Outsourcing search engine optimization (SEO) requirements has been an effective business strategy for many companies for all the right reasons. For one, companies with the question “What is SEO” looming over their head can answers straight from experts. SEO professionals help you recognize the value behind SEO and identify the best strategies to improve your visibility on search engines.
In addition, a good SEO firm will make sure that you only pursue white hat SEO, referring to SEO practices that don’t break the rules set by Google and other search engines. Altogether, this means you get quality SEO services that can give you more visibility in search as well as drive traffic to your website.
Budget-wise, you won’t run out of options too, since most SEO services are customizable according to your needs and resources. Although the general rule is that higher costs equate to better quality, this isn’t always true, especially for service-based products. So, you’ll need to do your due diligence when selecting your SEO service provider.
So, how much should you actually pay for SEO? In this post, you’ll learn about several key indicators that may tell you if you’re getting just about the right price.
Factors Affecting the Cost of SEO
As with other services, SEO is priced based on a combination of factors. This is what counts when drawing up plans with a potential SEO partner:
Current search ranking
SEO consultants may look at your existing position in organic search and then use it as a base point on how to run your campaigns. If your website happens to have low domain authority or rankings, you can expect to pay for longer before your online visibility reaches a desired level.
Along with the current condition of your website or link profile, you and your SEO agency will also need to discuss where you want to be within a particular timeframe.
Needless to say, if your SEO partner anticipates a large volume of work to pull up your search rankings, the more expensive SEO services become.
Level of competition
This factor is closely tied to your niche, meaning the more popular your target keywords are, the more competitive SEO should be. Your SEO agency will have to put in greater efforts and more time to bring your brand on par with other players in your industry, which will affect the cost of SEO.
Urgency of work
SEO work is time-consuming. It may take anywhere from three to six months before you start seeing results, and way much longer to build on those results further. What most SEO companies do is to allocate their resources several months ahead of time, so if you come to them asking for a priority spot in their client or work lineup, they will have to charge higher in order to accommodate your request.
Specific business needs
There are many reasons why you may need SEO services from experts, which may range from a website audit to link cleanup and link building. These are specific requirements that also need to be factored in when computing for SEO costs since they require different processes and tools.
Whether you want to break into a local market or an international market will also spell the difference on how much SEO services will cost for your business, but the bottom line is you should expect to pay more for a wider audience reach.
Expertise of SEO service provider
Generally speaking, the higher the level of expertise that an SEO firm demonstrates, the more they are in a position to ask for higher rates. Some of the trust signals you can use to tell which ones are SEO experts include their years in the business, knowledge of all SEO work types, familiarity with your industry, track record with other clients, marketing know-how, and even mastery of language.
Different Types of SEO Payment Models
When hiring an SEO company, you’ll want the price to be right so you can get the most out of what you’re paying for. Here’s how different SEO pricing models stack up against one another:
1. Fixed Fee
In this payment model, you pay a flat price for entering into a contract with an SEO company. Your payment will cover specific work or services, regardless of the amount of work to be done or the size of the project.
Benefits for Your Company: Since the coverage of your contract is across the board, you don’t need to fuss over every little detail that relates to the service you signed up for. The fixed fee pricing model also saves you from the trouble of performing a cost analysis, where you need to study and report on each item that’s part of the overall costs.
A pay-for-performance pricing model is one wherein you only pay the SEO agency you hired if the work they did for you resulted in you hitting your targets. Usually, these targets or goals will have something to do with how high you want to rank for certain keywords or how many more sales your company made based on the performance of your agency.
Benefits for Your Company: This payment model is ideal for when you want to be strict with your budget or when you’re trying to test the waters first before committing to work further with a particular SEO company.
3. Hourly Consulting
As the name suggests, in an hourly pricing model, the amount you’ll be paying will be computed based on the number of hours that an SEO firm will spend working on your project. SEO companies might offer this option as a way of compensating their efforts, especially if they anticipate a lot of revisions or improvements before the project reaches the finish line.
Benefits for Your Company: Aside from stating the obvious that you only pay for the actual hours spent on your project, paying by the hour also gives you flexibility in managing a particular project. You can easily make arrangements with your SEO partner to add or reduce their consulting hours based on your needs or budget.
Similar to the fixed fee model, project-based pricing means you’re paying a flat rate for the SEO agency’s services but the terms of the contract or project are more specific. This makes project-based pricing very popular in the SEO services industry.
The agency will advise you about the extent of the work to be done, what deliverables are part of the project, the resources that will be needed, and timeline projections, among others. The agency may also lay down the rules for additional tasks that may come up but are outside the scope of work, usually through hourly pricing.
Benefits for Your Company: A project-based pricing model gives you a crystal clear idea of what to expect out of the service agreement with your SEO agency. It also allows you to stay within your budget since the SEO company cannot easily make changes to the pricing in case it needs more resources than what was indicated in the original plan.
5. Monthly Retainer
This pricing model involves paying a monthly fee to your SEO partner for overseeing your SEO project. The monthly fee is fixed and covers a predefined set of tasks that goes on until the agreement is in effect, usually for a long term.
Benefits for Your Company: Making monthly payments means you’re not going to pay huge upfront costs in order for your SEO work to be up and running. In addition, monthly retainers are a way to ensure continuity of success since you’re working with the same SEO agency for a long period of time.
6. Profit Sharing
The idea behind this type of pricing is to compensate your SEO partner by way of sharing a portion of your profit or revenue to the SEO company. This makes it similar to the pay-for-performance pricing model, but you can set a time limit, payment caps, and other reasonable restrictions in your profit sharing agreement with your SEO agency.
Benefits for Your Company: Profit sharing encourages your SEO agency to make more sales for your company, so they can get their piece of the pie. However, you will still have control through the limitations you attach to the revenue sharing scheme.
SEO Industry Benchmarks
Despite the fact that it can be difficult to ascertain the cost of SEO services due to several variables, you can refer to industry benchmarks to get an idea of average price rates for hourly, monthly, or project-based campaigns.
Note that there are levels or tiers available for whatever pricing model you sign up for, as you can see below:
- Pricing Tiers for Hourly Rate: Less than $75 to more than $1001, with the most popular being the $100 to $150 per-hour tier.
- Pricing Tiers for Monthly Rate: Less than $50 to more than $250,001, with the most popular being the $501 to $1000 per-month tier.
- Pricing Tiers for Per-Project Work: Less than $100 to more than $250,001 with the most popular being the $501 to $1000 tier.
Other Industry Pricing Factors to Consider
The figures above are general representations of SEO pricing packages, but there are other ways of breaking down SEO cost—including by region, agency type, length of SEO experience, and size of market.
Here’s how much majority of SEO companies and contractors typically charge based on certain criteria:
|SEO Hourly Rate by Region
|SEO Hourly Rate by Agency Type
|SEO Hourly Rate by Length of Experience
|SEO Hourly Rate by Size of Market
|United States – $101 to $150
United Kingdom – $76 to $100
Europe (Germany, France, Italy, Spain) – $76 to $100
Europe (Other) – $41 to $50
Canada – $101 to $150
Australia and New Zealand – $101 to $150
Latin America – Less than $25 / $51 to $60
India – Less than $25
|Freelancers – $68
Consultants – $122
Agencies – $135
|2 years or less – $79
2-4 years – $111
5-10 years – $119
More than 10 years – $143
|Local Market – $96
Worldwide Market – $119
|SEO Monthly Rate by Region
|SEO Monthly Rate by Agency Type
|SEO Monthly Rate by Length of Experience
|SEO Monthly Rate by Size of Market
|United States – $2501 to $5,000
United Kingdom – $501 to $1,000
Europe (Germany, France, Italy, Spain) – $501 to $1,000
Europe (Other) – $251 to $500 / $501 to $1,000
Canada – $501 to $1,000
Australia and New Zealand – $2,501 to $5,000
Latin America – $501 to $1,000
India – $251 to $500
|Freelancers – $1,364
Consultants – $1,906
Agencies – $2,820
|2 years or less – $1,266
2-4 years – $2,563
5-10 years – $2,563
More than 10 years – $2,563
|Local Market – $1,566
Worldwide Market – $3,614
|SEO Per-Project Rate by Region
|SEO Per-Project Rate by Agency Type
|SEO Per-Project Rate by Length of Experience
|SEO Per-Project Rate by Size of Market
|United States – $1001 to $1,500
United Kingdom – $501 to $1,000
Europe (Germany, France, Italy, Spain) – $501 to $1,000
Europe (Other) – $501 to $1,000
Canada – $1,501 to $2,000
Australia and New Zealand – $1,501 to $2,000 / $2,501 up to $25,000
Latin America – $101 to $250 / $501 to $1,000
India – $101 to $250
|Freelancers – $1,530
Consultants – $4,482
Agencies – $5,222
|2 years or less – $1,235
2-4 years – $4,630
5-10 years – $4,630
More than 10 years – $4,630 up
|Local Market – $2,756
Worldwide Market – $4,479
If the Price Is Right
With several SEO pricing models to choose from, it’s important to remember that your actual SEO costs will depend on the extent of your brand’s SEO requirements. A particular pricing model may be better suitable for certain projects than the other, so you should do a thorough and careful assessment of what you really need and expect to get, including the ideal price that will work for you.
Bigger and long-term projects will always be more expensive because of the additional man-hours required, but choosing the right agency will mean getting the best bang for your buck or return on investment (ROI).
SEO Company offers flexible pricing models to suit the size and needs of your next project. Contact us today to find out more about our SEO services!