Average Cost of SEO for Small Business – Average Price of SEO
According to a website survey of 1,200 business owners and over 350 agencies, freelancers, and consultants, the average cost of SEO for small businesses is $501-$1,000 per month globally. The average website expense of SEO for small businesses in the United States is $2,501 to $5,000 per month.
Keep in mind that you get what you pay for when purchasing SEO based on price instead of value for the website cost. Often companies do not do great work and even take advantage of you and your website. This is shown in the website survey of 1,200 business owners. The number 1 reason that businesses and enterprises switch from their current SEO provider is dissatisfaction with website business results and outcomes for the cost and price.
There are two main reasons why businesses have poor website outcomes with SEO agencies. Clients cite a lack of education on search engines and resources as the top reasons they were dissatisfied with the results and outcomes when hiring an SEO agency.
This means that in order for you, as a business owner, to have a wonderful website experience with an SEO agency and SEO pricing. You need to hire an SEO agency that transparently educates you on the website process and invest more resources based on cost and price into SEO and SEO pricing. Companies that spend over $500 per month are typically extremely satisfied with the quality of their SEO services.
We understand why hiring an SEO agency, or freelancer is challenging when you do not understand the ROI to justify the amount of resources to allocate to your SEO strategy. This is why we put together this search engines SEO article to educate small businesses on the average expense of SEO for small companies and how you could justify investing resources in SEO to generate the greatest ROI out of any of your current website marketing channels.
Table of Contents
Is SEO Worth it For Small Business?
How Much Should a Company Spend on SEO?
What is the cost of SEO and pricing for small businesses?
How Much Does SEO Services Cost for Companies Based on Data and Experience?
FAQs About SEO Pricing of SEO
Is SEO Worth it For Small Business?
A survey of 500 marketing professionals in charge of the marketing website budget at small businesses found that less than half of small businesses have $0 allocated to SEO. The small businesses investing in SEO services are only investing a measly $500 to $1,000 per month into their website.
When you pay for SEO, you get what you pay for, and when you do not invest in SEO, you lose website market share to your competition. We understand why small businesses do not invest in SEO. Many marketing professionals and small company owners are far too busy to educate themselves on something as complicated as SEO.
Many assume that SEO works like paid advertising and expect an immediate return on investment for every dollar they invest. In reality, SEO is a long-term strategy that takes consistent work over 6 to 12 months to see a significant return on investment for your website. Changing directions or stopping the SEO campaign early could result in your small company never getting the results you need in SEO.
Many small company owners are focused on running their business and spend little to no time learning how marketing works. Most businesses are focused on operations creating step by step systems to get from point A to point B. Assuming that SEO marketing works the same as running a business, many small businesses fall into the trap of small $99 to get page 1 rankings that SEO scam artists advertise.
SEO is not a commodity, and treating it like one will result in your small company being scammed in small and big ways. For these reasons, SEO is not worth it for business owners that are not interested in investing the resources and time to receive a significant return on investment from SEO.
This does not mean you need to invest the time to learn SEO yourself.
Still, you should be investing time to educate yourself on SEO and content marketing, so you do not get taken advantage of by SEO scam artists doing SEO audits. More so, you will have realistic expectations on how much time and resources to invest in SEO before an SEO audit.
The cost of cheap SEO and content marketing is much higher than any cost you could spend on doing SEO the right way. For SEO agencies and freelancers to deliver work at cheaper rates, they have to cut corners on their content marketing. This results in these SEO agencies and freelancers doing black hat SEO, violating Google’s SEO guidelines on content marketing.
Once Google finds out your website violated its guidelines, it will be permanently removed from Google. This means that all of the money you invested in SEO for your business is useless. When Google hands down a penalty, this could end your business permanently.
Avoid business ending decisions by educating yourself on SEO and setting an SEO budget that delivers a strong return on investment over time.
How Much Should a Company Spend on SEO?
Before you establish a budget for SEO, you need to set high-level business goals that are realistic. Your high-level business goals need to include measurements for results and a realistic timeline to deliver the results.
The most important goals to measure directly impact the bottom line most efficiently. In SEO organic sessions, goal conversions and revenue directly impact the bottom line.
When you are setting goals, keep two things in mind.
- Your goals need to be achievable.
Unrealistic expectations and expecting to overcome your competitors that have been investing in SEO for years within the next months is a pipe dream. However, overcoming your competitors on a realistic timeline with a realistic budget is attainable and realistic.
2. You need to give the campaign time to work.
According to Google’s YouTube video on “How to Hire an SEO“, you need to give your SEO campaign four months to a year. Doing so allows your SEO agency or freelancer to help your business make small and large improvements. Then you benefit from those improvements over time.
Remember that your high-level business goals will determine what tactics are needed for small and large success. Start with setting your business goals to create a framework for developing an action plan and the necessary budget to efficiently implement that action plan with a strong return on investment.
SEO Costs Calculator
Calculate if the Average Cost of Your SEO Company is Worth it for Your Business
How Much Does SEO Cost?
Search Engine Journal put together a couple of excellent SEO expense calculators to demonstrate how to measure the return on investment of SEO or search engine optimization.
The first SEO calculator is an example of what is commonly the incorrect way to measure the ROI of small business SEO.
The method above is incorrect because it fails to consider the lifetime value of a new customer, the most important key performance indicator. For small businesses to grow, they need repeat customers. The ROI is grossly understated when you fail to calculate the lifetime value of a new customer for your small company.
The correct method to calculate the ROI of SEO is to add the customer’s lifetime value to your SEO expense calculator, as demonstrated in the image below.
As you can see, adding the lifetime value of a customer to the equation turned a -60% ROI into a net positive 200% ROI. The lifetime value of a new customer for your small company is the most important key performance indicator to measure SEO results.
What is the cost Factors of SEO and pricing for businesses with resources?
The cost of SEO depends on the SEO pricing model factors for small businesses. There are four factors affecting the final price for small businesses.
|Pricing Model||SEO agencies and freelancers typically charge based on 4 SEO pricing models: hourly rates, performance-based, monthly-retainer, and one-time SEO pricing project fees.|
|Services||Every project is different depending on your business goals. Depending on your business goals, you will require different SEO services.|
|Scale||A local business that serves a small city will cost less than a local business that serves the entire state. Depending on the scale necessary to execute your campaign, the costs will vary.|
|Experience||SEO Agencies and freelancers that have been in business for 2+ years cost nearly double that of SEO agencies and freelancers that have been in business for less than two years. You are paying for the experience of consistently delivering strong ROI.|
- Pricing Model
SEO agencies and freelancers typically charge based on 4 SEO pricing models factors: hourly rates, performance-based, monthly-retainer, and one-time SEO pricing project fees.
Every project is different depending on your business goals. You may be an enterprise company that is at the top of your industry or a local business that is just starting with the goal of dominating your local city. Depending on your business goals, you will require different SEO services.
A local business that serves a small city will cost less than a local business that serves the entire state. Depending on the scale necessary to execute your campaign, the costs will vary.
SEO Agencies and freelancers that have been business in for 2+ years cost nearly double that of SEO organizations and freelancers that have been in business for less than two years. You are paying for the experience of 2+ years consistently delivering strong ROI for small businesses just like yours.
Example of SEO Pricing Models from SEO Agencies for Small Businesses
Whether you are hiring an SEO business or a freelancer, there are four different pricing models that you could expect to encounter when searching to hire an SEO agency. The pricing models are hourly, performance-based, monthly retainer, and a one-time project fee.
|Hourly Rates||According to a survey of 350+ SEO organizations and freelancers, the average hourly cost of SEO is $68/hour for freelancers and $134.66/hour for agencies. Hourly sounds good in theory, but the issue is SEO providers are financially incentivized to take longer to deliver work. The longer the work takes, the more money the SEO providers make.||We do not recommend you hire an SEO agency or freelancer at an hourly rate to execute your SEO strategy.|
|Performance-based||The average expense of performance-based projects varies based on the payout. SEO is a long term strategy where you could expect at least 6 to 8 months to begin seeing fantastic results in leads, traffic, and new customers.||We recommend hiring an SEO agency with performance-based deliverables. Hence, you know exactly what you get when you pay for SEO. You do not pay until your agency delivers the work. Even better if you hire an agency with a money-back guarantee, meaning if they cannot deliver what you agreed upon, the agency will return your money.|
According to a survey of 350+ SEO organizations and freelancers, the average hourly cost of SEO is $68/hour for freelancers and $134.66/hour for agencies. Hourly sounds good in theory, but the issue is SEO providers are financially incentivized to take longer to deliver work. The longer the work takes, the more money the SEO providers make. For this reason, we do not recommend you hire an SEO agency or freelancer at an hourly rate to execute your SEO strategy.
The average expense of performance-based projects varies based on the payout. Performance-based pricing is the best way to go for small businesses. This does not mean hiring SEO organizations that work for free until they generate leads, traffic, and new customers. SEO is a long term strategy where you could expect at least 6 to 8 months to begin seeing fantastic results in leads, traffic, and new customers. We recommend hiring an SEO agency with performance-based deliverables. Hence, you know exactly what you get when you pay for SEO. You do not pay until your agency delivers the work.
Even better if you hire an agency with a money-back guarantee, meaning if they cannot deliver what you agreed upon, the agency will return your money.
How Much Does SEO Cost for a Monthly Retainer:
According to a survey of 1,200 business owners and over 350+ SEO establishments and freelancers, the average monthly retainer for SEO is $500 to $1,000 a month. Monthly retainers are great for working month to month with SEO establishments and freelancers. The issue with monthly retainers is that you may not be receiving the same amount of work each month. Since monthly retainers recur monthly, the agency has already been paid no matter what the SEO organization delivers that month. Shady agencies often use these retainers to take advantage of unsuspecting small company owners. If you ask questions about what is being delivered and the results, they will bring it back to the reality that SEO takes time. Truthfully, SEO takes time to deliver results and is a long-term strategy. However, you open yourself up to being taken advantage of by SEO establishments hiding behind the fact that SEO services take time not to deliver what they promised you.
The other issue with monthly retainers is that agencies could set unrealistic expectations for small company owners. Since monthly retainers are based monthly, you are expecting results every month. SEO services take at least 6 to 8 months on average to see fantastic results. This is why many small company owners will leave after a short three months of working with an agency because they have not received the results they were promised. In reality, anything less than six months minimum is an unrealistic expectation to show results from your SEO strategy.
One-time project fee:
According to a survey of 350+ SEO establishments and SEO freelancers, the average expense of a one-time project fee is $500 to $1,000 per project. One-time projects are great for strategy and consulting to help your in-house team deliver more efficient results. The issue with one-time project fees is when expectations are not set correctly, and there is no clear transparent outline of what is being delivered.
If you expect to receive an immediate tremendous ROI from a one-time SEO project of $500 to $1,000, you have unrealistic expectations. SEO is a long term strategy, and one-time projects are best for optimizing and improving your existing strategy. To gain outside perspective from an SEO consultant to help lay the foundation for your in-house team’s next 6 to 12 months of execution. More so, a one-off SEO audit could help uncover conversion issues and SEO issues that your in-house team could execute to improve your website that is already generating search engine traffic, leads, and conversions from SEO or search engine optimization.
The other issue is that many SEO establishments and freelancers will use these to rip off unsuspecting small company owners. They may claim that all you need to do is pay $99 and receive number 1 rankings. When in reality, you are getting what you paid for, and if you are not educated, SEO is a long-term strategy that requires many different marketing and technical roles to execute properly. Then you may end up falling for the pay $99 and receive the number 1 rankings trap that unethical SEO establishments and freelancers advertise.
How Much Does SEO Services Cost for Companies Based on Data and Experience?
The key to not being taken advantage of is working with SEO establishments and freelancers that provide transparent explanations of their services and social media. These explanations need to align with your business goals and demonstrate how they will help improve return on investment over time with or without social media. Many SEO establishments and freelancers will tack on unnecessary social media services because they do not care about exceeding your business goals and increasing your return on investment. They are out for a quick buck. This is why it is crucial that you work with SEO companies focused on understanding your high-level business goals and provide explanations on how the services they are delivering will increase your revenue and market share to reach your goals.
Hiring an in-house team to execute an SEO strategy would cost you about $528,754 per year. Here is what goes into executing SEO with an in-house team:
- Hiring an SEO copywriter. Average Annual Salary – $33,840 in the USA
- Hiring an SEO content writer. Average Annual Salary – $42,206 in the USA
- Hiring an Off-Page SEO for Digital Public Relations. Average Annual Salary – $100,000
- Hiring a Web Developer for Technical SEO. Average Annual Salary – $68,025
- Hiring a Conversion Rate Optimization Specialist to improve the conversions of your SEO traffic. Average Annual Salary – $74,676
Total Annual Costs for an In-House Team:
$528,754 a year for an in-house SEO team. This does not include payroll taxes. Including payroll tax, you could expect this number to be considerably higher. Not to mention marketing, social media, paid media, data analysis, customer relationship management, and SEO software tools your team would need to execute their job effectively. The costs, including payroll taxes and tools, are closer to $1 million a year including social media.
Now that you see what truly goes into creating an in-house SEO team, what kind of services do you think you are getting by hiring an SEO organization or freelancer for $500 to $1,000 per month?
Low-quality affordable SEO services considering this is nowhere close to what it cost to hire and manage an in-house SEO team and get executive buy-in.
This is why only 30% of small businesses say that they have a wonderful experience with SEO experts and freelancers because they are not educated on what goes into SEO. They are not investing the correct amount of organic search capital to execute an SEO plan effectively.
The real average SEO costs to hire an effective SEO establishment or freelancer that delivers fantastic results is around $2,500 to $5,000 per month for smaller companies. Expect this number to go up considerably for larger small businesses that require a national and international presence and strategies. Our SEO services search marketing start at around $3,500+ per month and go up depending on the scale that your small establishment requires to reach and exceed your high-level business goals and strategies. We offer a money-back guarantee which means that if we cannot deliver what we say we will deliver, then we will return your money. Our costs SEO offering is performance-based which means we do not get paid until we deliver the work that is agreed upon. Your SEO plan is custom-tailored to your needs and business goals based on what we learn on our SEO analysis free consultation call.
Local SEO Services for a Website
Local SEO Services cost, on average, about $300 to $2,000 per month depending on the pricing model offered services, scale, and experience of the SEO establishment or freela
FAQs About SEO Pricing of SEO
How Much Should a Small Business Spend on SEO?
Navigating the SEO landscape can be daunting for small businesses, especially when it comes to budgeting. While some might be tempted by offers as low as $500 a month, the true value of effective SEO lies in a more substantial investment. A realistic budget for impactful results ranges from $2,500 to $5,000 per month. By allocating capital wisely, small businesses can transform SEO from a mere line item into a strategic asset for growth.
How Much Does SEO Normally Cost?
Determining the typical cost of SEO is essential for budgeting. While some services might offer rates as low as $500 monthly, quality SEO typically ranges between $2,500 to $5,000 per month. This investment ensures not just visibility, but a strategic edge in the digital marketplace.
How Much Does Google SEO Cost for a Small Business?
Navigating the world of SEO offering can be a maze. Jane, a small business owner, once believed that $500 a month would suffice for her SEO needs. However, after diving deeper, she realized the true costs. For an in-house SEO team, expenses can skyrocket to nearly $1 million annually, including tools and social media. In contrast, hiring an effective SEO organization or freelancer typically ranges from $2,500 to $5,000 monthly. It’s crucial for businesses, like Jane’s, to understand the real investment required to achieve tangible SEO results.
How Much Do SEO Freelancers Charge?
SEO freelancers charge $1,364 per month.
Can I Do SEO On My Own?
Yes you could do SEO on your own but expect it to take one to two years working full time to master this skill.
How Much Should a Beginner SEO Expense?
A beginner SEO should be working for free on their own websites or for clients to gain experience if you hire a beginner you are nearly guaranteed to lose money.
Why is SEO So Expensive?
SEO is not expensive if you are hiring an agency that delivers a real ROI then it is a business expense that makes you money and profit.
Is It Worth Paying for SEO?
Yes if you hire the right team SEO is one of the most profitable traffic and customer acquisition channels for an establishment.
SEO Monthly Expense of SEO
The average monthly seo cost is $500 to $1,000 per month depending on the pricing model offered, services, scale, and past results of the SEO establishment or freelancer.
How Much Does SEO Cost for Companies UK SEO?
According to a survey of 350+ SEO establishments and freelancers, the cost of SEO for small businesses in the UK is broken down into an example of three pricing model strategies.
- UK SEO Hourly Rate
- UK SEO Monthly Rate
- UK SEO Project Rate
UK SEO Hourly Rate
SEO Freelancer – £ 30 to £ 35
SEO Consultant – £ 55 to £ 75
SEO Establishment – £ 55 to £ 110
UK SEO Monthly Rate
SEO Freelancer – £ 1,000 to £ 1,500
SEO Consultant – £ 180 to £ 360
SEO Establishment – £ 350 to £ 750
UK SEO Project Rate
SEO Freelancer – £ 750 to £ 1,000
SEO Consultant – £ 360 to £ 3,500
SEO Establishment – £ 350 to £ 750
SEO Agency Freelancer Price of SEO
The typical average costs to hire an SEO freelancer varies depending on the pricing model. The pricing model is broken up into three different pricing models:
- SEO freelancer hourly rate
- SEO freelancer monthly rate
- SEO freelancer per project rate
SEO Freelancer Hourly Rate
On average, SEO freelancers charge $68 per hour.
SEO Freelancer Monthly Rate
On average, SEO freelancers charge $1,364 per month.
SEO Freelancer Per Project Rate
SEO freelancers charge $1,530.85 per project.