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Hourly rates for SEO (search engine optimization) and Web development are confusing. As a Web developer and SEO, I am very often asked to produce a Website development quote, without the client giving all of the facts. The most important thing to remember is that there is no apples-to-apples comparison.
Website Development Hourly Rates
When you compare the hourly rates of two different Website developers or SEOs, you are really only looking at a fraction of the picture. If “Web Developer A” charges $85 per hour, and “Web Developer B” charges $150 per hour, which one is a better deal? There is a missing variable in how much and how well either of them can produce the results. If “Web Developer B” has a decade of experience and can finish the same task in half of the time, “Web Developer A’s” hourly rate just became $170 per hour ($85*2).
Another strong factor is that although there are standards for Web programming, there are many “correct” ways to produce a project, and usually the “correctness” will come in different degrees. This requires a question of how correct you want it. Two Web developers will likely never produce the exact same results. Thus, the comparison of hourly rates is already flawed.
SEO Hourly Rates
When it comes to SEO, many of the tasks are even less defined than Web development. Determining the best SEO between “SEO A” and “SEO B” it is like comparing two brains, which stumps even the most brilliant Neurosurgeons. There are many skills that we share, but there are also many varying opinions on the best practices. There is only one number one position in each search engine for a given keyword or keyword phrase. That is the goal of the SEO, but the methods used to get there often vary greatly between SEOs.
Reduce Hourly Rate Confusion
Perhaps the most challenging and confusing thing about shopping for Website development or SEO is how much a Website should cost. As I have strongly suggested before, it is best to set a budget. Here is a clip from another of my blog posts:
“Hiding your expected budget is like going to a realtor and saying that you want to buy a house and hiding your budget. If they do not know your budget, they can show you homes all day but you will both be spinning your wheels and never get anywhere.”
When a Web developer or SEO provides a proposal based on only a portion of the client’s objectives, they will always be wrong. I can appreciate the notion of “shopping around”, but to shop without a budget serves nobody at all, and may land you with “Web Developer A” who can potentially cost you more. When it comes to shopping for SEO services, the largest cost is often in the cost of lost opportunities.
Getting the Right Cost Quote
I have produced quotes to shoppers who simply refused to give me the whole picture, only to have them compliment me greatly but say that they believe I am “out of their league”. The fact is that I write quotes ranging from a few thousand dollars on up to many tens of thousands of dollars. It is always based on the information I am given. No two companies place the same importance on Internet marketing, thus, their needs and expectations of both performance and cost will always be different. Without clarifying the needs and expectations for both parties, nobody wins.
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