I freelanced as an SEO consultant, charging for SEO services, coming up with pricing models and have worked with a handful of companies helping them with their digital marketing campaigns from email marketing, copywriting, website design and content publishing.
I am no longer just an SEO consultant. I built a personal development brand here at MarcusNeo.Com, focusing on men’s dating advice, and gradually branching out into personal finance, consulting and entrepreneurship.
There seems to be a misconception and an ugly side to the digital marketing industry in Singapore. The popularity of get quick rich programs and make money online promises. SEO services are often lumped together with the black sheep in the industry.
I’ve heard of stories from business owners in Singapore outsourcing their SEO to Indian firms. They often come back with poor results and end up thinking that SEO is… a scam.
Needless to say, if you’re paying peanuts, you’re going to get monkeys.
SEO Services Pricing in Singapore – Why Is SEO Not Cheap
Price is what you pay, value is what you get. Good SEO is not going to be cheap.
The number of SEO consultants out there that are willing to do SEO for companies out there are dirt cheap. There are companies offering SEO services for $500 a month and are GUARATEE-ING Google page one results.
Heck, just a month ago, I just met a SME owner who outsourced his SEO efforts to $200-$300 a month. That’s dirt cheap.
The run of the mill SEO consultant promises a cheap price for high rankings. It’s easy to give guaranteed SEO promises upfront, and the results are going to be non-up to par later.
I also think the SEO industry in Singapore undercuts each other a lot. That’s because: The barrier to entry to design a website is low, and somehow anyone who designs a website can declare himself an SEO expert.
In my opinion, cheap prices and empty promises are going to just drive the industry into the ground. Think about it, if all your competitors could pay $500 a month to get ranked on page 1 of Google search results for the any keyword in their industry, they would have done so already.
It isn’t that easy.
There were a couple of times I rejected SEO projects because they told me someone else was doing it cheaper, and all I had to do was to match their price.
These overly cheap services may also resort in using black hat SEO tactics that only gives your website temporary website boosts in Google and land yourself a Google penalty in the short run.
The Value of Good SEO Services
However, on the other hand, the value of what a multi-capable SEO consultant can do for a company is boundless. Good SEO isn’t just about getting on the first page of Google, it’s also about user experience, content positioning, and increasing your conversion from traffic to buyers.
There are a lot more that can be done behind the scenes depending on the skillset of an SEO consultant. Good SEO are able to analyze, track and convert traffic on your site. This includes strategies to keep users on the site longer, reduce bounce rate on the post and pages by implementing more readable copy, or longer content.
Just like any other specialized services such as accounting and etc. SEO is a form of specialized service. Hence, good SEO is not cheap.
Now, let’s take a look at SEO prices from all around the world.
SEO Prices From all around the world
This is a research that MOZ, a leading SEO authority conduct on SEO prices all over the world. Here’s what they researched:
- SEO agencies and consultants across countries charge $76-$200 per hour for SEO consulting
- The average project is $1000 – $7500 dollars
- Monthly retainer charging models are popular
- The majority of companies service small medium enterprises
If you compare this to SEOs that guarantee page 1 Google rankings for $200 per month, it’s completely far-fetched.
What Goes Behind the Scenes of an SEO campaign?
Good SEO takes time and effort. I’ll to run you through the 80-20 behind the scenes of an SEO campaign.
- Keyword research
The first step of SEO is to figure out the right keywords to target that will increase the likelihood of commercial traffic and sales. You also have to account for the competitiveness of that particular keyword by analysing your competitor’s pages.
- Content Creation and Research
One of the most time-consuming parts of SEO is the content publishing. Quality content makes up to a third of Google’s ranking factors in the modern world of SEO. It takes money, time and effort to create quality content. The cost of content can go up to minimally $50 per article, up to the hundreds and thousands for infographics, video creation and more.
- On Page SEO
Basically, making your content is optimized for Google.
- Off Page SEO: Link Building
One of the most time-consuming part of an SEO is reaching out for off page links. This includes guest blogging, reaching out to PR platforms, content promotion and etc.
There’s no possible way you can manually reach out for links for $200 a month. I’m sure firms providing these services at $200 a month aren’t using white hat link building strategies.
- Local SEO
Check out my ultimate guide to local SEO in Singapore.
- Website Architecture
This includes restructuring the website, checking for errors, checking for duplicate content, submission of sitemaps, fixable crawl errors, linking errors and all the traditional SEO fixes.
This too is time-consuming.
- Website Redesign
User experience signals such as dwell time, bounce rate, indirectly affect search engine rankings. Good SEO will recommend you on how to better the user experience on your site.
Arguably, web design services aren’t part of SEO role, however, when you’re rearranging site architecture and etc, you’re bound to get into web design in some sort or form.
- Tracking and Analytics
Key performance indicators are measured before, during and the end of a campaign. This requires tracking effort and analytics. This is also part of a properly executed SEO campaign.
Is it Worth Investing into SEO?
Okay, all being said, is SEO worth investing into? Can you have a positive return on investment in SEO immediately?
Let me put it back to you in a different perspective. How do you measure the ROI of an employee? The employee needs time to learn sales, to close sales, and to handle other parts of the business. There’s no such thing as guaranteed ROI within a month, or two, for that matter.
On the other hand, my tiny site generates up to 3000 readers a month and I built my business completely around SEO. Unless you’re using black hat SEO strategies, your Google rankings that you achieved after months of SEO efforts aren’t going to fluctuate overnight. It’s a bad user experience on Google’s end.
So how can you differentiate between a good SEO consultant and a bad SEO consultant?
The Guide to Hiring an SEO
- So What makes a Good SEO?
The value of good SEO can be boundless.
What a good SEO can offer can range from fixing technical issues such as robots.txt to analysing data analytics from Google analytics, on page SEO, content development and link building strategies.
He’ll be able to advise you on the right approach towards publishing content in the modern world of SEO.
He’ll advise you on proper optimization instead of outdated methods such as keyword stuffing. He’ll also be able to maximize your current content that’s already published.
He’ll also be able to advise you on your site structure, on the difference between commercial and informational search queries. He’ll then perform a site restructure so that you can create a better user experience for your customers.
He’ll then be able to advise you on proper link building strategies. Good off-page SEO strategies start from good on-page SEO strategies. Through creating content is worthy of promotion, he’ll be able to reach out to others to link to your content.
He’ll be able to advise you on how to generate more leads and enquiries through multi-angled digital marking practices such as, copywriting, call to action and positioning. From a branding perspective, the design of your website, the copy of the landing page, how persuasive your marketing offer all contributes to determining the conversion rate of your website.
If you ask yourself if leads and enquries are generated not ONLY because of Google rankings. Then SEO isn’t really worth your time right? Not to worry, there is a correlation between higher search visibility and an increase in leads and enquiries.
- Can any SEO Company Guarantee Page 1 Rankings?
Unfortunately, no, and no SEO can guarantee that.
Google themselves have stated that rankings primarily depend on more than 200 factors. These are just too many factors that SEOs have no control over.
Furthermore, page one rankings do not guarantee an conversion or a sale. Conversions are dependent on user experience, customer service, branding, sales offer and a whole host of other factors instead of just SEO rankings.
I understand that business owners looking to hire SEOs are looking for a more solid guarantee before deciding on investing in SEO. However, the purpose of an SEO is NOT to guarantee you page 1 rankings, but it is to help you put your website’s best foot forward in search engines.
It is to maximise search engine visibility.
Google has mentioned that any SEO consultant or agency promising you rankings is selling you a marketing lie. Either that, they may rely on black hat SEO strategies that might incur a temporary increase in SEO rankings.
Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through our Add URL page or by submitting a Sitemap and you can do this yourself at no cost whatsoever.
– Google Webmaster
Right from the horse’s mouth.
Industry experts such as MOZ has also come out openly to state that it takes four to six months to optimize a brand new website.
Of course, not all SEOs are going to reveal their SEO workflow, but an SEO should be able to more or less explain the changes he’s going to make on your website.
Ultimately, do you want to invest in proper SEO strategies, or do you want to find yourself potentially penalized by Google half a year down the road and end up having to do extra work removing harmful links or re-publishing poor content?
P.S. I’m no longer consulting on SEO, copywriting and digital marketing in general. That’s because I hate getting called up and screamed at for uploading a wrong sized header image. However, if you’re nice to me I may consider changing my mind. I might do training programs for startups or SMEs. You can email me email@example.com.