SEO pricing, on average, costs $75 to $150 per hour.
For monthly SEO services, you may pay $500 all the way up to $8,000 or more. It all depends on the expertise of the SEO professional you hire and the scope of work to be done.
We know that investing in SEO can lead to higher rankings, increased organic traffic, and more customers.
As prices vary so widely when it comes to SEO costs, it's wise to consider industry expertise and the average SEO pricing model.
Is SEO really worth the price, and how should you budget?
SEO pricing based on available data
Outsourcing SEO is a common practice for many businesses. SEO is a complex and time-consuming task, so businesses often turn to external experts to handle it effectively.
The most common SEO services that companies use include:
- Keyword research
- On-page optimization
- Link building
- Content creation
- Technical SEO
Outsourcing these services can help improve a website's visibility, rankings, and organic traffic quicker than doing it in-house.
But you may still ask, How much does SEO cost?
- The average SEO freelancer charges between $75 and $150 per hour.
- The average SEO agency charges between $100 and $200 per hour.
- The average business pays between $500 and $5000 per month for SEO services. This can vary greatly depending on the size of the business, the complexity of the website, and the competitiveness of the industry.
SEO budgets can vary significantly.
Small businesses may spend a few hundred dollars per month, while larger businesses may spend several thousand dollars per month.
On average, businesses might spend between 5% and 10% of their total marketing budget on SEO.
It depends on factors such as the size of the business, the complexity of the website, and the competitiveness of the industry.
These are average figures you can use as a general guideline when considering SEO pricing. It's important to keep in mind that each business's needs and goals are unique, and pricing can vary based on specific requirements.
The cost of SEO services
When it comes to SEO pricing, there are several factors to consider that can influence the cost of SEO services.
One of the primary factors is the experience and location of the SEO service provider.
An SEO agency or consultant with a proven track record and extensive experience in the field often charges higher fees.
They have the knowledge, expertise, and connections to develop effective strategies tailored to a business's specific needs.
This can yield better results than an inexperienced freelancer with lower SEO prices.
Additionally, SEO costs can vary depending on the location of the provider, as prices tend to be higher in areas with a higher cost of living.
Services in Asia, for example, tend to be lower than in the United States.
The size of the business and the project scope are also important factors. Larger businesses usually have more complex SEO needs, requiring more extensive research, analysis, and optimization.
This can result in higher costs compared to smaller businesses with simpler requirements.
Similarly, a project’s scope, such as targeting a single website versus multiple websites or targeting many languages, can impact the price of SEO.
The competitiveness of the niche is another factor influencing the cost.
If your business operates in a highly competitive industry where many other businesses are vying for the same keywords, it may need more effort and resources to achieve the desired rankings.
As a result, SEO services for competitive keywords might come at a higher cost.
Services and service providers
The services included in an SEO package also play a role in determining the price. Some providers offer comprehensive packages that include:
- Website audits
- Keyword research
- On-page optimization
- Link building
- Content creation
- Ongoing monitoring
- Others may offer a la carte services, allowing businesses to choose specific components they need. Naturally, more comprehensive packages will have higher costs.
Furthermore, the type of SEO provider chosen can influence the pricing. SEO agencies typically have larger teams and offer a wide range of services.
And they tend to have higher fees due to their overhead costs.
SEO consultants, who work independently or with smaller teams, may charge lower fees.
Freelancers, who often work on a project-by-project basis, may have more affordable rates. But they may not have the same level of resources or expertise as SEO agencies or consultants.
Custom vs templated SEO packages
It's essential to understand the importance of custom SEO strategies over templated SEO packages. Some providers offer pre-packaged SEO solutions at lower prices, but these may not deliver the best results for every business.
Every business has unique goals, target audiences, and competitive landscapes.
Customized strategies tailored to specific needs and circumstances are more likely to yield long-term success. And a higher return on investment.
SEO pricing models
SEO companies typically offer different pricing structures to cover SEO costs. The most common are hourly rates, monthly retainers, and project-based rates.
Let’s take a closer look at these SEO pricing models.
Hourly rates for SEO services
Hourly rates in the SEO industry are popular due to their transparent billing and flexibility. Clients appreciate the straightforward SEO cost breakdown based on actual time spent.
Also, hourly rates allow SEO professionals to adapt to project-specific needs.
And clients gain better budget control by knowing task allocation.
This pricing model aligns well with the ongoing nature of SEO work. It involves continuous monitoring, analysis, and optimization.
Charging hourly enables SEO professionals to account for efforts in tasks like keyword research, content optimization, link building, and performance tracking.
You can expect to pay between $75 and $150 per hour for SEO services.
But this will vary based on professional experience, expertise, and region.
Developing nations usually have the lowest rates, but SEOs may not always have the necessary expertise and knowledge.
- The average SEO freelancer charges between $75 and $150 per hour. Freelancers can provide customized SEO solutions based on their clients' needs.
- Consultant rates, on average, range from $100 to $150 per hour. Consultants are seen as SEO experts and can sometimes charge much more, especially if they have a proven track record.
- An SEO agency charges between $100 and $200 per hour on average.
Examples of hourly SEO services
- Website audit. A comprehensive analysis of the website to identify technical issues, on-page optimization opportunities, and site performance.
- Keyword research. Extensive research to identify relevant and high-performing keywords for the niche, target audience, and your specific goals.
- On-page optimization. Implementing SEO best practices, including optimizing meta tags, headers, URLs, and content for targeted keywords.
- Technical SEO. Resolving technical issues that affect the website's performance, such as improving site speed, fixing broken links, optimizing mobile responsiveness, and implementing structured data markup.
- Monitoring and reporting. Regularly tracking the website's performance using analytics tools, generating reports, and providing insights on key metrics like organic traffic, keyword rankings, and conversion rates.
- Ongoing optimization. Continuously monitoring and fine-tuning the SEO strategy based on performance data, algorithm updates, and industry trends.
The number of hours allocated to each service will depend on the project's size, complexity, and specific goals.
It's worth noting, though, that hourly rates may not be suitable for every situation. Fixed project-based fees or monthly retainers provide more predictability and stability in budgeting.
If you have a clear understanding of your SEO needs and goals, you may find it more cost-effective to negotiate a fixed fee or a retainer for ongoing services.
Monthly retainer rates for SEO services
Many SEO companies and professionals offer monthly retainer agreements as a popular pricing structure.
This approach involves clients paying a fixed monthly fee for ongoing SEO services.
Monthly retainers provide certainty for both parties involved. They allow clients to budget their expenses and ensure a consistent revenue stream for SEO providers.
This pricing model is particularly suitable for clients looking for continuous SEO support.
It often covers a range of services, such as website optimization, content creation, link building, monitoring, and reporting.
A monthly retainer offers long-term collaboration and a dedicated focus on achieving and maintaining SEO goals.
Although SEO pricing varies considerably, the most common monthly retainer cost is between $500 and $1,000.
- For freelancers, the average monthly charge is $1,000.
- Consultants earn an average of $3,250 per month.
- SEO agencies charge an average of $3,200 per month.
Example of a monthly SEO retainer
This example reflects monthly SEO services to be performed after the initial SEO audit and agreed content goals.
- On-page optimization: Implementing on-page SEO techniques such as optimizing meta tags, headers, URLs, and content to improve keyword relevancy and organic visibility.
- Keyword research and analysis: Updating the list of identified keywords.
- Content creation, updates, and optimization: Developing high-quality, SEO-optimized website content.
- Link building and outreach: Building a robust backlink profile through strategic link-building efforts. This includes guest posting, content promotion, and outreach to authoritative websites within the industry.
- Ongoing SEO maintenance and monitoring: Regularly monitoring the website's performance, tracking keyword rankings, analyzing traffic trends, and making necessary adjustments to the SEO plan to maximize results.
- Monthly reporting and analysis: Generating comprehensive reports to provide insights into SEO performance, including organic traffic growth, keyword rankings, and conversions.
- Consultation and client communication: Regular meetings or communication to discuss strategy updates, address your queries, and review recommendations for further optimization opportunities.
Project rates for SEO services
This pricing model provides clients with a clear understanding of the total SEO cost for a defined scope of work, making budgeting easier.
Per-project rates are commonly used in the SEO industry and are particularly suitable for one-time SEO projects. These could be website launches, site migrations, or comprehensive SEO audits.
It allows both parties to establish clear expectations and deliverables upfront.
This fosters efficient project management and ensures clients receive the desired outcomes within a predetermined budget.
So how much SEO cost for a short project?
$2,500 to $5,000 is the most common range for project-based SEO rates. But this fee can be much higher, depending on the type and scope of the project and the expertise of the SEO provider.
- Freelancers typically charge $2,500 per project.
- Consultancies, on average, charge $8,500.
- SEO agencies charge, on average, $9,500.
Example of SEO project plan to increase domain rating (DR)
DR is a relative rating of a site’s backlink profile strength. It depends on the number of high-ranking sites that link to your website.
- Backlink SEO audit: Analyzing the existing backlink profile to identify low-quality or toxic links that may be impacting the website's DR. Developing a plan to disavow or remove such links.
- Link-building strategy: Creating a strategic plan to get high-quality backlinks from authoritative and relevant websites through outreach, guest posting, influencer partnerships, or content collaboration.
- Outreach and relationship building: Conducting outreach campaigns to engage with industry influencers, bloggers, and webmasters to promote content and acquire valuable backlinks.
- Monitoring and reporting: Setting up tracking tools to monitor changes in DR, tracking backlink acquisition progress, and generating reports to measure the effectiveness of the project in increasing domain authority.
- Consultation and review: Regular communication to discuss project progress, provide updates, address client queries, and make adjustments to the SEO strategy as necessary.
Customized SEO pricing
Customized SEO pricing with a focus on specialized areas like local SEO or eCommerce SEO requires different skills and strategies to improve a website's visibility and performance in search engines.
As a result, businesses often find it beneficial to seek out specialized agencies or experts who have experience in these areas.
Or they opt for customized SEO packages tailored to their specific requirements.
These customized packages may include a comprehensive scope of work outlining the specific tasks and deliverables.
This approach ensures that you receive the necessary expertise and attention to maximize your online visibility and drive relevant traffic.
Local SEO is a crucial SEO strategy for businesses that primarily target customers within a specific geographic area.
It involves local SEO campaigns to appear prominently in nearby search results and on platforms like Google My Business.
This requires a deep understanding of local search algorithms using factors like proximity, relevance, and prominence.
A specialized SEO agency or expert in local SEO can help businesses optimize their online presence to attract local customers. Average SEO costs for Local SEO tend to be lower because the clientele are usually small businesses that don't require a long term partnership.
For example, they may focus on optimizing a business's Google My Business (GMB) profile, managing GMB reviews, ensuring accurate business information, and implementing local citation strategies.
E-commerce SEO services
Ecommerce SEO services cater to businesses that operate in the online retail space.
It involves optimizing an eCommerce website to rank well in search results and drive organic traffic that converts into sales.
Ecommerce SEO requires expertise in areas like product optimization, site structure, user experience, mobile responsiveness, and technical SEO.
A specialized agency or expert in eCommerce SEO can provide a tailored strategy that addresses the unique challenges and opportunities of online retail.
SEO pricing for ecommerce companies can look vastly different, especially because of the large amount of pages and required technical SEO expertise.
They may focus on the following:
- Optimizing product descriptions
- Implementing schema markup for rich snippets
- Streamlining the checkout process
- Utilizing programmatic SEO techniques
Is SEO worth the cost?
Yes. Search engine optimization is definitely worth the cost when it comes to enhancing your online presence on search engine results pages.
But SEO is not a one-off effort. It requires a long term commitment to a sound SEO plan because SEO results can take three to six months to see improvements, if not longer for bigger changes.
Determining if the SEO cost is worth the investment depends on various factors.
Consider the value of organic traffic. It tends to be more sustainable and cost-effective compared to paid advertising.
SEO can drive targeted organic traffic to your website, resulting in a higher likelihood of conversions.
Evaluate the number of leads or sales generated through SEO. If you can track and measure the impact of SEO on your business's bottom line, it becomes easier to assess the value it provides.
Keep in mind that SEO is a long-term investment, and the results may take time to materialize.
Calculating SEO ROI is a practical approach to evaluating if SEO is worth the investment. The formula is simple.
SEO ROI = (value of organic conversions - cost of SEO investments) divided by the cost of SEO investments
In other words, divide your SEO profit by the associated SEO costs.
Here is an Organic Search ROI Opportunity Calculator, which could help you understand the impact of gaining a two-position improvement on page one of Google.
When choosing an SEO company, consider their proven results, client reviews, and SEO strategies. Ensure they use white-hat techniques and are transparent about their approach.
The size of the agency matters; smaller ones may offer personalized service but may not meet all needs, while larger ones can handle big projects but may lack personalization.
Understand your involvement, pricing, and what tasks are included in the proposal.
Have realistic expectations, as SEO takes time, and agree on tracking metrics that align with your business goals.
Investing in SEO may appear expensive at first, but it proves to be highly cost-effective in the long run. Unlike paid advertising, which requires constant investment, SEO delivers continuous results even after the initial optimization efforts.
- SEO cost can vary based on the provider's experience and location, business size, project scope, the competitiveness of the keywords targeted, services included, and the type of SEO provider chosen.
- It's crucial to assess your business's needs, goals, and budget while considering the value and expertise different providers offer. Investing in a custom SEO package that addresses your specific needs can lead to more effective and sustainable results in the long run.
- Specialized areas of SEO, like local SEO and eCommerce SEO, require a different skill set and approach. Seeking out specialized agencies or experts, or opting for customized SEO packages, can provide you with the specific expertise and strategies needed to succeed.
- Whether it's managing GMB reviews for local SEO or utilizing programmatic SEO techniques for eCommerce, businesses can benefit from the tailored solutions and focused attention offered by professionals who understand these specialized areas.
- While SEO may involve costs, it is worth the investment when approached strategically. It offers continuous results, improves conversions, and targets users throughout the sales funnel.
- By understanding your business goals, selecting a reputable SEO company, and considering the long-term benefits, you can make an informed decision about allocating resources to SEO.
- SEO costs may vary widely depending on the scale and complexity of your website. The long-term benefits of sound SEO far outweigh the initial investment.
- SEO helps establish credibility, builds brand awareness, and generates a steady stream of targeted traffic. It is an essential element of any successful online marketing strategy.
We started off by asking how much does SEO cost. I hope you have a better idea of average SEO pricing now so that you can prepare a budget that will sustain your business needs.
We recommend you consult with SEO professionals to get a more accurate estimate tailored to your business's particular circumstances. In SEO pricing, as with much in life, you generally get what you pay for.
One last word of caution: bad or black-hat SEO can seriously harm your online presence - you do not want to get penalized by Google! Make sure that you only deal with ethical providers who use white-hat practices.