SEO Costs, Monthly Fees, Contracts & Rates
Wondering how much you should be paying for your small business SEO in the Toronto area?
Every business with an online presence really should hire someone – or an SEO company – to do their business website’s SEO.
This is especially true in a places like The GTA, where most businesses compete with Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area every day.
SEO costs and how much you spend on your business website will depend on what you need, obviously, but here is a primer on what you can expect to pay for most of your SEO.
Typical SEO Pricing & SEO Company Payment Types
Basically, you pay for an agreed-upon amount of SEO each month and receive an agreed-upon amount of SEO services in return.
It is a popular method of payment because it can be a little cheaper than the payment models listed below.
It also ensures that your website is constantly being monitored and updated.
Keeping up on such things as analytics reports, content, keyword research, optimization and more is never a bad thing.
The potential issue with this arrangement is that you usually sign a contract that guarantees the SEO company x-amount of cash for a given number of months (usually 6).
You can stop using their services, sure, but you’ll be on the hook for the balance remaining on the contract.
If the company can lay-out their strategy and defend / justify the ongoing influx of your hard-earned dollars, this could be a good way to go.
I’m personally not a big fan of monthly contracts, but I also don’t have the overhead of the larger companies and I’m happy doing SEO on an as-needed basis.
A perfect example of how monthly SEO fees can go wrong.
Although not in the majority, there are examples where being on a monthly contract is just a scam.
These types of SEO companies hook you into guaranteed income for themselves, essentially, and offer little in return in terms of competence or ability.
Consider the following homepage of an online business that sells sleepwear in the Toronto area:
<title>Company Name Was Here</title> <meta name="description" content="" />
The meta title tag simply showed the company name, which is great as long as everyone actually searches for the company name.
If you’re trying to come up in Google for the products you sell, this simply won’t do.
Leaving the meta description blank means Google will choose some text from your home page and plunk it in there.
The meta description isn’t going to help your indexing much, but it’s a great spot to feature something wonderful about you and your products.
As you can see, not much was done at all and even I was a little surprised at how weak this website’s SEO was.
It took me exactly 5 seconds to find the above example and it just got worse from there.
All throughout her website, the SEO was either done horribly wrong or not at all.
On that note, you’re probably better-off if they just do nothing because some of the “SEO tricks” they used would have ended up getting the website penalized by Google in the long run.
For more than $1,000.00 per month that she was paying, this small business owner would have been better off hiring no one.
Here’s another example:
A local interior decorating business called me and asked why they had zero rankings after having been online for a while.
Even their local listing wasn’t showing up and you’d think there would be a trace of the company somewhere online, right?
The problem was, there is no distinct category for “interior decorating” in Google My Business.
It only lists “interior design”.
That was only part of the problem.
It turned out that this company had originally hired an overseas SEO company and got next to nothing out of it.
Anyone can do a lot of work to your website to justify their monthly costs, but, if the work done is useless, it’s of no value to you.
SEO Contract Services:
These are pretty much the same concept as the above model, just without the monthly commitment.
You should check them out first and then agree to have your website analyzed and have recommendations made, for example.
You would agree to a total payment amount and move forward on a per-job basis.
I would recommend this model over the monthly one as you aren’t on the hook for any extended amounts of money.
Contracts are there for a reason, and, once you sign one, you’re essentially committed to it.
Similar to Contract Services, but for specific projects that will exist for your website in particular.
You may need industry related and specific content written, for example.
In this case you would agree to a price for a certain amount of content to be created.
The name says it all.
You would agree to a certain amount of hours at a specific hourly rate in exchange for services.
Most SEO companies structure their fees into monthly contracts and retainers, but some will work hourly or quote you a price based on the task or job as well.
Payment amounts and SEO rates can vary, obviously, but there are some standard amounts that are quite common.
Also keep in mind that these can change due to the size and needs of your business:
Cheap SEO Companies? Good Ones Shouldn't Be.
We all look for deals, and we have all experienced the downside to getting one.
You really do get what you pay for in most cases and your business should not be exposed to such failures.
I mention “Affordable SEO” on this website, but only as a reference.
I charge cheaper rates than the larger SEO companies, which is a lot different than saying I do all of your SEO for “$49.95”.
Proper SEO Is A Slow Process.
Changes take time to make their way through the search engines and there is no magic potion to make this process any quicker.
Yes, you will be paying for something that you won’t immediately see, but that will be the case no matter who you have doing SEO for you.
It’s a slow process. Expect it to be.
SEO Needs Change Over Time.
SEO Is Not Secretive In Nature.
Anyone can do SEO well if given the time to learn it.
There are no “secrets” that a thousand other SEO folks aren’t already aware of and your SEO people should not be keeping secrets from you.
If they are, they are probably up to no good.
There’s nothing wrong with telling a client that you are building a social network for them, or that you are creating niche content for them to post on their websites.
The skill lies in being able to do those things well, and not in keeping them a secret.
I don’t personally divulge the process I use to find keywords or which software I might be using, for example.
These are skills I have developed over time and I don’t feel as though I’m obligated to hand them over.
What I will do is show you the actual keywords, the monthly searches that go with them and more.
What’s not reasonable is failing to explain what you are doing, why you are doing it and why you are expecting results.
Don't Do SEO Yourself.
Seriously, don’t do it.
SEO is like any other skill in that nearly anyone can do it if they have the time and desire to learn it.
That being said, and assuming you’ve spent the majority of your time learning about your business, you probably won’t know anything in-depth about how SEO works and it’s really easy to go overboard and cause problems for yourself..
My dentist doesn’t know SEO.
Neither does my mechanic.
Or my contractor.
They’re all reasonable and intelligent people.
They just have different skill-sets.
Unless your business SEO needs are basic in nature, leave it to the pros and find yourself a reputable person or team to take care of it for you.
Your Business Website Needs SEO. Absolutely.
There’s no question that your business will benefit from proper SEO.
No question at all.
The problem is finding a reputable company to help you out and teach you things along the way.
Being found online for the products you sell is the entire point of being online in the first place, isn’t it?
So, who do you know how to choose to take care of your SEO?
The short answer, albeit somewhat biased, would be “me”.
Let me take care of your website’s SEO.
Every project is different and I won’t be looking to hook you into every possible fee I can find.
For some businesses, the competition in terms of SEO is quite weak.
Because of this, you can beat them with a minimal amount of SEO and can therefore keep your SEO costs down.
My job is to find the quickest path to good organic search results for your business.
If we can do that within 10 hours, great.
I don’t treat every job as an opportunity to fund my next vacation to the Caribbean.
If you are looking to either start some SEO on your website or aren’t happy with the services you are currently receiving, please get in touch and we can talk about what can be done – and for how much – without any obligation on your part whatsoever.
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