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How Much Does SEO Cost?

What Should Your SEO Pricing Be Set At For Your Site?

This question all comes down to perspective.  There is no right or wrong way to do SEO and it really comes down to what actually works and gets results.  This article is going to go over different SEO pricing structures and it will help you figure out what the cost of SEO on your site should be set at.

What Determines The Cost Of SEO?

Your Current Site Situation

If you have a site that is on the 2nd page of Google and you have another site that is on the 8th page of Google, chances are it is going to take more effort to rank the site on the 8th page compared to the 2nd page site.  It might take a lot for both sites to get on the 1st page because Google is moving extremely slow nowadays but the further down you are ranked, the more it takes to move up the charts.  More effort equals more money and more time to invest in getting results.

Your Competition

The more competitive your market and specific keywords are, the more it is going to cost you to get your site ranked.  If you wanted to rank for the keyword “money” it would be extremely difficult because that particular keyword has 2.6 billion results at the time of this post, which is a plethora of competition.  It would take a ton of energy, resources, money, and time to rank for “money” in the search engines.  If you wanted to rank for “how do I make money with my eyes closed and my legs up” it would be a whole lot easier because there aren’t a lot of people that want to rank for such a random keyword.

Prior SEO Efforts

Some companies have already attempted SEO on their own or they have paid another SEO agency to do search engine optimization for them.  If the work done is not currently working with the search engine algorithms, then it is hurting your site.  It takes a lot of work to fix outdated SEO tactics that go against the current algorithms.  That is why a thorough SEO analysis is so vital when first beginning to work on a website for ranking reasons.  If your site has had SEO done and it is the type of search engine optimization that is hurting your rankings, it will take a lot of time, money, and effort to clean up your website with the search engines.

Keyword And Location Targets

If you want to target one keyword and one city, it is going to cost a lot less than multiple keywords and multiple suburbs.  It is very rare that a business only wants to target one keyword and one city but it can happen.  Most people are searching for multiple related keywords in multiple suburbs so that is why it is important to really analyze your site before beginning with an SEO campaign.

Other Ranking Determinants

There are a lot of other factors that determine how you will get charged for SEO but these four are the primary factors.  It also comes down to the estimated costs associated with getting your site ranked, the city your company is located in, the custom pricing of the SEO agency you are working with, and more.

SEO pricing is a very thorough topic because there really is no right or wrong way.  Just make sure you know that there are a lot of factors that determine the cost of SEO but knowing where your site is currently at, where you want it to go, and what is standing between where you are and where you want to go are the main factors in figuring out your costs.

Search Engine Optimization PriceDifferent Types Of SEO Pricing Structures

Monthly Retainer

The monthly retainer model comes down to you paying a flat fee every month to your SEO agency and in return you receive services rendered towards getting your site optimized and ranked up in the search engines.  The monthly retainer approach is definitely the most popular approach because SEO usually takes at least 6 months to get some type of decent results.  A lot of SEO companies like to sign 6 to 12 month agreements when working with the monthly retainer approach because it can take that much time to get on the first page for some competitive keywords.

You can definitely rank things on the first page very quickly sometimes, but not for a competitive keyword that gets large amounts of searches every month.  That is why the monthly retainer approach is so advantageous.  You are getting an asset created (more on that later) and your investment will actually raise the value of your company so not having to worry about paying per lead or for each little project can be very advantageous for your bank account as the traffic begins to roll in.  

There are too many moving parts so to give everyone the same cookie cutter price can be risky.  Your website is similar to a house that needs to get fixed up.  There really is no set price and each house is different.  One house may take $15,000 to restore, while another house may take $65,000 to fix up.  If you are looking for long-term results, plan on investing in a monthly retainer package for your SEO price plan.

Pay Per Project

This style of SEO pricing is more expensive per project but there is no recurring investment each and every month.  Sometimes businesses aren’t ready to invest in search engine optimization on a monthly basis but they want to get some more exposure online in some way.  So paying per project is a great way to get some results while also getting the ball rolling.

Some examples include getting some videos made and ranked, site audits, on-page optimization, website design, social media page optimization, or whatever else your SEO firm offers in their menu.  You can also pay an SEO company to rank one or two keywords for you as a separate project as well.

Hourly Consulting

Hourly charges for SEO can get even more expensive but they may come in handy if you just need a little guidance.  Some companies want to do their own marketing so they may want to consult with an SEO agency to get some help here and there.

It comes down to the Costco technique.  If you buy in bulk, you save.  However, sometimes you don’t need 400 rolls of toilet paper so buying a 6-pack and paying more per roll sometimes makes more sense.

It all comes down to what your business website currently needs as well.  The best place to start is to get your website looked at by a professional.  If you want to get your site analyzed by us, fill out our Discovery Form so we can go to work and give you some feedback on your current ranking situation and your competition as well.

Once you get your current situation looked at by a reputable SEO company and your needs discovery is figured out, you will be able to make an educated decision on whether hourly consulting will be for you.

SEO Cost 2017Common SEO Plans And Pricing

Monthly SEO Cost ($500 to $20,000)

If you are paying a flat rate by the month, please do not go under $500 per month.  There are tons of companies out there that claim they can rank you for $100/month or $200/month and it’s almost disgusting even thinking about it.  I’m not saying those companies can’t get you results in some way, I’m just saying they can’t get you the results that some highly skilled SEO can get you.

Going after super targeted keywords will be extremely difficult if you aren’t investing at least $500 into your monthly SEO and that is usually on the lower end.  Remember, you are not trying to find a bargain SEO agency to go to work for you.  You want a company that can get you results, preferably at the top of the first page of Google so cutting corners should not be done with your SEO.

A lot of the times we end up taking over the SEO from another agency that didn’t get the job done and we have to go back and fix what they’ve done over the time they were doing the search engine optimization.  Negative SEO can really hurt your online results so make sure you are not investing in search engine optimization based off of price alone.

The great thing about SEO is that it is the best way to turn your advertising into an asset.  PPC, or pay-per-click, advertising is great but if you turn it off you will get no traffic to your website at all.  SEO can take a long time to get to the top but it also usually takes a while to fall down the rankings as well, depending on the algorithms and the competition.  Just keep that in mind when selecting your SEO agency based off of pricing.

Large Corporations

If you have a large company that is targeting national or international keywords in multiple categories, you can be looking at up to $20,000 per month, or more, for your SEO.  Most large companies will be between $10,000 and $20,000 per month but each business is different.  Some smaller companies can also get priced like a large corporation and it’s all based on the factors listed above.

You also have to consider whether you have multiple cities and locations you are ranking for.  Google looks at each location as a different keyword, especially in their maps section.  Keep in mind that a large list of products or services can also add more targets to go after and each keyword may need a different web page on your site, making it that much more extensive when it comes down to your SEO ranking strategy.

For example: A law firm that is looking to target personal injury, bankruptcy, family law, and DUI cases in multiple suburbs is going to be a lot more work than a law firm that just practices criminal law in one main city.

Smaller Local Businesses

Your business may not necessarily be small, so what we mean by that is that your SEO targeting may be smaller.  You may not have to target multiple keywords in multiple cities so your pricing will be reflected based on those factors.  Most smaller businesses don’t have the budget it takes to launch an SEO campaign but please don’t let that deter you from at least finding out some pricing quotes from a quality SEO agency or two.  You may be able to get some hourly consulting or you may be able to start with the pay-per-project approach to get things going for you.

You can also look for newer SEO agencies that may give you a better price because they don’t have the experience that will justify them demanding more money.  That is always a win-win situation for both you and the agency.  When we first started helping clients, we offered better pricing because we were in that situation.  Just make sure that the company you decide to work with has some of their own results before you pay them money to work on your asset.

Pay Per Project ($20 and up)

We can’t sit here and price out each individual project but they can range from $20 up to $20,000 and even upwards of that.  There technically is no roof on the cost of SEO but the majority will be in that range.  Simple projects like social media page optimization and creation can be from $20 to $200 per page while bigger projects like website design or video projects can range from $1000 to $10,000.  It really depends on the scope of the work that has to be done and what the company charges for each.

Video marketing is a very popular pay-per-project service we offer because it allows us to demonstrate our skills with video, which are excellent, and it allows us to show our new clients that we can rank their videos at the top of both YouTube and Google.  Depending on each company, we usually take our pay-per-project clients to a monthly retainer pricing structure when they are ready to invest in a long-term ranking strategy.

Do not hesitate to start working with an SEO company by paying them one-time for something simple to see how they work.  All of our monthly retainer clients are on month-to-month agreements anyways so there really isn’t any risk for our clients to begin with a monthly retainer pricing structure but a lot of other SEO companies try to do 6 to 12 month agreements so if that’s the case, we recommend starting with a smaller project to test them out first.

Search Engine Optimization PricingHourly Consulting ($100/hour and up)

Hourly consulting can start off small but it depends on the depth of the consulting that occurs.  If we are working on a project by the hour, it may entail performing SEO services but it may include just doing a video conference call to go over various website aspects and ranking factors with a pure focus on consulting.  Building links and optimizing pages has a cost so you can have to consider expenses when being priced by the hour.  Consulting can also be priced based on how much work has to be done and the time invested in the project.

We don’t do too much consulting because most of the companies we work with want us to do the work for them but some businesses will have a marketing department that may need some specialized help with getting their site ranked so that is when we would charge hourly.  There is no right or wrong way when selecting your SEO pricing.  Just look at your options and make an educated guess based on the resources you have.


Right now most of our clients are on a monthly retainer.  Our average pricing is somewhere between $1,500 and $8,000 per month, which is completely dependent upon the number of keywords, the number of locations, the competition, and the time and energy we will have to put in to help you get a return on your investment.  Our primary focus with performing SEO for our clients is getting them a return on their investment.  Otherwise we would not be getting new clients and referrals like we do.

Any marketing works as long as you get an ROI.  When selecting your SEO agency, price should not be the most important factor when determining who you want to work with.  Focus on the results and the return on your investment by going with the best.  Being ranked #1 vs #5 on the first page is a huge difference in search traffic.  You may not want to pay top dollar for the best search engine optimization around but think about the money you are losing by not being ranked at the top for your primary keywords.

Someone is getting that search traffic and if you are not there, your competition is getting all of those potential clients and customers.  Your SEO pricing may be set at $5,000 per month but by being ranked on the first page of Google, your company could be making $30,000 in extra revenue per month.  That is why cost is not important and revenue is.  Contact us today to go find out the potential revenue you are missing out on by not being ranked.  It doesn’t cost you anything to get a quote.

If you don’t want to start with a monthly retainer plan, we also work with businesses that want to start with a simple project to get things rolling.  We would love to hear your thoughts on SEO pricing plans below.  Leave us a comment below with your thoughts and we’ll talk soon.  Thanks for reading and thanks for sharing this article.

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