SEO Pricing – Steps to Determine the Right Price and Budget For Your Campaign

SEO Service Pricing

SEO service pricing varies depending on the services needed, the experience of the firm or individual providing the service and then, of course, the effectiveness.

In 2011 Moz polled over 600 SEO companies and aggregated all of the data in an insightful (albeit now outdated) article. In summary, this article reasonably assesses that an average SEO consultant charges between $80 and $130 per hour. Further, the average monthly retainer comes in somewhere between $750 and $1500 per month.

Starting in 2015 Credo’s analysis of their platform determined that agencies are more expensive both hourly and monthly than freelance consultants. On average, agencies charge $1,461.15 for a monthly retainer and consultants charge $887.50. Agencies charge on average $203.08 per hour while individual consultants charge $138.25.

SEO Pricing Strategy

Understand Your Needs

Understanding the services you need is the first step of the equation in determining SEO pricing as all SEO campaigns are not created equally.

There are all types of SEO services and the combination of the services you need will ultimately determine the price you’ll need to pay to accomplish your goals.

  • Types of SEO Services
    • International SEO
    • National SEO
    • Local SEO – The Initial Analysis Report
  • Ongoing Services
    • Content Development Plans
    • Online Public Relations
    • Link Building
    • Mobile SEO
    • Shopping SEO
    • Video SEO
    • Competition Analysis
    • Conversion Optimization
    • Site Linking Analysis
    • Analytics Analysis
    • SEO Hazard Analysis
  • Other Services –
    • Strategic Planning
    • Social Media
    • Pay Per Click


Perform an Initial Comprehensive Analysis

We highly recommend that you begin the assessment with a comprehensive analysis.  There is simply no way that a reputable SEO Company can give you a price without first performing due diligence. This will help determine what services are needed, to what extent those services are needed and what priority each service should take in the overall approach.

A Comprehensive Analysis should (at minimum) consist of the following:

  • Keyword Identification and Research Reports. (Content)
    • Exact Monthly Search volume (either local or national).
    • Keyword Relativeness to your specific project.
    • Current Rankings.
  • Initial Ranking (Benchmark)
  • Technology Assessment Report (Technology)
  • Analytics and Conversion Tracking in use.
  • Mobile Page friendliness.
  • Page Speed and Page Speed Optimizations.
  • Comprehensive Website Review (Content and Technology)
  • Backlink Assessment: (Authority)
  • Competitor Strength Analysis (Authority)
  • The Competitive Keyword and ROI Analysis (Analysis)


Determine the Mix of Services and the Length of Time for Final SEO Pricing

Now that you have a comprehensive assessment of your situation a strategic plan can be developed to attain your desired SEO goals.

That Strategy should answer the following questions:

  • What needs to be accomplished immediately?
  • Who will do what portion of the project?
    • Is there an in-house team?
    • Is there a web developer involved?
  • What will the content development plan look like?
    • Are there in-house writers?
    • Who will assess the SEO factors in content?
    • Who is responsible for final content approval?
    • Who will layout the content? Provide artwork?
    • Who will perform final on-page analysis pre-publishing?
    • How will the content be integrated into the site?
  • Local SEO –
    • Who will make edits to the Google Business listing(s)?
    • What is the citation plan?
  • Link Acquisition
    • Social Media’s Role/
    • Influencers?
    • Link Acquisition strategy?
  • Timelines
    • Who / What / When / How Fast?
  • Flexibility
    • Will the strategy allow for flexibility / adjustments as it progresses?
  • Accountability
    • When will reports be delivered?
    • At what intervals will baselines be compared?

Budgeting for SEO

Often SEO campaigns will involve 2 major project milestones / activities that play into the cost both from an initial upfront cost to an ongoing cost:

  1. Initial Fixes / corrections
    1. Will this be accomplished all at once? OR is the size of the corrective project large enough that it must be accomplished over time?
  2. Ongoing Content / Linking Efforts
    1. SEO isn’t a “one and done” scenario. Ongoing content development is critical to overall SEO success, you need to determine how much effort needs to be committed to for ongoing efforts.

Another great resource for SEO budgeting provided by Forbes: says “Overall, you should be looking to spend at least a few thousand dollars a month, even if you’ve just got a small business; that should get you a minimum threshold of quality and quantity of content, and allow you to stay competitive with some of your biggest competitors. However, one of the biggest variables in your SEO success isn’t related to how much you spend, but rather, how you spend it. A $1,000 budget that’s wasted on low-quality content and obsolete strategies are worthless, while $1,000 spent on a single piece of standout content, with the right amount of support, can give your campaign a huge boost. When drawing up plans for your budget, make sure you’re spending it with in-house talent, SEO agencies, or contractors who know what they’re doing and are committed to giving you the best possible ROI.

Summing Up SEO Pricing and Budgeting

We think that it was best said by Inc. Magazine (10 commandments on a healthy SEO Strategy)

  • Do Your Research
  • Plan Ahead
  • Be Smart About Spending
  • Utilize Tools and Resources
  • Track and Measure Everything
  • Be Authentic
  • Quality over Quantity
  • Cast a Big Net
  • Keep it Clean
  • Give it Time

We’re here to help.  Start with a free site audit and preliminary analysis