Whether you’re at an agency or working for yourself, one of the toughest decisions to make is how much to charge your potential client. SEO is one of the fields that there is no right way to set a price on your efforts and there is no commonly lead path. From my conversations with others what I have come to find is that there are drastic differences in how people come to a price point. As an SEO manager in New York I, Daniel Kamen have created my own pricing methodology, but I would like to discuss different options that should be considered before you decide to pull a number out of thin air or use a number just because that is what you charged your past 3 clients.
You have seen the gimmick everyone and many well-known SEO’s base their pricing on keywords. You ask the client for the keywords that they would like to be rank and based on the amount of keywords and how competitive those keywords are you come to a price point. This is usually decided upon how much effort you believe it will take to rank each of the chose keywords above the fold. So if you viewed the competition for these keywords (top three) and checked out the amount of pages they have indexed and the amount of backlinks they have (or link value whatever is your favorite measurement) this will give you a sense how much work is to be done. However the mistake most make is they don’t look at keywords by url targeting. The more keywords you are targeting on one domain, the easier it will be since you’ll be developing this specific URL as an authoritative page. Also are multiple keywords variables of each other which needs to be considered as well.
Size of the Site
Another avenue is to look at the overall size of the site and to see how much work actually needs to be done. Even from the on-page optimization standpoint if you took a look at all the work that has to be done, how long is that going to take you. using your past experience, how long will it take you to implement all your on-page optimization suggestions as well as server-side issues? How much maintenance will this site need?
Maintenance Vs. Ongoing
Some people (especially salespeople) love to say you need the SEO only for a certain amount of months and thereafter you will only need maintenance so for example they might say after 6 months your SEO cost is now cut in half. This method the SEO tends to overcharge on the front-end knowing their revenue will eventually be less and must consider the long-term value of the client.
Many independent SEO’s have active clients and are only one person so they have an independent content person, link builder, and possibly a tech person where they look at their costs, how many hours you will need to setup for client relationship management and presentations then figure out the value that way.
I will always ask for analytics access from a prospect. It will definitely support me in my research and findings from a keyword perspective, but it can help make a quantifiable reasoning for the cost of your service. With this data if their analytics is set up properly you can look at their current lead data and understand what is their cost per lead or sale. From there you can also determine the best keywords to target. If you know the keyword to target find out the LEMSV Local Exact Monthly Search Volume. Then determine based on the competitiveness where do you think you will be able to rank these keywords. Whatever the rank zone determined use the click-through rate to dictate the visits expected. Then take their conversion rate from their analytics and multiply this by the projected visits. Now you have the projected leads/sales. If you already know the value of their leads/sales and how much you can increase this by then it will be easier to quantitatively explain the cost for your services.