How much should SEO services cost in South Africa?
“It depends” is a famous phrase when it comes to SEO, how it works and how much it costs. This is because Google takes into account over 200 factors to determine which sites should rank at the top of their searches.
We will try to breakdown some cost estimates for different styles of SEO, how to think about and budget for your businesses SEO costs and what not to do when looking for SEO services.
How are SEO services charged?
SEO services are usually charged monthly, by the hour or are project based.
How much should monthly SEO services cost?
We believe we are able to provide the best SEO services to our clients by providing them with monthly packages. This is due to the nature of SEO and how Google is constantly changing its algorithms and ranking factors as well as the work that goes into ranking a website.
SEO takes between 6 – 9 months ( sometimes longer ) of work to achieve the goals that have been set, such as ranking in the top 3 for a keyword search. SEO is a long term process and investment, so long term partnerships are the best way the get meaningful results.
Set and Forget
With monthly SEO services an SEO company will take care of all your SEO requirements and concerns for you so you can focus on delivering fantastic products and services to your clients.
Long Term Partnerships
Monthly packages promote a longer term relationship with your SEO service provider. They are incentivised to put long term best practices in place to ensure that your business and website benefit and grows over time rather than trying to put short term fixes in place that back fire later.
With monthly SEO packages your SEO company becomes invested in your company’s success as they watch you grow and succeed.
With monthly packages you can budget for your SEO costs without any unforeseen or unpredicted costs.
Long Term Commitment
Monthly SEO services require a long term commitment in order to see the desired results. Change and improvements can be seen almost immediately but final goals can take up to 9 months to achieve.
You need to have the budget and resources to maintain this long term monthly cost.
Doesn’t all SEO take time?
Yes all SEO takes time to show results which is why we often explain that short term SEO fixes or goals are usually a waste of money and can sometimes cause more harm than good.
Can I trust my SEO Agency?
Some companies worry that they will not be able to know if they have chosen a good SEO agency for 6 months when they see if the goals have been achieved. This isn’t the case as you should start to see improvements within the 1 month. This is why it is always important to select a reputable SEO company.
Small, Medium & Large Companies
This option is only possible if you are able to afford a monthly SEO package. The smallest advisable monthly packages start from about R7000 pm. So not all businesses have the budget for this.
Read our section on whether SEO is right for your company.
Complete SEO Outsourcing
On a monthly package your SEO company will take full control and responsibility for your SEO and reporting. This means you can concentrate on the more important task of running your business.
How much do project based SEO services cost?
Project based SEO services are best suited for large companies who are engaging in a serious SEO overall of a large website or online project as well as smaller businesses that need a short term intensive SEO project handled over a fixed period, such as a new website launch.
The costs of an SEO project can vary widely depending on the scope and detail of the tasks.
Lump Sum Predictable Cost
No need to worry about the hourly cost of your SEO project breaking the budget. Usually the cost will be agreed upon before the project is started and an up front payment made of 50%. The rest is usually paid on completion or in tranches. This makes the costs of your project very predictable.
Clear Goals and Scope
When deciding on and defining the project all tasks and outcomes will be considered in the costing and preparation of the SEO project.
You Might Get Over Charged
If you do not have much experience regarding SEO costs you may get over charged for really simple SEO work. It is important to do your research when selecting an SEO provider for your project.
Lack of Flexibility
Once the project is decided upon and scoped out it can be difficult to add or change items or tasks. Some companies allow for a pay for change model, where to add new tasks or outcomes you must either lose an existing task or be willing to increase the project cost.
Large Companies or Once Off Projects
SEO Projects are best for websites with very specific needs. Such as a large company who is performing a lot of changes on a large existing website or a smaller company building and launching a new website who want to make sure it is fully SEO optimised.
How much do per hour SEO services cost?
At first per hour SEO services might seem like the best option, but we only advise you to use this method if your budget is very small and it is your only option.
With an hourly SEO rate you know what you are paying for and you can accurately estimate your SEO bill. But there is a catch.
By paying for hourly SEO you are removing the results orientated nature of SEO. You are motivating your service provider to punch the clock rather than deliver great rankings and website traffic.
Because of this SEO can take longer than expected.
Paying by the hour can also be expensive if you hire a respectable SEO company. You can expect to pay between R 700 – R 2 000 per hour depending on what work you are wanting to get done. Our advise is to always avoid cheap SEO options as they will usually leave you worse of than before you started.
The time worked will be logged so it will be easy to track where the time you are paying for is being devoted to.
Knowing your set hourly rate will allow your business to budget and control for how much you are spending on SEO.
SEO is intensive – sites need to be monitored and optimised, links need to be built and relationships managed. If you only allocated a certain number of hours to be spent on your companies SEO each month results may take a long time to be seen.
Time not Results
On a per hour basis your SEO expert or company is motivated to spend hours working on your SEO rather than delivering results. This might mean you pay for the hours you asked for but the results never materialise.
1 + 1 doesn’t = 2
SEO is not a simple task, there is no checklist you can move through and if you do all the items then your company will be at no 1 in Google. SEO is dynamic – sometimes extensive work is needed to see results, link building is a complicated and complex task that takes time and relationship management to be affective, spending one hour to get one link doesn’t always add up.
If you do most of the work on your website and your budget is tight then per hour SEO work is an option. A great option here is to hire an SEO consultant who can advise you on everything that needs to happen and can assess your site and the changes you are making.
If your budget is very small but you would like to know all of your On-site SEO boxes have been ticked then this is a good option. However just fixing your websites on-site SEO doesn’t mean you will start ranking well in Google.