At Altitude Agency, my primary role is to first make sure my team is delivering a great product and secondly, making sure the agency is continuing to thrive through the development of new partnerships with businesses around the globe who can benefit from a strong online presence.
One of the things that chaps my ass the most is when business owners don’t appreciate, or respect the talent we have and try to negotiate our rates. They are what they are, and if you don’t like them, work with someone else. I pride myself on hiring only the best talent and I am not going to devalue my team, nor their experience by bringing on hundred dollars campaigns when in fact they should be well into the thousands.
First, the price you pay for SEO is relative to your current financial situation – I get that, but for the sake of argument, cheap SEO can be defined as budgets less than $1K/mo. If you’re a small business who thinks that’s a significant investment, SEO probably isn’t right for you — here’s why.
Like most industries, SEO is filled with imposters, scammers, spammers – you name it and every now and then, you’ll find one who actually has the experience necessary to drive fantastic results.
Let’s talk about Altitude Agency first. We have a minimum of $2K in spend per month. Every now and then we’ll go below our minimum. To understand this, let’s break down our cost etc.
Reporting & Analysis Software: $200-$300/mo per client
At Altitude Agency we use a variety of software to constantly analyze and optimize a clients website. This software isn’t cheap, and managing and analyzing the software cost much more in manpower and time.
Client Services: $330 – $750/mo per client
A client service representative will spend anywhere between 2 to 5+ hours per month consulting with a client. This can be discussing metrics, going through reporting, taking random phone calls, responding to request etc.
Before we even get to actually implementing SEO we’re already at around $800/mo in cost just to properly run an account.
Next, a legitimate SEO who knows technical SEO, on-page SEO, link analysis & development it will easy run you $165 – $250/hour+. So at a $2,000/mo budget you’ve got 4.8 to 7 hours or so max available to your campaign.
When starting up, Altitude took on small clients – around $350 – $600/mo. Many startups do this when they first open the doors, money is money and most like us prob did $3500/mo worth of work for $400/mo. When an agency grows, this changes. In order to survive an agency must hire better talent (cost more), better tools (to stay competitive) and better strategy to keep up with the times.
Finally, sure there are SEOs who will go cheap. In fact, they may solicit you and say ‘hey you’re paying to much, your SEO missed this, this and this – give me a shot,’ etc. But remember, if an SEO has to solicit you they probably are not very good at what they do. Keep in mind, if an SEO can’t rank themselves for something competitive, they probably can’t rank you either.
How do you know if an SEO is worth their salt?
Google their city + SEO. For an example; if they are in Denver like Altitude Agency is, Google Denver SEO. If they rank on the 1st page, they’re probably alright. If not, don’t waste your time.
Final thoughts – if you’re buying cheap SEO you’re probably investing in someone with little to no experience. They jumped in the industry because it was cool and a way to generate residual income. Don’t get caught in that trap.
Enjoy. Just saved you thousands of dollars in wasted spend.