SEO Pricing(2021): How Much To Pay For SEO

Consider these factors when budgeting for SEO
SEO Pricing(2021): How Much To Pay For SEO
Holly Stanley
Holly Stanley
Freelance Content Writer for B2B, SaaS, and Digital Marketing Brands
We sometimes earn referral commissions from these partners when a reader buys their products and services. Read our full disclosure here.

When it comes to SEO pricing, things can get confusing. Do you choose monthly, hourly or one-off packages? Is SEO even necessary these days? 

If you want to boost your organic traffic, top the search engine results pages and ultimately generate more leads for your business, search engine optimisation can help you reach your goals. 

Since 75% of users don’t look beyond the first page of the SERPs, boosting your web pages in rankings is ultra important when it comes to being visible to your target audience. Discover some awesome factors that can help you rank on Google

Today we’re looking at how SEO pricing works and what may be the best option for your business.

How Much Does SEO Cost? 

The simple answer is, it depends. 

Like most services, SEO pricing is relative. A large Fortune 500 company may have the budget to spend $50,000 a month while a small local business who’s only just launching may need to stick to $1000. 

There’s no one size fits all answer when it comes to SEO pricing. Ultimately it comes down to your business’s budget, your SEO goals and the number of resources required to reach your targets. 

What Determines SEO Pricing?

SEO pricing depends on a number of variable elements that the specialist or agency will base their quote around. The key factors influencing the quote are:

The Industry 

Some industries are highly competitive which makes their keywords more competitive. 

This makes it more of a challenge and a lot more work when it comes to ranking highly in Google SERPs. 

Take real estate, for example, it’s one of the most competitive industries out there, making it significantly harder to rank well on Google.

Of course, it’s doable but it will take more time and resources than other industries. 

Smaller local businesses with less competition may be easier to rank well in local search results. 

Website Size

An established website with thousands of web pages will generate more work than a simple 5 page site. 

This is particularly true for eCommerce sites that may have thousands of product pages that require optimisation as well as consistent updates to ensure they’re ranking well. 


Each business will have a different set of SEO goals. Most site managers want to get their web pages ranking as high as possible on page 1. 

But every individual business will also have separate SEO goals. Are you trying to recover from Google penalties? Do you need an in-depth SEO audit?

Businesses will each have their own set of SEO goals they want to prioritise and this impacts the workload and resources required. 

Level of Service

The level of service will depend on the scale of the project, the overall goals, and timeframe.

Some SEO pricing models are based on a specialist managing the campaign from end to end over a longer period of time while other projects may be on a short term one-off basis.

The level of service is customised to how many resources and how much time an SEO project requires. 

What General SEO Services Are Included? 

Each individual SEO plan is customisable depending on the business and the SEO agency. A few of the most common features of an SEO plan may include: 

  • SEO audit. Before beginning to roll out a new SEO strategy, most SEO specialists will begin by performing an in-depth audit of the site’s current SEO state. This stage is critical for uncovering weaknesses and technical glitches that require fixing. The SEO audit process should be ongoing too - there’s always room for improvement. 
  • SEO strategy plan. Once a comprehensive SEO audit has taken place, it’s time to create an overall SEO strategy plan. This is based on what needs to be fixed as well as the short and long term goals of the business. 
  • Management of a master keyword list. Keyword research never really ends so consistent monitoring and updating of a master keyword list is essential for keeping it relevant for your site and business. 
  • SEO Content Audit. Content is king when it comes to ranking well on Google. An SEO content audit looks to discover profitable content gaps that your business could fill to gain more organic traffic and boost its rankings. 
  • Optimise technical SEO. Optimising the nitty-gritty technical elements like page speed, and code are key to making your site easy for both Google and visitors to use. Technical SEO can be quite complex so leaving this to the experts can take a big load off your plate. 

SEO Costs By SEO Pricing Models

When it comes to SEO packages, there are several different ways of charging. Depending on what you’re looking to achieve, the project’s timeframe and the SEO agency’s structure, there are several different common pricing models. 

  • Project-based SEO. Businesses pay an agreed fee for a specific SEO task like eliminating Google penalties. 
  • Hourly Rates. Contracting SEO services by the hour sometimes makes sense if there’s a specific project within a marketing plan that needs to be completed. This pricing model is generally best used if you already have an in-house SEO team who can’t complete the project and you need to outsource it to an SEO specialist. 
  • Monthly Retainer. This is the most comprehensive package available where you form an on-going agreement with an SEO specialist or agency to manage all elements of SEO across your site. 

Sometimes SEO plans will incorporate more than one of these pricing models. 

SEO Pricing: How To Determine If It's Worth It

When it comes to high-quality SEO, generally you pay for what you get. But, don’t always assume top prices will guarantee the best service. 

It’s always worth doing some thorough digging before choosing which SEO specialist or agency you want to go with. 

  • Look for proven success. Ask to see some examples of past examples of client success. You should be able to have a look at some recent case studies that will assure you the company has been successful. 
  • Read reviews. These days it’s easy to find company reviews all of over the web. Look at a few reviews on their own site as well as those on third-party sites like Trust Pilot. While a couple of negative reviews shouldn’t completely dictate your search, pay attention to overall trends. You may notice a few commonalities between reviews and this is what you should focus on when making a decision. 
  • Learn about dodgy SEO practices. Not all SEO strategies are created equal - a few will even cost you your site’s reputation and provoke Google penalties. When poorly implemented, black-hat SEO practices can do just this. Often it’s best to stick with agencies who focus on white-hat SEO strategies that sit within Google’s guidelines. 

SEO Pricing at Grow Hack Scale 

At Grow Hack Scale we offer monthly Basic, Essentials and Growth SEO plans with various different features and tiers to suit your goals and budget.

Features Basic Essentials Growth
SEO Strategy Plan
SEO Audit + Fixes
Master Keyword List (on-going)
SEO Content Audit (on-going)
SEO Action Plan
Link Building
Price $3,500 - $5,000/month $7,000 - $10,000/month $10,500 - $15,000/month

The Bottom Line on SEO Pricing

When it comes to SEO pricing, there’s no one size fits all answer. It ultimately depends on your unique set of goals, your business’s budget and the tier of agency you choose. 

Before you make a commitment to an SEO agency or specialist make sure you research their proven successes, client reviews and specialist skillset. You should also reflect on which SEO goals are a priority for your business to achieve. 

Human-Led SEO

You're reading Human-Led SEO; a regular column dedicated to illustrating how a searcher-first approach to SEO enables businesses to generate more revenue in less time from organic search.

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