Search engine optimization (SEO) is the pillar of a successful marketing strategy. While it’s not as costly as paid search marketing, SEO still warrants an investment. SEO tactics require a comprehensive and continuous approach.

You don’t need to make a large upfront investment to achieve excellent SEO results. However, you have to be ready to continue employing SEO strategies throughout the entire marketing campaign. As soon as you stop investing time and effort into search engine optimization, it will stop bringing efficient results.

While search engine optimization doesn’t require substantial investments, it has a high ROI (Return on Investment).

Each SEO company sets its own rates for search engine optimization efforts. The price often depends on the state of your current marketing campaign, the condition of your website, and your marketing goals.

While it’s hard to set a price tag on SEO efforts, it’s possible to identify what goes into pricing SEO and how it can relate to your company.

Let’s take a closer look at how much SEO costs and what the prices depend on.

Average Prices for SEO Services

It’s important to understand that average SEO prices don’t exist. Each SEO agency determines its own pricing plan and sets appropriate rates. It’s up to the client to determine whether they are ready to pay the price an SEO company requests.

You can compare SEO prices when choosing a company. However, you are unlikely to find serious fluctuations. Anything that is too cheap or too expensive isn’t likely to be worth your while.

Cheap SEO vs Expensive SEO Services

New SEO agencies on the market are likely to charge low rates. However, the lack of experience could lead to poor marketing results or worse, Google penalties. SEO companies that demand excessive prices for SEO are unlikely to give you anything unique.

General SEO tactics are similar for all businesses regardless of the industry. It’s up to the SEO agency to combine the available tactics in a creative manner in order to help your business stay ahead of the competition.

A company with experience can do it without charging excessive rates. A company without experience can do it as well. However, it’s likely to take much longer.

Pro tip: In SEO, expensive doesn’t mean great while cheap usually means slow and ineffective. In the worst case, suspiciously low rates may mean that the company is using black hat SEO tactics.

What Does SEO Pricing Depend On?

SEO companies provide a variety of services to help your business appear on top spots of the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). The cost of their services may depend on the following factors.

Number of Webpages

The more webpages your website has, the more work an SEO expert needs to do to ensure their optimization. This includes anything from keyword research to link building and from website design to technical SEO.

Even if you have a few pages on your website, the SEO specialist may recommend adding more in order to increase your chances to outrun the competition on the SERPs.

To make sure that metadata, design, content, and technical issues are in line with search engine requirements, experts need to invest a formidable effort into your website. Each page adds new work.

The Condition of Your Website

Have you been working on SEO from the moment you decided to create your website? Or has the website been online for some time before you realized that you need SEO services? The initial condition of your website dictates how much time, effort, and money you need to spend to get it into top shape.

Once the website is updated according to SEO requirements, the company will charge a certain amount every month to ensure continuous results.

An experienced company will run an SEO audit to determine what needs to be done to optimize your current resources. Once SEO audit results are in, the expert will tell you how much needs to be invested into SEO efforts.

Pricing Models

Each company can have its own pricing model. Some may charge monthly, others request payments by the project. You can also find a company that has a list of tasks for which it charges per hour.

Eventually, you’ll be paying approximately the same amount regardless of the pricing model. However, while doing your research, you can compare the pricing models of several companies to see which one suits you best.

Link Building

Link building is an integral part of a successful SEO campaign. Acquiring high-quality backlinks is the number one priority of all SEO companies. Building links is a time-consuming and somewhat tedious process. However, it’s an absolute must-have for building authority and appealing to search engine crawlers.

To get the desired top spots on the SERPs, you need high-quality links pointing back to your website. To do it, an SEO expert employs a variety of tactics, including:

·         Writing guest posts

·         Sharing high-quality content

·         Promoting to industry leaders and influences

·         And much more

Each part of the link building process requires time, effort, and money investment, which reflects on the SEO cost.

Current Rankings

Which rankings does your website currently have? If it’s somewhere on the 20th page of Google search, you need to invest more money into getting it to the first one. Accordingly, you can expect SEO efforts to cost more

Local SEO

Unless you are an e-commerce company, your geographical location can have a substantial impact on SEO costs. Local SEO pricing depends on the competition volume and the number of a brick-and-mortar location.

To make sure you achieve excellent results with local SEO, you need to find a company that specializes in it. You may want to consider opting for an agency that has some experience in your geographical area. Such a company knows which influencers to contact with and how to make local nuances work for your company without hurting its budget.

Local SEO efforts are generally less expensive than worldwide or national SEO since the competition is much less fierce. However, it involves additional tactics like local link building, business listing optimization, and more.

Google Penalties

If your website has existing Google penalties, expect the cost of SEO to be higher. Dealing with penalties requires a special approach that can take a formidable amount of time. You can expect to pay more in order to deal with penalties than you would for traditional SEO efforts.

Business Goals

Your entire marketing strategy depends on your business goals, and SEO isn’t an exception. SEO package offered by agencies may depend on which goals you want to achieve with your marketing campaign.

When speaking with an SEO consultant, you’ll describe your business goals and how they align with your marketing goals. This information can help with SEO pricing for your company.

SEO services may vary depending on your goals and so can the costs.


What Are SEO Pricing Models?

Different industries require different SEO strategies. That’s why packages and pricing models can vary. Choosing the right pricing model for your needs can help you save money on SEO efforts without affecting their efficiency.

Hourly Rates

Many freelance experts, consultants, and small agencies charge per hour for their SEO services. Some of them may have monthly fees but charge per hour for additional projects or services like keyword research, SEO audits, and content writing.

Hourly SEO pricing may differ from $20 to $250 per hour and beyond depending on how difficult the project is as well as on the specialist’s reputation and experience.

Hourly pricing is often highly convenient for smaller projects. If you don’t need experts to work out the entire strategy but want to get specific short-term services, hourly rates work the best for your budget.

Project-Based Rates

If you don’t need the company to maintain your SEO for months, you can pay per project. Project-based models work the best for your budget if you need specific help for certain tasks. The examples of such a projects are:

·         Technical audits

·         Google penalty recovery

·         Website revamps

·         Google My Business optimization

The price per project may vary from $500 to $5,000 and beyond depending on the project difficulty. Many agencies with excellent reputations tend to charge thousands of dollars for small projects. However, it doesn’t mean that an average agency can’t handle it. When a company offers a “per project” pricing model for its SEO services, consider shopping around to get an idea of average costs.

Monthly Retainers

Many companies offer their SEO services for a monthly fee. You can expect to pay a certain amount on a monthly basis for a certain package of services. Monthly SEO packages can contain a variety of services from keyword research and link building to technical SEO and website design.

Companies offer their clients a variety of packages. A monthly retainer model can help you stick to your budget while getting the needed variety of services. If you need extra services, the company may offer them for an extra charge.

You can often choose the number of services included in the monthly package. Some may be ready to create a custom package for the client.

A monthly retainer fee can range from $500 to $5,000 and beyond. Experienced companies charge higher fees.


Business Size and Type

SEO pricing can also depend on what type of business you are in. An SEO company may offer different packages for different business types.

Enterprise SEO can be drastically different from small business SEO. The sheer volume of work that must be done to achieve specific business and marketing goals may require higher investment.

For example, content marketing efforts for an enterprise may involve writing a large volume of content. Meanwhile, a small business can achieve its goals with a limited number of articles, blogs, and social media posts.

B2B and B2C SEO can vary as well. A respectable company will offer a set of services to match an SEO plan according to the business size and type to suit your SEO campaign budget.

SEO Pricing: Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few questions clients ask about pricing.

Q: Is SEO worth the money?

A: Regardless of the size of your marketing budget, you need to factor in search engine optimization costs. While SEO doesn’t provide immediate results, it works behind the scenes to help with lead generation, brand awareness, conversions, and retention. Each dollar you invest in SEO goes toward your company’s profitability. This marketing tactic has a high ROI.

Q: How much is SEO per month?

A: The monthly cost of SEO depends on many factors including your business size, type, and location, business goals, pricing model, and much more. On average, you can expect to pay between $500 and $5,000 per month. Anything lower could be a red flag. Companies that charge low prices for SEO usually don’t have sufficient experience to make it work the way you expect.

Q: Is SEO free of cost?

A: While SEO is less expensive than paid search marketing, it’s not free. It’s possible to employ certain SEO tactics without involving an agency. However, such an approach will require a formidable amount of time and effort on your part. With many free SEO tools available online, you can start an SEO campaign at any time.


The Takeaway

So how much does SEO cost? The cost depends on many factors that vary from the type of your business to the condition of your website. When shopping for an SEO company, you need to consider its experience in your industry. An experienced agency may charge more than new players on the market. However, it’s more likely to provide the expected results.

SEO cost can vary on what type of services you need. Many companies allow you to choose a SEO package that suits your need the best. It’s always possible to find a reliable company that can offer you high-quality services without charging a fortune for them.

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