There are several different pricing options to consider. You can pay per click through, which means that if a user clicks through to your site from a link, it can be tracked and then the search engine company will bill you for each click. That way you can be sure to only pay for actual traffic results, although there are no guarantees that the visitors are buying anything. The typical price is around 25 cents per click through, so if the company does their job (and they will) it can get expensive. But it’s also a great way to pay only for exactly what you get – namely traffic.
Another more popular pricing structure is the package deal. These companies can often be more affordable than pay-per-click and they usually provide search engine optimization and maintenance needs in one convenient package. It can sometimes be tricky to break down what a company is offering within a package, but a phone call should clear any confusion up. Be sure and ask if they are working to get you a specific quota of results, or if they are performing set customization tasks to be agreed upon beforehand. As with any contract, the trick is making sure you know exactly what comes with a package for the price. Find out how many phrases and engines. Discuss their plans for creating doorways and customizing sub-pages. If they offer it, be sure to find out what constitutes successful ‘maintenance,’ since a company can’t actually promise to maintain your exact rankings.
Another payment option is the pay per listing service. These search engine companies are working to meet a quota of listings and you pay a certain predetermined price for each ranking; say $100 for a top 10, $75 for a top 20 and $50 for a top 30. Ceilings are usually built in on these deals because the search engine company lets you choose a set contract price not to be exceeded regardless of results. Then it is their problem to make sure your site listings match the pre- determined contract price quota. If for some reason the company can’t deliver, they usually guarantee a refund. Customization on these types of contracts can often be more personalized because the SEO company will do research to determine how much customization will be needed to yield the results your contract price demands. Duration of these contracts, and all the contracts, is usually 2-3 months, which is the ideal time frame for good results.
The following is a question check list for all search engine marketing companies:
– How many and which engines do you target?
-Does it cost more for directories like Yahoo and Open Directory?
-How many phrases come with the contract?
-What do you consider a key phrase? Do you work with case sensitive phrases?
-Do you research phrases?
-Exactly what phrases will the site be customized towards?
-Will you be customizing sub-pages and/or making doorways?
-Does your company have design experience?
-What are the specifics of the maintenance contract?
-Where will you store the pages you create? Can I keep them on my server?
Important: Ask a company about their policy on cloaking pages and creating doorway pages. Both services are falling under new suspicion by the engines, so you want to be sure the company understands the risks involved and the delicacy of using these techniques. A good company will be informed about the trends and will have a policy on these issues.
Just remember to do research when choosing a search engine marketing company. Most are reputable and many will work with you to provide exactly what you need and want for your site.