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DrewJ's avatar

Is this a ridiculous estimate for SEO work?

Asked by DrewJ (436points) December 21st, 2010

I have a website I spent a good penny on. It’s a business/web application. Before I launch I asked a web firm to estimate some costs of some SEO work. Though I’m no expert, I understand the work involved on a basic level. The firm has proposed that they’d do the following: 1) Create an “SEO” page for my site (which I assume is a page with relevant keywords and searchable terms that make it easier for a search engine to catch 2)Create a blog and put it on my site because right now the site is just a web application, a good one, but there is little content other than it. 3) Set up the SEO 4) maintain the SEO

His estimates:

1) $2300 for the SEO page
2) $2500 to set up the blog and set up the SEO
3) $1000 per month to keep things going.

prices above include his fee and all costs.

PPC advertising is a nonfactor here. He will not be doing this.

Is this ridiculous?

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19 Answers

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Welcome to Fluther, first of all.

As to your question… who knows? It might be ridiculously low, or it might be ridiculously high. It might be right in the middle of all the estimates you could get for Search Engine Optimization. (At least I learned a new acronym today.)

Why not get some more estimates of costs and of what the return on your investment may be before you get on your high horse?

phaedryx's avatar

Wow. I don’t know what the market rate is for “SEO”, but it seems high to me. Does he have an hourly rate? That would put these figures in context for me.

(I could create a page with keywords on it and set up a blog for a site in less than an hour.)

funkdaddy's avatar

I don’t know that it’s ridiculous, but if you feel it is then you should definitely get either a better explanation of what you’re paying for or cheaper alternatives from them. A lot of times there’s a disconnect between your goals and their solution only due to avoiding a technical conversation on both sides.

From your description, the part that really strikes me as excessive is the first item

1) $2300 for the SEO page

It seems more likely that this is something to help you generate content for several terms you’re trying to optimize. So it may either connect the pages you already have in a meaningful way with keywords, or allow for an adaptive landing page depending on what people search for. But definitely ask and feel good about what you’re getting.

Also, just because they’ve done earlier work for you doesn’t mean this phase has to go through them, while there may be some value to being on good terms with them as a source for information, anyone should be able to help you out with these elements.

Maybe ask them a few questions regarding how long they think the work will take and what their hourly rate is. Are you happy with their past work? Are they doing this work or giving the business to another firm who specializes?

It’s never a bad idea to ask another company for a quote on the same work to compare. Let them know what your goals are and see what they come up with. Just understand that these are rarely comparisons of the same solutions and if they know price is a major consideration going in then they’re more likely to go with a cheap, one size fits all, solution.

One thing that might solve the issue permanently is to find someone you do trust, and have them work as your advocate in these areas. Like a lawyer, but for technical decisions. If you’ve spent a good bit on a web application you’re going to have continuing needs and nothing wrong with paying someone you trust, who understands your goals and the technology involved, to be your advocate on things like this. You pay them for a couple hours of their time and they can help figure out if a solution is correct for you, and give you peace of mind.

funkdaddy's avatar

@phaedryx – if he has an existing site, the blog will need to be integrated both in the structure and visually to keep a professional feel for the site as a whole…

So a custom theme for a blogging platform, some initial optimized content, and some customization to the navigation throughout the blog to make sure everything is accessible is probably what he’s looking at in that quote and would take far more than an hour.

DrewJ's avatar

funkdaddy, All those questions you suggested I ask them have been asked. I didn’t include such information as I was trying to avoid making my question very long…

I’ve done work with them before and I am very happy with their work, I do also know that for the SEO page they will be doing it themselves but having a partner company do the SEO, which they have brought into conference calls and I am dealing with directly.

Biggest issue I have right now is that I don’t have that guy you mentioned. That lawyer but for tech. I need Technical / Development director and just don’t have one. I’ve explored every resource I have available to me, posting on college career boards, job posting ect. No luck finding someone that will come on board for a share in the company (as I can’t offer a salary until we pick up steam)

I digress….

I guess I was just wondering If I was being played.

mrlaconic's avatar

SEO = Search Engine Optimization and you don’t need anything special for it. What are are paying for is to have somebody to tag your site with meta codes that people are more likely to search for so that you will be at the top of the search list. 2300.00 is way to much for that… Just put some Meta tags in your html and google will find you eventually… considering that this thread is not that old and google already indexed it, it wont take long.

Yeah just double checked that… searched google for “ridiculous seo estimate” and this thread was the first thing that came up.

marcrapp's avatar

Drew, it is not excessive. It is simply not discriminant in what it’s supposed to solve. SEO and SEM require you to have an immediate objective in most cases.

This quote should provide a campaign initiative, meaning; What are you trying to achieve in a narrower sense? Identify terms, Competitive analysis of existing terms, Targeting the creation and implementation of new terms. Images and photography, Concise and informative copy on the site, all content being indexed and updated periodically.

The blog is a very good idea. Empirical SEO will be developed this way, but eventually you’re going to want more organic SEO. The blog will allow you to create new content, which people will link to and distribute thereafter. That will be one of your greatest assets; New Content. Another thought is, despite it’s jaded connotations as of late, some social media initiatives would help this campaign out.

But as I mentioned above, you need to identify a more specific need for an SEO campaign.
“Being at the top”, means nothing unless you’re aware of the segments you want to be aboveā€“let alone the competition that already sits on the hill.

Quote isn’t bad, but I’d like to know more about the problem their proposing to solve more specifically.

anartist's avatar

There is soooo much you can do for little cost that this is outrageous.
Get google analytics and google webmaster tools [free] and perhaps buy a few keywords if you cannot figure out the best words for your own site. Put the keywords in both your header and your body copy LIBERALLY and follow your progress on analytics after putting the code on your pages.

sheerpanic's avatar

SEO expert charge these fares and more when they work with large internet companies that have dynamic SEO goals and require long-term consulting services.

If you have a small online business, than there’s absolutely no justification for these prices.

gambitking's avatar

Hey guys, I’m an SEO specialist and Web Developer, I really enjoy it and make a pretty good living at it. A lot of times I take on side jobs for small SEO projects and stuff too so I’ve been in those “quote a price” type situations. Let me give you my insight:

First of all, there’s no such thing as an “SEO Page”. All pages on a website must be optimized , or (hello!!) it’s not really OPTIMIZED. And $2300 is outrageous.

Secondly, a Wordpress blog can be ‘set-up”, installed and running on your site within a single work day, unless you use a custom theme (which would require design, custom coding and a little extra time). Adding content, of course, is just relative to how much time you have to produce it. There’s not a lot of “SEO set-up” to do on WP pages, as the articles will be your optimization. There are SEO plugins you can install on the wordpress back end, but those each take like 5 minutes and they’re free. $2500 is absolute highway robbery.

As far as “Set up the SEO”, I’m not sure what that means. But I’m guessing its just how they say they are going to optimize your site. This varies, and really depends on your site.

The only fair quote I see is a $1000 per month for maintenance. If your site is rather decent sized and they’ve done a lot of SEO, this could actually be an OK deal. Especially if your site grows and they keep the rate at that spot – more work for them, less expense for you.

In summation, it looks like mostly a rip-off and I really hope that people see that SEO firms like this one are just gouging everyone and I would hate to see it continue. Keep looking for SEO help and get second opinions. You were right to come here and ask this.

I’ll give you a little hint: Ask your SEO firm if they intend to place “Meta Keywords” in the headers of all your web pages. I’m not talking about meta descriptions, just Meta Keywords. If they tell you that they certainly plan on doing this, then you know to run the other way. The reason: Meta Keywords do NOTHING for you on Google, and the educated SEO’ers would know this, and therefore not waste precious time on it. Good luck!

EDIT: After a little more thought and looking at this thread, I needed to add a couple things:

1) PPC ads and “buying keywords” are NOT SEO. You want top ORGANIC spots in the SERPs

2) I’d like to also point out that , if the SEO firm has to do a lot of keyword research, the quotes will be a little more reasonable, but still too high IMO

3) Link building is #1

salsero69's avatar

Without knowing the company you hired it’s hard to tell. But my guess is they are not selling a solution as much as they are giving you a quote on how many hours it will take to complete the work. Established companies can charge anywhere from $100 to $200 per hour.

So given that do the math. Also a lot of companies and individuals can claim to be SEO pros since it doesn’t provide an immediate return on investment. You can’t really see any results right away. So be careful. I’ve heard of companies inventing stuff and claim its required.

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robmandu's avatar

Check out this excellent article entitled SEO for Non-dicks by Matt Gemmell.

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vincewicks's avatar

As a matter of fact, it is hard to say if the price is Ok if you don’t know what results you’re looking for. If we’re talking about a really competitive keyword and you want to rank # 1 for it in a matter of months, in that case that’s not much. On the other hand, if it’s some keyword that nobody searches for, then it’s totally an overkill. :)

marknicholson's avatar

Parts one and two can vary, it’s part 3 that you should have details on. What is “keep things going”? Content creation/strategies, link building, something else?

Also, is this a web firm that offers SEO in addition to other services or specializes?

What do they suggest to gain from it in 6 months? What about 12?

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