Comments on an SEO Low Price Range on Rate $300-$500 a Month

Duane
Regarding Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Pricing…
What is your opinion of SEO services priced between $300 – $500 a month?
1. It’s rubbish, no expert will accept less the $500 a month!
2. It depends on the service, location and provider.
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Rick
For all those saying $300, how much do you realistically think you are going to be able to do for that price for a business that's going to make a dimes worth of difference for them? And you wondering why SEO has gotten a bad name?
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Duane ✍️
Interesting point to make Rick, so your vote is based on the fact that there’s no significant value in a $300 service. How much you can do for a client is surely based on what their needs are is it not?
Rick
I don't do my work simply to help the business, I provide provable results for my clients, but bottom-line, I do it to make a decent living which ain't gonna happen at $300.
Duane ✍️ » Rick
I hear you. Here’s the thing, $300 doesn’t have to be a living, it could be a foot in the door. Your comment about SEO getting a bad name is based on you, the methods you use, and the income you want. My question was more about pricing of services in general 😉
Rick
You do it your way, I'll do it mine and we'll see who makes more money at it.
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Duane ✍️ » Rick
thanks for the input pal 👍🏻
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Stephen
Rick I'm with you in principal. I aim to charge an hourly rate and have £100gbp an hour as my rate. I suggest a minimum time I need per month.
However, I'm also a new business. The clients I have to target only want to pay small amounts. I figure I need to slowly step up to where I need to be as I build strong case studies.
I do think though, those clients that pay pennies (we see some in the UK at £49 per month) are devaluing what we do and ruining the industry as a whole. They're also the companies whom don't pick up the phone, ignore customer requests and trash the reputation of SEO

Brandy
Is there no way that we can help a small business that doesn't have more than 300 a month?

Duane ✍️
Exactly my thoughts Brady. It’s to often we read comments about low cost pricing either being worthless or spammy. Personally I think there’s other aspects to consider, curious to see what the community feels though.
Odoh
$300 – $500 is actually full month salary in some countries. Location is a big factor.
Duane ✍️
Indeed it is Odoh.

Небылица
Depends on types of services you are providing for that price. If you just write requirements for blog posts for clients' website and place free links in comments and on forums, you can charge $300-$500 for this work.
On the other hand, if you was said push website to the first page from the third for competitive keyword, you should buy links which may cost more than $150 each or do outreach which will take a loooot of your time and that will cost more than $1000/month

Duane ✍️
So option 2 then 👍🏻

Jesse
My agency charges based off of an hourly rate and what work is involved. The monthly ranges from $3500 to $6000 all dependent on how aggressive of a campaign the client wants. I’m sure there is a place for the $500 dollar people but again, you get what you put into it.
Jill
Personally, if it is a project that I am confident that I can help them with — I will take a client for smaller price ranges – but I am 100% clear that they may not see any ROI for 12 months or more at the 300-500 mark they are getting may 4-6 hours a month of time – which I do explain to them. But I have had clients in this range get results in just a few months because their sites were so bad. I do not take these small projects often… but when I do the results are good! 🙂

Duane ✍️
Great point of view, thanks Jill
Vikram
What kind of service do you provide in that range? I mean does it include site audit, link building, content creation etc? Just wanted to get an idea. Thanks.
Jill » Vikram
It depends on the client and what we need to do to get them the quickest results. No 2 clients are ever alike — but if we have only say 5 hours a month – we typically will start with a mini-audit to see fi there are any tech issues… then start onsite optimization… we rarely have to time to do backlink outreach or content creation until month 6 or 7 at the earliest– but clients at these prices are pretty understanding… but for most we have found onsite issues take up the first 5 or 6 months. It is really no different than a $3,000 a month client… it is just that they are spreading the work out for a much longer time.
I should also add — that while I have 2 SEO employees, any clients at this right I do myself – I do not pay anyone and I do not outsource anything. There is no way you could work at these rates and outsource…
Vikram » Jill
Gotcha. Thanks for your reply.
Do you do this alone or have a team?
Jill » Vikram
LOL — I noted in my previous reply that I personally will work on the lower end clients. I do have 2 full-time SEO pro's working with me though.
Vikram » Jill
oops I posted before reading your next reply. I would like speak with your a bit more on this going forward. Is it okay to send you a add request in messenger?
Jill » Vikram
Sure — but I am jumping off in a bit – so will get back to you when I can! I try to not be on the computer too much on weekends! 🙂
Vikram » Jill
Absolutely. I wouldn’t disturb you now. I’d just check in some time next week. Enjoy your weekend and thanks again.

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Adrian
Not even outsourcing everything on cheap labour from developing countries I can do a good work for that money.

Duane ✍️
Could you not do it yourself Adrian?
Adrian
I do the strategy and make the decisions but I’m not the one optimising metas, code and writing new content as you can imagine
Duane ✍️ » Adrian
does that mean you have in-house staff or that you outsource the work?
Adrian » Duane
in house staff now but sometimes due to overwork or because we need something very specific we count with freelancers. Best thing I could have done in the last years was building a team and learn to delegate
Duane ✍️ » Adrian
cheers mate 👍🏻

Vermeer
All those people saying you can't do proper SEO on a 500/m budget are full of shit.
Either you are an elitist SEO (if so, the f*ck are you doing with these pocket change budgets?) or you are overcharging (Probably because you are outsourcing 99% of your business?) way too much.
300/500 per month is quite a nice price for a small company in non-mega competitive niches to spend a few hours a month on. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is so much more than just doing some links and on-page… Just my honest 2 cents.
Ps. If you really think you are a good SEO: Get some decent results on these brick and mortar stores with very limited budget. You know, the money you make for that client to send his kid to school.
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Tashreef
+1
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Aaron
Sure if you’re helping people with the average customer value under $500.
Jesse
Like you said a few hours… depends on so many details. Not all agencies are looking to accept smaller projects like these. Mine sure doesn’t but doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for that.
Duane ✍️
Vermeer thanks for the input bud 👍🏻
Joe
Hell to the yes, Vermeer. Great comment
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Fleming
I'd say yeah you could help them in regards to addressing all their on-site technical SEO needs, I've seen site score major gain just addressing those issues alone. But being realistic your not going to be able to create or hire someone to create great content for them at that price either. So I'd guess you have to evaluate the work to gains that you would be able to achieve. As others have said you could also charge that for advising them on certain issues if they have the staff in house to do things such as content etc.

Duane ✍️
Thanks Pal, always good to hear your opinion. When outsourcing elements of the campaign there will always be a min threshold, I get that.

Igor
This conversation shows that most SEO vendors are bad at business. You cant just make blanket statements like this in regards to pricing. Your project fees should be based on campaign complexity (amount of monthly work required to achieve results) and your hourly fee. Every project has different needs. Anything else is just bad business.

Duane ✍️
Great insight Igor, thanks.

Steven
For those who have been in this business for awhile and has economies of scale, I'd say #2 for sure.
I start at $200 for managed unique long-tail service all the way to $10,000+ per month. Keep in mind that $200 is a great way to get your foot in the door and upsell. I am selling and upselling like hotcakes now.
The secret sauce is being able to productize and systematize your services.
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Duane ✍️
Thanks Steven, always good to get your thoughts on these types of topics.
Andrew
I find it sketchy to sell one thing and then upsell right away – what is your process for up selling? Do you show results first and then upsell? And certainly some industries/locations have to be exempt from $200 starts, right?
Steven » Andrew
I do not pressure and never attempt to upsell right away. I am never sneaky like that. I show results. Because of my plug-in I've developed, I typically get several hundred long-tails ranked on the first page within 1 hour. Hard to beat that experience.
This is not for all niches and industries.
I do Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on both reseller and retail level. I love to work with any type of industries dealing with a large number of keyword matrix. i.e. furniture, health care + location, ecomm + location, service + location, procedure + location. etc…
Keep in mind that I've worked with big brands and used to charge a lot but I've realized the business model wasn't scalable as reconfiguring S.O.P. each time wasn't worth it. I refuse to become a slave to my work as I only have one life to live.
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Duane ✍️ » Steven
is your plugin top secret? 😎
Steven » Duane
It is not being sold to the public and it will never be. I only work with my circle of partner agencies as its a managed plug-in service. Even this small pool is keeping me busy.

Javer
Those low cost services are great because they attract the junk clients and reduce the amount of tire kickers which us premium agencies have to deal with

Duane ✍️
Thanks Zamir. What is it about your Elite Agency that would be attracting business owners who can not afford more then $500 a month for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Javer
my point was if there were no vendors offering low cost services then the low budget clients would be coming to the higher cost services trying to grind or ask for low cost options … this creates a whole layer of filtering and qualifying which is time consuming and creates added cost. I should rephrase… the low cost buyers are not 'junk' literally they are just sometimes headaches and require a different setup to manage… they tend to churn at a higher rate and so you also need to have a more volume approach to sales… in our experience.
Duane ✍️ » Javer
lol awesome insight Zamir, thanks mate 😉

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Lopata
By our math we figured we need at least 20-30 hours a month to make a noticeable difference. We did the math on 30 hours and at $1000 a month after costs we were making about 13 bucks an hour. It’s just not sustainable. Your only choices at that point are to under deliver or over deliver and either way you’re setting yourself up for a bad ending.

Duane ✍️
Thanks for the input Noah, always great to break it down like this.
Lopata » Duane
no problem. You are also dealing with a different client at the 1000 and below mark. Money is tight for them and the monthly fee means more to their long term survival. This creates more pressure on the client and agency and can lead to the client bailing early and not giving the process enough time to work. We had a LOT of clients bail at the 6 month mark which is when everything starts to cook well and results start increasing. It’s really too bad for everyone involved.
Our higher budget clients tend to have more cash flow so it’s easier for them to have patience and let us do our job.
Duane ✍️ » Lopata
100% agreed, I’ve seen this a fair deal. SEO should be scalable though and that would mean a entry point campaign of x could lead to a campaign of y at a later stage, thoughts?
Lopata » Duane
at that point you are effectively building their business for them. This commands a much higher fee than Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
The client also gets used to you delivering results for $XXX, after all this is what got them where they are. Imagine going to the store and seeing that milk has doubled in cost. They say it’s better milk but because you aren’t a farmer you don’t really know. It’s seems like a safer bet to stay where you are because the milk you drink is great, outstanding in fact because it had been trying to impress you in hopes of upping you to the better milk.
In our experience it is tough to get them to raise their package even though the ROI is right in front of their face. I’ve actually had clients that we helped build their business for years and never wanted to raise their package level. These are the same people that spend 2x our monthly fee “trying new things” that rarely work.
Duane ✍️ » Lopata
lol shiny object syndrome 😂
Lopata » Duane
lol yup

Aston
My entry fee is £500 per month. I started in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in 1998 and then it was easy. Meta tags worked, competition was small and within 24 hours you saw results. Now it’s difficult and very time consuming. My focus now is managing expectations. For some industries my initial fee is a lot higher ( ie Hotels). I used to do free website audits but now charge for these as what was happening was my reports were used as leverage with other agencies!

Duane ✍️
Thanks for sharing Phil, I’ve had a similar experience with the audits, can certainly work against you sometimes.
Aston » Duane
the thing is there are a lot of apps/ software than will run lots of charts showing errors etc. However, no client will read these. So you need to put in the time to interpret the data, look at the competitors and get a feel for where the client is trying to go. This can take several hours or a whole day for a complex project. I also now do not give too much away in proposals as these have also been forwarded to other SEO agencies.

Kumar
many factors to consider, i usually do it in fragmentation of services to sooth the clients requirements in better fit way. Like overall Search Engine Optimization (SEO), just on page SEO, only off page SEO or only blogging. For overall SEO of a site with traffic of 1000 pages views per week or above deserves a bid of USD1000 as standard. Usually I propose them rates in this manner, it helps in better, transparent and friendly negotiations!

Duane ✍️
Thanks for the input Phool 👍🏻

Rupp
300-500 a month for SEO is plain ridiculous. Stupid actually. There's no way to take GOOD care of the number of clients you'd have to have to make good money. What's your actual profit per client? 100 bucks? So you need 50 plus clients. Plus no good client will respect you or treat you like a professional charging such a ridiculous rate.

Rick
Bingo!

Fleming
To point one thing out, the country you reside in also plays a major role in your charging. $300 in the UK is about £218 however the equivalent in Pakistan is around 3300 rupees and can lead to more services being able to be offered and achieved, Also for instance £300 in the UK is usually the lower end of a weeks wage for many people so it all depends on the exchange rate how much you need to live on or survive on and what hours you are willing to work.
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Duane ✍️
Yea cheers mate, within in our communities in general though, this sort of open minded logic is forgotten .
Fleming
Exactly $1000 for me is £780 so straight I'm be charging less than the guys in the states. If I charged £1000 that would be almost $1380 and could lead them to questioning guys over there charging only $1000 it all depends where you are the world and i think this is always forgotten!
Rupp
It's not 'forgotten' it's pretty safe to assume the conversation was centered around people in the US or UK. Yes, coffee is 5 bucks down the street and 8 cents in some third world country. It's not forgotten it's just not very germane to the conversation.
The conversation was about taking on tiny clients so small amounts or charging much more and providing a quality service.
Fleming
He's in South Africa where $500 is a lot of money to some so I do believe it is relevant. Assuming he can land plenty of UK and US clients yeah he could charge more, but locally he would need to have a different price.
Rupp
I like chocolate chip ice cream 🙂 lol
Duane ✍️ » Rupp
your comments below are contradictory and IMO reflect the single minded opinion I mentioned earlier.
And
Your comments above are assumptive, read #2 again, clear reference to location.
Navneet
perhaps it is the fittest industry to outsource services to"cheapest bidding but high quality bidding"guy for a website.Let us have a STANDARD format/tender/specifications-document&get price/rate quoted online through verified agencies, googlePartner, GAIQs.

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Rupp
I speak from experience. I'm not being arrogant. I used to charge 3 and 5 and 6oo a month and the client DON'T treat you the same as they do at 3k a mo. Plus when you charge that much you get rid of the PAIN IN THE ASS clients which means you have time to bring your good ones TONS of value.

Duane ✍️
I think these point are more understandable then your last comment 😉 I definitely agree with you though about the lower cost clients being more involved. That said, services of $300-$500 can still be done.
Rupp
Of course they can be done. If making a profit or building a business isnt important 🤭 If you live where cost of living is very low. Are a lottery winner. Have no expenses. Or no kids 🙂
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Rick
Lets compare it to another industry that is looked at as many look at the SEO industry, Lawyers & Attorneys. How confident would you feel hiring a $300 attorney to represent you VS a $2000 attorney? They like us, are in to make money and are able to command higher prices because of their track record of producing results for clients. If you can't show significant results at those lower rates, you will out of business before long. I for one, do not want to offer Walmart pricing for my services. I do good work and like Attorneys, expect to be compensated well for my time and effort.

Steven
You are absolutely correct. This is where setting the realistic expectation comes in for a low priced offer. I would also not confuse foot in the door offer versus core offer. If you have a great deliverable under $500, that's a great start. The key is can the target audience scale with what you have, do they have the budget, and do they even get it.
Jill
I do not look at it like that. I look at it like a "payment plan" — they want $3K of SEO but do not have that kind of budget – I am giving them those same services, but spreading it our for them over a year. I do not give lower paying clients any less for their price and sure as hell do not consider myself Walmart. I just believe everyone – not matter how big or small should be able to have good SEO so they can grow – if they grow, in turn, they will pay me more. I am in this to make a living, but also like to help those who need it.

Steven
I think one of the issues with this type of question is that people tend to apply it to their existing business model and attempt to compare. It's like comparing apples to a Mexican migrant worker. They only look at the pricing part and judge.
If your core offer is $500 without any upsell opportunities and costs $400 in hard costs, that would make a poor business model. I would not even go there.
Here are some cases where you can apply the low-cost offer and make it work… I mean thrive.
1) $500 offer needs to be recurring and should not cost you more than $100 in hard costs unless you engineer the offer as a loss leader. It also cannot be a time-suck.
2) You can replicate the process and capture the market on a national scale. i.e. plumbers across the U.S.
3) You can McDonaldlize and scale.
4) Have an opportunity to work with an organization or a franchise.
5) Be able to upsell and position the offer as a tripwire offer, not core offer and client gets it.

Brandy
That feels a little pie in the sky for those of us that don't have anything self-developed (I saw you have your own plugin). Now, I'm not saying there can't be any brain stretching that needs to happen but $500 offer for $100 in hard costs feels unrealistic. Hard costs including your own pay, correct? I'm with you on the tripwire but it's got to have buckets of value for clients to not turn their noses and walk away.
Steven » Brandy
For most people, you are right. If it's that easy, then competition creeps and no one makes money. I worked hard to gain a competitive edge in the marketplace including economies of scale. My point is if the question was phrased differently, it would have a different outcome. i.e. $500 a month service with $400 in hard costs and 10 man-hours. 🙂 Now, that changes the equation and the question qualifier.
Brandy » Steven
Right. .Because then it becomes a true loss-leader and man, those don't work well in our industry. I'm on your page here, I'm mostly just jealous because you've got a great tripwire and I don't. 🤣
Steven » Brandy
PM'd you.

Alex
You can do a lot for that under $500 price per month. Everyone always wants to go after bigger ticket clients but they make up a small percentage of the market.
Think about it, 1,000 $500/mo clients will take you about the same amount of work as a few normal clients assuming you set up proper boundaries and expectations.
Most small businesses don't need much to rank locally and doing what we consider "small things" can have huge results for small businesses. Leveraging things like Fiverr and Software you can pretty much automate the entire process and then it's just a matter of scale.
Everyone is too focused on the number and not on the value they provide imo.
Rick
Everyone is correct, and each has their bottom line that they are willing to work for, to each his own, lets leave it at that.
Saini
everyone has its quality of services and he charges for his quality.
Telian
One cant buy something good with a cheap price- not possible.

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