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