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How much should you pay for SEO?

How much should you pay for SEO? Good question! Here are some ways to help figure it out.

How much should you pay for SEO?

Don’t expect an exact quote for SEO prices before giving a marketer or agency some information about your business first. You might see a fixed monthly cost for a certain SEO package, but an accurate quote will require an in-depth understanding of your needs. Some of the factors that determine how much work will be required, the type of content needed, and how long projects should take include:

  • Type of service you need
  • Current search presence, brand awareness, and visibility
  • Average revenue per sale
  • Close rate of leads to sales
  • Campaign goals
  • How quickly you want to see results
  • How your current marketing budget is allocated
  • Industry
  • Geographic location

There are also different payment structures commonly used for SEO pricing, such as monthly retainers, hourly rates, per project, and performance-based pricing.


Depending on how much SEO assistance you need, you might pay anywhere from $25 per hour for your service up to $20,000 each month.


SEO pricing can also depend on the type of professional you choose. If you want a pro with more than two years of experience, expect to pay about 40% more per hour and more than double per month. On average, SEO companies will charge about double what freelancers and consultants do.


Another factor is whether you’ll need ongoing service or a one-time solution. Most SEO tactics require monthly attention, including link building and content marketing. To deliver good results, SEO needs to be constantly updated, analyzed, and adjusted.


If you’re marketing to a local customer base, you’ll want to consider local SEO. Local SEO tends to be less expensive (about 23% less) than broader SEO services because you’re dealing with a smaller, concentrated audience, and less competition. The amount you pay for local SEO will depend on the pricing model you choose and the service you need. Local SEO categories include: 

  • Automated Local SEO - This is usually the cheapest and will ensure that your business information is provided to directories and that all contact information (phone numbers, addresses, email links, etc.) are correct on sites like Yelp or Yellow Pages. If you are a very small business with not much budget for SEO, then this can be just enough for you. It will give you some level of visibility online. Automated Local SEO services involve updating your business accounts on location-based sites and incorporating necessary links and information customers commonly search for but do not involve content marketing or social media management.
  • Small-Scale Local SEO - Small-scale SEO is designed for smaller businesses that service a limited area and only need to target customers within a certain mileage range. This is good for keeping costs down while reaching the right audience. The key is to optimize content to match local search intent and find ways to target audiences that meet the criteria. This is more robust than automated Local SEO and will help you cover the basics without getting into the real fine details of SEO. It can be a great starting point but don’t expect any rapid growth.
  • Comprehensive Local SEO - Comprehensive SEO focuses on analysis reporting to track metrics, like online traffic growth, conversion rates, and visibility. This offers in-depth options that cover all aspects of SEO, including: 
    • Content management
    • Reporting
    • Google My Business management
    • Social media
    • Link building
    • Citation optimization
    • Management of online reviews

To determine how much you should pay for SEO, figure out what it will take to rank better than your competition. Even if you offer better products or services than your competitor, they’ll get more online leads if their website ranks higher than yours. Determine where you stand versus your competitors and what it will take to start outranking them.


Next, consider your budget restraints versus your goals. Your goals should be aspirational but rational. 


Then speak with an SEO agency about your budget and expectations. While they can’t guarantee a specific ROI, they may be able to offer predictions based on businesses like yours. Experienced SEO professionals will provide a scalable service without sacrificing crucial elements.


If you want to know more about SEO, read our article, “How much does Local SEO cost?”, or contact us.


Tags: SEO, cost

Geoff Strauss

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