Search Engine Optimization Billing

January 7, 2012

I saw a graphic which purports to answer the question, “How Much Does SEO Cost?” The guts of the write up is more along the lines of how a client pays for the allegedly high-value, must-have ministrations of SEO experts. Here’s an example:

cost-per-project is the most common pricing model and is offered by 70% of the agencies and consultancies surveyed. A monthly retainer was the second most common cost model offered (60%), followed by hourly rates at 55%.

The big summary of data explains what services the alleged experts offer the clients who pay. The bulk of the work appears to be involved in making recommendations and suggesting key words. Okay, librarians, are you on alert. SEO experts are recommending key words. I wonder if home economics majors, those skilled in political science, and various unemployed high school teachers are trained in indexing? MBAs? Hey, MBAs are born able to manage anything. Key words are a piece of cake. Just look at the indexing of Lehman Brothers’ and BearStearns’ content.

But the big factoid in the write up is the Monthly retainer section. One learns that the fees are in what is “buy a Toyota Camry” range; that is, hundreds a month to $2,501 to $5,000 a month range. The use of blue bars without “real” numbers makes this observation suspect, but I concluded that with advisory services and some key word fiddling, a good salesperson could snag six or seven clients a month. Even at $2,000 per month, the enterprising SEO expert can move up to a baby Lexus.

Project pricing is, it appears, mostly in the $1,500 to $7,000 range. My hunch is that projects drag out over several time chunks. The hourly rate section pegs the experts in the $75 to $150 per hour range. Compared to blue chip consulting work or expert witness work, SEO experts are billing at a rate which probably keeps the lights on and maybe makes it possible to enjoy a holiday each year.

The infographic suggests that making a living as an SEO expert is possible, probably not particularly easy. Worth checking out the chart if you are in the SEO game. No information about the productization of the alleged SEO services. That would be interesting to me.

By the way, the “real cost” of SEO is the friction added to the spending of Bing and Google to deal with the craziness, spoofing, and coding horrors the SEO clan visits on the hapless residents of rural Kentucky. Google’s Matt Cutts has a job because of SEO. SEO costs a great deal of money, and when I consider how relevance has become a thing of the past, SEO has consumed more dough than it has generated for those looking for on point information.

Stephen E Arnold, January 7, 2012

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One Response to “Search Engine Optimization Billing”

  1. Search Engine Optimization Billing : Beyond Search | Marketing Payments on January 7th, 2012 3:07 am

    […] this article: Search Engine Optimization Billing : Beyond Search Be Sociable, Share! This entry was posted in Aggregated by admin. Bookmark the […]

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