An SEO consultant (usually part of a digital marketing, or SEO agency) will analyse your current positioning from an SEO point of view and provide a thorough audit report of your website. The audit report will cover a range of areas from technical, to content-based analysis. The audit will offer suggestions for improvement or inclusion of SEO.
Following which the consultant will develop an SEO plan, later a campaign, based on your market requirements, and this could consist of 10-40+ keywords, local, national, or internationally. The campaign usually addresses a range of areas, and would most definitely include technical optimisation tactics, such as improving meta tags.
The consultant will usually be part of an SEO team, and the team will start working a range of SEO tactics to build momentum for your campaign – these can range from technical SEO (such as page speed) or this could be on page SEO for inclusion of keywords.
Prices for SEO services do tend to vary between agencies, but a good quality digital marketing agency should have basic budget friendly SEO services available for businesses with smaller budgets. For those businesses that have larger budgets the agency will have more aggressive SEO plans to go up against highly ranking competitors in the market. The key thing to look out for though is the level of quality you will get for a given service.
If for example you are going to pay £50 per month for 10 keywords in a competitive market I would seriously consider the quality of the output – the amount of person hours that it takes to work on a quality SEO campaign from an agency perspective can vary between 5-30 hours plus a month dependent on the size of your campaign and the competitive nature of your industry. If you are being quoted £50 for 10 keywords, which can easily take 10-15 hours per month to produce, then more than likely quality or time is being cut to offer 10-15 hours work for £50. Not only that, but I would also question the tactics being used by the agency to be able to offer you services at that price.
We will also suggest asking the agency if they employ white hat tactics and processes for their SEO efforts. If not, we would steer clear of the agency – as link farming (black hat SEO) can get your site removed from search directories and penalised by search engines. Which would be terrible for your business especially if you have had the site for many years.
Bottom line, when it comes to deciding your budget for SEO services, ask yourself the simple question – how long does it take me to do my job well, or provide my service? Then put a figure on how much you would charge for 10, 15, 20, 25 hours? When broken down like that it is easy to see what kind of figure you may be looking at monthly.
But the benefits of good quality SEO usually outweigh the cost!