How much does SEO cost

SEO pricing is one of the most debated subjects in search engine optimization.

The average hourly rate ranges from $75 – $150 per hour. The average SEO retainer costs between $1000 – $3000 per month. While many search engine optimization firms bid out based on how many hours they expect to have to invest into a clients website to get ranked, many simply throw out the highest number they think the potential client will bite on.

From Search Engine Land.com

SEO prices in the US

There is more data out there regarding SEO prices in the US than in the UK. Moz published the results of a survey on SEO providers that included pricing, and it showed a huge range of monthly pricing. These prices are not specific to small businesses, but still, they give us an idea.

Survey Question: For those clients you service with ongoing/multi-month contracts, what is the average client’s monthly billing?

  • 10% — less than $500
  • 27% — $500-1,000
  • 29% — $1,000-2,500
  • 20% — $2,500-5,000
  • 15% — $5,000-10,000

There is a lot of variation out there, but the majority of businesses are spending less than $5,000 per month on SEO in the US based on this survey. Forty percent of these people are spending less than $1,000, which is where the truly small businesses and startups often lie. Remember, these prices likely map to the level of difficulty and scope of the project. Those paying less than $500 per month are probably local businesses!

Read more about the survey here.

Several years ago I started working with a plumbing company. The plumbing company had been through half a dozen search engine optimization companies over the last 6 years with no real traction. The once 1st page ranked plumber was stuck on page 3, 4 or even further down. The only recommendation that each of the other 6 SEO companies had was to ‘build more links.’ After the 6th SEO company, the owner asked me to come in and give him my recommendations. After reviewing his backlink portfolio I quickly realized that what he needed wasn’t more links, he needed fewer links. There was a lot of past link development that had his website stuck with penalties. After that, I quickly recommended a link detox. After the link detox and some site re-structuring, he returned to the 1st page. This is a position they hadn’t seen in many years.

So, back to the cost of SEO. Typically, cheaper SEO means less experience, and likely some tactics that are frowned upon by Google. Legitimate search engine optimization experts are web developers (not just WordPress editors) and strategic thinkers.

Average monthly SEO retainers for smaller markets: >150,000 people
$750 – $1500/mo.

Average monthly SEO retainers for larger markets: <150,000 people
$1500 – $3500/mo.

Average monthly SEO retainers for national SEO efforts:
$3,500/mo +

SEO pricing is all relative to the situation and the business. Each website is like a fingerprint. It’s unique in its age, history, and design. Businesses have different goals and targets – all of which play into the overall SEO gameplan.

Not sure where to start? I can help you sort through the mess. Shoot me an email at [email protected] today.

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