At face value hourly SEO services may seem like a worthwhile investment.
After all, you know exactly what you’re going to pay for.
Whatever hourly rate you negotiated or accepted before work commenced, is what you’ll pay. Depending on how many hours were worked, you can accurately estimate what your bill will look like.
The peace of mind associated with this system isn’t without merit. But like all things that sound too good to be true, there’s a bit of a catch.
The catch is that often SEO projects can take longer than expected. Further, if you’re buying the services of a respectable SEO expert, the rates can get pretty high.
Expect to pay somewhere between $75 and $150 per hour if you want to avoid hucksters and wannabes. Pro tip: Avoid anyone super cheap on the assumption that they might employ black-hat techniques that can land you a Google penalty.
Accountability and transparency. The time worked will always be logged, so you’ll be able to easily track where your SEO expert or firm is devoting the most energy.
Easier to predict costs. Having a set hourly rate allows you to budget accordingly and control how much you are spending.
Rankings will come slower. It often takes up to 6 months to see noticeable improvements in rankings. While it might be easier to control how much you spend, you’ll still often end up getting less value and paying more per hour than if you had gone with a different pricing model.
Nothing is tied to results. Paying a company by the hour is much like having an employee. They get paid for showing up. Would you rather have your SEO company focused on results or punching the clock?
If you are trying to run your SEO campaign yourself, I would recommend hiring an SEO consultant to validate your work and assist on a touch-and-go basis. They can help ensure you’re making the right decisions from the beginning. The insight and peace of mind will trump the financial investment of paying a consultant for a few hours of their time.