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How much does SEO Cost?
(Last Updated On: February 10, 2018)

How much does SEO cost?

Every site needs SEO, but the question is, how much does SEO cost and who do I trust with the SEO of my website? In today’s market, it is important to know SEO pricing before you trust an agency with your website.  The cost of SEO is related to the potential rewards. The SEO cost for ranking highly prized keyword is different from the SEO cost of ranking a keyword in a city, county, town or state because competition for each keyword will influence how difficult this will be.

In this article, you will learn the cost of SEO, how to set your expectations, how to get affordable SEO services and learn the price ranges you should expect for the SEO of your site.

SEO is a set of globally adopted online marketing techniques used to increase brand awareness, promote your organization in the search results and build targeted traffic. Businesses interested in scaling their sales of products and services need to find their way to the top of search results in Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.

While good SEO has a lot of benefits, the cost of SEO can vary significantly based on your company’s goal and the type of strategy being employed. No matter your budget, the cost of SEO should be seen as an investment because with any investment in your business, you should be concerned about getting the best possible r

Whether you are a small business owner, local business owner, or even a nationwide business owner, I hope this article will help you choose the right SEO budget, SEO service provider and achieve your goals.

What is the importance of SEO?

As a digital marketer, I have seen SEO cost and SEO pricing table between $499 and $40,000 a month plus. It all depends on your goal and circumstances, but let’s make sure you understand why you need SEO for your business and how you can get the best value out of it.

There continues to be so much confusion regarding SEO among business owners, with many people still confused about non-paid search and paid search. With Google being the most popular referrer of search traffic. Paid and non-paid strategies are highly important if you want a steady and consistent flow of targeted traffic to your website.

With PPC, when someone types those keywords into Google, your company’s website will appear at the top of the results. If someone clicks on your website, you’ll pay for the click, and gain the traffic.

For more on PPC – Check out How much does PPC Cost?

SEO is what helps search engines understand what your site page is about and how relevant your site is to the users. If your page is relevant and has sufficient authority, search engines will reward you with high visibility and traffic.

SEO is a crucial component towards getting leads online.

What factors that determine the cost of SEO?

When you hire an SEO agency to do SEO for your site, they traditionally do some of the following or all of the following activities. But remember SEO is changing every day, so the list is constantly growing along with the change.

Some of the activities are one-time activities which might occur at the beginning of the campaign and others are ongoing.

The list below will explain some of what your agency will be doing for you. Read the list and understand them and you will be able to ask more helpful questions.

1. Market research

Market research involves researching your business or company, your products, your industry, your company’s competitors and online marketing strategies and tactics that are most effective in your industry.

2. In depth competitor research

Your SEO agency will research your competitors, their tactics and strategies in details before researching the ways to outshine them. Mostly, your SEO agency will research the online marketing activities assisting them to grow their visibility in search engines. This includes analyzing:

  • How they get strong backlinks helping them to rank and gain visibility.
  • How they are going about their on-site optimizations and keywords their pages are targeting
  • How they are using content marketing to gain attraction, which is a vital element in the Google ranking.

3. Strategy development and implementation

After researching your business and competitors, the next step is to develop strategies on how to get better Google search results and ultimately help you improve the performance of your website. The strategies can be similar for small businesses, but large business in competitive markets require more creative approaches to get results in the face of big competitors.

When you hire a competent and experienced SEO consultant that costs thousands of dollars, you are paying for creativity and experience. If you are investing a lot of money in SEO, you should expect tactics better than “We will get you 50 guaranteed awesome links a month.

4. Keyword research

Keyword research is the heart of the SEO. This process was simple in the past as you can just type the keywords or phrases that prospective customers can type into the search engine and build your site’s page around the keywords or phrases. Sounds simple right?

But, researching keywords and phrases is not a simple task anymore. Your SEO consultant has to dig deep and find the most profitable keywords. Understanding keywords is vital because they help you understand your clients and target audience and how they search for your business online.

This will also help your SEO team to write compelling content, meta description and page titles (Compelling content, page titles and meta description are what help Google understand what your page is all about).

Keyword research for smaller business with a limited number of pages on their website happens at the commencement of the SEO campaign, and it helps the SEO team optimize the page title, meta descriptions and write compelling content.

On larger websites like an e-commerce websites, keyword research is an ongoing activity that helps drive more traffic monthly. Researching keywords on an ongoing basis for a large website will help get more pages of the website ranked in the search results.

5. On-site optimization

On-site optimization involves anything that has to do with optimizing the pages of your site. Your SEO agency will draft your site’s page titles and meta descriptions based on their research and will recommend what to do or update your site’s content. They may also create new pages, fix duplicate content, improve internal linking, install social sharing buttons and configure your blog.

In simple terms, on-site optimization is anything done on your website to improve your site visibility in search engines. On-site optimization is one of the most important ways to improve your website and if it is not done in the right way, potential customers will not find your website in the search results.

Content strategy, development and marketing

Now that the quality of your content has a great role in getting found online, most SEO agencies now offer content development and content strategy services. Most agencies offer content marketing as a stand alone service which they want you to purchase in addition to the SEO services.

The truth is, it is now important to consider content strategy and development as a key part of SEO engagement. If your SEO agency isn’t doing content strategy and development for you, you need to ask why.

Commitment to White Hat Practices

Watch out for companies that use sketchy “black hat” practices to boost rankings. While unorthodox methods can produce short-term results, in the long run they can do more harm than good. Google penalizes websites that employ black hat search engine tricks like keyword stuffing or bogus hidden text, and remove these sites from search results. Choosing a good SEO company that abides by Google’s webmaster guidelines, is important and something you must do!

White hat SEO

Make your website easier to navigate – this will help Google and your users
Mobile friendly website – Google indexes mobile friendly sites with priority
Offer quality content that focuses on relevant keywords
Build Links – Relevant links to your website, locally or from authority sites that are earned help!

Black hat SEO

Keyword stuffing – frequently using a word that you are trying to rank for – over 2.5% of your words
Doorway pages – fake pages that are stuffed with keywords – intended for a search engine to rank
Link farming – getting a ton of links that have no relevance to your website for free or paid

Here’s more white hat tips on how to get better google search results

Insights and Reporting

Reporting can vary greatly in term of the time invested to produce the reports for you. At the very minimum you will get standard SEO reports that might be as simple as ranking reports or traffic reports. A good SEO agency will provide reports based on goal conversions and the contribution that organic search and SEO search made towards the goal conversions.

Big customers with more complex businesses should get more than just a data dump with meaningless numbers. A SEO agency should provide insight into what is happening, why is it happening and what it means to your business goals.

They should provide information about the source of traffic sources that are giving the best conversions and updates in Google’s algorithm. You should expect your SEO agency to ask for more money for additional insight and reporting above basic reports that everyone receives.

Ways to Check Your Google Ranking



SEO Account management

Generally speaking, this is the SEO cost for taking care of the client’s website. The account management includes the time the account manager spends discussing the campaign goals with you, briefing the SEO team and discussing your report and results.

If you are not a big client, you will get only nominal account management which may be at the beginning of the SEO campaign and when the report is delivered monthly.

If you are investing less than $1,000 a month, don’t expect to talk the ear off the account manager except there will be a reduction in the time spent on working on your account. Some SEO agencies have dedicated account managers, and some have their SEO campaign manager manage your account.

Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages. With a dedicated account manager, your SEO team spends more time doing SEO while the account manager answers your questions. If you are an enterprise level client, expect to be able to ask a lot of questions and get quick, insightful responses.

You should talk directly to the SEO campaign manager if you are a big client. The SEO campaign manager should be answering your technical questions directly.


How much does SEO cost: SEO pricing models

Now to the main question, how much does SEO cost?

The SEO pricing varies greatly depending on the size of your organization, specific needs and the experience level of your service provider. But you should expect to pay up to the price ranges below based on the service you requested.


Monthly SEO pricing table

Monthly SEO services pricing is the most popular pricing model, and you should know that the cost increases with the needs of your business or organization. So, how much does SEO cost, let’s find out with the pricing table!

Here is the SEO pricing table:

$500 per month

Unless your company is a local business with little competition and you have a very small website, you need to be careful when purchasing SEO services less than $500 a month. Most of the SEO agencies that offer their services for a price less than $500 will automate a lot of their link building, use an inexperienced content writer and do basic on-site technical work only.

$1000 to $5000 per month

Smaller organizations with low or medium competition and less complex sites can make do with this amount, but need to understand that the price at the lower part of this scale could mean inexperience or a lack of proven results. When it comes to SEO, we are talking about creating consistent quality content, high-quality link building and a maximum focus on optimizing conversions, accessibility and usability. It is hard to get all these services done correctly at the lower part of this SEO pricing table.

$5000 to $10,000+ a month

With this price range, you can find more established SEO agencies with a great track record of success. With this SEO pricing, your company can gain access to a dedicated SEO team that employs professional content managers, copy editors, web development expert’s, account executives, conversion specialists, link outreach specialists and analytics experts that can guarantee success and provide the support you need.

$10,000 to $ $20,000+ a month

Big companies with big, ambitious goals work at this level with SEO agency that will manage the entire process from beginning to the end. At this budget, your company will get access to a senior SEO team, and your investment will drive tremendous positive results.

If your goal is to dominate a market with lots of competition, you should expect to invest this type of amount at least the first year. In fact, companies spend well over $100,000 per month on SEO.

Hourly consultation ($100 to $300 per hour)

If you want to work with a professional SEO consultant that will worth your time, you’re looking at spending more than $100 per hour. The price certainly varies based on the competitiveness of your market, but you need to be careful with a consultant that seems too good to be true.

Ensure you hire consultants with a proven track record and ready to deliver the kind of performance you need. There are many cheap consultants out there, but most of them tend to be inexperienced consultants and may likely spend longer periods of time to get any results, if they ever do.

Employee costs ($50k to $120k+ a year)

Your business may need special attention and requires ongoing attention that can only be handled internally. In this situation, you may need to hire an SEO strategist or manager. The salaries of an SEO employee is not like other salaries because it is based on experience and geographical location.

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SEO Pricing Table

Risks and considerations when selecting an SEO service provider

You need to research the SEO services that will meet your goals carefully. Here are the red flags you should look out for when shopping the market for an SEO agency:

  • Overzealous guarantees or instant results: No matter how great the SEO agency, consultant or specialist is, they should not guarantee overnight or quick results. You may start seeing a positive effect of your campaign after three to six months of a good SEO. If your site is complex, you can begin to get significant results after ten months.
  • Suspicious link-building: Be wary of those that recommend buying a large email list, links or followers. Though the technique may work in the short term, it could damage the reputation of your site because Google and other search engines look for suspicious SEO activities.
  • Too low cost: Although the low cost may appear to be good, it indicates the consultant, agency or employee lacks experience and a proven results. This may not always be the case though, because up-and-coming SEO agencies are also looking to build their reputation and track record by offering their services at a lower price. Make sure you ask why their price is so low.

To make the right decision for your business, you need to find a solution that fits within your budget and align with your goals and needs to get measurable ROI. SEO is an crucial part of an effective integrated marketing strategy and it’s something that can’t be ignored. 

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About the Author Kemar Lawrence

Entrepreneur | Business & Marketing Strategist | Co-Founder @goldminddigital. I am a business & marketing strategist. I bring more than 6 years of experience to projects I take on with a track record of success. I help entrepreneurs win at business.

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