SEO Pricing: What Is a Reasonable Price for SEO?

Reliqus Marketing

05 April 2023


If you’re a business owner or a marketer, you’ve probably heard about SEO and its importance in today’s digital age.

However, you may wonder how much you should expect to pay for SEO services. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as SEO services pricing varies depending on several factors.

In this SEO pricing guide, we’ll explore the key factors that affect SEO pricing and provide some guidelines on what the price for SEO might look like.

The process of optimizing your website for search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant keywords is known as SEO or search engine optimization.

The higher your website ranks in search results, the more traffic you can receive, translating into more leads, sales, and revenue for your business.

However, SEO is a complex and ever-evolving field that can be challenging for business owners to navigate.

One of the most common questions that businesses have about SEO is how much it costs.

Understanding SEO

Before we dive into the factors that affect SEO pricing packages, let’s briefly review what SEO entails. There are three main components of SEO:

  • Technical SEO: This involves optimizing your website’s backend to ensure that it’s fast, secure, and easy for search engines to crawl and index.
  • On-page SEO: This involves optimizing the content and structure of your website’s pages to make them more relevant and useful to search engines and users.
  • Off-page SEO: This involves building links to your website from other reputable websites to signal to search engines that your website is authoritative and trustworthy.

Long-term SEO takes stable work and financial commitment. At the same time, you can see some results from SEO relatively quickly. It typically takes several months to a year to see significant improvements in your website’s rankings and traffic.

Factors That Affect SEO Plans and Pricing

Now, let’s look at some of the key factors that affect SEO packages pricing:

  1. Scope of Work

The scope of work refers to the specific tasks and deliverables an SEO agency will provide for your business. 

Keyword research, on-page optimization, link building, content production, analytics, and reporting are a few examples of standard SEO services.

The more comprehensive the scope of work, the higher the SEO pricing is likely to be.

  1. Competitiveness of Industry

The competitiveness of your industry and the keywords you’re targeting can also affect pricing for SEO services

If you’re in a highly competitive industry, such as legal or finance, achieving top rankings for your target keywords may take more effort and investment.

  1. Geographic Location

The geographic location of your target audience can also affect SEO pricing. If you’re targeting a local audience, your SEO strategy will likely differ from a national or international one.

Local SEO typically involves optimizing your website for local keywords and directories and building local citations and reviews.

  1. Experience and Reputation of the SEO Agency

The experience and reputation of the SEO agency you choose can also affect SEO services pricing

More established and reputable agencies may charge higher prices due to their expertise and track record of success.

  1. Contract Length and Payment Model

The length of the contract and the payment model can also affect SEO pricing. Some agencies require long-term contracts, while others offer month-to-month options. 

Additionally, some agencies may charge a flat fee, while others charge based on the number of hours or a percentage of your ad spend.

Why is SEO Expensive?

In the digital age, where online visibility can make or break a business, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become a pivotal strategy for success. While the benefits of SEO are undeniable, its price tag often raises eyebrows. 

Let’s delve into the reasons why SEO services pricing comes with a relatively hefty price and why it’s a justified investment.

  1. SEO Involves A Lot of Effort and Skill

Crafting an effective SEO strategy requires a comprehensive understanding of search engine algorithms, keyword research, on-page and off-page optimization, content creation, link building, and continuous analysis. 

Skilled professionals spend hours tailoring strategies to fit each business’s unique goals. This level of expertise demands competitive compensation.

  1. SEO Has A Great ROI

Despite its initial cost, SEO offers an exceptional Return on Investment (ROI). When implemented correctly, SEO can significantly boost organic traffic, lead generation, and conversion rates. 

The increased visibility and credibility that come with higher search engine rankings can lead to long-term business growth, making the investment worthwhile.

  1. SEO Takes Time to Work

Achieving meaningful results from SEO takes time. It involves a gradual process of optimization, content creation, link-building, and analysis. 

Search engines need time to crawl and index updated content, and changes may not yield immediate outcomes. This time-intensive nature of SEO reflects the thoroughness required for its success.

  1. SEO Takes Experience

Successful SEO relies on a nuanced understanding of various factors, including changing search engine algorithms, industry trends, and competitor analysis. 

Experienced SEO professionals have encountered a range of scenarios and have honed their ability to adapt strategies effectively. This experience is invaluable when navigating the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing.

While it’s true that SEO can come with a substantial price tag, it’s important to consider the long-term benefits and the potential impact on your business’s growth. 

Quality SEO services are an investment that can yield substantial returns over time. When you partner with experts who are well-versed in the complexities of SEO, you’re making a strategic decision that can enhance your online presence and drive sustainable success.

Compare SEO prices

When investing in SEO, understanding the factors influencing SEO pricing can help businesses make informed decisions about their digital marketing budgets. 

SEO Costs by Provider (Agency or Freelancer):

Ever wondered why the cost of SEO can be so different, even if they’re offering the same stuff? 

Well, there are many reasons that play into how they set the SEO services pricing.

Let’s break down some of the main things that affect pricing for SEO services:

Agency vs. Freelancer:

Okay, so you’ve got choices. Do you go with an agency or a freelancer? Choosing between both can impact SEO pricing significantly.

Agencies usually have a team of SEO experts to tackle different SEO aspects, which can mean higher costs. Monthly retainers for agencies typically range for Small to medium-sized businesses from $1000 to $5000 and for larger enterprises: $5000 and beyond.

On the other hand, freelancers can be more budget-friendly, with monthly costs ranging from:

Lower end: $300 – $800

Mid-range: $800 – $1500

Higher end: $1500 – $2000 or more

But they might have fewer resources and know-how compared to agencies.

There are more factors that influence the price:

  • Skills and Specialties:

Who’s the SEO whiz? The skills and specialties of the provider can affect the SEO pricing.

If you’re looking for someone who has advanced skills in technical SEO, content creation, link building, local SEO, and more, you might pay a bit more for that expert knowledge.

  • Results and Experience:

Guess what? Experience pays off. 

If the SEO provider has a track record of delivering tangible results – higher rankings, increased organic traffic, and more conversions – their price tag might reflect that success.

  • Types of Services Offered:

It’s like a buffet menu. Different services, different prices. 

A hefty SEO pricing package with keyword research, on-page SEO, content creation, link building, technical audits, and ongoing monitoring might cost more than a simple one that tackles just one or two things.

So, there you have it! SEO pricing isn’t just a random number game. 

The cost is influenced by whether you go with an agency or a freelancer, the expertise they bring, their track record, and the range of services they offer. 

Remember, choosing between an agency and a freelancer is not just about the cost. But also about finding the right fit for your business needs and goals.

SEO Costs Broken Down by Business Size

SEO Pricing varies depending on the size and complexity of a business and the scope of the SEO services required. 

Here’s a breakdown of SEO costs for different business sizes:

  1. Small Businesses:

Small businesses often have smaller budgets and may be unable to afford extensive SEO services. 

Generally, they can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $1500 monthly for basic search engine optimization packages

These packages usually include keyword research, on-page optimization, and link-building activities.

  1. Medium-Sized Businesses:

Medium-sized businesses, on the other hand, often require more comprehensive SEO strategies. Their monthly SEO costs range from $1500 to $5000 or more. 

To stay competitive in their industry, these businesses may require more advanced strategies such as content creation, social media management, and ongoing website optimizations.

  1. Large Enterprises:

Larger businesses with competitive industries and extensive websites require more intensive SEO efforts. Costs can range from $5,000 to $20,000 or more per month. 

This investment would include in-depth keyword research, advanced content strategies, robust technical optimization, thorough analytics and reporting, and possibly international SEO considerations.

  1. Enterprise-Level Businesses:

Large enterprises with multiple brands or international reach require highly customized and complex SEO solutions. 

Costs can exceed $20,000 per month, and the services could involve sophisticated keyword targeting, extensive content creation, advanced technical optimization, continuous monitoring, and high-level reporting.

Businesses of all sizes need to evaluate their specific needs and goals when determining their budget for SEO services. While larger budgets provide access to more robust strategies and resources, smaller businesses can still achieve positive results by focusing on targeted goals within their means. 

Investing in an effective SEO strategy tailored to business size and objectives is crucial for long-term online success.

SEO Costs Broken Down By Pricing Model

SEO services are often offered with different pricing models, each catering to different business needs and budgets. 

Here’s a breakdown of common SEO pricing models:

  • Monthly Retainer:

Many SEO agencies offer monthly retainer packages, which typically include a set number of hours or services per month.

This model allows for ongoing SEO work and regular reporting and communication.

  • Project-Based Pricing:

Some agencies charge a flat fee for a specific project or set of deliverables, such as a website audit or a content strategy.

This SEO pricing model is useful for businesses with a specific SEO need or a limited budget.

  • Performance-Based Pricing:

Some SEO agencies charge based on performance metrics, such as the number of keywords that rank on the first page of Google or the amount of traffic or revenue generated from SEO.

This model can be risky for agencies, as it’s dependent on the client’s website and other external factors.

  • Custom Pricing:

Larger businesses or those with unique needs might negotiate custom SEO pricing with agencies. This approach considers the specific goals, industry competitiveness, and the range of services required.

How Much Does It Cost for Hourly SEO Services?

When you’re looking to hire an experienced SEO freelancer or agency hourly, the cost typically falls in the range of $50 to $150 per hour

It’s important to note that you might come across options that charge less or even more than this range. For instance, about 6% of SEO providers charge over $200 per hour, but these cases are exceptions.

However, it’s important to note that this is just a general guideline, and prices can be higher or lower based on factors such as the expertise and experience of the SEO professional, the complexity of the project, and the location.

Ultimately, price is an important factor when selecting an SEO service provider. Businesses should also focus on finding a trustworthy expert who can deliver tangible results through comprehensive techniques. Rather than relying solely on low-cost providers who may provide subpar results or use unethical tactics that could harm your website’s reputation in the long run.

What to Expect from Different Price Ranges?

SEO pricing plans can vary widely depending on the factors we’ve discussed. you can use an SEO calculator to evaluate different scenarios and make an informed decision.

Here’s a general SEO pricing models of what you can expect to pay for SEO services:

Low End: $500 – $1,000 per month

At the lower end of the pricing spectrum, you can expect basic SEO services, such as keyword research, on-page optimization, and basic reporting.

You may also work with a junior or inexperienced SEO specialist.

Mid-Range: $1,000 – $5,000 per month

In the mid-range, you can expect more comprehensive SEO services, such as link building, content creation, and analytics and reporting.

You may also work with a more experienced SEO specialist or a small team of specialists.

High End: $5,000+ per month

At the high end, you can expect the most comprehensive SEO services, including a dedicated account manager, custom strategies, and ongoing optimization and reporting.

You’ll likely work with a team of experienced specialists and have access to the latest SEO tools and technologies.

Key Components of SEO: What are you going to spend money on?

When it comes to improving your website’s visibility and driving organic traffic, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an essential investment. 

However, understanding the SEO services pricing can be a challenging task, as cost can vary widely depending on various factors.

Here are the key components of SEO on what you should expect to spend money on when hiring an SEO service.

  1. Background Research

Effective SEO begins with a thorough understanding of your business, industry, and target audience. This initial phase involves discussions with your team to gather insights about your goals and expectations. 

A reputable SEO agency will invest time in learning about your brand to create a customized strategy. While this stage might not have a direct cost associated, it lays the foundation for the rest of your SEO campaign.

  1. Keyword and Competitor Research

Keyword research is the bedrock of SEO. Identifying the right keywords to target is crucial for SEO success. SEO professionals use specialized tools to conduct keyword research, analyzing search volume, competition, and relevance. 

Additionally, analyzing your competitors’ strategies can provide insights into areas you can exploit. The SEO pricing for this phase can vary based on the extent of research needed and the complexity of your industry.

  1. Site Architecture Optimization

A well-structured website is not only user-friendly but also search engine-friendly. SEO experts will audit your site’s architecture, identifying technical issues that may hinder search engine crawling and indexing. 

They’ll also work on optimizing site speed, mobile responsiveness, and user navigation. Costs for this phase depend on the size and complexity of your website.

  1. Content Production and Optimization

Content is king in the realm of SEO. High-quality, relevant, and engaging content not only attracts visitors but also helps improve search rankings. 

SEO pricing includes the creation of new content, such as blog posts, articles, landing pages, product descriptions, and other forms of content that cater to both users and search engines. 

Furthermore, optimizing existing content to incorporate targeted keywords and provide valuable information contributes to your site’s authority and relevance. The cost can vary depending on the volume and type of content needed.

  1. Link Building and Digital PR

Earning backlinks from authoritative websites is a critical aspect of SEO. Link building involves outreach, guest posting, and other strategies to acquire valuable backlinks. 

Similarly, Digital PR involves getting your brand mentioned on reputable online platforms. Both activities require time and effort, contributing to the overall pricing for SEO services.

  1. Analytics and Reporting

Measuring the effectiveness of your SEO campaign is essential. SEO professionals use tools to track rankings, traffic, conversions, and other key performance indicators. 

Regular reporting provides insights into the progress of your campaign and allows for adjustments as needed. The cost for analytics and reporting is typically included in SEO pricing plans.

Tips for Choosing an SEO Agency

Choosing the right SEO agency for your business can be a daunting task. Here are some tips to help you make an informed decision:

  1. Look for Experience and Expertise

Choose an agency with a proven track record of success in your industry and with businesses similar to yours.

Look for certifications, awards, and testimonials that demonstrate their expertise.

  1. Understand the Scope of Work

Make sure you have a clear understanding of what services and deliverables the agency will provide, and how they’ll measure success.

Avoid agencies that make unrealistic promises or use unethical SEO tactics.

  1. Consider Communication and Reporting

Choose an agency that values communication and transparency.

Make sure they’ll provide regular reporting and updates on your SEO progress, and that you have a dedicated point of contact for questions and concerns.

  1. Evaluate Pricing and Contract Terms

Choose an agency that fits your budget and has flexible contract terms.

Make sure you understand what’s included in the pricing and what additional fees or charges may apply.

Is it worth Paying for SEO?

One of the most common questions that arise when it comes to SEO is whether it’s worth paying for. 

While there are plenty of factors to consider, the short answer is yes – paying for SEO can benefit your business. The key lies in finding the right balance between investing in quality SEO services and your budget.

Investing in SEO can yield several benefits for your business, including:

  • Increased visibility and traffic to your website
  • Higher quality leads and conversions
  • Improved user experience and website performance
  • Increased brand awareness and authority
  • Long-term cost savings compared to paid advertising


There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of what a reasonable price for SEO is.

SEO pricing depends on several factors, including the scope of work, competitiveness of industry, geographic location, experience and reputation of the agency, and contract length and payment model.

By understanding these factors and doing your research, you can choose an SEO agency that fits your needs

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