How to Price SEO Services

Matt McGee’s post, “Small Business SEO: Costs, Expectations & Realities,” reaches the problem I found doing SEO for clients, and why I stopped doing it with my old business.  We eventually were a completely CPL lead generation business, using SEO as the approach.  Now, post-MBA Alex, is enjoying consulting for small businesses, playing the CTO role without the CEO headaches.

I have had two headaches with pricing SEO services.  One, a long time business services entrepreneur wanted to sell a pre-canned SEO system.  So a customized SEO report seemed reasonable as a solution, but I can’t do a pre-canned job on a website I can’t control.  The second is quoting a job in a quasi-competitive industry that is currently looking at an offer from a hack of a company.  I have a proposal for an integrated site upgrade, SEO and social media campaign, but I’m being told that it’s probably outside their price range.  So now I either walk from the account, or scale it down to something that may or may not work.  For extra fun, it’s an potentially unsophisticated client (from an Internet marketing perspective), so they are a risk of picking one phrase that they think that they should own, and expect results inside of 30 days.  Perhaps I can figure out a taste whetting solution within that budget.

It’s a shame the SEO world has to be so under the radar, because the ridiculous business practices result in selling inadequate services to people that may or may not need it.  On the other hand, a friend in a non-competitive space got a 10 step basic guide from me, randomly picked one to do, and is now number 1 for her chosen phrase.