In the last part of the series of articles on real SEO costs, we will discuss the topic of billing models, positioning costs on foreign markets, and we will dispel doubts whether an unlimited budget for positioning is a key to success, or maybe the opposite. This article will help summarize and answer how much SEO costs and what factors should be taken into account when pricing the process. If you have not read the previous part yet, we encourage you to read them first.

Part 1: How much does SEO cost? What does the cost of positioning depend on? 

Part 2: How much does SEO cost? – The cost of positioning websites and online stores

Billing models

The first billing model, used from the beginning of the SEO industry in Poland, was the model commonly known as “payment for the effect”. A few paragraphs above describe the assumptions of this method and information about why it is no longer used. The most common settlement model today is the flat-rate (subscription) form.

Some agencies offer ‘’billing for traffic’’. Being familiar with the industry from the inside, and working in it for many years, it is hard not to be skeptical about this settlement model. This is due to a number of issues: 

  • more traffic on the website is not synonymous with more sales. 
  • it is easy to generate traffic that will be spam traffic and will not translate into sales, 
  • often the fee consists of a “flat fee” and a “success fee”; the agency assumes in advance that the contract will only be sold at the “flat fee” level, and the use of such a settlement model results only from marketing issues (the client assumes that the agency will be more motivated, because if they generate traffic, they will earn more),
  • despite theoretical contractual safeguards, it is easy to manipulate the traffic data on the website, 
  • traffic is also a brand movement, and this can naturally increase with the increase of brand awareness (advertising on TV, outdoor advertising, etc.), 
  • traffic can be obtained from the Google Ads campaign by doing it yourself/ commissioning the agency – there is no margin imposed on it. 

Modern SEO is very demanding and, therefore, a cost-generating process. Hence such an abstract settlement model most often, unfortunately, it is beneficial for the client only in theory. In practice, it does not look that good anymore. 

Many companies would like to account for each sale. If SEO were so simple and so cheap that agencies could afford it, instead of serving their customers, they would probably prefer to set up and develop their own online stores. It is worth noticing that in business terms, sales are unequal – it all depends on the margin of a given product. If, hypothetically, the agency would settle accounts in this way, it could focus on positioning the simplest phrases, and thus on generating sales of low-margin products; perhaps even products for which the margin weight will be less than COS (cost of sales).

iCEA is a pioneer in the work settlement model in Poland – iCEA PRIME offer. This solution is a popular option on Western markets, where the options once used in Poland, such as the aforementioned “payment for effect”, have never been offered. It is an innovative and distinctive approach that gives the client a guarantee of the performance of works that will contribute to increased visibility.

Inflation vs Positioning cost

It must be remembered that the labor market and the economic situation in the country are also constantly changing. Earnings are increasing year by year, additionally there is an inflation phenomenon. These very different SEO issues cannot be ignored in the analysis of SEO costs, because they affect all financial issues in virtually every industry in the country. 

We cannot forget about the entry threshold, i.e., the minimum budget that should be allocated to positioning, which will be higher and higher. This is due to the fact that Google is becoming more and more demanding, which means that competitors’ websites are constantly improved and developed. It is easier to gradually increase the funds for this form of advertising, which grows with the client’s business. The problem arises when a given company is at the beginning of its activity and has to do everything that the competition has been successively doing over the last few years. In this case, the positioning costs will be relatively high compared to the company’s current revenues. However, website positioning is currently the most effective way to catch up with the competition and increase sales revenues. 

How much does positioning cost on foreign markets? 

The willingness of Polish companies to expand into foreign markets is becoming more and more visible. On the one hand, it is natural, on the other, unfortunately, entrepreneurs often wrongly select the markets they would like to appear in..

The German market, which is larger and definitely wealthier than the Polish market, is usually the first destination for most customers, right next to the British market. However, when choosing this direction, you need to bear in mind a few very important issues:

  • Germany is probably the world’s number one for on-site activities; as a result of some historical events, German specialists avoided link building, which made them specialize in this area,
  • the advantage of Polish SEO companies over German companies may be the fact that they will try to do link building for the client. However, the rates for publishing with a link a relatively high, 
  • on the German market, the share of traffic from Google.de is not as high as in Poland (eBay, Amazon),
  • customers from Germany are not necessarily interested in shopping in Polish online stores (they are used to supporting their own economy), therefore it is often necessary to rent a transshipment warehouse in Germany; it is also an address for possible returns (German is not aware that he bought from a Polish supplier), 
  • Copywriting should be carried out at the highest level, so if the texts are to be translations of Polish content, they must be verified by a professional native speaker who will additionally analyze the texts in terms of the local dialect. 

What about Great Britain? The key issue is the fact that we will pay for individual services in pounds. If we assume that positioning on the Polish market costs PLN 1,000 and on the British market 1,000 pounds, then positioning on the islands costs us about PLN 5,000, which is often forgotten. 

In terms of other interesting options for foreign markets, the Danish market is worth paying attention to. It is smaller than the Polish market, but at the same time more affluent. The above makes the competition in this country much smaller, and if you add the fact that the Danes, compared to Poles, do not conduct such advanced SEO activities, entering this market may turn out to be interesting in the business context. Interestingly, and characteristic of this region of the world, its inhabitants also have no problem with making prepayments, as well as making purchases from foreign entrepreneurs.

When deciding to expand into foreign markets, you should take into account not only the requirements of the search engine which are valid in a given country, but also whether Google is the majority search engine there. Perhaps it is worth focusing on other search engines in these places? The legal aspects, which differ in individual countries, are also important. It is worth bearing in mind if we want to avoid high penalties and problems. 

Unlimited budget for positioning in the coming years

What if we had an unlimited budget for SEO? We could employ programmers who would create and develop a dedicated store platform in line with our expectations. We could also afford to employ copywriters who, by being inside the company, would know the assortment and the specific industry well. They could create individual product descriptions, interesting, interesting descriptions of categories and subcategories, and valuable expert articles. It would also be within our pocket to hire a graphic designer who would create unique creations, improve the quality of product photos and other graphic elements on the website. First of all, we should hire analysts who would focus, most of all, on deep Google Search Console, Google Analytics or user behavior audits. In terms of link building, we could be tempted- in addition to using generally accessible places- to create our own dedicated satellites. 

The in-house model in the version as above would be the best possible, but if we are not a store tailored to EMPIK or Allegro, we will not be able to achieve profitability of such a solution. It is associated with very high costs, which unfortunately outweigh smaller companies and, instead of improving their situation, can quickly lead to collapse. Therefore, a much more sensible solution is … to choose a professional SEO agency. 

For years, Google has been working very intensively towards improving the quality of search results, making the SEO process more and more demanding and involving more and more expenditures. Currently, you can observe a situation in which Google is starting to take into account behavioral factors, i.e., factors related to user behavior. Adding to this the specifics of Googlebot’s web indexing activities, Google’s internal linking approach that determines link juice distribution and other similar technical optimization issues, the future is marked by even greater engagement in analytics. It will be crucial to analyze server logs to check how Googlebot navigates the website, to analyze the acquired traffic, analyze user behavior, analyze competitors’ activities, track trends in e-commerce and many other activities. This will result in various one-site activities, focused primarily on the comfort of visitors. 

How does Google approach this? As follows: 

https://developers.google.com/search/docs/beginner/seo-starter-guide?ref_topic=9460495&visit_id=637558014969697218-892434272&rd=1

“You can also consider hiring an SEO professional to help you check your websites.” 

Summary 

Did you find out how much SEO costs after reading the article? As you can see, the matter is not simple and there is no clear answer as to what the final price is for SEO activities. The final cost of positioning is influenced by many variables and depends on several components. However, the most important elements to remember from the article are: 

  • the price and the positioning process of the online store and the regular website differ from each other,
  • he key to success is to understand how Google mechanisms work. 
  • one of the best models of settlements with an SEO agency is “payment for effect”.
  • a very important element of the cost of positioning is the position from which the website “starts” and how effectively the main competition is positioning.
  • incompetent SEO activities on their own can do more harm than good, despite e.g., large budget

During the positioning process, there is no room for experimentation – one error “in the eyes of the search engine” can be caused by, for example, a penalty from Google. The effects can affect the entire business and attract new customers. If we decide to cooperate with an agency, it is worth being aware of what affects the final price of the service. This is the best starting point for negotiating and starting talks before signing the contract. Take advantage of free consultations with experts from iCEA Group and find out how you can improve the position of your business.