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There are various types of SEO services, and each one corresponds to a different price tag/ cost structure. The list that answers the question, “how much does SEO cost?” goes:

One-time SEO

(price range: $1000 – $100,000) 

The associated pricing of one-time SEO services depends on the complexity and size of the website. The process includes on-site optimization, although it’s generally regarded as part of a  follow-up consultation. 

Here, the SEO processes already applied are discussed, and instructions on how to best maintain the website moving forward. 

SEO Site Audits

(price range: $500 – $100,000) 

Site audits are necessary to come up with a document detailing a particular website’s SEO-related shortcomings. Through this report, the SEO provider can generate a roadmap about addressing said deficiencies by applying customized changes to the site.  

Local SEO (Monthly)

(price range: $250 – $5000) 

Small-scale businesses located in an area with limited competition utilize local SEO services to:

  • Boost sales 
  • Improve online presence 

Typical clients of local SEO include car washes, print shops, boutiques, salons, etc. Although, there can also be a high level of competition in local SEO, particularly in the healthcare and legal industries. In which case, SEO costs tend to skyrocket. 

National SEO (Monthly)

(price range: $750 – $10,000)

Businesses that aim to have a countrywide reach are those that usually utilize this type of SEO service. The most common of which have eCommerce sites looking to thrive in a more competitive domain than local SEO.

Given the level of competition and the scale of reach it aims to have, this SEO service commands a heftier price tag.   

Hourly SEO 

(price range: $50 – $700) 

SEO services rendered hourly or as-needed fall under this category. The cost generally depends on the technical expertise and length of experience that the SEO professional has.  

Clients are charged based on the number of hours spent to optimize their website. 

Factors that Affect the Cost of SEO Services

SEO optimization is an integral component of any business website. That’s why it’s ideal to have a basic understanding of how the pricing of SEO services is determined. The following are the key factors that affect SEO pricing: 

Number of Pages

The number of newly optimized and created pages has a direct effect on SEO costs. It takes time and expertise to ensure that each webpage ranks highly for a keyword phrase. 

It’s critical to come up with page content that readers will find engaging and useful. Also, the metadata and content found on a website should align perfectly with Google’s algorithms to rank on search engine results pages. 


The amount of time needed to create and optimize web pages to have a competitive ranking directly impacts SEO costs. 

Given that SEO service providers differ in pricing, time remains a key factor in determining the final cost. Businesses can choose among a selection of pricing strategies, the most common of which are: 

  • One-time payment for a set number of hours an SEO service provider will spend to keep web pages optimized. This method is ideal for companies that work on a budget, although maintaining the desired ranking isn’t guaranteed. 
  • A more thorough service on a month-to-month contract, wherein the SEO provider runs a campaign that will continuously optimize content, align metadata, and ensure that their client stays well ahead of the competition. 

On average, small businesses in the US spend $498 on SEO services each month. However, those who spend over this amount are more likely to be extremely satisfied with the ROI they get. In short, companies get what they pay for and benefit from investing more time and effort in optimizing their pages. 

It is interesting to note that only 30% of these small businesses are likely to promote their current SEO provider. Meaning, a whopping 70% of companies take their business elsewhere. 

The bottom line is, it’s always a must to go for a reputable SEO service provider the first time to save time, money, and other valuable resources.  

Link Acquisition

Google may update its algorithm frequently, but securing high-quality backlinks should remain a top priority. After all, backlinks are among the main factors that help search engines decide how they rank web pages for specific keyword searches. 

A webpage needs to have many high-quality organic links pointing to its site to garner a competitive ranking on results pages. However, link acquisition takes time and consistent effort. Not to mention, it raises the cost of SEO services that a business requires. 

Fortunately, a business can still acquire links while minimizing SEO costs by focusing on the following: 

  • Unique content: a website filled with compelling content makes sure that other sites will automatically link to it.
  • Reviews and mentions: it’s always worth trying for company owners to have industry leaders and well-known influencers review or mention their website.
  • Links from friends and partners: last but not least, friends and business partners who run a blog or social media site can also reference a web page as long as the relevance is significant to ensure the link will hold more value.       

Current Rankings

The current placement of a website in the organic rankings directly affects the billable SEO services that a company needs. The primary concept to keep in mind here is, “maintenance is easier to do than achieve.”

Businesses can start working on keywords (possibly niche or longtail ones). Most likely,  the competition to achieve a high ranking for them isn’t as stiff.   


A business’s geographic location and the number of local businesses it needs to compete against directly impact SEO costs. Those with multiple locations cost more since they’ll have more pages to cite and require added work to optimize their local SEO performance.

In this instance, companies will need to get creative to stand out. Again, high-quality content plays a significant role here, and credible backlinks help businesses rise above the competition.    

The services of SEO specialists can be quite costly. However, since time is money and SEO, in general, proves to be time-consuming, finding the best SEO service provider is paramount to a business or company’s success.

If there’s a general rule to keep in mind, businesses must steer clear of individuals or companies that guarantee instant SEO campaign results. Otherwise, their website runs the risk of getting penalized, or worse, being permanently banned by major search engines. 

Key Takeaway

SEO is one of, if not the most important type of digital marketing strategy available. Yet, it’s also the toughest to estimate in terms of typical costs. 

Given the variety of campaigns, most SEO projects range in price from $400 to $10,000 per month, depending on the type of service. These tasks may range from working with an hourly consultant to employing a monthly SEO agency.

  • The specific factors that determine SEO pricing include: 
  • Agency, contractor, or SEO specialist’s experience
  • Agency, contractor, or SEO specialist’s location
  • SEO pricing model (can be monthly or hourly)
  • Business size ( startup or enterprise)
  • The scale of SEO strategy
  • Status of existing SEO strategy, such as the strength of your backlink profile
  • SEO objectives you’re looking to meet

Search engine optimization rates are typically higher for more experienced SEO providers, ranging from agencies to consultants. Similarly, a larger-scale SEO strategy, including an enterprise-level plan, will incur higher SEO costs.

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