The national average cost for SEO services from an agency or freelancer is $50-$75 per hour. The exact cost of hiring a search engine optimization (SEO) professional to improve your business’s website will depend on the frequency of services (one-time services versus ongoing services), whether you opt for an agency or freelancer, additional marketing services (like social media and PPC marketing), their experience, and the scope of your project(s).
If you’re not already familiar, SEO is a practice that helps increase “the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results” (Moz). For small businesses, SEO can be a crucial and cost-effective part of your marketing strategy. Without a huge marketing budget, you probably rely a lot on search engines to send your website traffic, or help customers to discover your brick-and-mortar store.
To make sure your business appears in important search engine results, an SEO company or consultant can find the right keywords to target and implement the right optimization strategy to get you there. Before you hire a professional for SEO services, learn about average SEO consultant rates and the types of services they offer to get a better estimate of your SEO costs. (Related: Should You Learn Freelance SEO In Order to Find More Work?)
SEO pricing varies depending on whether you hire an agency or freelance consultant, their specializations, additional marketing services, project scope, and whether or not you need ongoing SEO work. Many SEOs will charge a retainer for ongoing work beyond an initial website audit or project.
When you start researching SEO consultants, you’ll want to know more about their company, clients, experiences, and what results they can help you work towards. Here are some considerations to help you understand what services to look for and how much they’ll cost.
If you hire an SEO agency, you will likely have a small SEO team supporting your account. This is a great option for mid- or large-sized websites or companies, who need a lot of support, additional marketing services (like SEM, or search engine marketing), or a wider breadth of expertise from an SEO specialist. However, since hiring an agency means hiring multiple people, you’ll pay more for their SEO services.
With an individual consultant, you’re just hiring one freelancer. This is a great option for small businesses. It will be less expensive, but also allows you to focus in on one or two specific business goals, like getting more people to discover your restaurant with a local SEO strategy, or increasing the number of customers with high purchasing intent finding your line of organic beauty products.
Agencies and consultants will either set hourly or project-based rates. Hourly rates average $50-$75 per hour. A project based rate can range from $1,000 – $7,500 depending on the company, project, and the exact services you request from your SEO team.
With SEO, you may not know what exact services you need—even if you know the goals you want to reach. When an SEO firm or consultant begins working with a new client, they’ll often run an audit to identify website problems and look for opportunities for optimization. They will then help you develop a customized SEO strategy based on your business goals, industry, and the current state of your website.
Some common SEO services include:
Before you hire an SEO professional, ask the consultant about the range of costs for standard SEO services and how those costs differ depending on their pricing models and packages.
Monthly retainers cost an average of $501-$1,000 per month, according to the popular SEO software, ahrefs. Some SEO specialists will provide long-term, ongoing services to maintain your website’s SEO for a monthly retainer.
As with any industry, you’ll pay more for SEO work if the person you hire has less experience. Someone with only 2-3 years experience will usually charge a lower hourly or project-based rate than an SEO professional who is well-versed in every aspect of SEO (it’s a complex and ever-changing field!) and has a proven track record driving results for clients.
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