How much does SEO cost
Created January 5, 2023
Updated March 11, 2024
13 min read

How Much Does SEO Cost in 2024? (SEO Pricing)

SEO is the method to improve the visibility of a website in search engine rankings.

A good SEO web campaign can be a time-consuming and expensive process, especially for businesses with a small marketing budget, and understanding the cost of SEO services can help with budgeting.

SEO is not a standardized service because not all companies have the same SEO needs. This article focuses on the various costs associated with SEO services. SEO was the second most popular channel for acquiring new customers in 2022 according to HubSpot’s analysis of inbound marketing trends for 2022.

HubSpot's analysis of marketing channels
HubSpot’s analysis of marketing channels

Expectations vs. Reality

It is not uncommon to see companies that make a marketing effort to be on the first page of search engines in 3 months, 6 months or other, but who don’t succeed. 

This is not necessarily due to poor performance. Firstly, marketing in general including SEO does not guarantee results, but could predict them.

You may be on the first page for some keywords, but you must understand that SEO takes time.

Here is a short video Where Neil Patel explains that whatever your SEO strategy, SEO is a long-term effort. To see the whole video, click here.

The road to get there will not be a click away or a few hours of work, but continuous and efficient, repetitive work.

A recent survey shows that 38% of small businesses believe that investing $100 per month could lead to a major improvement in their online positioning, and 33% of them believe that they could be on the first page of Google.

SEO budget vs expectations
SEO budget vs expectations

Your SEO goals are certainly to increase your traffic and sales with any SEO plan, but you will need to know your ranking against a series of keywords relevant to your business. 

This will allow you to track the change in position for each of its keywords easily.

Services that offer you fixed SEO pricing at $99/month all included, and/or guarantee you the first page of Google are to be feared. Cheap SEO in many cases just wastes your time.

A backlink study tells us that American small businesses have an average monthly SEO budget of $497.

However, this same study reveals that, customers who spend more than $500 per month are 53.3% more likely to be “extremely satisfied” than those who spend less than $500 per month.

Finally, be aware that starting to observe improvements at the local or global SEO level takes about 4 months.

How Much SEO Costs?

Standard Three Tiers Monthly Plan

There are different types of billing for SEO. Some SEO agencies will offer packages where the more you pay, the more services they offer you.

Usual three tiers SEO packages
Usual three tiers SEO packages

In this example, the downside of this monthly retainer is that you might need some tier 2 or tier 3 services, which you won’t get.

Monthly Plan with Additional Services

Another example of some agency’s SEO pricing model is where all the packages include the same services, but you have more quantity for each of the services offered.

Monthly package with incremental services
Monthly package with additional services

This type of packages for some are enough for their needs, but the problem is that some companies may not need 100 keywords tracked, and rather more optimization of pages on their website. 

We even offered similar packages ourselves a while ago, but the concern for the client and striving for the best results asked for a more tailored solution.

Monthly SEO Plan

Here is how our monthly SEO package looks. 

Oshara's SEO Offer
Oshara’s SEO Offer

Even though it’s still a monthly plan, the service is completely different. 

Different, because it allows us to create a tailor-made package based on the client’s needs, their sector of activity, their budget and different unique realities of an SEO strategy for your site.

We do not put numbers on the services offered, we list the main factors that we put in place, and we have a starting price which is $1000 per month.

This price includes, regardless of the client, the various SEO best practices in order to achieve a successful SEO campaign.

Specialized SEO Services Monthly Package

You also have agencies specializing in a service needed to improve your organic SEO.

Specialized SEO package
Specialized SEO package

This example shows a specialized link building agency that only offers backlink building service for your website.

Freelance SEO Expert for a Project

You may have a good organic search SEO and need to correct a specific element that you or your team are not able to do, so you can hire an SEO specialist.  

He has the desired expertise to perform the task on time you wish. The price of an SEO consultant can vary from $10 to $3000 per hour.

What are the Factors That Influence the Price?

The Current Status of Your Web Ranking

If you already perform quite well for several of your keywords, because you naturally perform certain good actions that promote your ranking in search engines, it is obvious that the work required to improve your positioning will be less. 

For example, if you naturally write interesting blog content that naturally leads you to quality backlinks, the work to be done concerning the backlink service (backlink), will be less prioritized than some other tasks to improve your ranking in the search engines.

Your Industry

Every business is different, so some industries are more likely to invest in SEO than others, therefore, they are more competitive. 

If you look at the most expensive keywords on Google, you will notice that lawyers, financial companies, the real estate industry all fall into this category. In some cases, the CPC (cost per click) of these highly competitive keywords can reach over $1,000!

This essentially depends on the volume of searches carried out to find the products or services of your industry. In general, the more search volume you have, the tougher the competition, and the more you need to invest in your organic SEO.

SEO optimization for online stores (e-commerce) is known to be more expensive. For the simple reason that the competition is tough. Remember that for ecommerce SEO, several online stores compete with a giant elephant that invests heavily in marketing and advertising. As you can imagine, it is indeed Amazon.

Of course, all SEO efforts start with a good SEO audit which will scan all your technical SEO (how search engines find you) as well as your on-site and off-site SEO.

The SEO audit will give us a detailed view of all your strength and weaknesses and how you can compete against other SEO companies.

The Average Revenue From One of Your Sales

In marketing, when you want to sell a $19 online course versus a $50,000 car, the approach is not the same in substance. In the sense that, purchases are usually made out of emotion and trust. 

Creating content to generate interest for a $19 online course may be easier than the type of content that will sell for a $50,000 car.

Geographic Location

If you want to get a local SEO service, i.e. in your city or neighborhood, versus a global SEO service, in your country or all over the world, the tasks to be accomplished will not be the same. The price will therefore be significantly different.

In general, we talk about local SEO, national SEO, or global SEO.

Agency vs. Freelancer

Again, organic SEO agencies tend to cost more than freelancers. This makes sense because agencies can sometimes devote more resources (time and money) to an SEO campaign. 

This allows for greater efficiency. As a result, they demand more revenue for the service.

While freelancers typically don’t have as strong reputation and will usually want to charge you for hourly SEO or per project. In any case their average cost will be probably lower. 

Experience and Results

Experience makes the difference, they say. 

It’s the same for your SEO, working with a recognized expert agency that gives results cannot cost the same price as working with an agency that has just started.

Working with experienced people usually costs more because you limit your risk of failure and increase your chances of getting the results you want. This has a cost.

Services Offered – Strength and Specialty

As you noticed above, some agencies are specialized in offering very specific SEO services.

Some SEO tasks are done once and are relatively quick. We can cite the search for keywords for example. 

While others are to be carried out several times, and take longer to implement, such as the creation of backlinks.

Desired Results

If you want to be on the first page of search engines for a set of 10 keywords within a year versus being on the first page of search engines for that same set of keywords within 3 years, the budget you should investing for your organic SEO could not be the same.

It’s like in life, if for example you want to travel by plane and have maximum comfort in addition to wanting calm, the best solution would probably be a private jet. 

If you can’t afford it, business class would definitely be a better alternative at a lower cost. But if you can’t afford it, you’ll have to settle for economy class. 

At each of its stages, you make a sacrifice, either the sacrifice of calm, or even that of the minimum comfort you want, despite this, you will make your journey and arrive at your destination.

What is Included in SEO Services?

SEO services are the combination of all the relevant tasks to be put in place to improve the positioning of a website. Some of them are: 

  • Develop a SEO strategy
  • Validate persona
  • Analyze your competition
  • Find the best keywords, those that match your strategy.
  • Fix technical errors associated with your website
  • Optimize existing pages
  • Create interesting blog posts
  • Establish a link building strategy
  • Make contact for link creation
  • Optimize your conversion rate
  • Improve your online reputation
  • And the list continues.

How to Prepare Your SEO Budget?

Ask yourself this question “How much could I set aside for SEO?”

As a general marketing rule, for a small and medium-sized B2B company, it is recommended to invest between 2% and 5% of their income, while in B2C it is rather 5% to 10%.

Then ask yourself the question of what companies in your sector and your direct competition spend on average.

The latest results from the 2022 CMO Survey found that most companies spent between 8% and 13% of their revenue on marketing spend in 2022. That same report also showed that more than half of all digital spend is on paid advertising channels, but that at least 8.5% is still allocated to SEO activities. This means marketers are investing heavily in search engine optimization to maximize their digital presence and reach potential customers.

For most companies, allocating an average of 5% of their total revenue is often recommended as a good starting point.

But every business is different, the most important thing is that you are comfortable with your budget and can wait to see results.

If you want to get customers and sales fast instead, online advertising would definitely be a better strategy, as it will attract leads interested in your product or service in no time.

What is the Real Cost of a Cheap SEO?

If you are paying amounts like $100 for your monthly SEO services, the likelihood that little relevant action will be taken and you are using Black Hat SEO techniques is high.

These techniques can make you downgrade from Google, or penalize you by making you lose places in search engines.

Basically, looking for the cheapest will cost you more. Instead, focus on the quality and positive impact a good SEO strategy can have on your business.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an SEO Agency

When looking for an SEO service provider, it is important to consider a few key factors. 

First, you need to assess the vendor’s qualifications and experience. Ideally, he should have a thorough understanding of SEO techniques such as keyword research, content optimization, and link building. 

They should also be familiar with the guidelines issued by search engines like Google or Bing. 

In addition to technical skills, look for a vendor who can effectively communicate detailed SEO strategy and specific SEO content that they think will fit your needs. 

This will help ensure that you are kept up to date with your campaign’s progress and comfortable with any decisions made for the success of your website.

They should be good SEO professionals, experienced SEO veterans, who have good insight into SEO and are ready to try different SEO techniques to achieve results. Who can guarantee more search traffic after a few months, so you get what you pay for.

Moreover, make sure the agency has good customer service skills so that any questions or concerns can be addressed in a timely manner. Finally, confirm if they offer ongoing reporting to track your ranking progress.

Conclusion

In conclusion, SEO can be a beneficial and cost-effective way for businesses to gain increased online visibility. 

But there is no price that fits all companies. It is important to know the different types of billing options available and the factors that can affect the final cost. 

Businesses need to do their research, compare costs between vendors, and decide which option is best for them based on their budget and business goals. 

Additionally, companies should ensure that they are working with a reputable SEO provider that meets industry standards. If you want to know more about how our agency could improve your traffic and your sales, contact us today. We run the best web agency in Montreal and we have over 10 years of experience under our belt.