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Seo Costing And Billing


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#1 saschaeh

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Posted 03 February 2008 - 03:56 PM

I realize there are many different situation that may influence the costs but what is the general rate within the industry.

Just a few example of things i thought might influence SEO costs:

If it is a new site how much extra do you charge to develop the site with SEO?
/OR/
Redoing an existing site
/OR/
Is there a matrices you use for high and low competitive terms
/OR/
Geographical SEO targeting price differences.


How do you guys quantify your SEO services?

Edited by Respree, 11 February 2008 - 12:33 AM.


#2 A.N.Onym

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 12:04 AM

I'd say there are a number of factors, such as
- your skills, knowledge and experience
- the price below which you can't afford to do business
- the profit you can potentially bring to the customer in short and long terms
- the difficulty of the project
- skills, knowledge, experience and pricing of the competition

As you might have guessed, that's called "the market for SEO services" and that's what dictates the pricing.

Now, you ask about quantifying. Then add your time to the list and think again. Time, difficulty and reward for either parties is what matters, when quantifying, imho.

Each case is individual, so you can't really expect to have a single answer here. As always, "it depends".

There's another "SEO services pricing" thread that you might want to check out.

#3 saschaeh

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 02:20 AM

you know i had a search around but didnt find anything. Thanks

Side Note:

If i search;

'Selling SEO' i got loads of results
(http://www.cre8asite...ite=Selling SEO)

but when i search 'SEO Selling' i got 1 result. This is what i searched.
(http://www.cre8asite...ite=SEO Selling)



So the search is word order sensitive. Ill keep it in mind next time i search the forum.

Edited by saschaeh, 05 February 2008 - 02:22 AM.


#4 A.N.Onym

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 01:17 PM

I gave up on internal search from the beginning. site:cre8asiteforums.com selling seo services works fine.

Btw, did I answer your question?

If you do want to quantify SEO, track net profit (ROI). That's the best metric ever. Secondary metrics could be conversions, such as downloads, sign ups, sales, etc.

#5 Black_Knight

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 03:11 PM

what is the general rate within the industry.


A myth.

Also, $19 (inside joke, ask Rand Fishkin to explain, or search for "$19 SEO")

Just a few example of things i thought might influence SEO costs:

If it is a new site how much extra do you charge to develop the site with SEO?
/OR/
Redoing an existing site
/OR/
Is there a matrices you use for high and low competitive terms
/OR/
Geographical SEO targeting price differences.
How do you guys quantify your SEO services?

The most important, and the most obvious, is missing from your list.

What is the end value to the buyer?

Price for services isn't spelled out like with manufactured goods, based on materials, costs, and a reasonable profit margin. Instead it is all about supply and demand. An SEO with no demand for his specific services can charge whatever he likes and still have no demand. Meanwhile another SEO in heavy demand will be forced to increase prices just to reduce demand, or at least to compensate for the fact that each job he takes is three others he turned down.

Here are some real pricing factors for a service such as SEO:

Proven experience
High Reputation
Supplies the specific demand (i.e. can perform hands-on for a firm that has no web skills in house, or can provide consultancy where hands-on is impractical or impossible)
Instills confidence
Provides checkable and meaningful references
Gurantees end-value in some manner.

#6 Respree

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 03:16 PM

Always good to see you back in action, Ammon. :huh:

#7 saschaeh

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 10:09 AM

If you do want to quantify SEO, track net profit (ROI). That's the best metric ever. Secondary metrics could be conversions, such as downloads, sign ups, sales, etc.


how do you work this out? Do you work on a profit per conversion? How sure are you that you will increase traffic with SEO - Difficult for me to say because I lack experience however i do want to get stuck in.

I would think you guys do a fair amount of research before you quote. What are the conversion ratios for the site. What are the profit margins? How competitive are the keywords.

What is your process to arriving at a price? Client comes to you and wants organic SE marketing. Where do you start? Where do you stop? How do you break down the costing?

PS: Do you ever go in on a profit share type structure. That is, you work out their average profits and any additional profit you bring in from SEO you get a profit share from.

#8 Black_Knight

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 04:20 PM

how do you work this out? Do you work on a profit per conversion? How sure are you that you will increase traffic with SEO - Difficult for me to say because I lack experience however i do want to get stuck in.

It starts by asking the client. What is his current cost per customer aquisition? What's the average customer lifetime value? What's his CPA from print or whatever traditional marketing he's been doing before?

Or if it is direct sales, what is the current monthly turnover? What is an average sale worth? How much is he spending on marketing in total to make each sale? These are all fundamental business questions that are absolutely essential if you're doing this as a real business proposal, not some throwaway wacky stunt.

The business that isn't already expecting you to ask these questions isn't even considering throwing any real marketing budget into this. Its a mere throwaway. Because marketing managers live and breathe these figures, and expect everyone working in their field, marketing, to be doing the same.

Look, Saschaeh, we're in different positions, in that I've been doing this as a business, for business, for 12 years. Here's a few things that are absolute eye openers you pick up over the first few years.

1. It is not about increasing traffic. Its all about increasing profit. Its about the Business spending X amount on SEO and as a result making X times Y profit increase. As long as Y is greater than 1, which means as long as the extra profit they make as a result of hiring you is greater than the cost of hiring you, its a business decision. If there is any doubt that the increase in profit will be less than the cost of hiring you, then it isn't going to happen.

So in those most initial of all phases of examining what you can do for the business, and whether you want to take them as a client, look most deeply at how you can guarantee to make them more than you are asking them for. That's where it starts and ends. If you can't stake your future reputation and work on making them a profit, then turn down the deal.

Now, increasing profit can be done on a sale by sale basis. If that company you are pitching to currently spends an average of 30 in marketing to attain each sale, then offering them a way to drop that to even 20 per sale is a whopping increase in profits each month. Are they attracting the wrong customers? Are their keywords either too generic or at the wrong phase of the selling process to drive good conversions? Is the site itself doing a good conversion rate? Where are the bottlenecks and stumbling blocks? What can you change to guarantee to make a difference?

And fundamentally, what is their USP? Examine whatever they think it is carefully, because mst companies don't know their own USP, and what they think is their USP isn't unique, nor a selling point. Is their brand actually strong? How could it be strengthened? Are their prices great value? What could be done to make the same price seem like better value for money?

It isn't about making a page have 5 uses of a keyword. That was the amatuer crap. This is the new millennium, and this is business SEO. This is SEO working for the marketing director, and you'd better be ready to talk on his level.

I would think you guys do a fair amount of research before you quote. What are the conversion ratios for the site. What are the profit margins? How competitive are the keywords.


Yes. I usually have a face-to-face consultancy with the client right at the start. And no sitting there with some junior webdev who hasn't the authority to say anything about branding or budgets. My client needs to take this seriously. If they don't, then they aren't taking me seriously, and aren't taking SEO seriously. Don't kid yourself that you'll be able to win them over later. If they aren't paying attention right at the start, they never, ever will.

Tell them right up front that you need to discuss this with the marketing decision-maker. The guy who can talk brands and budgets. Otherwse they'll sit you with a webdev who is told to take down paint-by-numbers rules like "How many keywords in a title tag" and "How can I be #1 in Google for the word 'shopping', the step by step process?"

#9 projectphp

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 07:31 PM

Taking a step back: nothing happens if you can't make a sale.

If you do this yourself, the key is to be able to have something you believe in that you, and you uniquely, can sell. So start by asking what you can do, or what you can acheive, and what you want to do, and create a package around that.

Once you have that, the price is dependant upon many factors, first and most important of which is how much the client can spend, and whether that is a price you are willing to accept for the work involved. For example, a $1,000 client may work for an individual contractor, but not a company. Visa versa, $30,000 may sound great for a small operator, but may be impossible to deliver to the level they demand.

Do you work on a profit per conversion?

Personally, rarely if ever, and only if there is control BEYOND just SEO advice, i.e. all the (at least online) marketing is soemthing I can do, not just p[ontificate about. SEO is far too long winded for pricing based upon performance to work otherwise.

How sure are you that you will increase traffic with SEO - Difficult for me to say because I lack experience however i do want to get stuck in.

You never can, really, and that is what makes pure performance pricing so tough, especially, as I said, when you don't have enough control. That is not to say metrics aren't important, it is just that they aren't something you can really know, and certainly not guarantee, upfront.

What is your process to arriving at a price? Client comes to you and wants organic SE marketing. Where do you start? Where do you stop?

Honestly: what you think you can get away with -10%. That is the start, then you decide if that is enough (see above :( )

How do you break down the costing?

I usually charge for set reports that I write, at a rate that varies upon business size (reviewing a 500 page, one CMS site is different to a 50,000 page, multiple CMS site), and then an hourly rate for additional hours. That takes a lot of the guesswork out of charging on my end, and provides some set deliverables, as well as more generic help.

And remember: you never just do work. You have to factor in meetings, phone conferences, phone calls, reports on XYZ etc etc.

I find that having some set deliverable that you create, an SEO audit with varing details, provides a nice starting point, and from there most of what is done is negotiable around an hourly rate.

YMMV, but that is what I (usually) do.

#10 saschaeh

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 01:49 PM

Great responses - thanks!

Now this is potentially a really big question: What is included in those reports and how do you attain that information?

#11 Black_Knight

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 02:25 PM

Now this is potentially a really big question: What is included in those reports and how do you attain that information?

That is indeed a potentially big question.

More importantly though, it is the wrong question.

What's in Mike's reports, and how he gains that information is the same fundamental that you should be able to predict from asking the right question.

The right question is "What data can Saschaeh gather, and process into valuable information to sell?"

What's in Mike's reports, or my reports, or Kim's reports, or anybody's reports on any topic is all fundamentally the same thing in different flavours. It is valuable information and insight that has a high enough demand, and a low enough supply that we can make a living from providing it.

Saschaeh, this is when you have to take a look at yourself and decide what your USP is. This is where you apply a marketing plan, and this is where you go right to the fundamental 4 Ps of marketing.
Product (what can you provide that will have the highest value to the market?)
Place (in Internet, this is often as much about a place in the market, a niche, a place in minds)
Price (higher prices often mean a smaller market, lower prices suggest lower quality)
Promotion (how are you going to promote your offering?)

The balance of these things is the fundamentals of marketing. Its about stopping the old system of trying to sell whatever you make, and instead looking at what you could make that would most easily and profitably sell.

#12 saschaeh

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 04:05 PM

Those reports are very high level. You are creating a high level marketing plan which then filters right down to SEO tactical applications. That is some major work and quite a solid skill set. Some serious invoices we'd be sending out for this as you are acting as marketing guru and SEO expert.

I know you mentioned that the reports would be tailored almost by each SEO professional but getting down to some grass root practicalities. What SEO reports do you compile and how do you go about it? So lets say we have done the 4 P's and we know what the 'unique selling proposition' is how do you take that information and convert it into SEO reports for clients (and even internal data) that helps shape your SEO implementation.

#13 IrishWonder

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 06:08 PM

Taking a step back: nothing happens if you can't make a sale.


I agree completely. If I don't have full control over conversions, I will never even consider charging based on ROI. Once I spent 2 months trying to get a client to implement soem pretty simple changes on a site - and that was even good enough, in other cases they won't change their site no matter what. One more thing you should never ever do is promice certain positions - positions in the SERPs do not matter, 90% of the traffic can come from elsewhere, a site with #2 position can get less traffic than a site in #3 position just because of a shitty title, and after all you're not the search engine nor do you control search engines algos.

#14 projectphp

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 07:36 PM

Two months? LOL - My record is eighteen months and 36 meetings/phoen conferences to get a few simple words changed in a few titles. Admittedly, that was a long time before SEO was considered a "must do".

What SEO reports do you compile and how do you go about it?

OK sure, why don't I just give you my business for the grand sum of $0 ;)

Seriosuly, whilst I am comfortable talking about this in the general, getting specific is a bit to much to hand over for nothing, I think we can all agree.

You need to do some of the work here yourself, but I'll give you some pointers. Answer these questions, and you should have a better idea. I'll satrt wiht Ammon's question again, because it is absolute gold, but try to make it even more specific:

The right question is "What data can Saschaeh as a unique human being with specific talents and resources gather, and process into valuable information to sell?"


Some questions that follow that are:
What is SEO and how do you explain that to all the stakeholders in a business?
What is entailed in "SEOing" a site?
What recommendations are you likely to make, and what categories do these recommendations exist in?
Who are various recommendations aimed at (specific people, like CEOs, web developers etc)?
What things will be in every report, and what things will be there only as needs be?
What is the relative value of a recommendation, e.g. robots.txt versus link building: what is more important and how do you explain that to a client?
What is the format of your report (this search has many reports - maybe one of those has headings you are comfortable with). Do you have executive summary? Conclusion? Do you have an overview of SEO? Table of contents? Seem like trivial questions I know, but are likely vital in the ultimate execution of what you do.
What tools will you use? I hate tools, but some make reports easier (and quicker) to write.
How will you structure the report, e.g. what is the "flow"? Do you start with specifics? Do you have a nice handy explanation that you can use of SEO to kick off the report?
Will you present the report, or will it just be handed over?
Do you do the work yourself, or do you just advise and the client does the actual work?

Again, I am not comfortable handing over my whole business structure on a forum, to be indexed forever and a day (and with good reason, I think we can all agree), but I am happy to run through some of this stuff.

As a sideline, I know how you feel! I started a web design firm when I was striaght out of Uni, and had no idea how to start. If being an SEO is important to you, my advice would be to work for a firm, at least for a while. I worked for an SEM firm and, although what I do now is very different, it has evolved from the basic (and I do mean very basic) way the firm I worked for operated. Reports have a structure that many buisness people expect, at the very least in a vague outliney sense. The only way to learn that is to work for someone, unless you can come up with a plan on your own, which is surprisingly difficult in my experience.

#15 saschaeh

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 05:26 PM

This is one of those benchmark threads for me. Thanks all. Projectphp - I followed that link and have been reading SEO related reports for the last two hours. I have a list of about 100 questions which i hope to whittle down to just a few before i start posting again :lol:

All the best,
Sascha

#16 Black_Knight

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 01:19 PM

So lets say we have done the 4 P's and we know what the 'unique selling proposition' is how do you take that information and convert it into SEO reports for clients (and even internal data) that helps shape your SEO implementation.

Sorry, Sascha, we seem to have some miscommunication here. I'm not saying you should produce a report on the 4Ps for a client. I'm saying this is where you are now.

You need to establish the USP and the 4Ps of Sascha's business.

You're asking us to design your product for you. But we don't know what you can make.

The 4Ps and a marketing plan are for you to determine. If you just copy what someone else does, you'll sell nothing at all because everyone can already buy that. The point is to find a Unique offering. Something Sascha does that is somehow uniquely you, and that has an end value to customers.

What goes into you reports is whatever you can make into a report, that provides the highest perceived value to potential customers, and thus will sell easily.

To quote Henry Ford "The man who focuses on how much he can provide for a dollar, rather than how little, is bound to succeed".

How much can you do for a price that most of your target market can afford easily? And remember, the 'how much' is always measured by the customer, and is not about volume, but about value. If you are stuggling with this part, I would seriously advise you to find a job with an existing company and learn the business side of this field. It is far more important than the technical specifics of what goes into a report.

#17 saschaeh

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 02:48 AM

Thanks for the reply. Iv done much reading since this post have found couple different reports which have been interesting.

http://builtwith.com/report.aspx found this through the alexa.com. Anyone purchase the full reports? Any good? Or there any other places you would recommend for a similar service.

better example: http://builtwith.com/?alexa.com

Edited by saschaeh, 15 February 2008 - 03:00 AM.


#18 seo_india

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 05:00 AM

SEO is difficult to quantify, however we use following parameters to decide cost of any project

a) No. of keywords
B) No. of search engines
c) Competitive level of keywords ( This is something which you can only gain through experience).

These are the basic elements in deciding cost of any project :cheers:

#19 projectphp

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 05:53 PM

I would never use those, and in fact, they are geared towards a specific sort of service that I doubt I would be involved in.

I can't imagine the advice I give varying much if there was one SE or 500, and really, there are only 3.5 (Ask hardly counts IMHO).



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