How much does SEO cost?

A managed SEO campaign for most websites will typically cost between $250-$10,000/mo.

While that might seem to be a wide margin, the pricing can vary greatly depending on the agency, your target audience, how competitive your industry is, and how aggressive you want to be. To get a close estimate on your potential costs, use the calculator below.

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Need help finding a high-quality and trustworthy SEO vendor?


Finding an SEO company can be challenging. If you don’t know what to look for, identifying the best agency for your needs can be exhausting. That’s why we have partnered with BestSEOCompanies.com who uses a proprietary ranking methodology to curate a list of SEO companies you can be assured are trust-worthy.

High-Quality SEO Companies
RankCompanyPhoneWebsiteLocationPricingClientsScore
1HigherVisibility 888-967-1992Memphis, TN50 – 100MediumPBS, Ebay, Warner Brothers99
2Distilled 206-965-9265Seattle, WA50 – 100HighMicrosoft, The Telegraph, Staples95
3Acronym 212-691-7051New York, NY100+MediumHumana, Priceline, LA Times91
4Seer Interactive 215-967-4461Philadelphia, PA100+HighRevzilla, Drexel Online, Wisdom Tree89
5Icrossing 212-649-3900New York, NY100+HighCoca-Cola, LG Electronics, Porsche88

The SEO company data above is sourced from BestSEOCompanies.com who curates results from a proprietary ranking methodology.

SEO Pricing Guide: Updated 2020


SEO is a crucial aspect of any digital marketing strategy that can shoot conversions through the roof and bring more revenue to your company. But how much does SEO cost?

If you’re considering hiring a search engine optimization company to increase targeted web traffic, inbound leads, and sales, it’s helpful to understand why SEO prices vary and how you can ensure you’re getting the best value for your dollar. 

Before you settle on an SEO agency for your campaign, take a moment to get to know the SEO pricing model and learn how to tell a good SEO partner from one that’s not worth the money.

What is SEO?


Short for search engine optimization, SEO refers to the strategies and tactics used to boost your company website’s visibility and accessibility within organic search rankings, mainly through Google.

Are you a new kid on the SEO block? Here’s a simple breakdown of the SEO components that can increase your position on search results pages to catch you up:

The Commitment of SEO: Is It Right For You?


SEO is not a quick fix to make up for lagging search rankings or low conversions. A high-quality SEO campaign can take anywhere from 6-12 months to pay off. 

Just remember—good things take time. The more consistent your efforts are, the more return you’ll see on your investment.

Here are seven quick reasons your business should be investing in SEO right now:

That being said, SEO is a good idea for every business that wants to see hard results from its digital marketing efforts. 

Why Low Cost is Not Always Better


How much SEO costs for your company will depend on the extent of services you need and the size of your venture. SEO costs will vary at different agencies— just remember that you get what you pay for.

Don’t settle for an inadequate SEO agency only because their cost of SEO is lower than others. In most cases, this low cost is directly reflected in the quality of the services (and results).

While it’s hard to give an exact figure, most SEO projects will cost you somewhere between $400 and $10,000 per month based upon the services you request. For example, a smaller business with just a few website pages will fall on the lower side, while a large e-commerce enterprise with thousands of product and category pages will require a larger budget.

If you’re struggling with the question, “How much does SEO cost?” keep this in mind:

The goals you want to reach through SEO should be the main determiner in how much you spend on it. SEO is not a one-time deal. It’s an ongoing strategy that needs continual nurturing and maintenance to keep your site feeling fresh and search rankings high.

What Goes Into SEO Pricing?


While there’s no one standard pricing model used industry-wide by SEO companies, there are a few different approaches that agencies commonly use. Without a standard formula, SEO professionals have leeway to charge whatever price they deem fair. It’s up to you as the client to decide whether that cost is reasonable.

This ambiguity makes understanding what goes into your SEO marketing dollars even more essential. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll feel more confident in your decisions picking an SEO service provider.

SEO Pricing Models 

Massive SEO campaigns can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 in total. You can make more sense of these figures by getting to know the most frequently used price models for SEO:

Monthly Retainer

The most common model. A monthly retainer involves you, as the client, paying a flat monthly fee for agreed-upon services. As mentioned above, this could be between $400 and $10,000 per month.

​Fixed-Price Contract

A fixed-price contract allows you to set your budget and decide what SEO services that will cover. Typical services include things like copywriting, SEO audits, link building, and social media work.

Project-Based Price

Similar to fixed-price contracts, a project-based pricing model lets clients pay for custom SEO projects focused on their particular needs. In this case, the answer to the question, “How much does SEO cost?” can be whatever price you set.

Hourly Rates

Lastly, hourly contracts refer to arrangements where clients will pay by the hour for the SEO work completed by the agency.

​What Do SEO Services Typically Include?


The term “SEO” has a definition that’s broadened recently. Agencies learn more about search engine algorithms and behavior every year, which means SEO services may slightly change and evolve over time.

Today, standard SEO strategies include tasks such as:

  • Content marketing
  • Local SEO: listing management, Google My Business, review generation
  • Keyword research
  • Link Building
  • Conversion analysis
  • Website enhancement through keywords, alt tags, and technical improvements

If an SEO agency you’re considering using only offers one of these aspects, take caution. You want to see evidence that you’re working with a full-service provider with expertise.

Are they unable to offer the full range of services you’re looking for? Their lack of breadth could be pointing to a struggle with other aspects of SEO, which is never a good sign.

When you find an SEO company that offers a package of services, look for their prices. If the cost is not readily available to you on their site or upon request, you may want to keep searching.

The right SEO provider won’t skirt around the details of their prices. They’ll be up-front and transparent about what goes into their rates—fees, overhead, and all.

The Real Cost of Cheap SEO: Scams To Avoid 


If you’re paying the lowest rate you can find and you’re not getting the most effective results, you haven’t lost much, right?

Wrong.

While high-quality SEO can amplify your digital reach and increase sales, low-quality SEO can damage your reputation in the eyes of Google’s crawlers. Things might look promising at first, but as soon as the search engines get ahold of your “optimized” website, things will change.

Google penalizes these unethical strategies, known as black hat SEO tactics, because of their sneaky ways. 

Steer clear of these SEO scams that could risk your online reputation:

Keyword-Focused Services

Keyword-focused strategies are really keyword stuffing scams in disguise. With just a little knowledge about Google keywords, some people will brand themselves as “SEO experts” and scheme their way into making large sums off the backs of unassuming clients looking to get a deal on their SEO campaign.

When Bing bots notice that your keywords aren’t used in natural, relevant ways, they’ll catch on to what’s really happening behind the scenes.

Linking Schemes

Another common SEO scheme involves building spammy, disreputable links to send traffic to your website and increase rankings “organically.” Excessive link exchanges and link building on questionable sites is a big red flag to site spiders. Any page involved in this scheme will get penalized.

Guaranteed Rankings

In your search for the best SEO marketing agency out there, you may come across some agencies that boast guaranteed results or rankings. While this seems like a good thing at the surface level, there’s more to it.

It’s impossible for any other company (besides the SE, of course) to control the search results page rankings. While many firms like to “promise” a #1 spot or reserved listing on the first page, that’s not something they can control.

Google’s very own guidelines on search marketing mention the falsehood of this claim. They tell companies to be wary of providers that guarantee rankings or claim a “special relationship” with the SE that could reserve such a spot.

It’s clear as day: any agency marketing these kinds of claims is bogus. Even if they do land you the top spot at one point, as soon as you pay the invoice, it’s likely that you’ll see that ranking fall shortly after.

Quick Rankings

Similar to the guarantee of top rankings, the promise of quick rankings is a facade. An agency that lands you a top spot in a short period of time is probably using black hat SEO tactics. 

When they find a gullible client, they’ll use their slimy methods like unnatural link profiles, over-optimized pages, and poorly written content to climb the ladder quickly. Once they’ve nabbed a good spot, they’ll report to the client the “good news.” That client gets excited, pays the bill, and then is left to clean up the mess of their inevitable crash.

SEO penalties are a pain in the neck that no one wants to deal with. While it’s possible to turn a penalized site back around, it takes a massive investment of time and energy to earn Google’s trust back and get in their good graces.

Free Trials

To maintain great SEO results, the work never truly ends. It’s a constant uphill climb to out-compete the millions of websites out there who are also employing SEO tactics to get ahead.

That’s why anyone offering a “free trial” is a big sign of danger. No legitimate company is going to give you this kind of service without payment. More often than not, it’s really a gimmick to get access to your website and either hack you, spam you, or ruin your reputation.

Your SEO Cost Reflects The Work Put In


Are you still struggling with the question, “How much does SEO cost?”

In short, your SEO will be a direct reflection of the quality and quantity of work that is put in. 

Even if you’re restricted by a budget, it’s still possible to find an SEO service provider that can make small improvements to your organic traffic and rankings. 

No matter which way you look at it, SEO is a necessity for any small business that wants to grow its digital presence and turn clicks into conversions. 

SEO is not an expense—it’s an investment in your firm’s future. When you put money into an experienced, reputable SEO company, the return can be massive. Keep this in mind as you sort your way through the sea of providers to find the best fit for you, your company, and your digital marketing needs.

High-Quality SEO Companies
RankCompanyPhoneWebsiteLocationPricingClientsScore
1HigherVisibility 888-967-1992Memphis, TN50 – 100MediumPBS, Ebay, Warner Brothers99
2Distilled 206-965-9265Seattle, WA50 – 100HighMicrosoft, The Telegraph, Staples95
3Acronym 212-691-7051New York, NY100+MediumHumana, Priceline, LA Times91
4Seer Interactive 215-967-4461Philadelphia, PA100+HighRevzilla, Drexel Online, Wisdom Tree89
5Icrossing 212-649-3900New York, NY100+HighCoca-Cola, LG Electronics, Porsche88

The SEO company data above is sourced from BestSEOCompanies.com who curates results from a proprietary ranking methodology.