Businesses cannot succeed today without good consistent search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is simply a set of rules and actions that optimize the functions of a website so that it achieves higher rankings and thus greater visibility in search engines’ organic results. Search engines provide the answers to questions and solutions to problems of millions of users every day. High rankings in search increase searcher’s trust in a website, increase search traffic, lead to greater social promotion of the website, advance a preference above the competition, and ultimately leads to increased sales.
SEO takes significant and continuing work. As Adam Audette said, “The future of SEO is here—understanding and marketing to specific and defined audiences through search engines.”
How Much Does Agency SEO Cost?
Back in the early days of search, SEO was a simple matter of loading up a website with keywords. Technical evolution and increased competition have made SEO more complex and competitive today. It now requires a significant investment of time and money.
Factors involved in assessing the cost of SEO include:
- What industry does your business operate in?
- Is your business mostly local, national, or international in geography or aim?
- What is the size and scope of your target audience?
- What are your SEO goals?
- How many keywords will you need to use and how competitively intense are they?
Further, SEO is not just one simple thing. It involves:
- Website design and optimization, including good navigation, good page titles, meta descriptions, social sharing buttons, fast load speeds, and responsive design.
- Keyword research and effective use of keywords.
- Great content writing with consistent and frequent publication.
- Tactics to build authority and trust.
In May 2018 Ahrefs, a data-driven marketing toolset, published a survey of the SEO industry with cost data gathered from 357 respondents. The data provides these insights:
- Providers of SEO services charge on average by the hour as follows:
- Agencies: $134.66/hour
- Consultancies: $122.33/hour
- Freelancers: $68.00/hour
- More experienced SEO providers charge more:
- $79.37/hour for those in business for two years or less.
- $110.69/hour for those in business for two to four years.
- $118.85/hour for those in business for five to ten years.
- $142.50/hour for those in business ten-plus years.
3. Providers who offer world-wide services charge more per hour than those offering services locally: $118.80/hour versus $96.44/hour.
4. 71% of survey respondents indicated that they charge a monthly retainer for some or all their services. Reported average retainer costs follow:
- Agencies averaged $2,819.87/month
- Consultancies: $1,906.48/month
- Freelancers: $1,364.00/month
However, the most common retainer for SEO agencies and consultants was $500-$1,000/month.
5. Many SEO providers offer various pricing models: hourly pricing, per-project pricing, retainer pricing, and fixed price services:
- $100-$150/hour is the most common hourly rate (88.28% charge $150/hour or less.)
- $501-$1,000 was the most popular per-project fee, yet 52.25% of respondents charge $1,001 or more.
- $500-$1,000/month was the most popular retainer rate with 23.08% of respondents charging this rate and 45% of respondents charging between $501 and $2,000/month.
- Fixed price services can be for such things as SEO audit from $500 to $7,500, social media site setup from $500 to $3,000, and SEO copywriting from $0.15 to $0.50 per word.
In considering this cost data, it is important to note that:
- No provider can provide instant results.
- Avoid any practices that are not ethical. Shady link-building, for example, is heavily penalized by Google and other search engines.
- No provider can guarantee the number one spot on search engine page results.
Could I be Doing SEO Myself?
The answer is “yes you can.” But how effectively? And, why would you? Great SEO and digital marketing require significant time and technical knowledge that is better left to experts. Here is what you would have to know (and do well):
- How to make your website Google friendly.
- How to speed up your website.
- How to set up your on-page SEO, including headings, subheadings, and keyword research.
- Writing superior titles for articles and posts.
- Writing superior content.
- Posting consistently and regularly.
- Building links to qualify what is written.
Doing effective SEO is a constant job handling all the aspects of technical, structural, and content SEO.
Hiring an agency will give your business these advantages versus trying to do it all in your spare time, or hiring someone “on the cheap” to do it for you:
- You get agency skills with a team and collective knowledge to apply the best methods on your behalf. That includes a solid strategy and effective implementation.
- You get the years of experience collected by an agency.
- You get the number of hours and people to cover the necessary tactics and the flexibility to handle the growth of the work as the business grows.
How Much Should I Pay for an Agency to Handle My SEO?
As previously noted, pricing varies based on the size of the company, its scope of focus (whether local or national), and on its goals. Costs also vary depending on whether the SEO provider is doing piece work, such as specific projects, defined by the hour assignments, or given more of a “full course” opportunity to accomplish great SEO results.
Many excellent agencies who specialize in SEO and digital advertising work can provide a range of qualified services between $400 and $600/month for local services. If the company is established and has its eye on a large national footprint, with a very large target audience, the monthly retainer may well range above $1,000/month.
Get Help With Your SEO
Great SEO and digital marketing results are too important to leave to chance, to cobble together in your spare time, or to delegate to an inexpensive or inexperienced resource.
When it’s time to up your SEO and boost your local internet marketing strategy, it’s time to contact BizIQ, based in Phoenix, AZ. BizIQ’s Local SEO and Website Packages offer the most affordable, transparent solution for your business’s localized online marketing in the industry. We can help you gain more traffic and leads and increase your sales.