Learn What to Charge for Local SEO
If you sell local SEO services, you’ve probably had thoughts like this:
- “Am I charging enough for my services?”
- “I wonder what my competitors are charging.”
- “Can I raise my prices?”
- “If I raise my prices, will I accidentally scare off new clients?”
We’ve been there. Pricing can be intimidating, and it’s totally normal to worry about these kinds of questions.
We’re going to show you exactly how we use a pricing matrix anytime we quote pricing for our local SEO services.
Don’t Use Package Pricing
Some SEO providers promise to rank any site and any keyword for a flat package price—maybe something like $997 a month.
That’s not where you want to be.
Straight package pricing means you’ll leave tons of money on the table, plus you’ll end up working harder than you should for the amount your clients will pay you.
Matrix pricing is a much better way to price your services. Set your pricing matrix right, and it will be really difficult not to be profitable.
Establish a Universal Minimum Price
First, you’ll have to do a certain amount of work for every client, regardless of their niche or location.
We try not to take on clients under $997 a month. That’s our minimum.
Your minimum might be different than ours, and that’s okay. But you should have some sort of floor you won’t go under, no matter what.
Niche + Location: The Two Variables of Our Local SEO Pricing Matrix
When a potential client asks about our local SEO services, there are two pieces of information we need:
- The Niche
- City (or cities) where the client wants to rank
Once we know those two things, we simply pull out our pricing matrix, add two numbers together, and provide the prospect with a quote we know will make us money.
To create and use your own pricing matrix, here are the five steps you’ll need to take:
Step 1: Group Niches by Difficulty
You know which niches you work in.
From experience, you probably know which ones are difficult to rank and which ones are relatively easy.
For our business, we’ve taken those niches and bucketed them into three tiers.
The most difficult niches go in the top tier. Medium difficulty niches go in tier two. And the easy ones go in tier three. In our matrix, it looks like this:
Step 2: Add Baseline Pricing to the Niche Tiers
After we grouped the niches into three tiers, we added baseline pricing for each tier. The more difficult the niche, the more we charge for our services.
Step 3: Create Tiers for Location
Next we look at the location column. For this, we look at the city population sizes.
Like we did with the niche column, we group different size cities into tiers.
Big cities like Philadelphia or San Antonio go in the top tier. The second tier includes cities like Seattle and Detroit. Tier three has smaller cities like Toledo or Plano.
A word of caution: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston are giant cities that require special attention. Ranking in those cities means pricing well above anything in our normal tiers.
Step 4: Add Baseline Pricing to the Location Tiers
As we did with the niche column, we add baseline pricing to each location tier.
Step 5: Quoted Price = Niche Price + Location Price
To use the matrix, just add the niche price to the location price to determine how much you should charge for your services.
Need a quote for a law firm in Pittsburgh?
Pull out the pricing matrix. In ours, the niche cost is $1,500 a month and the location cost is $500 a month.
So we’d quote $2,000 a month.
Get an inquiry from a carpet cleaning service in Seattle?
That’s $500 for the niche and $750 for the location. So we’d quote $1,250.
See how that works?
These Are Pricing Guidelines, Not Pricing Rules
Don’t be afraid to raise or lower your price based on your experience.
Instead of $1,250, I might quote that Seattle carpet cleaning service $1,047 a month and close them on it. And for a lawyer in Pittsburgh, I probably wouldn’t use $2,000, because I know I can close these kinds of clients at $3,000 a month. So, that’s what I’d put in my proposal.
A pricing matrix is a starting point.
It’s a tool that keeps you from drastically undercharging or overcharging for your services. And it helps us avoid those nagging feelings of “Are we charging enough?” every time you sign up a new client.
Don’t Finalize Pricing Until You Audit the Site
Finally, you always want to do an audit of the site before you finalize a price with a new client.
Where are they ranking today? How much on-site work will you have to do? Was a previous SEO company irresponsible with its backlinking strategy?
All these things will impact your profitability (and the results you can deliver over time).
One-Time Setup Fees
You’re not locked into straight monthly pricing either.
If you have a ton of cleanup work to do for a new client’s site, charge a one-time setup fee, and then charge your normal monthly fee moving forward.
Don’t be afraid to charge for the work that’s required. You’re about to get great results for your clients. It’s right that you be compensated for your work every step of the way.
Your Numbers Might Not Match Our Numbers
You might not charge exactly what we charge for the different niches and locations. We’ve been doing this a long time and are confident we can land clients at these rates.
If our numbers are too high for you at this point, that’s okay. We still encourage you to use the matrix framework for setting up your own pricing tool.
Swipe Our Exact Matrix
We know pricing is difficult.
To help you, we’re sharing our exact pricing matrix with you. We’ve made three versions of the same tool.
We use PowerPoint for our matrix, but if you prefer spreadsheets, we’ve put the same information in a pre-programmed Google Spreadsheet.
And if you’re more of a pen-and-paper person, our printable worksheet is the tool for you.