Working out the cost of a SEO project is no easy task there are just so many variables, every website, every business has its own history, its characteristics, its industry-related variables of reference or history of online presence. I like many SEO consultants find it difficult to package everything into a neat little box (Ikea style).
For low budget situations that have a fairly standard situation it can be very convenient and help you to bag that new client. I think a SEO project could be quoted in 3 different ways:
SEO goal based
Perhaps the most widely offered (or at least preferred by prospective clients): Prepare a whole series of activities with a monthly fixed fee and standardized operations.
This solution has undoubted advantages, one of them being that the prospective client has a clear idea what they are paying for and is much easier for the client to monitor the progress of the project. Packages, for a start, are a good way to pull the chestnuts out of the fire of the budget SEO, but you have to be able to be flexible.
By pricing your SEO project to low (which is often the case) you are unable to adapt to the customer’s needs.
SEO goal based
A more honest to draw up a budget SEO: client gives the consultant a deposit for the next payment guarantee, both to cover initial startup costs (keyword analysis, on-site work, etc). Usually a good figure to ask for is between 10% to 30% with payment straightaway to work out if the client is serious about going ahead with the project. Goals could be either:
Search positions (SERPS) of the keywords chosen by both the client & consultant
Number of conversions (sales, leads, brochure downloads, etc) achieved via search traffic
I think that this method is excellent for a small number of keywords or key phrases.
Too many keywords or to competitive could be a suicide for the SEO project;
Some niches are so competitive that you could be promising to much and risk losing the client
As mentioned previously, because each web site is different (niche, how competitive it is, how well known the clients brand is) this kind of quotation generally makes the most sense. The SEO consultant must carry out a detailed analysis not just to see which issues could effect future performance but also to increase the perceived value of the work involved to achieve success for the client.
The waste of time preparing the SEO analysis if the customer decides to now go ahead.
Failure on the part of the client to perceive the value of the work involved.
Project costs are usually much higher