What should I expect to pay for SEO services?

What To Expect to Pay For SEO Services

A brief overview of what to look for when making your SEO marketing budget

What should hiring someone to manage and run your SEO cost? What should you expect to pay for SEO services?

We’d like to point out that SEO is best viewed as an investment, not an expense. The cost in dollars depends on many things. As Joshua Steimle wrote “Asking what SEO costs is a bit like going to a car dealership and asking the dealer “So, how much for a new car?” The natural response is “It depends. What are you looking for?” Then the dealer would ask you what you’re going to use it for, how much you’ll drive it, what you do for a living, and a number of other questions to find the right car for you. And if you need a BMW you’re going to pay a substantially different price than if you need a Hyundai.”

First of all, you’ll need to determine what SEO means to you and what you’re looking for: do you just have a one time project that needs initial setup, or a problem in need of a quick fix, or are you wanting to develop a long- term, ongoing relationship? Consider some average case scenarios:

  • New website, needs an initial listing
  • Small, local or niche site, needing to get on page one and start climbing
  • Business critical in your city or region – must be in the #1 position on page one
  • National product brand or competitive keywords needing position #1 on the first page

        (Note: the list above approximately corresponds to the average prices shown below)

For a project, such as needing someone to manage your new website launch and all the little details, like link redirects, it will be not “how much does SEO cost?” but rather, how much for this one project? If you’re looking for SEO because “I need my business to really sell more XYZ”, then you’ll be entering a long-term relationship with SEO that will probably be billed monthly, at “N” amount of dollars that cover all the needed services. Or it can be by determining that “I can spend this much per month” and working in a budget, or occasionally on temporary services, or on projects that are indefinite, hourly.

Like Joshua Steimle on Forbes says “Bigger is not necessarily better when it comes to hiring an SEO firm, just as McDonalds isn’t better than your local fine steakhouse by virtue of having more locations. Large and small SEO firms both have their place, and it’s important to know which type will be a better fit for your business….If SEO is a critical ongoing piece of your marketing strategy and you value hands-on, personalized service, more than likely you’ll end up working with a smaller firm.”

Let’s talk about your target market. This audience will largely influence what you’ll need to pay for SEO. If your business is in a large, competitive target market, your SEO will cost more than an open niche market, with some exceptions. On the flip side, SEO can be much more affordable if you’re a local business in a small town.

Here’s a quick sample of some of the going prices around the SEO web-world:

  • $250-$500 per month for small, geographically located businesses in small towns.
  • $700-$1500 per month if your business is limited geographically, but you live in a town larger than 50,000 people (That’s You, Waco! 2012 population: 127,018).
  • $2,000-$6000 per month if your target market audience is regional, national or international and you’re selling a niche product or a service that is fairly specialized without a lot of competition.
  • $10,000+ per month on national or international campaigns for products and services that don’t fall into the niche category.

Most SEO companies charge between $75.00-$200.00 per hour, with a few really high end firms charging up to $500.00 an hour.  The average price is currently $125-$200/hour.



Infographic: the cost of SEO. Click to view.

Click to view the full image.

Infographic by SEOmoz & AYTM Market Research

About the author

Digital Marketing Consultant, AdWords PPC Traffic Specialist and certified ASK Method Associate. My goal is to deliver the best start-to-finish high-performance digital marketing my clients could ever hope for.