I already have a web guy/gal... Good SEO is a specialty. In this day and age, the average website designer or developer has basic understanding of SEO, but not the in depth knowledge and experience an expert has to position your website. It's somewhat like a family practice physician who has great general knowledge of the heart, but to truly go to work on heart specific issues, you're in better hands with a cardiologist who works with your family practice doctor. (If pressed, a client can see their web guy's SEO prowess by the position of their website in the Search Engine Results Page for money keywords.)
I've been burned by SEO before We see this all the time. Frankly it breaks our hearts, because we know without a shadow of a doubt what good solid diligent reputable SEO can do for the growth of a company. Cheap, fast SEO done by people who blindly buy cheap unsafe links will get websites penalized, de-ranked or de-indexed by Google in a hurry. Our methods are both the best in class and we stand by our PERFECT track record. We have never had a site penalized by Google, except our crash test dummy sites, where we deliberately overoptimize and push the envelopes to see where the boundaries and tolerances actually are. We do, in fact, have a specialty in website recovery for those that have been damaged by spam, hackers or bad SEO
SEO is super expensive Any time a business decides that it wants to grow to the next step, resources are required. In the case of SEO, the only way it will be deemed expensive relative to the return on investment it generates, is if the website and in house conversion efforts are also not on par with the growth. Our job is to place businesses where the customers are looking so to generate traffic. Their job is to convert that traffic into clientele and profit. If these two things are working in tandem, the Return on Investment for the long term free traffic generated with positioning and online asset-building from good foundational SEO is arguably much higher than any other single form of advertisement or infrastructure growth.
How Much Does It Cost? Because each business, each goal and each market is unique, there isn't a one size fits all rule for pricing SEO. We base our rates on a metric of Keyword Difficulty, because we know by the numbers the resources that it will take to rank a company for a particular keyword. We call it the "weight of the move". If you consider the ranking positions as being like digital real estate, it's more easily understood that to want to move into a huge house in the most popular and expensive neighborhood nationally, the competition is going to be higher and it's going to take more resource than moving into a smaller more quaint local niche neighborhood. For instance, ranking for Chicago SEO is going to take more resource and effort than ranking for "Beaverton Plumber". So we offer rates only after analyzing the potential client's website, their market and the keywords they want to go after. Again, built into our rates is the knowledge that we frame ourselves from the beginning to over deliver, and generate massive goodwill during the process.