How much does SEO cost?

How much does SEO cost image

How much does SEO cost is a very common question and one which there is no exact answer to and what you should look to pay depends on your business. With the internet playing such a dominant role in the buying cycle, it is important that every business makes some provisions for digital marketing, the amount though depends on the business. As with all digital marketing, SEO is an ongoing process and there is no glass ceiling as to the amount of work that can be done and the costs associated. 

Your digital strategy will vary hugely depending on the industry, your current digital and offline marketing, the resources that you have available and your budget. Agencies have different approaches and target different areas of the market. For example, some web developers provide an ‘SEO ready site’, there are agencies providing pure SEO and agencies offering a fully integrated digital marketing campaign. There are also those less scrupulous companies that promise page 1 rankings for very little cost – if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. While they are all providing SEO of a sort, the difference is vast and so is the cost.


SEO Payment Models and Costs

  • SEO Ready Site £0-£200 – Often when you are looking for a company to build your site, you are offered an SEO option. This typically means that basic onsite content optimisation is done – adding keywords, meta tags etc. and tends to only work for local companies targeting keywords with little competition.
  • Contract Based £500-£5000 – this is where you are charged a fee for a particular job. The most common example of this is an SEO audit which looks at what you are currently doing well and what your weaknesses are; looking for opportunities, threats and keywords that will likely achieve the best returns, taking into account industry trends and competitor insights.
  • Project Based £750-£5000 – essentially bespoke contracts but otherwise the same. So say a website audit brings up that your site has little or no call to actions and there is no conversion tracking, the agency may put together a project based service initially to resolve the immediate site issues.
  • Monthly Retainer £250-£4500 – this is the most common payment model and is tend to be the most cost effective and is where clients pay a set fee for an agreed service. Typically this would include a digital strategy including the target keywords, onsite content adjustments, link building and reporting.
  • Consultancy £100-£300 per hour – some companies prefer to do things in-house and choose to hire an SEO consultant to guide them or to add a different dimension. This is typically for large companies who have a digital team but want an experienced consultant that works on lots of different sites and helps to keep them on track.
  • Hourly £50-£100 – this can be useful to those that are looking for additional help for a short period of time.

Please note, these are a typical price range based on my experience, Marketing Grin’s charges, research and a study by Moz who compared 600+ agencies. They are not absolute and the cost will depend on your particular requirement. There is a big range here in price and the service provided but you will be able to see the range of charges and gauge roughly where an agency fits in terms of price.


Important take home points

The digital industry is trending towards more integrated packages. Inbound marketing is becoming very popular which tends to group social media, content marketing, conversion, analytics and SEO together to build a more natural digital campaign. ‘Pure SEO’ with traditional link building techniques are becoming less common. In my experience the best results are achieved through a carefully planned, integrated digital marketing strategy that combines multiple digital marketing channels.

It is always wise to get several quotes and to understand what the agency is offering before deciding which one is right for you. Typically companies start with a small budget and increase their spend as they look to increase reach and improve conversion rates. Effective digital marketing helps companies to reach their target audience, increase visibility and drive qualified traffic to their site. It helps users to stay engaged and moves them through the buying journey, keeping clients happy and and delivering excellent returns.


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