fee)
  6. Staff time (or consultant’s time) to track performance, report on performance and tune SEO over time.
  7. License fees for new hardware/software needed to implement recommendations
  8. Cost of content development
  9. Cost of inbound link development

Depending on the size of your effort and ambitions, your SEO effort could be a big investment. I often bring this stuff up with clients at the start of an engagement but they almost always fail to budget for things like content development and linkbuilding.

If you are at the beginning of the SEO process make sure that you ask whomever is leading your SEO effort to try and spell out everything they think you are going to have to budget for. Even if they don’t know exactly what they are going to recommend, a good SEO consultant, like a good hair stylist, should have an idea of where they are going before they start.


Tags: Start-Up SEO

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Anonymous // Apr 21, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    [...] Andrew Shotland discusses the true cost of SEO [...]

  • 2 multimedia services // Apr 22, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    hi andrew… what you have discussed is a big help to the company. of course, if you are starting your business, you have to invest. but the time comes, if you know how to run your business, what you have invested comes back to you double. have a great day!!

  • 3 Andrew Shotland // Apr 22, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    muchas gracias amigo

  • 4 Will Scott // Apr 22, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    Hey Andrew,

    Always a pleasure to drop by and avail myself of your wisdom.

    We deal with this difficulty by taking a much more Yellow Pages approach, and possibly masking some of the true cost. With a setup cost and a monthly recurring we manage to encompass all of the above in a small business friendly way.

    Truth be told most don’t need to know the details. They just want the outcomes.

    If they want to hear about all the cool stuff they’re buying, great! If not they just hand over the keys and wait for the monthly reports.

    Cheers,
    Will

  • 5 BGM-Tac // Apr 23, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    Don’t go and tell everyone these things. It ruins the fun and surprise of the invoice. The only part is what it actually cost.

  • 6 Understanding Online Marketing // May 5, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    [...] are the costs involved.  My associate Andrew Shotland, has put together a nice piece on The True Cost of SEO. Andrew lists some of the things to keep in mind when hiring an SEO [...]

  • 7 SEO Chester // Jun 23, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Hi great website been looking around for ages now, lots of usefull articles :)
    I provide SEO services in Chester UK and charge probably 10 times less than any other business I have found whilst checking out competitors.
    I have some superb SEO results for my customers websites and also my website too.
    Search engine optimisation desnt have to be expensive to get a good reliable and ethical service IMHO.
    Carpe Diem Websites – SEO Chester UK.

  • 8 Matthews T. Phale // Mar 4, 2010 at 4:09 am

    I wanted to do SEO for my site, howerver, I have hosted my domain name somewhere and my Web site somewhere, do U think I will be able to achieve the best results with this or should I just host in one place.

    Thank you in advance!

    Mr. Phale
    +267 74458632

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