How Much Does SEO Cost? A Guide to SEO Pricing
There are approximately 5.6 billion Google searches every single day. Chances are whatever product or service you’re selling, there’s someone searching for it on Google.
So how do you get in front of your audience to increase your leads and sales?
The answer is simple: SEO. If you want to increase traffic to your website, expand your customer / client base, generate more leads, increase revenue, and grow your business and online presence, SEO is one of the best ways to do it. But how much does SEO cost?
In this comprehensive guide, we cover:
- What is SEO?
- Why SEO?
- What is Included in SEO?
- What is the Average Cost of SEO?
- What Factors Affect Your SEO Cost?
- Typical SEO Pricing Models
- Local vs. National SEO
- One-Time SEO vs. On-Going SEO
- Setting an SEO Budget
- What Results You Can Expect From SEO
- How to Choose the Best SEO Provider
What is SEO?
SEO stands for ‘Search Engine Optimization’ and refers to strategies and techniques you can apply to any website to increase its ranking in the search engine results pages (or SERPs). So a good SEO strategy basically means that your website has better visibility on the world’s most used search engines such as Google and Bing.
SEO is a vital online marketing tool that’ll help your business grow – whether locally, nationally, or internationally. In fact, almost 50% of shoppers surveyed say that they use Google to get helpful information or suggestions on what to buy.
Search engines like Google and Bing are online marketplaces. They’re where people go to search for the products and / or services they want to buy. This means that if your business is not showing up in related online searches, you won’t be an option for potential customers to consider. Worse, you’ll be missing opportunities to generate leads or make sales. And because of this, you’ll also be missing the chance to increase revenue and grow your business.
With so many websites out there, you want to rank as highly as possible – ideally on the first page of results. Around 75% of people never click through to the second page of search engine results. So if you want new customers to find your website in online searches, good SEO is key.
What is Included in SEO?
There are a number of elements that go into an effective SEO strategy that any quality SEO service provider should offer. Those elements include:
- Keyword Research. Any good SEO strategy starts with keyword research. When it comes to a product or service, potential customers use a variety of keywords to find what they’re looking for on sites like Google and Bing. Keyword Research essentially helps you uncover what keywords your target audience is searching for online and identifies what the best keywords to target will be taking into consideration several different factors.
- On-Page Optimization. Once you’ve identified the keywords you would like to rank for on search engines, the next step is On-Page Optimization. On-Page Optimization is the process of utilizing your keywords in key places on your web pages to demonstrate to search engines that your website is relevant to the specific keywords you would like to rank for.
- Optimization of a site’s technical attributes. The technical structure – as well as your website load speed, coding, and even your 404 Error Page – makes a big difference when it comes to SEO. You’ll also need to ensure that your site is compatible with a range of devices (especially mobile devices, given that around 60% of all Google searches are made on phones).
- Link building. Link building is another important element of any good SEO strategy. There are different types of links, but perhaps the most important are backlinks – links from other websites to yours. Backlinks have a powerful effect on your website’s search engine ranking because they help demonstrate the authority of your website.
- User Experience. It’s not just the words on a website that help your SEO – the user experience is just as important too. After all, Google’s goal is to provide searchers with the best experience. This means your business website should be easy to use, fonts are easy to read, images load quickly and your website is optimized to work on mobiles, tablets, laptops, and even TV screens.
What is the Average Cost of SEO?
Because websites vary so much in terms of size, target location, and design, SEO pricing reflects this and varies too. Factors that affect your SEO services cost include the size of your website, whether you’re targeting a local, national, or international audience, the competitiveness of the industry you work in, the number of keywords you wish to target, and the specific SEO strategy you require. SEO pricing also varies according to the provider you choose, their location and level of expertise, and the payment model you opt for. SEO companies may charge by the project, per hour, or in the form of an on-going retainer. This means you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 and $30,000 for an individual project or $500 and $10,000 for SEO services each month.
You may find SEO services priced at around $200 a month. This might be quite tempting, but the low price point will probably reflect the quality of SEO you get and provide you with a much lower ROI. Since quality SEO is usually not designed to be set-it-and-forget-it, it tends to require on-going maintenance to increase and maintain your rankings and visibility on search engines. As a result, most reputable SEO providers charge between $500 and $10,000 per month.
What Factors Affect Your SEO Cost?
Every business is unique, so it’s best to have a customized SEO strategy rather than a one-size-fits-all option. For this reason, there are a number of factors that affect your SEO cost – based on the goals of the individual business and the current state of their website. To help better understand these factors, we’ve detailed some of the most important below:
- Website size. One of the key things driving the price of SEO services is the size of your website. For example, if your site has 15 pages it’ll cost less to optimize than a site with over 500 pages. This means small businesses and smaller start-ups should expect to pay less for SEO services initially. But remember that if you’re successful and want to build your website by adding more pages and content, SEO pricing will reflect this in the longer term.
- Local, national, or international? If you’re a small, local business who wants to target more localized customer demographics, it’ll usually cost less than a business that wants to target national – or even international – services.
- What you want your SEO to achieve. If you already have a well-functioning website that performs reasonably well in terms of optimization, SEO pricing will generally be lower than websites that require more work or a large amount of optimized content to improve their search engine ranking.
- The industry. Another important element when it comes to determining the average cost of SEO services is the industry or sector your business is in. If your sector is more competitive for example, a lot more work, time, and effort may be needed to get your website to rank and a more comprehensive SEO strategy may be needed to improve your website’s search engine ranking. This is likely to cost more than if your business is in a niche sector or less competitive industry.
- The number of keywords you wish to target. The smaller your website, the less keywords or keyword categories you may need to target. The less keywords you target, the less work will be required to get you to rank. So the number of keywords you wish to target will also affect your SEO cost.
Typical SEO Pricing Models
Most SEO service providers have a range of pricing models to choose from. Below is a breakdown of the typical SEO pricing models, along with some of the typical SEO costs you can expect:
|Pricing Model||Average SEO Cost||Typical SEO Tasks|
|Per Hour||$50 – $150 per hour
Short-form task -e.g. specific keyword research/on-page optimization
|Fixed Price||Anything from $0.25 per
word for SEO
copywriting to $7,500 for
SEO website content audit
SEO link audit
|Project Price||Depending on the scale
of the SEO project,
expect anything between
|Customized SEO task – e.g. set number of
blog posts, link building
Pricing is generally agreed between SEO provider and client
|Monthly Retainer||The average SEO charge for a monthly retainer is around $500 a month
For larger eCommerce websites, expect a higher monthly retainer of between $5,000 and $10,000 a month
|• Continued optimization of your website
• New/ fresh content – e.g. monthly blog posts
• Link Building
• End-to-end service
• Monthly reports – e.g. Google Analytics traffic
• On-going keyword optimization
Local vs. National SEO
Local SEO services focus on reaching a local audience within a specific geographic area. This makes it ideal for businesses with a physical location locally or businesses that go to customers on a local level. But if you’re interested in targeting customers nationally, you really should focus on national SEO services.
With national SEO pricing, expect services to range anywhere between $3,000 and $10,000 per month. Individual price points depend on the size of your website and the amount of work required to optimize it for national search engine rankings.
One-Time SEO vs. On-Going SEO
When it comes to choosing between one-time SEO and on-going SEO, opting for on-going is best. One-time SEO will certainly help lay the right foundations, but it ultimately only gets you so far. Beating your competition will almost always require a continuous SEO strategy to get you and – more importantly – keep you at the top of the search engine results pages.
With on-going SEO, you’ll be able to continuously build on and improve your business website. You’ll be able to use visitor data to further optimize your site’s design, pages, and content. And you’ll also be able to tweak your website to increase traffic, generate leads, improve conversions, and make more sales.
Because SEO pricing varies so much from business to business, setting an SEO budget can be tricky. But it’s important to remember these 2 things:
- SEO takes time – often between 6 and 12 months to see consistently good results.
- Long term SEO is often more cost effective than paid advertising strategies (Google Ads, Facebook Ads, etc.).
Ultimately, your SEO budget is going to be based on your goals and the type of results you are expecting.
Since SEO requires a long term commitment and consistency you need to also consider how much you can afford based on the results you would like to get and set a realistic budget based on the factors that affect SEO and the pricing model laid out above.
What Results You Can Expect From SEO
Unlike Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC), an organic SEO campaign won’t produce results right away.
So here’s what you can expect from a quality SEO strategy:
- Higher search engine rankings. The biggest benefit of SEO is your website ranking better on search engines – especially when people use the search terms or keywords your site has been optimized for.
- More website traffic. Another thing you’ll notice over time is an increase in website traffic. Even better, as more visitors click through to your website, your search engine results page ranking improves too!
- More Leads. If your SEO is done right you and your website is effective you should expect to see an increase in leads generated from your website. Leads can be quote request, email subscribers, demo request, free trials. Of course it varies on what the goal of your website is.
- More sales. If you are an ecommerce website, SEO can also help you increase your sales. In fact, the average ‘lifetime profit’ a business stands to make from an effective organic SEO campaign is currently 200%.
With so many companies offering SEO services, choosing the right one isn’t always easy. The most important thing is to be clear on what type of SEO your website requires. After that, consider the following when choosing your SEO service provider:
- A ‘cheap’ SEO service provider is rarely the answer. While SEO cost is always an important consideration in any decision you make, the ‘really cheap’ option is never likely to be the best. For example, if you need a monthly SEO service, paying less than $500 means you’re probably looking at sub-par outcomes and even the chance of your website being penalized (known as ‘black-hat SEO’). We recommend budgeting at least $500 to $1000 a month at a minimum for SEO services. If you have a large website that needs additional optimization, you’ll likely need to budget for over $1,000 a month. For eCommerce sites, it’ll almost certainly be more.
- Speak directly to potential SEO providers. If you’re only able to communicate with an SEO provider by email or live chat, that’s probably a sign that may not be a good fit. You’re well within your rights to speak directly to the SEO team who’ll manage your website and discuss the kind of strategies they would use to boost your website’s search engine ranking.
- Ask providers for proven SEO outcomes or success stories. Ask any potential SEO service provider to give you examples of where they’ve been successful. Any hesitation or resistance here should be seen as a big red flag.
- Be clear about ‘introductory’ SEO costs. Some companies might attempt to lure you in with generous introductory offers. This sounds great but remember to do your research into the average cost of SEO services over, say, a year rather than just looking at what’s on offer to begin with. Our pricing guide above is a good way to work out the average cost of SEO.
- Try a ‘one-off’ SEO cost before committing to more. A good way to work out whether an SEO service is worth it is to try their service with a project based approach initially. For example, you could ask a provider to complete an SEO audit of your website. The results they send – and the time they take to send them – will tell you a lot about how comprehensive their SEO service is. And don’t forget that, with this option, you’re not committing to a monthly retainer while getting to know a potential SEO service provider at the same time.
This comprehensive guide is designed to help make a more informed decision when considering SEO services.If you have further questions about SEO pricing or the average cost of SEO, you’ll want to speak to an expert you can trust. Feel free to call 877-877-4936 or contact us today!
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