SEO Sticker Shock

Regular readers (yes both of you) will know that in recent months I have been writing about the rising costs of performing SEO for clients (here and here).

In recent days I have quoted a lawyer in the United States for SEO. He has been very clear, he wants white hat only, though in truth, I’m not sure he knows what the distinctions are.

His areas of expertise seem to be reasonably competitive in the SERPs for his location, to the extent that the cost per click in Google AdWords is around US$34. That is $34 per click/visitor, not per lead or per sale.

This, unsurprisingly, was news to him.

We had a bit of back and forth by email about this until he came to the conclusion that my quote for US$600 per month was “unjustifiable as a reasonable business expense. I can definitely get more bang for the buck in the marketing world for $600 a month.”

That may be so, but in my reply, I pointed out that, “my suggestion to you was not that I’d charge $600, but actually $1,800 per month”.

I continued, “While I understand that there might be some sticker shock for you, that would still likely work out to be good long-term value when compared to the $3,000 or so that you would need to spend to generate just 100 unique visitors by Google Adwords. Not cheap, I agree, but certainly justifiable.

I guess it is just a good thing that you are not an auto accident attorney, otherwise you’d be spending the equivalent of a Mercedes-Benz to get 200 visitors…”

(FYI, the keyword “his city auto accident attorney” is currently priced at US$269 per click).

The days of internet traffic being cheap are long over. Even I was surprised to see a CPC of US$269, but it was not the highest in his city for attorneys!

As ever, the mantra is that the cost to rank or buy traffic for a keyword is directly related to how monetisable the product or service happens to be.

If he can find someone that is willing and able to rank his site highly for the $200-$300 per month that he is willing to spend, that will be awesome, but I fear he will have a tough job finding that firm or consultant.

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