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  • April 30, 2017
  • SEO

Local searches with “best” show results with 4.0+ review rating

If you add the keyword “best” to your local business search in Google, it will only return businesses with a 4.0+ rating. This verifies that Google uses review scores in their ranking algorithm for local businesses, at least for certain vertical. I haven’t seen the same ranking behavior by Google for searches like “best pharmacy“. In fact, they even omit reviews altogether. Perhaps because reviews are less relevant for those business verticals. Or, Google could simply be testing new local SEO experience features. Regardless, but it’s interesting to see this type of development. It confirms their strategy to adapt to an increasingly mobile-local world.

bestpizza pizza


  • October 24, 2016
  • SEO

How to Force 301 WordPress Redirects when Switching from HTTP to HTTPS

Switching your WordPress site from HTTP to HTTPS by installing an SSL certificate can seem daunting. Once you follow the instructions, it isn’t so bad. One frustration I encountered after installing many SSL certificates using WordPress was the 302 redirect it defaults to when forcing an HTTPS in .htaccess. I couldn’t find the right code until I stumbled upon the right trick.

Place this .htaccess code at the very top line of the file in order to force WordPress to 301 redirect to HTTPS:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} !=on [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [R=301,L]

SEO Consultant Rates

Being in the field since 2004, I have insight into to what the average SEO Consultant rate is in the 2016 market. If you are a small to medium size business, you can expect the average rate to pay an experienced SEO Consultant between $28 and $55 per hour, depending on the market.

SEO Consultant Fees and Rates

Most SEO Consultants rates are flat fees ranging from $100 to $7,500 per month. It depends on the type of website you have: small business all the way up to enterprise-level SEO. Consultants are typically compensated based on a predetermined amount of hours agreed between the SEO consultant and the business owner. Sometimes consultant fees can get very high if you’re using an out-of-date, or otherwise unfamiliar website management system. What if you have an old website from 2001 with 1,000 individual HTML files that the consultant would need to individually optimize? Your rate will ultimately depend on the amount of resources (hours) the consultant needs to accomplish your goals and complete the project. Keep this in mind when looking for a fair consultant rate on the open market (tip: WordPress is a very easy website management platform for SEO consultants to use, and most are familiar with it – so if you have a WordPress website, you can get a good SEO consultant for about $500/month).

Credit: Forbe's
Credit: Forbe’s

SEO Firm Fees and Rates

Forbes has their own results of what an SEO costs, but they focus on retainers. Retainers are meant for business owners who want an on-going SEO campaign (e.g. a content strategy for their blog, an on-going SEO improvement campaign, link/citation building, etc). They tier them out based on project difficult and volume:

Retainer Rates

  • $250-$500 per month for small businesses in a limited geographic area.
  • $700-$1,500 for larger population areas like metropolitan areas (Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, etc.)
  • $2,000-$6,000 per month if you’re a regional brand or even a national brand selling a niche product with little competition, you can expect $2,000/month.

“The more mainstream the product, the more you’ll have to pay to rise above your competitors.”

  • $10,000+ per month for national or international SEO campaigns not focused on a niche audience. You get what you pay for at the end of the day and if you’re willing to spend $10,000 is resources to fund your SEO campaign, you can expect quality content if you find the right firm or consultant. You need to pay for a quality SEO strategy.

Hourly Rates

SEO firms between $76-$200/hr. In my personal experience working with agencies and firms, $150 per hour is average for a firm.

SEO Consultants versus SEO firms/agencies

SEO Firms are corporate entities looking to make a profit. SEO Consultants are also looking to earn a profit, but coupled with trying to earn a living. I believe it is important for people to realize that you really get more out of a personal, individual SEO Consultant versus a stale, profit-driven SEO corporation. It comes down to quality, and I believe consultants have more of a drive to provide quality service to clients over firms or agencies.

SEO firms are sometimes even restricted from putting forth their best effort when optimizing your website. Firms use a business model focused on client hours, revenue and profitability. If you only pay $1,000/month to the firm, you only get X amount of hours from their worker drones. Firms limit your capabilities to achieve critical mass in your SEO campaign. SEO consultants have the incentive to make you #1 in the search results because they want the accolade to prove to future clients that they are successful.

US Mobile Search Market Share for Google, Yahoo & Bing

US Mobile Search Market Share for Google, Yahoo and Bing
Source: StatCounter (August, 2014)
  • September 10, 2014
  • SEO

Google’s Sense of Humor: “Recursion”

One of my friends updated his Facebook status and stated “To understand recursion, first you have to understand recursion”. Recursion is simply a repeated process, it’s used a lot in mathematics and sorting algorithms. Google’s engineers are definitely familiar with this term, so it doesn’t surprise me to see that they injected a little humor into the search results for the term “recursion”.

Recursion Google search result