The new iPhone 8 is rumored to have a substantial price increase on one of its models when it’s released later this fall. Historically, the iPhone pricing starts at around $650. That may still seem like a lot of money to some, but the new flagship phone by Apple is expected to run around $1,200!
So why the price jump? Well, simply put: that particular model is going to be more expensive to build and will have higher-end components.
Apple spends roughly $220 to manufacture the current iPhone 7, and approximately 20% of that cost is in the display. With this new model, they are expected to replace the current display with a bezel-less, OLED, screen from Samsung. The price of the OLED screen costs upwards of 60% more than the current iPhone 7 display.
Even with the higher price, Apple will still sell a TON of units.
Because people like quality, and they understand that quality comes at a higher price.
So, what does this have to do with SEO?
Quality is something you need to consider when pricing out various SEO services.
When you shop around for a new SEO partner, you are going to receive a lot of different quotes. These quotes are going to vary in price, strategy, and deliverables.
The vetting process can be tedious and confusing at times, but it’s worth it to carefully weigh out all your options. If you choose wrong, your site’s traffic may suffer. That’s a heavy blow that you probably don’t want to deal with.
Fortunately, that's something you can (eventually) recover from. The heavier blow comes when you consider the amount of money lost by choosing the wrong company.
If you decided on a company that has a higher price point, it will cost you much more upfront. However, just like the upcoming iPhone 8, high-quality, reliable results come at a higher cost. Of course, getting SEO isn’t like getting a better screen. In the case of online marketing, the higher the quality of your SEO services, the more likely you’ll see a substantial ROI and a healthier, more sustainable website.
Before moving on, I want to make it known that the last thing I want to do here is call out other agencies in the SEO industry. What I do want to share what I’ve seen in the eight years I’ve been at SEO.com.
If an agency submits a quote and it’s dramatically lower than some of the other quotes you’ve received, they are most likely outsourcing to the Philippines or India and/or automating much of the work. They may also assign you to a manager that is also managing 50+ accounts. This helps them keep costs down, and they pass those savings on to you.
It’s these same agencies that have the “burn em & churn em” mentality. They don’t expect their clients to stick around for longer than, let’s say, six-months. But they don’t lose sleep over that because they have a giant sales force that keeps bringing in new business. That’s perfect for them, but not so ideal for you.
The other way agencies can reduce costs is by creating cookie-cutter strategies. That way they don’t have to spend time performing research on your industry, competition, and current status online. They just provide ‘X’ number of deliverables each month and convince you that it’s going to have a lasting effect on your business.
You may see some increases at first, but I can tell you… you’ll be lucky if it lasts.
Chances are, an SEO firm that comes in at a bit higher price is going to spend more time on research and creating a strategy that will have a lasting effect. They are also going to spend time adjusting that strategy as the campaign progresses, which is what you want! Google updates their algorithms over 500 times a year. On top of that, your competition is implementing their own marketing strategy, and new competition is popping up every other day. You have to be agile enough to react to these changes at the right time and in the right way.
A cookie-cutter, one-price-fits all strategy will not compensate for these changes.
You want a strategy that is organic. A strategy that evolves and adjusts with the latest trends, tactics, and guidelines. You want a plan that is custom fitted for your business.
When you are allocating a good chunk of your marketing budget towards SEO, you want to make sure that you are getting your money's worth. You will want to see evidence that work is being done and you want tangible evidence.
I get that.
It’s natural to want something immediately in exchange for the money we’ve invested. And even if your SEO manager has told you time and again that rankings take time, many companies still want to see a range of very specific deliverables.
They want to see a certain number of blogs written every month or a certain number of links built. Just keep in mind that when your agency doesn't have a deliverable for you, or you don't see any changes in rankings and traffic, SEO takes time. Even Google says so. And it may turn out that blogs and links may not be the best thing for your campaign at this time.
If you don't receive a new deliverable with action items on it, my guess would be that a lot of your budget for that month was spent on market research and identifying hurdles that may pop up.
This is still valuable work!
This is what you want to see from your team!
You can’t build a house without a strong foundation and you can’t succeed at SEO without a custom plan, a fully optimized website, and an understanding of your immediate competition.
Of course, just because your agency is charging a higher price point doesn’t guarantee they’re providing the quality work you need. And if your SEO team isn't able to provide a list of the tasks they are working on, then you may want to start asking for proof of work. (They should provide this in their monthly report.)
This list of work may not include 3.5 blogs a month or whatever you may have heard you needed, but ask yourself this:
Are you working with an SEO agency because you want to buy some blogs, or because you want a marketing team that functions as a partner for your ongoing success?
Specific number of blogs versus sustainable online success?
Is that really a question?
Understandably, a lot of people will balk at the thought of paying $1200 for the latest iPhone, while others will recognize the value of higher quality materials. The thought of paying the higher price may make you a little anxious, but I can assure you that if you ask the right questions during the sales process, work with your SEO team as a partnership, and maintain reasonable expectations, it'll all be worth it in the end.