How Much to Pay for Monthly SEO?

How Much to Pay for Monthly SEO?

In 2023, search engine optimization (SEO) emerged as the second most effective channel for acquiring new customers, urging companies to connect more deeply with their marketing teams. As we stepped into 2024, marketers began to game up, researching the costs associated with these services. Whether working with a big budget or a minuscule one, the need for paid SEO services is indisputable.

From my personal experience, the decision to increase a digital budget for SEO is not to be taken lightly. Guidance is crucial, as is understanding the budgetary constraints, whether they are large or small. It’s not just about spending more; it’s about spending smart.

How Much To Pay For Monthly SEO?

Last year, a large-scale analysis conducted with over 1,200 business owners and decision-makers revealed an interesting trend: the average cost of monthly SEO services. While some small business owners spend around $500/month, the range can vary significantly. One might spend anywhere from $100 to $5,000 per month. Typically, those who charge higher tend to deliver better results. However, there’s an inverse relationship – not all high-spenders are happy clients, and not all low-spenders walk away happier.

Drawing from my experience, the amount you spend on SEO should align with your expectations. A freelancer might charge less than a marketing agency, but the results could also vary. It’s a balance of finding what works for your business’s unique needs.

Local Monthly SEO Pricing:

When it comes to local SEO services, the phrase “affordable yet effective” rings true. It focuses on your geographical target area, perfect for a local business. This SEO campaign is tailored to boost your presence in Google Maps results, taking into account local competition. A robust local SEO strategy often includes city modifiers and keywords crucial for local ranking. Prices vary, typically ranging from $250 to $3,000 a month, depending on various variables.

eCommerce Monthly SEO Pricing:

Lastly, eCommerce SEO is a unique beast. Your website, the breadth of competition, and the array of keywords require significant resources to outrank competitors. It involves scrutinizing the size of the website, including the number of pages, products, and categories.

US SEO companies often charge between $150-$300 an hour or $2,000 – $10,000+ a month for comprehensive services. These services include content creation, writing, and link-building services, all crucial for an effective SEO strategy.

What Do Monthly SEO Services Typically Include?

Diving into the world of SEO services, you’ll find a variety of offerings that vary greatly among different providers. Here’s an insider’s perspective on what these services generally entail.

Creating A Personalized Strategy: The cornerstone of SEO is creating a personalized strategy, which involves finding keywords that resonate with your target audience. It’s about understanding what your audience looks for and tailoring your approach accordingly.

Developing And Executing Campaigns: Developing and executing campaigns is next, encompassing tasks like writing blog content, managing social media accounts, and ensuring on-page optimization. It’s a dynamic, ever-evolving process that’s crucial for online visibility.

Running Audits: Running technical and non-technical audits is essential for uncovering and addressing issues. For instance, I had a page bloat problem with too many indexed pages, which was completely solved by an expert I hired on Upwork.

Improving Website Speed: Improving loading speed is critical for enhancing user experience, akin to ensuring your website is as swift and efficient as possible.

PPC And Local Presence: Incorporating PPC creation and management and boosting a local presence are key components of a comprehensive SEO strategy.

Building Backlinks: Building backlinks is about enhancing your site’s technical authority, akin to establishing valuable connections in the digital realm.

Example Basic SEO Plan Pricing:

  • Basic Plans Range: $250-$3,000
  • Focus: Local or Regional
  • Keyword Research: 50-100 Keywords
  • Analytics Setup and Configuration
  • Monthly Strategy Discussion
  • Title Tag and Meta Creation
  • Internal Link Building and Crosslinking
  • Editing and Optimization On-Site
  • Custom Report and Review Call

Example Enterprise SEO Plan Pricing:

  • Enterprise Plans Range: $5,000-$25,000+
  • Focus: Competitive, Nationwide
  • Keyword Research: 500+ Keywords
  • Technical Aspects: Robots.txt, Sitemap Optimization
  • Speed and Image Optimization
  • Advanced Code Optimization
  • Offsite SEO Strategies
  • Conversion AB Variation Testing
  • Heat Map and Usability Reports
  • Personalized Approach

In my experience, the price range can vary significantly, from $25 to $25k, depending on the project and provider. This reflects the diverse and customized nature of SEO services.

Which SEO Pricing Model Is Best?

When pondering over the ideal SEO pricing model, it’s a jigsaw puzzle of options. From my experience, the Pay-for-performance approach beams with potential. It aligns the interests of the SEO company or specialist with the performance of your website. The beauty lies in its flexibility. You can customize the plan to suit your needs, avoiding any additional costs. 

But remember, this model requires you to approve specific actions and processes. If you’re seeking something more inexpensive, consider an SEO consultant from a foreign country, like India. This can be especially beneficial for eCommerce sites. However, don’t ignore the retainer model. A monthly retainer ensures continuous improvement and adaptation to changing SEO landscapes.

Retainer-Based SEO Pricing & Monthly Plans:

Delving into retainer-based SEO pricing, companies like OuterBox exemplify this approach. They offer both monthly and annual contracts. Their strategies and work are showcased in progress reports every month, fostering open communication with the client. 

These monthly plans aren’t one-size-fits-all; they encompass everything from articles and backlinks to pages optimized. The key is to find a balance between quality and relevancy. However, beware of inferior plans that seem too good to be true. They often lack planned tasks and essential SEO activities. A well-organized workflow and strategies that are either per-assembled or customized play a pivotal role in achieving a positive ROI.

SEO Hourly Rates:

For those considering SEO hourly rates, the spectrum is broad. Rates range from $50 per hour to $250 per hour, depending on the SEO agency. For instance, industry leaders like Neil Patel offer high-end consultation services. 

However, you might find more budget-friendly options like your neighbor’s daughter who dabbles in computers. This model is best suited for companies, from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, needing sporadic SEO assistance.

One-Time SEO Costs:

Occasionally, a one-time SEO cost is all you need. Whether it’s an SEO company or a consultant, they offer specific SEO services. Think of á la carte services, like an SEO audit or focused optimizations for your website. This is a deep dive into your site’s technical structure, content quality, and visibility on search engines. 

They’ll identify issues preventing you from ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). This option is ideal for businesses with an in-house team capable of implementing the recommended changes, mindful of the varying costs.

What Factors Influence Monthly SEO Pricing?

Understanding what drives the cost of SEO pricing is more complex than it appears. Unlike a static menu, SEO costs aren’t uniform; they’re influenced by a myriad of factors, making each quote as unique as the business it serves.

Industry: In the SEO landscape, your industry is a major determinant of cost. For highly competitive sectors like finance, medical, or real estate, where expensive keywords dominate, the CPC (cost per click) can be steep. Niche businesses targeting less competitive keywords can expect lower prices. The number of monthly searches and the specific industry’s online market presence greatly influence SEO pricing.

Geographic Location: Geographic location plays a subtle yet significant role. SEO pricing can vary depending on whether you’re targeting a bustling city or a small town. High-demand services in densely populated areas (think New York City or Los Angeles) usually cost more due to increased competition.

Agency vs Freelancer: Choosing between an agency and a freelancer affects your budget. Agencies may charge more due to their comprehensive resources and offerings, while freelancers or individual SEO consultants might offer more affordable rates but with potentially limited capabilities.

Skills and Specialties: The skills and specialties of the service provider also influence pricing. SEO professionals with rare skills, like advanced coding experience, often command higher fees. Agencies specializing in specific tasks like link building may have higher rates compared to those offering a broader range of services.

Results and Experience: The results and experience of the provider are crucial. Established professionals with a proven track record and notable skills might be more expensive, but they reduce the risk associated with SEO investments.

Types of Services Offered:

The Types of Services Offered have a direct impact on SEO Pricing. The SEO pricing models vary based on the complexity and scope of the services. Some of the key services include:

  • Keyword Research: The foundation of SEO, involves identifying the right keywords for targeting.
  • Link Building: Essential for boosting site authority, this includes creating white hat backlinks from reputable sources.
  • E-commerce SEO: Tailored for online stores, focusing on product and category page optimization.
  • Enterprise SEO: For larger companies with more complex websites, requiring a broader strategy.
  • NAP Citation Building: Crucial for local SEO, ensuring business name, address, and phone number consistency across the web.
  • Web Design and Development: Enhancing the SEO-friendliness of website design and structure.
  • Visual Assets and Infographics: Creating visual content that’s both informative and shareable.
  • Digital PR: Using online media and content to boost brand presence and authority.
  • Content Marketing: Developing and executing a content strategy to attract and engage an audience.
  • Google My Business Account Management: Optimizing and managing the business listing on Google.
  • Social Media Account Management: Leveraging social platforms for SEO benefits.
  • On-Page and On-Site SEO: Optimizing individual web pages and the website as a whole.
  • Blog Posts: Creating regular, quality content to engage readers and boost keyword rankings.
  • SEO Audits: Assessing the current SEO performance and identifying areas for improvement.
  • SEO Strategy Plan: Crafting a comprehensive approach tailored to business goals.
  • Guest Posting: Writing and placing content on other websites to gain backlinks and exposure.

Each of these services requires different expertise, time commitment, and resources, which is reflected in the overall SEO pricing. The combination of these services in your SEO strategy can significantly influence the monthly cost.

Monthly SEO Budget Considerations:

Determining an appropriate budget for your SEO campaign requires balancing what you can afford against your desired results. Investing in SEO is a long-term commitment, often spanning 12-18 months. Whether you’re contracting an agency or handling it in-house, consider the flexibility of month-to-month agreements versus the stability of annual contracts.

Goals and Objectives: Defining clear goals and objectives is crucial. Do you seek increased traffic, higher rankings, or direct sales? This clarity will guide your investment decisions. If the aim is a substantial boost in traffic, your approach will differ from a strategy focused on e-commerce conversions. It’s about aligning your SEO spend with specific outcomes.

Competition: In SEO, understanding your competition is vital. It informs how you allocate your budget and strategize. Analyzing what keywords competitors target and their investment in SEO services can offer insights. Agencies often employ tools to analyze and strategize ways to outperform rivals, a critical part of the SEO process.

Current Website Status: An initial SEO audit of your website is essential to understand its current state and ranking. The audit dictates the necessary resources and budget for improvements. If immediate results are unlikely, consider supplementing SEO with Google Ads or AdWords campaigns. This combined approach can provide a more immediate impact while your SEO efforts gain momentum.

How Can You Tell If SEO Costs Are Worth It?

In the realm of SEO, deciphering whether the costs are justified hinges on understanding its role in driving traffic to your website. Unlike paid search marketing like Google Ads, SEO investment isn’t just about the traffic cost; it’s about the value. You should consider not only the spending but also the ROI, which includes the number of sales, leads, and organic traffic. When pondering your online sales and profit margin, it’s essential to apply some basic math to your invoice to get the true picture.

Choose an SEO Company That Will Provide Value:

Selecting an SEO company involves more than just price comparison. It’s about value and vetting their capability through their case studies and success stories. These stories are not just words on a page; they are a testament to the company’s success.

Look For Proven Results: Proven results are the backbone of any SEO strategy. An effective company will showcase its success stories and case studies, providing concrete examples of its achievements. These are not just anecdotes; they are evidence of their ability to deliver.

Listen To Past Clients: Past clients are a treasure trove of insights. By examining reviews on the company’s site and 3rd party websites, you can understand what makes the best companies stand out. Pay attention to negative reviews too, as they can reveal overarching trends and recurring red flags.

Talk With The Team Directly: Get in touch with the team. A call to the SEO account manager or the SEO department can provide a wealth of information about how your website will fare in search results. This step is crucial to verify if you are dealing with a legitimate agency.

Learn To Spot A Shady Strategy: Identifying a shady strategy is crucial. Be wary of black-hat SEO practices that defy Google’s guidelines. Familiarize yourself with white-hat SEO and the rules to ensure your site isn’t penalized.

Try A Few And Compare: Consider using standalone SEO audit services before committing. These audits and their findings can be instrumental in selecting a new SEO company. The insights gained can be valuable discoveries that can be leveraged in your SEO strategy.

Read Also: How Much Should I Expect My SEO Ranking to Move Monthly?

What Is A “Reasonable” Price For Monthly SEO Services?

Be wary of any company offering services for $150 a month or less. In 2023, the average SEO specialist is making upwards of $60,000 annually, as per Glassdoor. A low cost often indicates the use of shady methods like link schemes, which provide few results.

A reasonable price for quality SEO services typically ranges between $1,500 and $5,000 for larger projects, with hourly rates between $100 and $300. However, these numbers are not set in stone and can vary dramatically based on the client’s needs, requests, and location.

Clients who pay a fair price often report higher satisfaction rates. In the long run, it becomes a get-what-you-pay-for kind of deal. Choosing a price within this range ensures that you are investing in quality service that will yield results.

Are Monthly SEO Services The Better Option?

When exploring SEO’s cost, it’s vital to know what you’re paying for. Is it a constant service or a one-off solution? Depending on your business goals and aspirations, the type of service you need may vary. Monthly SEO services offer the advantage of constant attention, especially since SEO tactics like link-building and content marketing are not one-time projects but require continuous updating, analysis, and adjustment.

I’ve seen businesses benefit significantly from ongoing SEO services. They understand that SEO needs are constantly evolving, and having a team dedicated to continuously improving and upgrading your SEO strategies can make a significant difference in the long run.

Do Monthly SEO Costs Differ For Small Businesses?

SEO campaign costs for small business owners can be cheaper than those for a large company or corporation. However, pricing models for SEO services can be quite varied. A small business owner might opt for an hourly rate of $125-$250, fixed-priced services from $1,000 to $7,500 per month, or a project-based package ranging between $2,000 and $3,000. These various services and prices are influenced by several factors, including the type of business, the project type, and the fixed costs involved.

In my experience, when asking about SEO costs for small business needs, a recommended spend of $500 can lead to significant results and improvements. This budget is often sufficient for small businesses to see a good return on investment.


From an insider’s account, understanding SEO pricing structures and the factors that impact what you pay is crucial. There’s no one-size-fits-all budget; businesses require SEO services that are tailored to their specific needs and resources. The cost will depend on numerous factors, but being willing to spend on top-quality work will likely yield better results and ROI.

At SEO Digital Solutions, we offer scalable, professional SEO services that fit your business budget. Our expertise is designed to help you outrank the competition without breaking the bank. For those interested, get in touch with us, and we’ll help you find the perfect SEO package. In today’s economic climate, it’s more important than ever for SEOs to stop undercharging for their valuable skills and charge what they’re worth.

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