How Much Does a Local SEO Campaign Cost? (Factors to Weigh)
Are you thinking of hiring a Chicago SEO agency? The first concern you probably have is how much this will cost your business, which makes sense. Several factors affect the price of outsourcing the planning and management of your local SEO campaign. Quality is only one.
This guide looks at budget factors to consider when hiring expert help for local SEO, including:
- Estimating costs for local SEO
- Comparing SEO pricing models
- Five factors that affect pricing
There’s a lot to discuss, so get ready to take notes.
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Estimating Local SEO Campaign Costs
With SEO, the cost depends on what you consider part of your budget. For example, if you already have a digital marketing team posting on social media, do you count them as part of your SEO spending? Technically, social media is part of a good SEO strategy.
Apart from manpower, subscriptions and licenses for SEO software and tools add to the overall operating costs of the strategy. In other words, there are many variables to consider if you want to run your own local SEO campaign.
Outsourcing eliminates these frustrating factors and makes the process easier for you. From an objective standpoint, SEO agencies are worth hiring because you pay them based on their services. Once you present your requirements, they will find a way to make them happen.
Comparing SEO Agency Pricing Models
While outsourcing guarantees a price drop for running SEO, the cost can still vary depending on who you hire and which pricing models they use. Before we discuss that, however, for your reference, here are some estimates on the cost of hiring in-house versus outsourcing:
- A full-time, in-house SEO professional costs roughly $84,000 per year.
- An SEO agency charges around $75–100 hourly ($1,000–3,000 monthly).
- Freelance technical SEO experts charge between $200-225 per project.
Although the example above is for hiring technical SEO consultants, the logic applies to local SEO. As you can see, hourly and project-based pricing models are two options, but you also have fixed rates and performance-based models in some cases. Here are the differences between each:
- Hourly rates make controlling costs easy. Multiply their flat rate by hours worked.
- Project-based means paying the agency a fixed rate for a one-time job as needed.
- Fixed-rate pricing is for ongoing services, such as content creation, for a flat fee.
- Performance-based is the most erratic because it scales based on the results produced.
Unfortunately, you cannot make local SEO fast, good, and cheap without overtaxing yourself or your team. On the other hand, hiring an SEO agency allows you to apply the lean method to maximize the budget that you have. You just need to find the right agency to offset the other cost factors.
5 Factors That Affect Local SEO Costs
In addition to pricing models, factors such as the agency’s level of expertise and your business goals directly contribute to shifts in the final price for the whole campaign. The best way to approach this is by preparing your requirements before negotiating with the agency.
The “fast, good, cheap” triangle is a good way to think about how you want to approach your SEO strategy and budget. You cannot force all three to happen simultaneously because one of them has to give. Otherwise, you may end up inflating costs to repair critical errors.
Below are five factors to remember when weighing your costs and options for running a local SEO campaign. Depending on how thorough you want to be with keeping your costs down, you might think of others. These five, however, are an excellent place to start your plans.
1. Level of Expertise
You should not sacrifice SEO quality. Although you might find the idea appealing, avoid cheap services. In the end, you will see that you’ve more or less doubled your spending. Think about the long-term effects and plan to do SEO right the first time by working with experts.
You can easily assess their expertise by reviewing their previous work, so that you are making informed choices. This is your business at stake, so try not to cut corners. Besides, SEO agencies have different pricing models to fit a client’s financial situation. Choose the one that’s best for your budget.
2. Scope of the Project
Obviously, the more you add to a Chicago SEO agency’s responsibilities, the more they charge you for their services. It is in your best interest to clarify the scope of what is included and what they consider additional charges. This way, you will avoid having to pay any hidden fees.
Knowing the scope of the project is especially important if you pay them on a fixed-rate basis. Be certain that none of your critical requirements have been left out of the contract. You wouldn’t want to have to pay for services that you initially thought were already included.
3. The Project’s Timeline
Understand that when hiring an SEO agency, you are not their only client. Their time is also committed to other projects, causing them to shuffle client projects, which is part of what makes outsourcing cost-effective. In other words, you might have to pay a premium to be a priority.
You can avoid this by planning your campaign in advance, so that it is not a rush job for you or them. Essentially, the sooner you look into hiring a Chicago SEO agency for your campaign, the more time they can spend building what you need at a reasonable pace and price.
4. Targeted Location
As a Chicago business owner, you should know that each community and neighborhood has its own set of challenges for marketing. The complexity of SEO work needed for each location within Chicago is another factor that affects the price of your local SEO campaigns.
Start the campaign in your community or neighborhood first before adding any new areas. It keeps your campaign costs low and sets more realistic expectations for your business and the SEO agency. Discuss this with the agency before running the SEO campaign.
5. Your Competition
The presence of competitors can also dramatically increase your spending on local SEO, especially if you plan on doing paid marketing. The cost-per-click (C)PC) of keywords varies with the industry and quality you want, even more so when you have large competitors bidding.
Keep in mind that whether or not you hire a Chicago SEO agency, you still fund pay-per-click (PPC) advertising through your business. Other tactics to beat competitors also exist. It all depends on how you plan to address them with your local SEO strategy.
Good local SEO is the accumulation of months of hard work to boost your business online. As such, it does not come cheap, especially when you consider the long-term upkeep. You can cut costs, though, by hiring a Chicago SEO agency that provides high-quality work at a competitive price.
Need help with your local SEO campaign? Contact Digital Authority Partners (DAP) to learn how we can help.
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