The real cost of SEO services
Hiring a professional SEO service provider can be expensive, but the actual cost of SEO goes far beyond what you pay to get your website to rank on SERPs.

the naked truth

So you’ve been wondering, “what’s the real cost of SEO services”? Well, to answer this fundamental question, let’s start right at the very beginning. Because as Julie Andrews would say, it’s always a perfect place to start.

As you may or may not know, SEO is the acronym for Search engine optimisation. Without going into too much detail here, it’s becoming a teacher’s pet to big old Google. It’s easy to forget that Google is also a business that delivers services and products to its clients. Today, Google serves up about 5 billion search results every day. Moreover, it has such global domination in the search engine market that very few people even know (or remember) who its competitors are. But just like any company, it too started small and had to fight fierce competition to get where it is today. 

So what is Google’s core business? What is its mission in life? Right from the horse’s mouth, the answer is: Our company mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and helpful.

Google is like the wisest of wise old owls. Its users come to sit at its feet by the billions every day to ask its advice on how to solve their problems, or where to find the best mountain bike, or how to get to the closest Krispy Kreme outlet. It became the best at doing this by consistently delivering accurate results to its users over the last two decades. And suppose you want to be one of the companies that it recommends in its next search result as the best possible solution to someone’s dilemma. In that case, you have to make sure it sees you as a quality company, delivering a quality product via a quality website. 


Now, I’m not going to lie to you. Becoming one of Google’s favourites is not easy. It doesn’t happen quickly. And unfortunately, it does not come cheaply. And if you sit still and think about it for a minute, it’s not too hard to understand why.

When you search on Google, it spits out many thousands of results in a split-second. This means it searches its memory banks, decides what would be appropriate responses to your query, and organises them from “best to worst”. All this within the blink of an eye. Of course, everyone gets a fair shot to feature in the search results. Interestingly, your website and company might be featuring in a lot of searches already. The problem is, you may be featured on page 53 somewhere. Needless to say, nobody is going to scroll to page 53 and click on the link to your site. If you want to make sure you get visitors through to your website, which will ultimately become a paying client of yours, you need to aim for page one. And preferably the first 3 results on it! And every single competitor in your industry around the globe is fighting to do the same.

So how now, brown cow? How do we get you to that elusive first page?

Hold your horses, that’s how

Every year, thousands of people partake in some form of a sporting event. To some of us, it’s just a fun day out which may involve some measure of friendly competition among our mates. To an elite few, it’s their livelihood. And at the end of the day, everyone is competing for the top 3 spots. Gold. Silver. Bronze. That’s it! Now, if you were a professional athlete, and your livelihood and that of your family depended on it, you would be out there day after day, honing your skills and making sure you were the best you could be. Because you know that all your rivals are out there doing the same! And there are only three tops spots up for grabs.

The same thing applies to SEO. In the digital age that we live in, you really do not have a choice anymore. At some point, you have to take your business online. And once it’s online, you have to market it to make sure your potential customers find it. If you are a business owner with a website, I want you to pause and think about this for a few moments. How many visitors did your website play host to last month? Is your web traffic trending up or down? What steps are you taking to stay ahead of the competition? If your livelihood and that of your family depended on it (which it literally does), would you be doing anything differently?


Well, like anything else in life, you get what you pay for. Many SEO agencies are doing the rounds promising the sun, moon and the entire SEO Milkyway to their clients in no time flat. My advice to you is to use your head and some good old-fashioned common sense. As always, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Hourly rates for SEO specialists range wildly and will set you back anything from around R250 per hour all the way up to around R800 per hour. The world of SEO is very complex. It has a mountain of different factors and variables to consider and balance out and fine-tune. Of course, the more resources you throw at this little project, the faster and better your results will be. But realistically speaking, you should be looking at investing a good R5000 per month as a starting minimum into getting your website’s SEO off the ground.

When it comes to the cost of SEO services and whether or not you should consider SEO for your website and business, my answer is simple: Definitely! In my (perhaps ever so slightly biased) opinion, it’s a no-brainer. Once you make peace with that fact, the really vital question becomes, “who am I going to trust with my website’s SEO”. And that, my dear reader friend, will require a little bit of homework on your end to empower you to make a good decision.

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