Even though a few well-known SEO companies get paid a nice fee of $10K+/month making on average about $120,000/+annually per client, most SEO companies and consultants are undervalued. So why is it that businesses are willing to pay Google PPC over $40K/mo but when it comes to SEO they run from $5,000/mo quote? Why are SEO companies undervalued? Answer is…
Actually there are few answers.
- PPC is easier to understand and thus … if a prospect is not confused he/she will buy
- SEO is too difficult to understand and most SEO companies think that they need to be “aggressive” to sell
- People don’t like to wait for results. Google is simple and fast. Create an “ad” and it’s up and running in minutes
I see companies that spend around $20K every month on Google where their market is still easy to optimize for to rank in natural results. But once they hear that SEO will cost over $3,000/month they have difficulties breathing.
Problem is not in the cost of SEO but the perception people have. Even though we are so smart these days, we still function under the logic …. I’ll give you 3 bananas and you give me 4 apples right now, NOT TOMORROW.
SEO is a complete opposite. “Give us 3 bananas and we’ll give you 30 apples in 5 month … maybe”. Can a “guarantee” help? It would but it would also be a lie.
I personally spoke with about 30-40 SEO companies in the past 2 months. Out of these about 3-4 were private consulting guys. Yes … I spoke to some people who might be reading this post. Here is what I think about you. (Your prospective clients might agree).
Some of SEOs come off too strong. You lie and try to connect your company to people like Matt Cuts (Google engineer and frequent conference attendant and speaker) as if he’s your best friend and you tan in the sun with him every weekend. Oh and he also shares the secret Google algorithm with you just because you have a nice smile.
You confuse people with too many options, plans, strategies and oh you also do PPC (Pay Per Click advertising)? You get my point? I called and asked about SEO services. In 5 minutes we were talking about PPC and other services you were doing. I was bored, your prospect might have already turned off his hearing device.
What amazed me most is that an SEO sales person would start giving serious advise after just 2 minutes into the conversation. You would get my attention if you would have first asked me few questions about the industry and what we do. People like to feel as if they are getting “personalized” / “customized” service. No one likes cookie-cutter approach especially when it comes to SEO for their website.
Bottom line is … when a human being is confused, his wallet does not open. People like “simple and easy”. They hate “difficult and confusing”.
In reality, Search engine optimization (SEO) is 20 times more valuable than PPC, even though I always implement both (real estate space). With time, businesses will be more keen on selecting an SEO company and paying it a “fair” fee.
When Rand Fishkin from SEOmoz posted his SEO fees on his Blog, he received a mixed reaction even from other SEO companies and consultants. Some were surprised that his company charged so much and others praised him for shooting higher.
Another point to consider is … what is the SEO fee based on? Cost per hour? Cost per results? It’s not easy to explain where the fee of $5,000 / mo comes from. Link building, research, hours of hard work?
I spoke to one SEO company about 7 months ago and got a quote “$4,000 initially and then $300/month maintenance”. I called them 3 weeks ago to see if the price has changed. Oh it changed all right. The entire cost per service changed. Now it was $1,500 /mo with 1 yr contract. Why? They changed their SEO strategy from just link building to PR releases.
Here is a possible solution to fixing the “Underpaid SEO community”.
1. Make it easy to understand exactly what you do and how you do it
2. Start with lower cost. Let your prospects start building a relationship with a smaller contribution. This is done so that they at least get a feel about working with you. (Sometimes people just want to see how it goes)
3. Focus on one service at a time. Do not try to sell everything. If what they want is SEO, give them SEO
4. Don’t scare them with “oh your industry is hard to optimize for”. Who wants to work with an SEO who’s not confident in his/her abilities?
5. Compare your prospects spending on PPC to your SEO. If you do this right, you will win them over.
Final note …… Try to listen to the prospect. Don’t talk over them and your self. Listen!