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- SEO Pricing - How Much Does SEO Cost?
When setting an online marketing budget and looking for an SEO company, you’ll find SEO pricing is all over the place. It’s tough to answer the question, how much does SEO cost?
In this article, we’ll answer questions about how SEO is priced, but if you’d rather talk with an SEO expert and get a free personalized proposal for your business, you can reach us at 1-866-647-9218 or click the green “Get a Free Quote”button at the top of your screen.
by Justin Smith, CEO
Updated Feb 12, 2023
Table of Contents:
- What Is SEO Pricing?
- How Much Does SEO Cost?
- What Affects The Cost of SEO?
- SEO Pricing Models
- SEO Hourly Rates
- One-Time SEO Costs
- Example SEO Plans
- Local SEO Pricing
- eCommerce SEO Pricing
- Benefits of SEO
- SEO Budget Considerations
- How Can You Tell If SEO Costs Are Worth It?
- Reputable SEO Service Providers
- SEO Pricing FAQs
What Is SEO Pricing?
SEO pricing refers to the cost associated with optimizing a website to improve its visibility and ranking on search engines such as Google. The cost of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) services can vary greatly depending on the size and complexity of a website and level of competition in a industry. Some common pricing models used by SEO companies include hourly rates, project-based pricing, and monthly retainer-based pricing. Ultimately, the cost of SEO will depend on the specific needs and goals of the business and the services offered by the SEO provider.
How Much Does SEO Cost?
In 2022, SEO campaign costs ranged between $3,000 – $7,500 a month on average. The cost of SEO services varies depending on the competitiveness of the keywords targeted, services included, and the type of SEO agency you choose (US, overseas, freelancer, etc.) Local SEO campaigns were lower, averaging around $1,400 per month.
Want a quick SEO pricing overview? Watch our 3:43 video below!
Important Facts About SEO Pricing & Services Costs Include the Following:
- Average SEO costs are $100-$250 an hour for US SEO agencies
- SEO costs often range from $2,500 – $10,000 per month for US agencies
- The average SEO plan costs $2819 per month (per Ahrefs)
- Overseas SEO companies may charge $10-$50 an hour
- Beware of SEO’s guaranteeing results, it may be a scam
- Templated SEO packages are becoming less popular
- Custom SEO strategies are needed for the best results
- Watch hidden costs for link building
- SEO pricing is typically lower for local campaigns
- Higher SEO costs for eCommerce websites
- SEO Firms may have additional content creation fees
What Affects the Cost of SEO?
No matter who you ultimately trust to provide SEO services for your business, how much SEO ultimately costs depends onmanyvariables, including:
- The overall technical aptitude of your website and the CMS (content management system) for the content on the website.For example, OuterBox is a leading provider ofeCommerce website design, and the websites we build for our clients are designed to exceed the expectations that Google and other search engine algorithms demand. Having a technically sound site built with SEO and eCommerce best practices in mind makes it much, much easier to optimize effectively and efficiently. The majority of CMS out there significantly lacks in this area (looking at you,Magento).
- Existing visibility in organic search.If you’re starting with a brand-new website with zero domain authority and no rankings to speak of, expect to pay more or wait longer for tangible results.
- Existing brand awareness and exposure.See the previous point.
- Business goals and objectives.That includes the role you anticipate organic traffic from search engines like Google and Bing to play while working towards those goals.
- Competition.Overall competitiveness will vary depending on your industry and the set of keywords you need to target
- Urgency.SEO takes time to be effective, so quicker results require more time and resources.
- Target audience and demographic.Are you looking to run a national or global SEO campaign, or are you a local business operating within a confined geographical area? This may or may not affect the overall price of your SEO campaign.
- Expertise level of the company providing SEO services. Those with real expertise and in-depth capabilities tend to have proven results and therefore can demand higher rates. Because they deliver proven results time and time again, they are busier, have more online companies asking for their SEO services, and their services are worth more because of the organic traffic they create.
- Location of the SEO agency. Located in Akron, OH, OuterBox overheads are significantly lower than SEO agencies operating in NYC, for example, which helps us keep our SEO service prices down despite our proven skills and expertise. This may be a piece of the criteria you want to consider.
- Competency in your target language. While hiring a cheap SEO company based in India, for example, might sound like a great idea at first, be sure that the company you select has a firm grasp of the English language if you plan on optimizing your website for English speakers. This goes for any language. Also, consider time zones, communication, and other outside factors.
- Level of expertise in your niche. For example, our specialty at OuterBox iseCommerce SEOand lead generation SEO for B2B websites. Look for a company that has experience working in your industry, but be prepared to pay extra for that experience. Your results will be worth it.
SEO Pricing Models
Whether you hire an inexpensive SEO consultant from a foreign country (hint: India) or a nationally recognizedeCommerce SEO agency, there are a few different types of pricing models you can expect to see offered:
Retainer-Based SEO Pricing & Monthly Plans
Many SEO companies will offer monthly or annual contracts that revolve around a monthly calendar. At OuterBox, we create our strategies several months in advance and reflect on our work, results, and progress on at least a monthly basis. A two-way street of communication between the SEO agency and client is crucial to achieving the very best results possible. It is important to note that while we offer monthly plans, we do not offer one-size-fits-all SEO monthly packages, since that kind of approach to SEO isn’t the most effective. Many monthly packages offered by other companies will include a set number and type of services, such as articles written, backlinks gained, and pages optimized. These types of “turnkey” packages are often sold by inferior SEO agencies who are more concerned with delivering a specified amount of tangible work each month than producing results.
Beware of any companies promising to build a specified amount of backlinks per month, especially since the quality and relevancy of backlinks pointing to your website is significantly more important than the quantity. While our planned tasks and SEO activities are scheduled on a monthly basis for organization and streamlining workflow, our strategies are not confined by these types of “per-assembled” monthly packages.Our SEO services are instead customized so that we are always working on what we know will deliver the greatest ROI.
SEO Hourly Rates
The short answer is thatSEO pricing ranges anywhere from $50 per hour to over $250 per hourdepending on theSEO agency you hire. The SEO-famous Neil Patel ostensibly charges up to $5,000 just for an initial hour-long consultation. All of that is not to say that your neighbor’s daughter down the street who is “good with computers” won’t offer to do it for $200 a month, and heck, she might even know what she’s doing! We’re also not saying that Neil Patel might not be worth that $5,000 price (spoiler alert: if you’re not a Fortune 500 company, he most likely isn’t).
One-Time SEO Costs
If you are ready to hire an SEO company, or even just anSEO consultant to perform specific SEO services, some SEO companies do offer á la carte services or one-time SEO projects. Most commonly this comes in the form of an SEO audit, but could simply performing optimizations on the website only one-time, without an ongoing contract.
An SEO audit is a comprehensive examination of a website’s search engine optimization performance. Think of it as a doctor’s check-up for your website’s health. Just like a doctor assesses your physical health, an SEO audit evaluates your website’s technical structure, content quality, and visibility on search engines. The purpose of the audit is to identify any issues that may be hindering your website’s ability to rank high on search engine results pages (SERPs). Once the audit is complete you may decide to hire an SEO company or you may opt to tackle the project in-house to save on costs.
The average cost of an SEO audit is around $5,000-$10,000 when working with a reputable, experienced SEO agency.
Example SEO Plans
Many companies offers different levels of SEO services and the services, or amount of services, provided within each plan is different. Below are example SEO plans that will help you to better understand the difference between a basic SEO plan and an enterprise level SEO campaign.
Example Basic SEO Plan Pricing
Basic SEO plans can range from $250-$3,000 a month and typically include:
- Local / Regional Focus
- Keyword Research (50-100 Keywords)
- Analytics Setup & Configuration
- Monthly Strategy Discussion
- Title Tag & Meta Tag Creation
- Internal Link Building (Crosslinking)
- Content Editing & Optimization
- Basic On-Site Optimization
- Monthly Custom Report
- Monthly Review Call
Example Enterprise SEO Plan Pricing
Enterprise SEO plans can range from $5,000 – $25,000+ a month and typically include:
- Competitive Keywords / Nationwide Focus
- Keyword Research (500+ Keywords)
- Analytics Setup & Configuration
- Monthly Strategy Discussion
- Title Tag & Meta Tag Creation
- Technical SEO – (Robots.txt, Sitemap, etc.)
- Speed Optimization / Image Optimization
- Internal Link Building (Crosslinking)
- Content Creation, Optimization & Editing
- Advanced On-Site / Code Optimization
- Offsite Link Building
- Conversion Optimization
- AB / Variation Testing
- Heat Map / Usability Reports
- Monthly Custom Report
- Monthly Personalized Review Call
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Local SEO Pricing
We hinted above that local SEO services may be more affordable than attempting to rank nationally for the same set of keywords, but geographical target area is just one variable that affects the cost. Also, many local business need an SEO campaign that focuses on different strategies, such as ranking in Google Map results.
The reason local SEO often costs less is simply the competition isn’t a great. Usually within a local SEO strategy city modifiers are added to the end or beginning of the main keyword, making ranking for that term much more achievable.
Local SEO pricing is still subject to the same variables that we’ve touched on above, but typically ranges from $250 – $3,000 a month.
eCommerce SEO Pricing
The cost of SEO for an eCommerce website can be influenced by a number of factors, including your competition, the size of your website, how long your website has been around, and the niche you’re in.
Competition: The level of competition for the keywords you are targeting will have a significant impact on the cost of SEO. If you are targeting highly competitive keywords, you may need to invest more resources in order to outrank your competitors.
Size of the website: The size of your eCommerce website, in terms of the number of pages, products, and categories, can also impact the cost of SEO. More complex websites typically require more time and resources to optimize for search engines. Consider that adding content to category pages is a big part of an SEO strategy, if content needs to be written for 5,000 pages compared to 500 pages, the cost of the campaign will be greater or the amount months it takes to fully optimize the website will be longer.
eCommerce SEO Pricing Facts to Know Include:
- eCommerce SEO services typically are more expensive
- Average of $150-$300 an hour for US SEO companies
- Expect to pay $2,000 – $10,000+ a month
- Beware of SEO agencies without eCommerce experience
- Plans cost more with content creation/writing included
- Expect additional fees for link building services
Benefits of SEO
Why Is SEO Important?
With more than5 billion Google searchesa day, it’s important to be in front of your customers when they are looking for your products or services. Potential customers searching on Google or other search engines are “actively engaged”, meaning they are looking for YOU. If you’re at the top of the search your chance to capture that traffic increase significantly. Did you know that over 25% of people click on the first organic search result on Google? That means if a keyword is a search 10,000 times per month, by being number 1 on Google you could receive upwards of 2,500 free visits a month. Unless you have a massive paid search budget (and don’t mind spending it), ranking organically is vitally important to the success of yourintegrated digital marketing strategy.
How Can SEO Impact My Website?
SEO can make a major impact on your business. By ranking at the top of Google for your most searched keywords you’ll increase the visibility of your website in the search engine result pages. This will lead to more website traffic and online sales. SEO can also make a major impact on your marketing budget since you don’t have to pay for every click and every visitor that comes to your website, meaning you’ll have a higher profit margin on each sales that comes from organic search.
Additionally, having a top-ranking website can result in increased conversions, as users are more likely to trust websites that rank at the top of the search results. Furthermore, having a strong online presence can help improve the overall perception of your business, helping to establish your brand and create a more favorable image in the minds of your audience and boost sales across all marketing channels.
SEO Budget Considerations
When setting a budget for your SEO campaign be sure to consider what you can afford to spend. Remember, SEO doesn’t happen over night and takes time to get results, so you want to be sure you’re paying an amount that you’re comfortable investing for 12-18 months. Also, be sure to consider the contract of the agency you select. Some SEO companies have annual agreements while others are month-to-month, giving you more flexibility in your budget.
Other budget items to consider include the following:
- Goals and objectives: What do you want to achieve through SEO? Increased traffic? Higher rankings? More sales? Having a clear understanding of your goals will help you and your SEO agency determine how much you need to invest in order to achieve them.
- Competition: The level of competition for your target keywords will play a big role in determining the budget for SEO services. The more competitive your target keywords, the more resources you may need to invest in order to rank well. Ask potential SEO agencies to analyze the competition and if there are certain competitors you want to outperform, be sure to have that discussion.
- Current website status: An SEO audit will give you a good understanding of the current state of your website and the work that needs to be done in order to improve its ranking. This will help you determine the resources required and, in turn, the budget needed for SEO services.
If you’re looking for immediate results and need to drive sales quickly,you likely would benefit by supplementing your SEO efforts with paid advertising, such as a Google Ads campaign, to begin with. OuterBox also offers some of the nation’s leading AdWords management services, so talk with us about how we can help your campaign be as successful as possible.
How Can You Tell if SEO Costs Are Worth It?
When it comes to driving traffic to your website, SEO can be one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies available. You do have other options as well, such as paid search marketing through Google Ads. When thinking about your SEO investment and you’re asking yourself “is it worth it”, consider how much the same amount of traffic would cost via paid search. If the amount is more, then your SEO traffic and spend are a value. If the answer is you could buy each visit for less, it may be worth questioning the SEO company you’re working with.
Another good way to look at the ROI of SEO is by looking at the number of sales and leads you’re driving through organic traffic. If you’re spending $5,000 a month on SEO, driving $250,000 a month in online sales, and you have a profit margin of 20%, you’re well into the green by $45,000 a month. Using some of this basic math and thinking about your SEO investment in this way can really help you to feel comfortable paying your invoice each month.
Choose an SEO Company That Will Provide Value
Generally speaking, you do get what you pay for with SEO, but there is a certain amount of vetting one needs to do before choosing an SEO company. Here are some tips on that:
- Look for proven results.Look for case studies and ask the companies you’re considering to give some real examples of their success. If they struggle or hesitate to provide you with any success stories, odds are they haven’t had much success.
- Listen to past clients.Read reviews both on their site and on 3rd party websites. Keep in mind that even the best companies (SEO and otherwise) will always have a few negative reviews, so take those mostly with a grain of salt. Instead, look for overarching trends, and if you see any recurring red flags, you should likely move on.
- Talk with the team directly.Ask to get on a call with the actual employees that would be managing your SEO account or to speak to whoever oversees the SEO department. It’s not unreasonable for you to want to know a little bit more about the people you’ll be paying to work on your website and what strategies they might be implementing to improve your search results, especially when going with a more legitimate agency.
- Learn to spot a shady strategy.Read up about “black-hat SEO” and be sure that any of the strategies the salespeople discuss with you don’t seem to violate any of Google’s guidelines. At OuterBox, we are a strictly white-hat SEO company, which means we work within the rules of Google to ensure your site is never penalized as a result of the work we do. That would be entirely counterproductive!
- Try a few and compare.Consider purchasing standaloneSEO audit servicesfrom several companies, and then compare the findings of those audits. You may pay a little extra at the get-go, but you’ll have a better chance of choosing the best company. After selecting an SEO company to work with, share those findings with your new SEO company to ensure any valuable discoveries you paid for are leveraged accordingly.
An Example of Our Client’s Results – 200% Traffic Increase
Beware! Unfortunately, assuming that those companies charging the most must, therefore, have the most expertise or “best SEO services” is seldom a practical approach. If you’re in charge of choosing an SEO company for your business, no matter what the price, select the company that instills the most confidence in its ability to deliver an ROI on the budget your business decides to allocate to SEO services.
Reputable SEO Service Providers
To get an idea of pricing for your SEO campaign work with an experienced, well-reviewed SEO service provider. Below is a list of reputable SEO companies that we recommend.
Team Size: 90+
Location: Akron, OH
Team Size: 50
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Team Size: 30
Location: Simsbury, CT
Team Size: 50
Location:Boca Raton, FL
SEO PRICING FAQ's
On average how much does an SEO campaign cost?
Most reputable US based agencies charge between $100-$250 per hour. How many hours you’ll need each month to meet your goals and expectations all depends on how competitive your industry is and where you currently rank.We offer free SEO estimates.
Why do some companies charge only a few hundred dollars a month?
The SEO companies who charge only a few hundred a month typically send their work overseas. Often you’ll find poor copywriting, low quality backlinks and poor results with these types of campaign. BEWARE: A cheap SEO campaign can hurt your website more than it can help!
Is there a standard price for SEO?
Since every SEO company operates differently, there is not a standard price for SEO services. The price is based on the SEO agency’s location, payroll expenses, and many outside factors.
How long does it take to get SEO results?
The amount of time it takes to get SEO results all depends on where you currently rank. If you’re on page 50 for your desired keywords it will take longer to get to page 1 than if you’re on page 3 already. Within our free consultation we’ll determine how long it’ll take to get you where you want to be.
Does SEO cost more for different CMS platforms?
The complexity of your platform can affect the cost of SEO. For example, SEO for WordPress is typically less complicated than a campaign for Shopify. This is due to the technical knowledge needed and the ease of adding new elements to templates, the core SEO features SEO plug-ins available, and more. SEO can be performed on all CMS or eCommerce store platforms, some are just a bit trickier than others.
Still Have Questions About SEO Pricing?
We hope this article helps clear up some of the confusion and that we have empowered you to make a more informed decision about the SEO company that is best for your business. If you have any remaining questions or would like to discuss your website with an SEO expert, please give us a call now at 866-647-9218 or request a quote below.
Justin Smith is the Founder & CEO at OuterBox. He’s has more than 20 years of experience in SEO, paid search, eCommerce and digital marketing. His accomplishments have been referenced by many well-known publications and industry experts such as Forbes, Neil Patel, Clutch, CNBC, USA Today and more.
Automated Local SEO pricing generally runs between $300-500 per month. Small scale SEO pricing packages range between $400-$900 per month. Comprehensive Local SEO services can be as much as $4,000 per month. Most businesses have budgets that range from $500/month to $10,000/month.How much does SEO cost for small business? ›
How much does SEO cost for small businesses? The average cost of SEO for small businesses is $750 to $2000 per month or $5000 to $30,000 for one-time projects. Smaller companies that invest in SEO consulting services can expect to pay $80 to $200 per hour.Does Google SEO cost money? ›
Technically, SEO is free. You're not paying money for SERP placement. Google ranks content based on a number of factors including the E-A-T trio: Expertise, Authority, and Trust. They're going to highly rank those who are seen as valuable resources for users.Is Hiring someone for SEO worth it? ›
While investing in SEO services isn't cheap, it can be a worthwhile investment if you want to generate more traffic to your site and raise conversions. If you're interested in hiring an SEO consultant, make sure you have the budget to do so.Why does SEO cost so much? ›
Good SEO costs so much because it means relying on skill, experience, and regular upkeep and maintenance to increase the visibility of your website on those search engine result pages.Does SEO have a cost per click? ›
There are two key differences when considering SEO or PPC. The first is that paid ads appear at the top of the page, above the organic listings influenced by SEO. The second is that traffic from organic via SEO is free, whereas traffic from PPC has a cost for each click.How much do freelance SEO make? ›
How much does a Freelance SEO make? As of Mar 1, 2023, the average annual pay for a Freelance SEO in the United States is $63,781 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $30.66 an hour. This is the equivalent of $1,226/week or $5,315/month.Is it worth paying a SEO company? ›
SEO is worthwhile if you have the right strategy in place and work with a partner that knows how to get results. About 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, and the close rate of SEO leads is much higher than that of traditional marketing. So, SEO provides an impressive return on investment (ROI).How much does SEO cost for startups? ›
|Business Size||SEO Pricing|
|Startup||$750 to $1500 per month|
|Small business||$1,500 to $3,000 per month|
|Medium-sized business||$1,500 to $5,000 per month|
|Enterprise||$5,000+ per month|
If you've wondered, “Can I do SEO myself?” the answer is definitely. You don't need to hire an outside agency to improve your SEO, and this guide gives you some basic SEO tips to get started.
How Much Does It Cost for Hourly SEO Services? Hiring an experienced SEO freelancer or agency by the hour typically costs anywhere between $50-$150 per hour. Of course, you can find people that charge significantly less or more than this hourly rate.Which is better SEO or Google ads? ›
If your goal is to drive traffic to your site in the short term, you might choose to focus on PPC ads. If you want to enhance your business's online presence in the long run, SEO is the answer. Alternatively, invest your time and energy in both SEO and PPC for a well-rounded strategy.How much does SEO cost per keyword? ›
How much does Keyword Research Cost? A keyword research tool on its own costs about $200–$500 per month, depending on the number of queries you need. Then, the cost is in the time of doing the analysis and prioritizing keywords/topics to create SEO campaigns for.How do I bill SEO services? ›
- Hourly: You bill an hourly rate for each hour worked. ...
- Project-Based: You define a rate for each of your packages and create a clearly defined rate card for your SEO services. ...
- Monthly: You set a monthly retainer for your services and a client pays this fixed amount each month.
An SEO agency is best placed to keep track of algorithm trends and make necessary changes. Because experienced professionals already have an in-depth understanding of the algorithm, it's easier for them to determine whether you need to make any changes to your website or your content strategy.When should I hire an SEO expert? ›
- On-page SEO.
- Local SEO.
- Link building.
- Off-page SEO.
- Understand their agency's history. ...
- Inquire about their SEO processes. ...
- Ask for expectations for their SEO services. ...
- Inquire about previous SEO work. ...
- Ask about the transparency of their progress. ...
- Ask the SEO company about reporting. ...
- Ask about time commitment on your end.
SEO costs in 2023 depend on the SEO agency you hire and the pricing model they use. On average you can reasonably expect the cost of SEO in 2023 to be $1,000 to $2,500 per month, $75 to $200 per hour or $5000 to $30,000 per project.How much do SEO consultants make? ›
According to Edoxi's salary trend report, which forecasts job salaries in digital marketing over the next year, U.S.-based, entry level SEO specialists can expect a starting SEO salary of $35K, mid-career SEO specialists are likely to earn closer to $47K, and experienced SEO specialists will earn on average $65K in ...What does monthly SEO include? ›
Monthly SEO services, also called ongoing monthly SEO services, are month-to-month SEO services that work to improve your rankings in search results. Most monthly SEO services include on-page and off-page optimizations, like keyword targeting, link building, content writing, and more.
In summary, a good cost-per-click is determined by your target ROI. For most businesses, a 20% cost-per-acquisition, or 5:1 ratio of revenue to ad cost, would be acceptable. From there, use the formulas provided above to determine the target cost-per-click for your advertising campaigns.Is SEO cheaper than PPC? ›
SEO is cheaper in the long run.
Although SEO might cost time and money —to pay freelancers or agencies, and for SEO tools — it's still cheaper than PPC in the long run. When you create content that ranks and drives traffic to your website, you no longer have to keep spending money to make your target customers see it.
With paid search ads, you're essentially paying for immediate results in search engine rankings on the results pages of Google, Bing, or other search engines. With organic marketing tactics, you're investing in long-term results in search engine results page rankings.Can SEO make you a millionaire? ›
Can SEO make you a millionaire? That depends entirely on your skills and ability to scale. The simple answer is that SEO can be a great way to make a decent living, and provided you have the skills to scale an SEO practice, the sky's the limit.How much I can earn as a SEO in a month? ›
Average Rs 48,176 per month.