How Much Should You Pay For SEO Services?

Most business owners understand the value of SEO.

Ranking for target keywords drives targeted traffic to your site which presents an opportunity to convert those visitors into paying customers. An SEO campaign also gives your business a major competitive advantage online and keeps your site up to date on all the latest best practices.

But with a business to manage you simply do not have the time or expertise to implement a campaign.

The solution then is to hire an SEO agency.

Doing so frees up more of your time and allows you to focus on more important matters. One thing that needs to be clear up front though is that you get what you pay for. Choosing an agency simply because they are cheaper is not the right approach. In fact, a “cheap” agency could actually cost you more in the long term as they might rely on questionable tactics which is likely to get your site penalised.

The first question you probably have then is, “How much are SEO services?”

Here we look at the answer to that question and how much you can expect to pay for quality marketing services.

Payment Options

Not two agencies are the same.

There are typically four payment options for SEO services:

  • Monthly retainer: As the name suggests, this entails paying a set fee each month that is agreed upon ahead of time. This is the most common payment option and typically includes regular reports, on-site optimisation, link building, and more.
  • Fixed prices: With this option you pay a fixed price for a certain service. One example might be a website audit to identify any potential problems that could be negatively affecting rankings. Another might be a content package to optimise all on-page factors of a site. The price depends on the services you want completed.
  • Project based: These are typically custom projects that are specific to the client so pricing will vary. A client may request to make their site mobile friendly or have social media accounts set up. The client and SEO agency decide on the cost of the project.
  • Hourly rates: Another payment option is to pay an hourly fee in exchanging for certain services. Most SEO agencies offer this option but if you are looking for long term services a monthly retainer may be a better option.

The amount you pay for SEO services really depends on different factors.

Monthly retainers can cost $500 a month on the low end to $5,000 a month on the higher end. What you get in return is based on the services rendered. For example, you can expect to pay a lower price to target a certain number of keywords (between 5 to 10) and a higher price to target more. Businesses that have greater marketing needs can easily expect to upwards of $5,000 a month or more.

Prices for contract services can also vary.

For example, optimising content to be more search engine friendly can cost upwards of $100 a page while other services such as site or link audits can cost several hundred dollars. Consulting fees also vary but you can expect to pay a premium.

Things to Watch Out For

You are eager to get started with an SEO campaign. But as with any business decision you need to do your research ahead of time instead of choosing the first option that comes your way.

Here are some things to watch out for when choosing an SEO agency:

  • Guarantees: Be especially wary of any agency that says they can “guarantee” rankings for your target keywords. Google even explicitly warns that no one can guarantee top rankings.
  • Fast results: Agencies that offer immediate results are likely using questionable tactics that are against Google’s Quality Guidelines. Be sure to ask how rankings are achieved before deciding on an agency.
  • Low prices: If something looks too good to be true, it usually is. Low prices may seem tempting but just remember that you get what you pay for. A good SEO that delivers results is well worth the investment.
  • Shady practices: Practices such as keyword stuffing and building links using automated tools could end up getting your site penalised in the search results. Agencies that use such tactics should be avoided at all costs.


SEO is an excellent investment with a potential for high returns.

The amount that you can expect to pay for such services largely depends on a number of factors including the agency you choose and what you are seeking. Monthly retainers are the most common payment option but others are available including fixed prices and hourly rates. Be sure to do your research ahead of time before choosing an SEO agency. The last thing you want is to pay all this money only for it hurt to your site.