When setting an online marketing budget and looking for an SEO company, you’ll find SEO pricing is all over the place. It’s tough to answer the question, how much does SEO cost?
In this article, we’ll answer questions about how SEO is priced, but if you’d rather talk with an SEO expert and get a free personalised proposal for your business, you can reach us by phone on 03 9067 5679.
What’s the average cost for SEO?
In 2023, the cost of SEO for local campaigns averaged around $1,000 per month, while nationally focused SEO campaign costs ranged between $2,500 – $7,500 a month on average. The cost of SEO services varies depending on the complexity of the keywords and the services included.
So, why do some SEO firms charge $500 per month and others upwards of $10,000 per month? Let’s explore the differences in pricing and why one SEO agency may charge more than another.
When a business hires an SEO agency, it is often done to fill a void in your business skills or expertise. It’s an important decision to get right, as the growth of your business can be dependent on the success of the search marketing campaign. Thus, with no in-house experts to help you evaluate potential companies and somewhat intimidating SEO terms, how can a business begin to understand what SEO services they need?
More importantly, how does one gauge the value and costs of those services to determine what kind of budget to allocate to SEO services?
Important Facts About SEO Pricing & Costs Include The Following:
- Average SEO costs are $150-$250 an hour for reputable SEO agencies
- SEO costs often range from $2,500 – $12,000 per month for Australian agencies
- The average SEO plan costs $3300 per month (per Ahrefs)
- Overseas SEO companies may charge $10-$50 an hour
- Beware of SEO’s guaranteeing results, it may be a scam (there are NO guarantees with SEO)
- Templated SEO packages are becoming less popular
- Custom SEO strategies are needed for the best results
- Watch hidden costs for link building
- SEO pricing is typically lower for local campaigns
- Higher SEO costs for eCommerce websites
- SEO Firms may have additional content creation fees
Different SEO Pricing Models
Whether you hire an inexpensive SEO consultant from a foreign country (hint: India) or a nationally recognised eCommerce SEO agency, there are a few different types of pricing models you can expect to see offered:
SEO Monthly Plan Pricing
Many SEO companies will offer monthly or annual contracts that revolve around a monthly calendar. At Outer Box, we create our strategies several months in advance and reflect on our work, results, and progress on at least a monthly basis. A two-way street of communication between the SEO agency and client is crucial to achieving the very best results possible. It is important to note that while we offer monthly plans, we do not offer one-size-fits-all SEO monthly packages, since that kind of approach to SEO isn’t the most effective. Many monthly packages offered by other companies will include a set number and type of services, such as articles written, backlinks gained, and pages optimised. These types of “turnkey” packages are often sold by inferior SEO agencies who are more concerned with delivering a specified amount of tangible work each month than producing results.
Beware of any companies promising to build a specified amount of backlinks per month, especially since the quality and relevancy of backlinks pointing to your website is significantly more important than the quantity. While our planned tasks and SEO activities are scheduled on a monthly basis for organisation and streamlining workflow, our strategies are not confined by these types of “per-assembled” monthly packages. Our SEO services are instead customised so that we are always working on what we know will deliver the greatest ROI.
Example Basic SEO Plan Pricing
Basic SEO plans can range from $250-$3,000 a month and typically include:
- Local / Regional Focus
- Keyword Research (50-100 Keywords)
- Analytics Setup & Configuration
- Monthly Strategy Discussion
- Title Tag & Meta Tag Creation
- Internal Link Building (Cross-linking)
- Content Editing & Optimization
- Basic On-Site Optimization
- Monthly Custom Report
- Monthly Review Call
Example Enterprise SEO Plan Pricing:
Enterprise SEO plans can range from $5,000 – $25,000+ a month and typically include:
- Competitive Keywords / Nationwide Focus
- Keyword Research (500+ Keywords)
- Analytics Setup & Configuration
- Monthly Strategy Discussion
- Title Tag & Meta Tag Creation
- Technical SEO – (Robots.txt, Sitemap, etc.)
- Speed Optimization / Image Optimization
- Internal Link Building (Cross-linking)
- Content Creation, Optimization & Editing
- Advanced On-Site / Code Optimization
- Offsite Link Building
- Conversion Optimization
- AB / Variation Testing
- Heat Map / Usability Reports
- Monthly Custom Report
- Monthly Personalized Review Call
How Much Does SEO Cost Per Hour?
SEO hourly rates usually fall in the $50-$250 per hour range. If your business is making only a few hundred dollars per month in online revenue, don’t expect to see a fast turnaround on $1,000 per month of SEO spend. If you are looking to pay for SEO by the hour, it may be wise to hire a consultant or hire an agency to perform an SEO audit and then pay an hourly rate for specific SEO services as needed. However, if you do need those types of immediate results with a website with very little existing exposure, you likely would benefit by supplementing your SEO efforts with paid advertising, such as a Google Ads campaign, to begin with. Don’t worry; Design Box Digital also offers some of Australia’s leading AdWords management services, so talk with us about how we can help your campaign be as successful as possible.
We help companies rank page #1 and reach their true potential online. We’ll show you exactly what we’ll do, how much it’ll cost, and how we’re going to crush your competitors.
Want to get the ball rolling quicker? Call 03 9067 5679.
How Much Do SEO Services Cost?
In the spirit of transparency, I’d like to share with you a real-world example. Keyword research shows that an average of 500 people search the exact query “how much does SEO cost” on Google each month. This question is a considerable source of confusion, especially for those early in the research stages. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer.
The short answer is that SEO pricing ranges anywhere from $50 per hour to over $250 per hour depending on the SEO agency you hire. The SEO-famous Neil Patel ostensibly charges up to $5,000 just for an initial hour-long consultation. All of that is not to say that your neighbour’s daughter down the street who is “good with computers” won’t offer to do it for $200 a month, and heck, she might even know what she’s doing! We’re also not saying that Neil Patel might not be worth that $5,000 price (spoiler alert: if you’re not a Fortune 500 company, he most likely isn’t).
No matter who you ultimately trust to provide SEO services for your business, how much SEO ultimately costs depends on many variables, including:
- The overall technical aptitude of your website and the CMS (content management system) for the content on the website. For example, Design Box Digital is a leading provider of eCommerce website design, and the websites we build for our clients are designed to exceed the expectations that Google and other search engine algorithms demand. Having a technically sound site built with SEO and eCommerce best practices in mind makes it much, much easier to optimise effectively and efficiently. The majority of CMS out there significantly lack in this area (looking at you, Magento).
- Existing visibility in organic search. If you’re starting with a brand-new website with zero domain authority and no rankings to speak of, expect to pay more or wait longer for tangible results.
- Existing brand awareness and exposure. See the previous point.
- Expertise level of the company providing SEO services. This is especially true as it pertains to your industry and niche within that industry.
- Business goals and objectives. That includes the role you anticipate organic traffic from search engines like Google and Bing to play while working towards those goals.
- Competition. Overall competitiveness will vary depending on your industry and the set of keywords you need to target
- Urgency. SEO takes time to be effective, so quicker results require more time and resources.
- Target audience and demographic. Are you looking to run a national or global SEO campaign, or are you a local business operating within a confined geographical area? This may or may not affect the overall price of your SEO campaign.
eCommerce SEO Pricing Facts to Know Include:
- eCommerce SEO services typically are more expensive
- Average of $150-$300 an hour for SEO companies
- Expect to pay $2,000 – $10,000+ a month
- Beware of SEO agencies without eCommerce experience
- Plans cost more with content creation/writing included
- Expect additional fees for link-building services
What Affects The Cost of SEO?
SEO Skill Set & Expertise
Those with real expertise and in-depth capabilities tend to have proven results and therefore can demand higher rates. Because they deliver proven results time and time again, they are busier, have more online companies asking for their SEO services, and their services are worth more because of the organic traffic they create.
Location Determines Pricing
Located in Melbourne, Victoria, Design Box’s overheads are significantly lower than SEO agencies operating in New York, for example, which helps us keep our SEO service prices down despite our proven skills and expertise. This may be a piece of the criteria you want to consider.
Competency in Your Target Audience’s Language
While hiring a cheap SEO company based in India, for example, might sound like a great idea at first, be sure that the company you select has a firm grasp of the English language if you plan on optimising your website for English speakers. This goes for any language. Also, consider time zones, communication, and other outside factors.
Level of Marketing Expertise in Your Niche
For example, our specialty at Design Box is eCommerce SEO and lead generation SEO for B2B websites. Look for a company that has experience working in your industry, but be prepared to pay extra for that experience. Your results will be worth it.
Local SEO Pricing
We hinted above that local SEO campaigns may theoretically be more affordable than attempting to rank nationally for the same set of keywords, but geographical target area is just one variable that affects the cost. Local SEO pricing is still subject to the same variables that we’ve touched on above but typically ranges from $250 – $3,000 a month. Read more about our local SEO services and pricing for more information!
SEO Services Pricing & General Costs
If you are ready to hire an SEO company, or even just an SEO consultant to perform specific SEO services, some SEO companies do offer á la carte services or at least may be willing to tailor their monthly plans to meet your needs. At Design Box Digital, we offer monthly packages uniquely customised to each client’s needs and industry. We base our strategy and recommended financial investment on what we know will move the needle the fastest – but we are also sure to account for any specific client needs or requests within those monthly strategies.
Once a customised strategy and monthly SEO cost are recommended, we resolve to make your money work as hard as planned.
If we determine that any specific client requests are of lesser “SEO priority” than our recommended SEO strategies and planned tasks, we communicate that openly. We will still honour a client’s requests, but there may be a separate cost. This way, we ensure that we deliver the results the client expects while still meeting any and all special requests.
In fact, this complete transparency extends far beyond pricing and is one of the lesser-known advantages of working with Design Box Digital.
How Can You Tell If SEO Costs Are Worth It?
In order to make money, businesses need customers. In order to get customers, businesses need traffic to their website. There are a number of ways to drive traffic, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. SEO is one of the most popular methods, as it can be very cost-effective. However, it is also important to consider the other options available, such as paid search marketing. Paid search can be more expensive, but it may be worth the investment if it drives more traffic to the site. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to invest in SEO should be based on a cost-benefit analysis. If the potential benefits outweigh the costs, then SEO is a good investment. If not, then another marketing strategy may be a better option.
Another good way to look at the ROI of SEO is by looking at the number of sales and leads you’re driving through organic traffic. If you’re spending $5,000 a month on SEO, driving $250,000 a month in online sales, and you have a profit margin of 20%, you’re well into the green by $45,000 a month. Using some of this basic math and thinking about your SEO investment in this way can really help you to feel comfortable paying your invoice each month.
Choose an SEO Company That Will Provide Value
Generally speaking, you do get what you pay for with SEO, but there is a certain amount of vetting one needs to do before choosing an SEO company. Here are some tips on that:
- Look for proven results. Look for case studies and ask the companies you’re considering to give some real examples of their success. If they struggle or hesitate to provide you with any success stories, odds are they haven’t had much success.
- Listen to past clients. Read reviews both on their site and on 3rd party websites. Keep in mind that even the best companies (SEO and otherwise) will always have a few negative reviews, so take those mostly with a grain of salt. Instead, look for overarching trends, and if you see any recurring red flags, you should likely move on.
- Talk with the team directly. Ask to get on a call with the actual employees that would be managing your SEO account or to speak to whoever oversees the SEO department. It’s not unreasonable for you to want to know a little bit more about the people you’ll be paying to work on your website and what strategies they might be implementing to improve your search results, especially when going with a more legitimate agency.
- Learn to spot a shady strategy. Read up about “black-hat SEO” and be sure that any of the strategies the salespeople discuss with you don’t seem to violate any of Google’s guidelines. At Design Box Digital, we are a strictly white-hat SEO company, which means we work within the rules of Google to ensure your site is never penalised as a result of the work we do. That would be entirely counterproductive!
- Try a few and compare. Consider purchasing standalone SEO audit services from several companies and then compare the findings of those audits. You may pay a little extra at the get-go, but you’ll have a better chance of choosing the best company. After selecting an SEO company to work with, share those findings with your new SEO company to ensure any valuable discoveries you paid for are leveraged accordingly.
Beware! Unfortunately, assuming that those companies charging the most must, therefore, have the most expertise or “best SEO services” is seldom a practical approach. If you’re in charge of choosing an SEO company for your business, no matter what the price, select the company that instils the most confidence in their ability to deliver an ROI on the budget your business decides to allocate to SEO services.
Why Is SEO Important?
If you’re not at the top of the search engine rankings, you’re missing out on many potential customers. With more than 5 billion Google searches daily, being in front of your customers when they’re looking for your products or services is essential. Potential customers searching on Google or other search engines are “actively engaged”, meaning they’re already interested in what you offer. If you’re at the top of the search results, you’re much more likely to capture that traffic. In fact, Did you know that over 25% of people click on the first organic search result on Google? That means if a keyword is searched 10,000 times per month, being number 1 on Google could bring in upwards of 2,500 free monthly visits. So if you’re not at the top of the search engine rankings, you’re missing out on a lot of potential business.
Still Have Questions About SEO Pricing?
We hope this article helps clear up some of the confusion and that we have empowered you to make a more informed decision about the SEO company that is best for your business. If you have any remaining questions or would like to discuss your website with an SEO expert, please give us a call now.