Search Engine Optimization Prices for 2023
The cost of SEO services varies depending on what is included. Most SEO projects in 2023 will cost between $750-$2,000 per month based on the scope of the project. A one-time project will range between $5,000-$30,000 and hourly rates for consultants fall between $100-$200 per hour.
I’m certain you’re aware the importance of SEO (search engine optimization, if we’re going to be formal) is now an essential element in digital advertising. Small businesses usually overlook it and less than half of them incorporate it into their budgets even if they do.
Why is this? It’s likely due to the fact that SEO prices can get complex. There’s no set price which means that agencies can charge whatever they’d like. It’s your responsibility to figure out who’s providing the best value for the money.
With more than 5.8 billion searches made on Google each day, with the majority of users stop at the first result page, it’s definitely recommended to start an SEO marketing campaign to increase your website’s visibility and expand your business.
Infographic from 500 interviewed SEO consultants and SEO agencies.
SEO Charged by the hour
The average cost for SEO hours ranges from $100 to $250 per hour. As an expert internet marketer here in Carson City Nevada, my hourly rate is $95. I can achieve better and faster results than the local SEO firms in Reno as I’ve optimized my workflow and have the workforce power equivalent to 40-50 employees without the overhead.
Why is SEO pricing so complicated?
With more than one type of SEO and at least three different pricing models being widely used, understanding SEO and local SEO pricing can be confusing. The following FAQ can help you make sense of SEO pricing, including local SEO costs.
It’s almost impossible to give a one-size-fits-all quote for the cost of SEO services because several factors come into play.
Here are the main ingredients of an SEO quote:
- The size of your website. An e-commerce store with thousands of pages will generate significantly more work than a 10-page website.
- Your goals. Some websites need some basic structural tasks performed on them while others have a results-driven goal that requires more resources to be poured into an SEO campaign.
- Your industry. Some industries are more competitive than others, which makes their keywords more competitive, too.
- The level of service. Some SEO pricing models are designed to work on a set-it-and-forget-it basis, where you have someone managing your campaign end-to-end for you. Other models work a la carte: you order a project that fits into your overall marketing plan.
I am so confident that my SEO campaigns will perform, I offer contract-free plans! Because I do not enjoy getting locked into a contract and neither should you.
My success is the result of 24 years of results-focused SEO, organized project management, transparency, and implementation of the SEO industry’s leading strstrategies. Get started today with some of the most complete and affordable SEO Packages available.
How Much Should You Pay for National SEO?
How Much Do SEO Services Cost?
If you’re trying to determine a fair cost for SEO services or compare SEO providers, be prepared to do some research. Although SEO has become an integral part of most comprehensive marketing programs — and there is a well-established set of best-practice fundamentals — there are still a lot of variables influencing how much SEO costs:
- SEO service providers may be individual freelancers, consultants, in-house staff, or large agencies.
- Practitioners vary in their experience, qualifications, and capabilities.
- SEO tactics can range from fast and simple tweaks to technically complex, long-running campaigns.
- Pricing models vary across the spectrum of service providers.
Many other factors play a role as well, including:
- The size of the target audience you need to reach
- The competitiveness of your industry
- Your specific goals for a national SEO campaign
- Whether there are existing negative factors (such as a Google penalty) on your site that need correction
- How suitable your current website is for capitalizing on SEO and what technology it uses
- The quality of content needed to reach your SEO goals and who will provide it
- The number of business locations you have
- The number of products and/or services you offer
So does this mean it’s futile to even attempt to understand SEO pricing? Not at all — but you’ll need a clear view of what SEO entails in order to make a well-informed decision about your SEO investment.
What goes into the price of SEO.
For those with only a general idea of SEO, it may, at first glance, seem to include tasks or skills that shouldn’t have much to do with moving a website higher in search engine results. How, for instance, can blogging help? What difference does website speed make? These are just two of a wide range of proven SEO strategies that encompasses a number of skills and disciplines.
Here’s an overview of some of the work an SEO campaign may include.
- Competitive research: Who your competitors are, how well they’re positioned online, what keywords they’re targeting, and what opportunities they may be missing.
- Configuration of tracking and analysis tools: Defining what will be tracked and setting goals for each metric.
- Technical website review and corrections: Reviewing existing factors that affect SEO, looking for areas for improvement, and correcting existing errors.
- Keyword research (ongoing): Determining how your ideal customers search for the product or service you offer.
- Site speed optimization: Ensuring your site’s pages load quickly. Google considers page speed a ranking signal, and studies clearly show that users quickly leave a slow-loading website.
- On-site/on-page optimization (ongoing): Capitalizing on every opportunity to send the right signals to Google by properly structuring page titles, URLs, meta tags and descriptions, text related to images, and more.
- Link-building (ongoing): Acquiring links to your site from other sites that are considered trustworthy, relevant, and authoritative. This is one of the most work-intensive aspects of SEO, but a critical contributor to success. Once initial SEO tasks are complete, a good portion of the budget may shift to link development.
- Content (ongoing): Strategizing and creating content, which is the foundation of SEO success. It must be based on research, be written using SEO best practices, offer real value to the reader, and regularly refreshed. A content strategy may include both the content on your website as well as content on outside channels. As with link development, content deserves a healthy budget.
- Tracking, analyses and reporting (ongoing): Monitoring and interpreting data, and using it to improve SEO results. Data is where SEO can provide an advantage over many other forms of marketing — everything is tracked, so every aspect of performance can be measured, then the knowledge gained can be used to achieve further improvements.
There are additional activities that can go into a national SEO campaign and factors that may affect the cost of SEO. Our best advice? Vet as many SEO providers as you have time for with a particular focus on the results each has obtained for clients in industries similar or comparable to yours.
How Much Should You Pay for Local SEO?
How Much Does Local SEO Services Cost?
The question “How much does local SEO cost” is perhaps better stated as “What’s the value of local SEO?” The key to gauging that value is understanding how it works, what benefits it delivers, and the effects that your choice of an SEO provider can have on costs and on results.
The average local SEO campaigns we currently build for our clients range from $1,500 to $2,300 per month for a single brick-and-mortar location. These are some of the factors that influence local SEO pricing:
- Citations: Listing your business and its locations in the top 50 online directories is a fundamental local SEO strategy. You may need up to 100 citations, depending upon the industry you’re in. Managing citations may cost $50 to $150 per month.
- Local links: Building authoritative links back to your site is another local SEO essential. An effective campaign may require a budget of $500 to $1,500 a month just for link development.
- Locations: There are efficiencies to be had if you have a single website with multiple business locations, but there are still basic recurring costs for managing multi-location local SEO campaigns. Expect to budget $750 to $1,500 per each location per month.
How local SEO gets done.
The basic mechanism is straightforward: Established local search engine optimization tactics are used to help ensure that people searching for a brick-and-mortar business in their local areas can easily find your business before they find your competitors’ companies.
Behind the scenes, there are a great many moving parts that affect where and when a local company’s website appears in search results. Some are relatively simple, are done one time, or take just a few minutes; others are more complex, must be built over time, or must be done repeatedly. Local SEO tactics may be on-site or off-site, and both are necessary to achieving great results.
Here’s an overview of what counts in local SEO campaigns and pricing:
Citations and links
Google looks not only at your website for signals to use in its rankings — it looks at the entire web. Wherever it encounters a place that cites your business or has a link back to your website, that tie to your business is assessed.
Citations are references to your company that include your NAP: business Name, Address, and Phone Number, and are used to improve local rankings. The value of citations to rankings lies in consistency — all of your citations must be the same across the web for best results.
In determining rankings, Google also assesses the value of the links back to your website that appear on other sites. If it deems the other site as popular, authoritative, and trustworthy (among a few other factors), the value of the link to your site is probably high. Your site’s ranking then benefits from what is basically a halo effect.
Because the value of good links is so high, local SEO practitioners will likely spend a great deal of time working to develop these links. Very high-quality links from relevant local sites are difficult to obtain and the search for them never ends. This intensive, ongoing work will be reflected accordingly in the cost of local SEO.
How many locations you have
The more locations your business has, the more you’ll need to spend on improving your rankings. Each location will need to be managed as a separate business from the perspective of local SEO, with their own citation consistency, unique content, and pages on your website.
How many products and/or services you offer
Local SEO always includes research into the keywords that potential customers use to find what you have to offer. Your local SEO costs multiply according to the number of your products and services as multiple keywords for each need to be targeted in your content and optimized across your website.
Are you in an unusual niche or one of the only businesses in your area to offer a particular service or product? If so, it can be easier to stay ahead of the pack in local search results. If, however, you have dozens of direct competitors, you’ll need a higher local SEO budget to stand out in the online crowd. You’ll need more links and fresher, more relevant content (on an ongoing basis) to improve or even maintain your spot.
The current state of your local SEO
Several situations come into play here, and each affects the cost of local SEO in different ways:
• If you have an established business but a website that used low-quality SEO tactics in the past, it can take a long time to remove those barriers to good rankings.
• If you’ve had a business website for a while but haven’t invested in any SEO, you’ll have a slight advantage, but will still need several months to gain significant local rankings.
• If you have a brand-new business with little or no online footprint, building a positive local presence online won’t happen overnight, but you can see some early gains if you don’t have a lot of local competition.
So, what should you spend on local SEO?
The answer, of course, is it depends, and it’s based on the factors above and more. If your success depends on the ease and speed with which potential customers can find you online (including on mobile devices, when they’re likely to be making a fast choice), then you can’t afford not to have a local SEO budget. Learn as much as you can about your best audience and their behaviors, which will help you decide how much of your overall marketing and advertising budget should go toward local SEO.
Keep in mind that the adage “you get what you pay for” holds especially true for online marketing. A $500 monthly budget will buy you very little in the way of SEO, so you won’t see much in returns. You may not need to spend $5,000, either, unless you have several locations. For reference, here’s more information on typical pricing ranges for our local SEO campaigns.
The best course of action is to talk with a number of local SEO providers about what they can do for you and what they’ve done for others. Great results always speak for themselves.
The REAL cost of Cheap SEO Packages
Why You Should Avoid Cheap SEO Packages
Search-engine optimization (SEO) isn’t always as well understood as some other forms of marketing. That’s not a problem for businesses that hire reputable SEO consultants who’ve put in the hard work to become experts, however—those companies don’t have to be skilled at SEO to realize seriously impressive gains. That lack of understanding is a big minus, though, for companies that choose an SEO provider solely on price. In many cases, cheap SEO is even a big danger.
Not only will you get what you pay for with the lowest-priced SEO; you may also get trouble you didn’t bargain for and a hit to your bottom line.
Short-term gains can cause long-term losses
I’m a business owner. I know what it’s like to stay on the lookout for ways to trim costs and how tough it can be to decide what has to go. There are some things, though, that are never on the cost-cutting table because they have the most long-term value to our success. Cutting corners on the people, tools or partnerships that help us increase our clients’ profits (and that we build our own reputation on) might offer a short-term lift in our bank balance, but it would kill us in the long run.
If you had a car repair business, how successful would you be using inferior parts or hiring unqualified mechanics simply because they kept your costs at rock bottom? The same holds true no matter what business you’re in: An investment in long-term quality pays off in terms of longevity, reputation, repeat business, and profit.
So what might you really get when you choose cheap SEO or the lowest-priced online marketing service? Let’s look at a few examples.
|SEO||Easy tricks such as keyword spam and redirects yield high rankings. Then Google catches up, penalizes you and rankings drop off quickly.||Competitive keywords, original content, your site’s structure — all are improved to ensure higher rankings with staying power.|
|Link-building||Cheap links lead to spam. Google’s new Penguin algorithm aggressively punishes sites with spam. Enough said.||Networks and relationships are carefully built over time to gain high-value links to relevant sources.|
|Content||Keyword-stuffed content is outdated. Google’s Panda algorithm ended the era of poorly written content, which doesn’t earn you customers anyway.||Great content created by professionals attracts attention, inspires action and builds your brand and your business.|
|Web design & development||Security issues, low conversion rates and no way to continuously improve SEO are some of the “features” of a $500 site.||Your site is the hub of your online marketing success. It’s the first impression of your business and every single aspect of it matters.|
In a perfect world, a license would be required to sell SEO and online marketing services. There would be a law against the unconditional guarantee of first-place rankings. (Google itself says it best in its own guidelines: “No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.”) There would be fines for the damage that fly-by-night SEO “experts” do to companies’ websites as they leave them in much worse shape than they found them.
We’ve often come in to clean up such damage at DAGMAR. Some of our clients have had to devote their initial budgets to starting all over from scratch in order to get away from the penalties that cheap SEO brought down on their domains. In truth, you’d be better off devoting time to learning the basics of SEO yourself than hiring a cheap SEO provider that you’ll likely never meet face-to-face. You’d probably do much less harm.
No miracles, no magic. Just hard work.
We’re not the lowest-priced SEO by any means, and many are priced much higher. If prospective clients want keyword-loaded writing, a few low-quality links and a quick rise in the rankings for $500 a month, we’re not their shop. If they want a partnership and a plan with true relevance to their business goals, however, we’ll be here for them for the long haul.
Could we promise you better rankings overnight? Absolutely. But will that quick hit have any power to turn leads into customers? Not a chance.
As with any other form of professional marketing or advertising, it takes time, testing, experience and creativity to see incremental improvements. The return on investment may seem gradual at first, but the value of those returns will build on itself over time and be there working hard for you tomorrow.
How to sort out the good from the bad
Some brief advice if you’re looking for SEO help:
- Get and check references. It’s also good to look for reviews, but keep in mind that an unscrupulous SEO company may have manipulated its online reviews. Take review sources into consideration.
- Check out their own rankings as a company — most SEO shops don’t rank locally or rank for only one keyword phrase. Cheap SEO companies that can’t rank themselves for more than one search phrase probably can’t get multiple rankings for you.
- If they tell you that their work will be quick and easy and that nothing much needs to change on your site, be wary. (SEO is only as good as the website it’s built on and nearly every site has room for improvement. This is key to understanding what SEO can and cannot do.)
- If all they have to offer is a one-size-fits-all package, walk away.
- If they tell you that they’ve helped thousands of businesses maintain high rankings for less than you spend on lunch each month, run away.
Content is key
SEO strategies evolve along with and in response to changes in how search engines determine rankings. As time has gone on, content has risen to the top of the must-have list and stayed there because it’s the key to building long-term, sustainable SEO performance.
Content can be one of the main differentiators between cheap SEO and SEO providers that are worth the investment. Here’s why: Not just any content will do—it must be high-quality, relevant to both your company and your desired audience, and written in clear language. Your content must also be kept fresh, whether that means publishing a new blog post or adding updated information to your web pages.
When choosing an SEO company, look for a digital marketing strategy that includes a content strategy. A prospective SEO provider should be able to tell you its plan for how it will use content and why.
Again, as with the overall cost of SEO services, quality content doesn’t come cheap. If an SEO company says that content development is part of its bargain-basement price, it’s almost certain it’s paying very little for what content it does provide, and that content probably won’t do much for you. In fact, it can even do some damage if it’s crammed with spammy keywords or other black-hat SEO tactics, causing Google to send you to the back of the line.
You don’t have to have the highest-paid writers working on your content, especially if you’re not in a highly technical field. Good, solid writing is available at prices that should be considered reasonable, when you take into account what kind of returns it can bring you for your marketing budget. Just beware of writing prices that are too good to be true, because they almost always are.
Invest in a custom SEO plan
Even if you don’t have a large budget, a good SEO agency will know how to put the money you do have to its best use with a plan that’s tailored to your needs.
Your company’s reputation and the face it presents to the world online is beyond price. Trust it to professionals who are willing to stake their own reputations right alongside yours.