What are Typical SEO Costs?

Working with a professional SEO agency just makes better business sense than trying to master it yourself. Now it’s time to address the next most important question: SEO costs?

Truthfully, there’s no simple answer to this. Like most things, SEO costs vary greatly depending on your company’s size, industry, and goals. Some companies pay as little as $100 a month for (cheap, generally ineffective) SEO services, while enormous brands like Apple, Disney, and GM can pay as much as $500,000 per month. In the words of Forbes contributor Josh Steimle, asking what SEO costs is a bit like going to a car dealership and asking the dealer, “So, how much for a new car?” A used Toyota is going to cost a bit less than brand-new Maserati. It all depends on your budget and what you need to get you there.

In order to simplify things, we’ve broken SEO costs down into five basic levels. This is intended to give you a general overview of the pricing you can expect for Search Engine Optimization services. For a more specific price estimate, contact us for a free SEO audit that will help analyze the exact needs of your website and business.


Hourly SEO Costs: $80-$200 an hour

Some SEO activities can be packaged into a project with the payment structure set up on an hourly basis, rather than monthly SEO retainer basis. Examples of hourly projects include a few hours of consulting on any SEO-related subject you need help with; a review of particular pages of your website; or a comprehensive SEO audit.

Cheap SEO Services (mostly a waste of money): $150-$300 a month

If you find an SEO company that charges this little for their services, beware. Cheap SEO companies generally use shady practices like automated link building, duplicating content, and outsourcing SEO content writing overseas to keep costs down. Not only do these practices generate very low-quality websites, they almost never have any long-term success. However, if your company is small, local, and has very little competition, it’s possible to generate results at the upper end of this level.

Affordable SEO Services: $500 - $1,500 month

This pricing is still generally on the low end, but there are many small projects which may begin at this level, especially for a small business that services a very limited geographical area. Ideally, your SEO services will start at a level that is comfortable for your business and build incrementally as your business sees more and more success, so this is often a strong starting point. Again, the results you receive are largely dependent on the size of your company’s competitive area.  Small companies regularly see great results from a 1,000/mo. investment.

Professional SEO services: $1,500 - $5,000

Most established Search Engine Optimization companies with a proven track record of success begin their pricing at this level. Your investment in an SEO plan will depend on your business’ specific needs, but no matter what SEO services you require, this pricing will give you access to a dedicated team of professional web analytics experts, content writers, Pay Per Click expertssocial media marketers, and account managers who will work together help you to reach your goals. If your business is local - for instance, a landscaping company, nail salon, or dentist’s office - you can probably expect SEO costs in the $1,500-$2,000 range. However, what works for a single attorney in a small town will not work for a large law firm in a bigger city, and each will require a different level of investment.

Professional SEO Services: $5,000 - $10,000

This level of SEO services is generally commissioned by companies with a desire for strong growth. Since their projects allow for a broad approach to SEO, they usually see substantial results. Typically, at this pricing level, a company will hire a senior SEO team with years of proven success in the industry. If the market you are trying to dominate has significant competition, this type of investment will allow you to target the most desirable - and lucrative - keywords. The more mainstream your product, and the larger your target audience, the more you will have to invest in order to beat the competition.

Best SEO Services: $10,000 +

It is not uncommon for huge brands to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in their monthly SEO services. It is alright if you aren’t quite there yet, but as your business grows, remember that there is no such thing as too much high-quality content. For many leading companies, a constant stream of high-quality content and SEO analysis is a huge component of success.

SEO as an Investment

Remember, although Search Engine Optimization is a cost, it’s also an investment. The answers aren’t always immediate, and it takes long-term skilled analysis and, often, trial-and-error to determine which methods work best for your particular industry. With that said, SEO is critical to lead development. If your company doesn’t invest in SEO services, it will be almost impossible to compete with the businesses that have.

If you’re interested in learning more about the SEO, PPC, Social Media, Content Marketing, and Web Analytics options our SEO services company offers, give us a shout.