Determining how much you should spend on SEO can be a real problem, especially when there are so many different SEO agencies in NZ, from cheap providers to those offering high-end SEO services. Comparing these costs can be a headache, with some companies offering an hourly rate, a one-off project fee, or a monthly fee. While price should not be the single deciding factor in choosing an SEO agency, it would help to know how much SEO costs, what’s included in the proposal and the agency’s level of expertise before deciding on an SEO agency to work with, right?
So how much does SEO cost? This is often the first question we hear from prospective clients. The reality is, we don’t have a fixed answer. Usually, a mid- to high-end SEO agency charges between $700 – $2000/month. However, it really depends on your situation, goals and many different factors.
Optimising your website on the search engines is essential to your online presence. It’s a good idea to understand the core factors that affect SEO pricing, what services are included in an SEO proposal, and how you choose the right SEO agency.
What are the core factors in SEO pricing?
How exactly does an SEO agency come up with its costs and prices? What goes into the pricing proposal they send to you? While SEO pricing models are different between different companies, however, there are five key things agencies look at when costing their SEO services:
- The design of your website
- Your current ranking and SEO strategies
- What’s the competition like
- Number of pages/products/services
- Link acquisition
1. The design of your website
Many people might think web design and SEO are two separate things – a website design involves the visual aspects, and SEO affects how easy searchers find a website. The truth is that the two work together and can significantly impact your website ranking and traffic. A strong SEO campaign will attract customers to visit your website, and a visually appealing and user-friendly website will keep them engaged.
Many small business owners tend to use a drag-and-drop website builder to make their first website. While these website builders may be easy to use and require no coding skills, they are often challenging to optimise. Consequently, businesses that built their websites using pre-made templates often find that their websites don’t have a high ranking in the search engine result pages (SERPs).
If you tell your SEO specialists that you built your website using WordPress, they will thank you and factor it in when they quote you a price. Alternatively, if you need to start from scratch to create an SEO friendly website, your SEO cost may be lower than an existing website that needs SEO restructuring.
2. Your current ranking and SEO strategies
An SEO agency would analyse your current organic rankings, SEO strategies, and industry to assess what you need to achieve or maintain. Obviously, maintaining a website on the first page of SERP is easier and cheaper than optimising a website that currently ranks on the 10th page of the search results.
One way to achieve and maintain first-page ranking is to look into long-tail keywords or niche keywords with less competition but are more specific to searchers’ inquiries.
We recommend starting with a free SEO audit, which gives a review of your website’s issues. In this way, your SEO specialist knows the damages and the cost to fix the damages.
3. What’s the competition like?
To price the cost of any SEO service effectively, agencies also need to know what your competitors are already doing. Are your competitors regularly publishing their content? Are their websites SEO friendly? Do they have link building? How competitive are the keywords you want to rank?
Typically, businesses in a highly competitive market require a big budget. Hence, their SEO specialists need to find more creative ways to create a competitive edge.
SEO specialists need to write high-quality, engaging content that stands out from the competition and work hard to get more links to your page to increase your website’s relevancy and credibility.
Make sure you always check how many keywords are included in your SEO proposal. What are the keywords? Are these keywords relevant to your target audience? If the keywords are highly competitive, are they too generic, irrelevant to your customers, and don’t give a good conversion?
For example, if you are a shoe retailer in Auckland, “shoes” or “shoe shop” are very competitive keywords, but they are too generic because the searcher might be looking for shoe designs or shoe shops in Wellington. If your chosen SEO agency tells you that “sport shoes to buy” or “shoe shop in Auckland” are the keywords you should focus on. Then they genuinely are interested in helping you, not your money. These long-tail keywords are more relevant to your customers who are ready to make a purchase.
If you operate in multiple locations, you will have more location pages that need optimisation, which means more work optimising your local SEO.
4. The number of pages/products/services
As mentioned above, if you have multiple locations, you need more SEO budget. This is the same if you have many products or services pages that you want to rank. Making sure each page ranks highly for a keyword takes time and expertise.
It is imperative that your pages provide value to the visitors and don’t upset Google’s policies. If you have a big website or run an eCommerce site, your website’s optimisation process is more complex and time-consuming than a small website, all adding to a higher SEO cost.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a big budget. You can first focus on optimising the home page and the key products(s) or service(s) page, where your conversions most likely to happen.
5. Link acquisition
Achieving an excellent organic ranking in Google SERP also requires quality backlinks because they tell Google that your website is trustworthy and relevant to a particular keyword search.
Backlinks are when another reputable website mentions your brand in their blogs or articles and redirects their readers to your website. Experienced, high-end SEO agencies have an extensive network of bloggers, industry leaders and influencers who can review your business and reference your site. However, it takes time and effort to reach out to these people and build these backlinks, potentially increasing your SEO costs.
Getting your website to rank on the first page of search engines is vital to establish your online presence and gain traffic, but it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, research, experience and skills to implement a correct, working SEO strategy. As a result, the costs of running an SEO campaign depends on the amount of work required and your marketing goals. If your goal is to achieve an incremental boost in traffic, you will spend less than if your goal is to rank on the first page of SERP for a long list of keywords.
What services are included in an SEO proposal?
After discussing your needs, goals, and budget with the SEO professional, you get a quote or proposal. But what services do you need to look out for? How do you read the SEO proposal?
SEO setup costs
Most SEO agencies have an SEO setup cost, which includes:
- Detailed website SEO audit
- Keyword research
- Meta titles & descriptions
- Google Analytics account and reports setup
- Google Search Console set up
Some companies try to hide their setup fee because they will only do simple onsite SEO and cannot clearly say what work they can do. Make sure you always ask what the SEO specialist is planning to do in the setup stage.
SEO monthly costs
Your monthly SEO costs usually encompass “X” number of keywords, onsite and offsite SEO, and 24/7 access to your SEO results and reports.
If you want to update your website content regularly and keep it fresh (which affect SEO ranking), your SEO proposal will also include the costs for monthly blogs.
Content writing costs
When Bill Gates wrote “Content is king” back in 1996, he probably didn’t think how much it would still influence today’s world of online marketing. Yet the reality is, content still matters. Not just to the users, but also to Google. Digital marketing SEO agencies have content writers and copywriters who can write SEO-friendly content that integrates keywords naturally and is relevant and engaging to your target audience and Google.
The charges for content writing is often separate from the initial setup fee, so you can decide which pages you want to be written by the professionals and which ones you can write yourself. For example, you know your company and the team better than anyone, so it makes sense to write the “About Us” page yourself. And leave the SEO-focused home page and product/service pages’ content to the specialists.
Average NZ SEO Costs
|Agency SEO||$700 – $2000/month||The price will depend on how much time is needed monthly to improve your website’s organic traffic, the industry and the type of website you have. SEO agencies usually have different specialists for different projects or have extensive experience working in various industries. An SEO agency will collaborate with you to put together a plan that shows what task needs to be done and how everything will align with your business goals.|
|Consultant SEO||$100+/hour||An SEO consultant usually charges by the hour or by the project. Their prices vary greatly depending on their expertise. It’s vital that you check if the consultant has worked in a similar industry before. You can hire an SEO consultant for an hour once a month if you already have a marketing team but need some SEO guidance.|
|Cheap SEO||$50 – $200/month||Cheap SEO providers are usually less experienced and risk their client’s reputation on Google with black hat SEO tactics to get their promised results. You might want to consider doing SEO yourself and save money.|
How to choose an SEO provider?
Now you understand what’s included in your SEO pricing, so which SEO options should you choose?
- Hire an SEO agency
- Hire an SEO consultant
- Do SEO yourself
If you have a small budget, choose option 3 and don’t opt for a cheap black hat SEO provider. You can still grow your business slowly if you do SEO yourself. But if you use a cheap black hat SEO provider, they can put your business in jeopardy. You might receive a Google penalty that takes months to fix or have your website completely removed.
If you want to hire an SEO consultant or agency, you’ll need to make sure they have real SEO results and experience. Ask for case studies of previous work they’ve done for clients in the same industry as you. The best case study an SEO professional can provide is their own.
See where the SEO professional ranks on the search results for competitive keywords. If they can appear on the first page, the chances are they can do it for you too. Try searching “Auckland website design” to see where KWD ranks on the SERP.
Show the SEO professionals that you’ve done your homework by asking for Google Search Console screenshots. Google Search Console is a tool that shows organic traffic from Google and Google My Business.
And if they say they can’t show you because of company policy and client confidentiality, you’ll know something isn’t quite right.
Because although we can’t show client accounts (in case competitors copy the high performing keywords), we can show you the organic traffic growth over the months we manage their SEO campaign compared to last year.
Summary – SEO Costs
Most business owners and managers underestimate the amount of money and time they have to invest in SEO to rank well on search engines. They’re often surprised by the quote an SEO agency gives and instead accept the cheap quote from a black hat SEO agency that promises immediate results.
However, you must remember that SEO is a long term strategy that will see success after 6-12 months.
Therefore, the SEO cost you pay goes into the hard work, expertise and time that your SEO professional took to achieve that result.
If you’re looking to work with an agency that achieves real results, are happy to prove it, and have the industry experience to share with you, get in touch with KWD today.