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What is the average pricing for SEO and SEM services?

In our days there is a great variety of optimization services that can meet the needs of all online businesses. Sometimes, webmasters find it painstaking to select an appropriate SEO or SEM tool. That is why we decided to create this article to help to start online marketers to make their choice. 

Before we proceed to SEO and SEM pricing, I would like to show you the difference between search engine optimization and search engine marketing. 

Both SEO and SEM serve to increase website visibility in search engines. Search engine optimization is about optimizing a website to get a better position on search results page for a particular keyword or set of keywords. Search engine marketing goes beyond SEO and involves other optimization methods that can get you more search engine visitors like PPC advertising. 

With the help of search engine optimization, marketers optimize their web sources to get organic and targeted traffic from search engines. SEO makes customers closer to the inventory, services, or information placed on your web source. It is an organic method of rankings improvements that encompasses such optimization aspects as keyword research, content writing, internal and external link building, meta tags optimization, website design and HTML code optimization, and many others. All these optimization strategies help to make a website well indexed by search engine crawlers. However, the purpose of search engine optimization is to make your site not only search engine friendly but also user-friendly. 

Search engine marketing is only a subset of the overall Internet marketing strategy. It works in complex with social media marketing, mobile marketing, and SEO. 

Search engine marketing is the marketing process with the goal of getting more visibility in search engines either by getting more free traffic or paid traffic (pay per click advertising). Using paid search advertising, you simply buy advertising space in the search engine results. In other words, you pay to appear in front of your searches. Those marketers who lead their business on Google use Adwords for the purpose to make their brand well-known among users. According to it, you pay only for the clicks on your ads. Other search engines like Yahoo or Bing use similar advertising systems. 

The most significant benefit of SEM is that you attract only targeted traffic to your site. Moreover, the users who click on ads in most cases turn into customers. The relevance of the displayed web sources and ads makes SEM traffic more valuable than any of the other sources. 

SEO and SEM pricing

SEM pricing models

  • Percentage of spend

This pricing model is quite common among optimization service providers. It is suitable for large consumer-focused companies that are ready to invest in their brand awareness improvement. However, this pricing model can also have an opposite side when a company spends millions of dollars on paid search, charging up to 7% on spending may take a significant amount of revenue. 

Percentage of spend pricing model provides a high return on investment. That is why it is expected that the level of revenue should easily cover the hours needed to manage an advertising campaign. 

  • Flat fee model

It is a typical SEM pricing model that guarantees to cover the hour you need to manage your marketing campaign properly. The essence of the flat fee model is that you need to figure out the exact amount of time you need to launch your account. The total hours can be then multiplied by your hourly billing rate, equating to your fee. 

  • Pay as you go

This payment model is used by marketing agencies who prefer to being transparent with their clients. It helps to charge customers on an as-needed basis. “Pay as you go” model is common among small marketing agencies and freelancers. It works best with the trusting clients that want to pay for the work you bill. 

  • Percentage of spend plus additional fee

This payment model is similar to “percentage of spend.” It is implemented for the smaller budgeted clients. Marketers just put a minimum fee in place to get a guaranteed monthly revenue. This pricing model should be used when you work with the clients who have fluctuation budget.

  •  Pay for performance

It is the fairest pricing model when a client pays only for a visible positive result. In this case, an agency is risking to lose its profit while a client has no risks at all. Any fees associated with the work are paid based on performance. In this case, agencies can operate on a revenue sharing model. 

SEO pricing models

  • Monthly retainer

According to this pricing model, a client should pay a fixed fee each month. For this money, he gets an agreed-upon array of services. This payment model provides the highest return on investment. The cost of monthly retainer services starts at $750 and can reach up to $5,000 per month depending on the amount of provided services and the level of optimization team’s proficiency. On the lower end of this spectrum are small optimization agencies that offer a limited range of optimization services. 

  • Contract services

Contract optimization services have a fixed price. That is why they are popular among optimization agencies. Before purchasing a monthly retainer services, clients choose contract services that they want to have completed. A good example of contract services is comprehensive website audit and a keyword research campaign.

Typical contract services include things like SEO copywriting ($0.15-$0.50/word), site content audit ($500-$7,500), link profile audit ($500-$7,500), and social media site setup ($500-$3,000).

  • Project-based pricing

This pricing model is similar to contract services. The only one exception is that when you select project-based pricing, you pay for custom projects explicitly created for a client. The pricing on such services depends on the project complexity. However, the most common projects cost from $1,000 up to $5,000.

  • Hourly consulting

According to this pricing model you pay a standard fee for the hourly consulting services. The rate on consulting services starts with $100 per hour. If you cooperate with a well-known custom optimization company, you will pay up to $300 per hour.

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