Expanding the online reach of your business will require hard work and the help of professionals. Attracting attention from consumers and popular search engines like Google is only possible with
well-planned and expertly executed search engine optimization campaigns. Most business owners are unsure about how to create and implement new SEO strategies. This lack of knowledge can drastically affect how well these campaigns perform and the price they will pay.

Companies based in the United States spend around $74 billion annually on SEO. With all of the different SEO providers out there, selecting one can be difficult. Asking for a price for SEO services usually is the first step in narrowing down the list of marketing agencies at your disposal. 

But don’t get sucked in by companies offering $99 SEO. This pricing is used as a bait and switch. When you reach out to them, they will provide you with a proposal or some custom package that is priced far above the $99 price you saw in their ad. Customized SEO pricing is a tactic being used by predatory SEO agencies to attract new customers. In reality, customized SEO pricing is bullshit, and we’ll explain why below. 

Making Sense of the Confusing Jargon Used in Customized SEO Quotes

There is no denying that search engine optimization is more important than ever. Having an online presence is crucial if you want your small business to make it. Predatory SEO agencies realize how desperate business owners are to establish an online presence. This is why using enticing terms like “customized SEO” has become the norm in the past few years. 

The more you know about SEO marketing pricing, the easier it will be for you to spot and avoid bullshit. When you receive a free SEO quote from an agency, pay close attention to the wording they use to describe their services. In the beginning, an agency offering customized SEO will lure you in with a statement like “every business is unique.” 

The agency will then go on to tell you that they can offer customized SEO packages based on whether you want to target a single city, a region, or the entire nation in your marketing campaign. One of the main reasons why these predatory agencies are so successful is because they entice new customers with a very low introductory price. We’ve seen prices as low as $99 a month for SEO. And then using predatory sales tactics to convenience you that a “custom” package is what you need. 

Customized SEO Pricing Gets Expensive in a Hurry

If the initial price of a customized SEO plan seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Once you receive a quote for SEO from an agency offering customized pricing, you have to look at the fine print. While the initial cost of this customized plan might be low, it will get very expensive as the agency starts to add on charges. 

The additional pricing of a customized plan is motivated by factors like:

  • Return on investment (ROI) potential of your business
  • Keywords and market being targeted
  • The amount of competition your business has
  • Keyword ranking difficulty
  • Credibility of your existing website
  • Execution complexity

If you get charged for one or more of the things mentioned above, your marketing spending can quickly get out of control. Any company stating that these factors dictate the complexity of the work is simply full of shit. 

Rather than looking at price only and choosing a company that offers customized SEO plans, you need to assess the big picture. It is far wiser to spend a bit more initially and get results than to choose a predatory SEO agency that will charge you for any and everything and do nothing. 

What You See Is What You Get with Small Business SEO

Finding a company with consistent prices regardless of the industry, location, or current website “credibility” is important if you want to achieve your SEO goals. At Small Business SEO, what you see is what you get when it comes to how we price our services. If you want proof of how bogus customized SEO pricing is, ask the agency in question to provide you with a list of what you get for the low price they are charging. 

They will quickly tell you that the low price you were quoted is just a starting point. These agencies know what the long-term plan is, and that is to charge you as much money for SEO services as they can. 

This Logic Also Applies to PPC Management 

The customized plan tactic is not only used by SEO marketing agencies. They’re also some Google Ads/PPC management companies trying to sell this lie to potential customers as well. Just like with customized SEO pricing plans, these agencies will have many hidden fees. Some agencies will tell you that their prices are based on your ROI or whether you want to run local or national campaigns. This is a ploy to get you to spend more money on PPC and pad the pockets of these agencies. 

In reality, the amount of work involved in managing Google Ads is the same regardless of your ad spend level. The same companies that base their pricing on ROI and type of campaign will also have hidden fees based on the monthly percentage of your ad spend. This fee is on top of what the agency is already getting paid for its monthly service fees. 

The main goal of these predatory marketing agencies is to get as much revenue from a client as possible. The tactics they use to accomplish this goal are shady and based on bullshit. 

Customized SEO Plan Providers Are Just Really Good Salespeople 

An overwhelming number of companies that offer customized SEO pricing are in no way, shape, or form marketing experts. To be honest, they are staffed with great salespeople who’ve made it their mission to deceive hard-working business owners. Once these agencies have won you over with their bullshit, they won’t be able to make good on their promises. 

This will lead to you getting very little for the growing amount of money you spend with these agencies. Rather than working with an agency filled with great salespeople, you need to insist on working with an agency with actual experience. 

At Small Business SEO, we don’t have salespeople; we have SEO experts. Our SEO experts work in the industry and know what it takes to grow a company’s online presence. The team we have all work on clients’ accounts and are personally invested in their success. 

We understand how important it is for you to develop an online presence. That’s why we work extremely hard to help you accomplish your business growth goals. 

Other Red Flags You Need To Be Aware Of

Narrowing down the vast number of marketing agencies at your disposal can be overwhelming. As you start the process of engaging with marketing agencies, you need to be mindful of certain red flags. If these red flags are raised, you have to take notice and act accordingly. 

No Mention of Competitive Analysis

Before a marketing agency can create a plan of attack for your business, they must research your competition. Seeing how well your website stacks up against the competition can provide a marketing agency with invaluable information. 

However, if the agency you’re speaking with mentions nothing about competitive analysis, you need to view this as a red flag. Without a proper competitive analysis, you risk engaging in marketing campaigns with little to no impact. 

SEO Services for $99 a Month

Companies that advertise a low price for their SEO services and then want to provide you with a customized SEO proposal for “better results” should be avoided.

On the surface, $99 per month sounds great! Unfortunately, when you see SEO marketing prices like this, you are not getting the whole picture.  Predatory SEO companies use these price points as a hook to lure you in to only tell you that what you really need is a “customized plan.” And they are more than happy to put together a “proposal” or “estimate” for the services that your website needs. If the bait and switch isn’t bad enough then they will try to convenience you to sign a long and expensive contract. This is not only straight bull shit but also a shady, unethical practice.

Don’t get us wrong. It is possible to find a company that offers SEO results for an affordable price. However, you can’t rely on the advertised prices unless the company has outlined exactly what it will be doing each month. A reputable company is going to list all the services they offer on its website and clear pricing for those services. A flat-rate, transparent service with no contracts is exactly what you want to see.

Claims of a Secret SEO Formula

As you meet with different marketing agencies, you will undoubtedly be subjected to an overwhelming amount of bullshit. Learning to weed out the bullshit is crucial if you want to hire the right agency. One of the biggest red flags a marketing agency can raise is claiming to have a secret formula for SEO success. 

The only real way to get a business on the first page of Google is with hard work, consistency, and white-hat SEO tactics. As soon as a company claims it has a secret SEO formula, you need to head for the exit. 

Proof of Work

SEO can seem like an enigma, with no real tangible evidence of the work you are paying for. But this is also bullshit. Ask your potential marketing company what work they will be doing and how you will receive proof of that work. All marketing companies should be able to provide you with all of the work they do throughout your contract period. If all they provide is a monthly report – run for the hills. They probably aren’t doing any real work. At least not on a regular basis.

Poor Communication is a Definite Red Flag

If you want to take the stress out of marketing your services/products online, then hiring a communicative marketing agency is crucial. It is important to know how well a particular agency communicates before hiring them. If you are having an increasingly difficult time reaching a marketing agency, then you need to avoid hiring them.

When you have a marketing question or want to alter your existing campaigns, you need an agency that will respond quickly. The more you know about how well an agency communicates, the easier it will be to determine if they’re the right fit for your needs. 

Don’t Fall For the Customized SEO Pricing Scam

If a marketing agency tries to sell you on customized SEO pricing, tell them you’re on to their bullshit. Then contact Small Business SEO for what you see is what you get pricing.