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

7 minutes of reading
How much does SEO cost? What does the cost of positioning depend on?
Category SEO

“How much does positioning cost?” – this is a question we hear often in our work. The client needs to know the cost of the SEO service before deciding to cooperate. However, its price largely depends on what we mean by “positioning”. Because the Google algorithm is not transparent – positioning can be performed in many ways and with different results. For this reason, the individual agencies offer a range of prices. We encourage you to read the series of articles devoted to this topic – over the next 3 weeks, we will publish additional parts of the author’s guide on our blog.


Positioning price list

Nowadays, it is difficult to find one consistent and universal positioning price list. SEO agencies quote their services and put an estimate of the cost of SEO activities based on definite criteria and guidelines. Until September 2013, the most popular settlement model in the SEO industry was “positioning with payment for the effect”. Then the effect was called a situation in which the customer service appeared in the TOP10 search results for the keywords stated in the contract. Each phrase was assigned an individual rate. It largely depended on the average monthly number of searches for a given keyword, and thus its competitiveness. The more popular the phrase, the more willing to appear on it in TOP10 search results. It is then more difficult to achieve the desired effect.

The turning point was September 2013, when the situation changed dramatically – Google updated the Penguin algorithm and significantly hindered the positioning process for SEO companies. From that moment, a flat-rate (subscription) settlement became a standard in the market. Theoretically, when the “payment for effect” settlement model was still in operation, it was possible to develop a solution resembling a positioning price list. How? For example, the amount of the fee for a position in the TOP10 search results for a given phrase was based on the range of average monthly searches.

In conversations with clients, we encounter questions about the offer in the “for effect” model. Their awareness in this area is growing, and what was once called an effect today is not necessarily an effect. For service parties, the effect will be the signing of a contract with the customer (or an inquiry from a potential customer), while in the online store it will be a transaction, not necessarily a position in TOP3 or TOP10 for the phrase “x”.

Positioning, i.e. advertising on the Internet

Positioning is a marketing service of advertising nature. One thing about advertising is that it should not be considered in the cost category but the investment category. It can be used for a sales purpose. The long-term use of advertising appropriately can also contribute to strengthening the company’s position in the industry and improving its image. Advertising should not only earn for itself but above all bring the company additional profit. Positioning is a process that takes time to become profitable, but it is the fact that the ratio of the cost of obtaining traffic/sales to revenues should decrease over time (the service fee remains constant, traffic and sales increase).

Effective website positioning should not be treated only in terms of cost, so it is worth leaving the activities in the hands of a specialized SEO agency. The biggest advantages of effective website positioning include:

  • higher positions in search results, meaning much more traffic on the site,
  • an increased number of website visits, which translates into a greater number of conversions,
  • increase in sales results,
  • increase in brand recognition in the industry and awareness of its existence among potential customers.

Effective positioning and high position of the website in organic search results are currently some of the most important elements of marketing.

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Positioning cost – what does it depend on?

To determine the cost of positioning, start with the proper definition of this concept. By understanding the terminology, it will also be easier to understand the elements and purpose of the subject. The positioning process can be divided into 4 key components:

  • technical optimization,
  • optimization or creation of content,
  • getting external links,
  • analysis of obtained traffic, conversion, competition activities, search trends, and other important elements and parameters.

Technical optimization depends on the knowledge, skills, and experience of the SEO agency. What the company pays attention to and how it will optimize individual elements should be classified in terms of “know-how”. Google does not provide documentation revealing the operation of their algorithm; therefore, the SEO agency must perform several analyzes and tests to understand how the website should be constructed to meet the requirements imposed by the search engine. When talking about the costs of technical optimization, we are talking about the fee for tools, staff hours, and, above all, for the knowledge in Website positioning.

It is like the content creation policy. Their length, keyword saturation, frequency of their occurrence, variations, use of <strong> tags, and other text quality issues vary from agency to agency, and sometimes even within one SEO agency. This is because of the different requirements of individual clients and other needs, depending on the industry. The costs associated with this element depend primarily on the copywriting prices. A popular option to settle with a copywriter – assuming that we work with external people – is the fee for 1000 zzs (“zzs”, i.e. characters with spaces). It is worth mentioning that the content was, and will always remain, the biggest challenge for SEO companies, because outsiders are very often not specialists in a given subject, and their texts are largely based on self-research.

The above update of the Penguin algorithm in 2013 is an event that is responsible, among others, for verifying the link profile and link quality. In the past, getting links was trivial and relatively cheap, because machines ran the entire process. They operated based on very low-quality websites that did not add any value to the search engine, and whose key idea was quantity, not quality.

The above-described change influenced the cost of positioning. Before the update was introduced, the expenses related to link building amounted to huge dollars per month, which was mainly the price for purchasing access to an SWL tool (link exchange system).

Actions of the competition should dictate the entire positioning process, i.e. the developed strategy of activities (including the amount and type of content, number, and sources of links, etc… Contrary to what you might think, it is not the case that you have to meet all the algorithm requirements to appear in TOP10 search results. The best solution is to adopt a method in which for each of the above factors, we can get from 1 to 5 points. The more points we have, i.e. the more algorithm requirements we have fulfilled. This means that actions taken by the competition forced positioning costs. If an online store or an industry competitor’s domain scores more points, it appears higher. We should therefore strive to score as many points as possible.

This is where we end the first part of the “How much does positioning cost?” series. The next article will be on the prices for positioning pages and what the costs of positioning an online store look like. From the point of view of the budget that we will have to spend on this type of activity – these are two different issues and therefore it is worth being aware of the differences from the very beginning of SEO activities.

iCEA Group

As a leading international digital marketing agency established in 2007, we have consistently set the standards for traffic acquisition and conversion. We proudly host Poland's largest technical department, staffed with highly skilled SEO, SEM, and UX specialists with years of experience. Our offer knows no borders! As evidenced by our successful campaigns in not only the Polish market but also in India and the United States. Driven by our dedication and expertise, we empower our clients to achieve online success.

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