If You Look on the Web to Answer this Question…
…what you see will be the result of SEO! Googling “How Much Does SEO Cost?” will get a wide variety of answers. You can find “SEO” from $40/month – including the website!, to serious SE) for $5,000+/month. Though this is a dizzying range, there is some consensus across all the opinions out there. Most people think a good SEO professional costs $80-$150/hour and that your monthly costs will vary depending on the competition for the searches you want to appear in.
Why would you pay a monthly fee for SEO? You can read my “What Can SEO Do For My Local Business“, but it is really about ROI. Being at the top of the organic (not paid ads!) search results brings you the most clicks. If you’ve got a good business, clicks mean views, leads and sales. Being near the top of the search results is like free advertising. But, unless you are already a highly searched and referenced brand, being up there in the search results isn’t free.
How Much Competition is There for Your Search?
If you are in a niche market, there may not be many sites tailored to show up in a search for your products or services. It won’t be that hard to get on to the first page of rankings. But, if you’re competing in a broad market, there are tons of businesses in that sector then ranking highly among them is a lot more difficult. It will be easier to compete if your website is silk cocktail dresses, rather than women’s clothes. Because SEO success has to do with competition for the keywords people are searching for, many companies don’t publish rates. Instead they offer to give you a quote after they analyze your website and business goals.
Here are some of the price ranges I found as I surveyed the web for pricing. This is just to give you an idea of that is out there.
- sharpnotions.com says hourly costs are $120-150, with small businesses often paying $500-$1,000 per month and bigger businesses paying $1,000-$2,500 per month.
- sparktoro.com includes a survey where SEO agencies said that 19% of clients spent less that $1,000/month, 22% spent $1,000-$2,500/month, 27% spent $2,500-$5,000/month, and 32% spent over $5,000.
- direction.com says rates are $100-$500/hour and monthly services are $
,000 and up!
All of those sites are good reference points. They are in the business, and they are trying to land big clients. They are also practicing what they preach by having useful content on their sites so they will rise in the ranking!
So, How Much Does SEO Cost?
The good news is that competition for local SEO and niche markets is a lot less than national campaigns for crowded markets. Though local business can usually rise in the rankings in their local market for $500-$1,000 per month, it still takes time and professional attention. Your website is your billboard, storefront, business card, inbox and ad campaign, all wrapped into one. You don’t want it hidden on the 9th page of search results, and so it is worth the investment to get it to “Main Street” – the first page – where all the traffic is. How much you need will depend on your market sector, business goals and marketing budget.