This is an extremely tricky subject and that’s exactly why I’ve decided to dedicate an entire blog post to it. When seeking the total cost for professional search engine optimization services you may notice there is often lots of fluctuation. Several people I’ve talked to personally have said when asking about prices one of the most common answers they receive is “it depends,” and it’s extremely frustrating. Unfortunately, services like SEO are not like buying traditional products and the price can be different depending on several different factors. In the following paragraphs I’ll cover everything you need to know when determining how much SEO services should cost to get your website ranked higher.
SEO Payment Models
When dealing with an SEO company you will probably find they use at lease one of the payment models below. Make sure you understand each one completely before signing with a company to optimize your site:
Monthly Retainer – The monthly retainer option is one where a client pays a set fee each month in exchange for SEO services. The monthly retainer method is probably the most common because it provides the greatest ROI. This type of option is most common with companies wanting services like analytics reports, content improvements, link building, and keyword research.
Contract Services (Fixed Price) – Most every SEO agency out there sells contract services. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a client to use contract services before engaging in a monthly retainer to have additional SEO work completed. This type of option is most common with companies wanting to get small types of work done (such as a website audit report) before moving to more in-depth work which would require a monthly retainer.
Hourly Cost – This model works exactly how it sounds. You hire an SEO consultant to complete an agreed amount of work and then simply pay them on an hourly basis. There are no contracts required for hourly jobs.
Project-Based Pricing – Project costs are similar to contract services with the exception that they are custom projects created specifically for one client. Pricing will obviously vary according to the project, and this option is great for companies wanting a wide-range of SEO work done.
Typical SEO Costs
As I mentioned above, getting an exact price for SEO services can be difficult. However, there should be at least some range you should expect to pay for such services. Thankfully, a survey was done using the payment models described above and these were the common costs business owners paid for their SEO services.
Monthly retainer: $750-5,000 per month – This does seem like a pretty big range, but there is alot to keep in mind. The size of the business and extent of the services are probably the two most important. On the lower end of this spectrum are smaller SEO companies that offer a limited range of services. On the upper end are businesses with greater needs that are working with full-time SEO agencies.
Contract services at fixed prices: price variable – Businesses that are just testing the waters in SEO usually choose a contract service to begin. Typical contract services include things like website audits ($500-$7500), SEO copy writing ($0.15-$0.50/word), social media setup ($500-$3000), and more.
Project-based pricing: price variable – Since there is such a variety of price points for different projects, this number can vary significantly. However, most projects cost from $1,000 to $30,000.
Hourly consulting rate: $100-300/hr – It doesn’t really matter whether you’re dealing with an individual or agency here, both tend to charge between $100 and $300 per hour of SEO work.
Things to Keep in Mind
It doesn’t matter how much money you have, SEO is something that cannot be rushed. Always do your research before hiring an SEO consultant (or firm) and always keep these tips in mind:
SEO takes time – As I just mentioned, SEO is a long-term investment. Aggressive campaigns do have their place, but pushing too hard can actually have the opposite effect. With that in mind, monthly retainers are often best for most website owners.
Not all services are created equal – Remember, SEO isn’t about shopping around for the lowest prices. It’s about finding an agency you can trust and get results with. Look for an SEO company that defines its scope of services, and will also take the time to educate you.
SEO is important – The point of your website should be to increase business or exposure. Unless people are finding your website, it’s not even worth having one. Take the time to either learn SEO yourself or pay someone to do it. It’s extremely crucial to website success and is a requirement for businesses at this day in age.