How Much Does SEO Cost?

It’s a common question from small businesses especially: “how much do SEO services cost?”

Well, this is a big question! It’s kind of like asking, “how much does a car cost?”
A really nice luxury car is going to cost you more than a run of the mill family sedan. It’s all about what you’re looking for and what’s important to you.

An important factor to consider with SEO or SEM services, however, is you shouldn’t be trying for the lowest cost at all costs. I’d also be wary of going with an individual or business that sends you unsolicited emails or phone calls. Ever notice how those calls increase after you’ve bought or renewed your domain? Unfortunately, everyone and their mom claims to be an SEO expert.

However, the SEOs who are working in the trenches and doing this daily, we don’t have time to call or bother anyone. Honest, we love what we do and most of us do it round the clock. Our businesses flourish by word of mouth. If there’s one rule you can live by, don’t bother with the people calling you out of the blue making all sorts of promises. The real SEOs don’t usually have to hustle for business and are picky about the clients they choose to take on.

How much it costs to hire a freelancer or SEO agency varies by the type of payment contract you sign up for. Typically people pay by one of a few ways:

– Monthly Retainer ($750-$5000)
This is often chosen because it can often be the most cost effective. Usually it means you get an SEO devoted to you/your company at a set price, whether you use them or not. Sometimes a maximum of hours is set, others are completely open. Personally, I don’t like 3am phone calls, so I make myself available during normal business hours.
This is only cost effective if you know it’s important to be devoting a certain amount of time to working on your site every month. Otherwise, you might find it better to go with an hourly rate.

-Hourly ($100-$300)
Agencies typically charge more than individuals, but that’s a good ball park. (Note: I often charge less than this per hour because I have a day job. It doesn’t mean I’m not worth it, it just means I don’t need the money to eat and I truly do enjoy working with small businesses who could really use the help. Maybe they’ll remember me when they get big.)

-Project (varies)
This could be anything. If you notice, I like to work by package rates. I find it neat and tidy and I do it enough that I know how long it takes me to do the work. It’s the easiest way for me to work, not necessarily for the client though. As the client, you get to decide!

In the end, like buying a car – you can get a used rust bucket or you can get a new SUV, but unlike cars, you need to think about the long term investment in your business and what it’s worth to you. SEO is not a quick fix, but it often can be an easy fix (for a specialist), and your investment will often be peanuts compared to your increased sales.

Caveat emptor and enjoy!