The Paradox of SEO Pricing

SEO business is good. There's no doubt about that at least where I'm sitting. And just a few weeks into 2011 my team is inundated with RFPs and SOWs that promise many good things for the rest of the year. The downside is that a lot of people are looking at SEO program cost estimates at the same time. And almost invariably cost estimates are being compared which in turn prompt questions like, “Why is the SEO cost for a 25 page site not 1/4 of that for this other 100 page site?” It is at this point that I typically take a deep breath and fire off an Outlook meeting to “discuss”. You should see my calendar these days.

You see, there's a paradox in SEO pricing that I think many people aren't aware of. What they don't get is that the smaller the site, the less opportunity for organic traffic there is built into the site. Which means that you have to spend more of the SEO budget in creating this opportunity via additional content or additional links that wouldn't be as necessary for a larger site.

Smaller sites also tend to have less infrastructure supporting them in the form a CMS. So when you have to engage a developer to update code and content on 25 pages manually vs. updating a template or two on a 100 page CMS-driven site, guess what's going to cost more? In fact, in some cases it could be cheaper to optimize a larger site if it's been properly set up from the start! Furthermore, even though you'd spend less optimizing a larger site you will likely have greater impact compared to the same changes applied to a smaller site because those changes elevate the performance of more pages.

Wrap your head around that.

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