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Common SEO Pricing – Average Costs and What to Expect

SEO Search Engine Optimization concept, ranking traffic on website, internet technology for business company

How much does SEO Cost? Asking this question is sometimes like asking how much a house costs. The cost of a home depends on many factors including the location, features and fixtures, age of the home and whether you are looking to buy an apartment, townhome, condo, rambler all the way to a mansion home. To some extent, the cost of SEO varies in a similar fashion, and there are many different types of SEO packages and pricing models available in the SEO world. Not to mention, the best SEO companies will actually tailor their pricing and packages to the needs of their client. All of this can make shopping for SEO services for your business rather complex and confusing. Through industry research and including our own pricing options at Sebo Marketing as well, we have compiled this article as a general SEO pricing guide to help you understand the different types of SEO options available and what to expect in terms of cost, deliverables, results and much more.

Sebo Marketing SEO Pricing

Beginning with our own services, here at Sebo Marketing we offer several basic SEO packages with options to customize based on your individual needs. Below is a summary graphic that details some of our basic packages for our marketing services including both SEO and PPC (pay-per-click) work. Most of our SEO packages start at approx $500 per month for our various SEO services. However, this is a very basic estimate and increases in pages or target keywords as well as adding content, link building and other needs can be added at an additional cost customized to the needs of your business. Feel free to visit our SEO Pricing page to learn more about the different SEO services we offer and their approximate pricing. 

We prefer to create individualized proposals for each of our clients after doing a thorough SEO audit of your site (completely free!). This helps us to get a feel for your website, your current goals and needs and then allows us to tailor our pricing to your budget and goals. We feel that SEO should be an individualized effort, where we work with you as a partner to help you grow your business rather than just a vendor trying to sell you something. We consider ourselves as part of your team and want to work with you to best meet your needs. 

Industry Standards for SEO Contracts and Pricing

SEO agencies vary widely in their pricing for their services and it can be difficult to know if you are spending the right amount for your results. According to the Search Engine Journal, to hire a top level SEO company to work on local SEO for your website you can expect to pay at least $500+ per month. However, there are several different pay models for SEO with pros and cons to each, and understanding each type of SEO model can help you know how to get the best pricing for your needs. The four most common type of pay models for SEO are: 

  1. Monthly Retainer fee
  2. Per Project Basis
  3. Hourly
  4. Performance Based 

1. Monthly Retainer Model

This is the most common type of SEO model and most agencies operate to some extent on a monthly retainer basis. According to a study done by Ahrefs, 74% of surveyed agencies charge clients on a monthly retainer basis.  In this model an agency charges a set monthly fee of anywhere between $500 to $1,000 per month as the most common pricing tier, with costs increasing based on the number of websites, keywords, pages etc. as well as if the company is focusing on more local SEO or national/international targeting. The agency then delivers SEO work each month based on their clients needs and their long term strategy. The monthly retainer model can work on a contract or no contract basis and fees can be negotiated depending on the policies of the agency. 

2. Per Project Basis

The per project model works best for clients who already have an understanding of their SEO needs and want specific and temporary help. This model can work well for a seasonal opportunity or PR initiative, or for projects or websites that only need SEO work for a certain amount of time. Often this model is cheaper than the monthly retainer model, and the typical price range for an SEO project ranges anywhere from $1,000 to $7,500 depending on the project scope. However, while this can be a cheaper option for SEO, it does not focus on the long term success of your online business and can also be difficult to change or adapt to changes as the terms must be clearly spelled out in a contract at the start of the project.

3. Hourly Billing Model

Some SEO agencies choose to operate on an hourly basis, however this model is used more often by individual SEO consultants today than by professional SEO agencies. The typical hourly rate for an SEO company ranges anywhere from $80 to $200 with most agencies charging between $100 to $150 dollars per hour according to data from Moz, Rankpay and Ahrefs. This model can be good in terms of only paying for time to complete actual work. However, this model can also be difficult if your project takes longer than expected and your end up paying more than you anticipated. The hourly model can also cause problems for people looking for a good deal and spending too little on SEO because a low hourly rate looks good on paper. Typically, those who charge less that $80 per hour for SEO are likely not collecting enough to do high quality work and will often employ black hat techniques that may get your site penalized by Google. Avoid this at all costs. 

4. Pay for Performance Model

This model works well for agencies and clients who have a relationship of trust and robust methods to track rankings and leads as well as a high potential for growth. This model is fairly new and can vary widely between agencies and individual clients within one agency. Pricing will vary based on the client’s expected revenue and the value of rankings and leads to the client. Because this model places a very heavy burden on the agency, some keywords may be limited in this model as they will be too difficult to go after, and if those keywords are the client’s most important targets, then a Pay for Performance model may not be the best option. This model works very well for Ecommerce sites and can be combined with pay-per-click efforts for Ecommerce to work very well for both the SEO agency and the client. Small businesses can also benefit from this model as well if they have relatively easier keywords or a very local target market and are not able to invest in a monthly set fee at their current revenue level.

SEO Contracts vs No Contract SEO

Under each pay model another thing to consider when shopping for SEO is the length of the SEO contract. Set term contracts are typically utilized by companies that offer the hourly, monthly and pay for performance models (occasionally on a project basis, but these type of project contracts generally just define the length of time to complete the project). Contracts can range in term length from three years to six months, and the majority of SEO contracts are handled on a year-long basis. When searching for an SEO agency and examining their pricing, make sure that you take into account the contract and terms as well, so that you fully understand the arrangement with your SEO agency. 

There are also a few SEO agencies who offer a no contract option and provide service on a monthly basis. These are few and far between (Sebo Marketing is actually one of them!), and if you are interested in learning more about no contract SEO and why this type of relationship actually benefits both the client and agency, feel free to visit our no contract SEO blog page to learn more. However, whether your SEO is done on a contract or no contract basis, understanding the terms and length of your contract in addition to the potential pricing model is an important step when shopping for SEO. Too many clients who fail to understand their contract and relationship with their agency can end up signing a contract with which they are later dissatisfied and they end up leaving disillusioned and frustrated with agencies and with SEO in general. 

SEO and PPC Combinations

SEO and PPC services compliment one another in many ways and can work together to make your website a powerhouse in search engines. For this reason, many agencies offer both SEO and PPC services and clients can purchase both in one package depending on their needs and desired investment. Unfortunately, because PPC management also varies in pricing, understanding exactly how much combining SEO and PPC services would cost can also be tricky, and most agencies will just charge for each service separately as a part of your total marketing package. On average, a monthly PPC account management fee can be around $500 dollars for a flat fee, or agencies may charge on a percentage of spend basis as well. If you re interested in learning more about PPC pricing, feel free to visit our PPC pricing guide as well. Combining SEO and PPC services can be a great way to really boost your website performance in search engines and again, making sure to clearly understand the terms and relationship with your agency and the cost for each service will help you get the rockstar results that you are looking for.

SEO Average Cost and Expectations Summary

To summarize, combining data from several sources and surveys, this article has attempted to explain the basics of how SEO pricing works and what you can expect when shopping for SEO. In general, there are 4 different SEO pay models and their average cost is displayed below. 

Also keep in mind that the terms of the SEO contract can also make an impact on both the pricing of services and the relationship with your agency. SEO contracts vary and some agencies operate on a no contract basis. Considering the length of contract as a part of your pricing research will help you find the right investment for your business. 

Keep in mind that all of these figures presented are averages and estimates taken from data across the United States, and pricing may vary based on your target keywords, your local market, and the size of your website or project. The best SEO agencies will discuss with you your needs and create a customized package to tailor their services and pricing to your needs. SEO is not a passive service like purchasing a car wash or groceries at the store. Rather, SEO is a partnership and an investment, where each dollar is investing in building your business for the long run. Understanding your goals and examining with your agency how SEO can help you achieve those goals and how best to invest your hard earned dollars into it is the best way to go about purchasing SEO services. 

Why Sebo Marketing? 

At Sebo Marketing, we offer three unique value propositions to each of our SEO clients. 

  1. No Contracts
  2. Competitive Pricing
  3. Proven Track Record

1. No Contracts

At Sebo Marketing, we do not believe that our clients should be bound by contracts for our services. This is because we don’t consider ourselves just a vendor of a service, but rather a partner in your business committed to your success. We don’t want a contract to obligate you to stay with us and if our services aren’t working for you, we want you to be free to find what does work for your business. We believe that through setting good expectations with our clients and then delivering on our promises, we can show you how SEO will bring long term results for your company and growth that you never thought could be possible. That is the power of SEO. 

2. Competitive Pricing

We also offer competitive pricing, as displayed by the ranges above. We aren’t cheap, because we believe in being transparent and honest with our clients and want to have the adequate revenue we need to do SEO the right way instead of cutting expectations or using black hat techniques. We also keep our pricing simple by using the monthly retainer model with the option to cancel services at any time. Most of our services start at approx $500 per month, however we consult with our clients based on their needs and budget and create a customized plan tailored to each one. Our marketing coordinators have regular communication with our clients and we make sure that we do all we can to help your investment in us work for you. 

3. Proven Track Record

Lastly, Sebo Marketing has been in the SEO industry for 15 years and we have stood the test of time with a proven track record of success. Each month, we profitably drive over 200,000+ visitors to our clients’ websites through our SEO and Pay-Per-Click services. We have dedicated marketing coordinators and staff who have years of experience in the industry and we know what it takes to be successful in online marketing. We focus on small and medium sized businesses and have experience working with clients across many different industries. We also offer a free audit of your website at the start of every relationship so that you can see our initial assessment of your site’s status and potential at no cost or obligation.  However, most importantly, we have a proven track record of success because we seek to be honest and upfront with our clients and set realistic expectations and goals that we are committed to achieving over time. SEO is an investment that pays off over time, and we are committed to helping you make the most of that investment. 


We love what we do and are committed to serving you!  Visit our team page to learn more about who we are. Or fill out the form below or give us a call to learn more about our SEO services and how we can help you invest in the long-term growth of your business. 

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