How Much Should We Pay for SEO Services? SEO Pricing

seo pricing

As an SEO services agency, we are often faced with the question “How much should I really be paying for SEO services?”

That is often a loaded question. It usually depends on the industry and the state of the companies findability when we talk to them.

Look at it this way for industries that are more digitally savvy getting found online is more competitive. An obvious example is the SEO industry itself. Since we are all experts in the field it becomes very competitive. Whereas industries such as fitness, sports, travel or even metal fabrication may not have as many players that are fully leveraging digital marketing.

With that said though there have been a few studies that have gone down the rabbit hole and developed some real pricing to answer this question.

One of the most notable studies was performed by ahrefs. Ahrefs is a tool for evaluating SEO that is very popular among SEO consultants. The data from their SEO Pricing Report is what I will reference in much my discussion.

First, let me breakdown how the study was conducted. They surveyed Agencies, Consultants, and Freelancers to see how much they charged for SEO services in 2018. As you would expect the most expensive of the three was Freelancers and Agencies commanded the highest rates. Consultants sit somewhere in between.

Just as we do at Blackbird e-Solutions, most SEOs offer a variety of pricing models.

  • Monthly retainers
  • Project based
  • Hourly rates

How Much Should We Pay for SEO Per Month?

It depends on who you work with. Agencies, Consultants or Freelancers

seo pricing per month by business type

On average if we take the upper level of the pricing tier we see the following averages, with Agencies at the highest level:

  • Agencies: $2,819.87/month
  • Consultancies: $1,906.48/month
  • Freelancers: $1,364/month

Does experience play a role in SEO Pricing?


SEO Monthly Rates by time in business

You’ll notice that there is a pretty steep upward slope from 1 month to 2-4 years. Pricing does level off after that. Probably partly because once an SEO gets to a certain level they become more efficient which means they spend less time to do research and implementation.

How Much Do SEO Projects Cost?

This one is a bit more nuanced because the report doesn’t include exactly what type of projects were included in the data. For example, a one-off project could be optimizing a page for one keyword or a full website redesign with 10,000s of pages. Obviously the second would be much more expensive. But I don’t know for sure if that type of project is included in the pricing per project data. Also, typically larger projects are handled by large agencies, which might skew the pricing averages.

With that said, here’s the breakdown:

  • Agencies: $5,222.06 per project, on average.
  • Consultancies: $4,481.94 per project, on average.
  • Freelancers: $1,530.85 per project, on average.

Does Experience Play a Role in SEO Project Based Pricing?

This is an interesting case because, yes it does and by a lot!

SEO project rates by time in business

As you can see in the graph above. Things are pretty level until you reach 1 year. Then there is a big jump from $1,234.60 to $4,629.59 for professionals that have been in the business for more than 2 years. Then once you get to 10+ years the average is almost $6,000.

Quick Thoughts and Summary

As you probably expected there are a lot of different variables that come into play when considering pricing, but basically, it breaks down to these key things.

  • You’ll pay more for experienced professionals.
  • Freelancers are your most inexpensive option, but they may not be your best because they often have full-time jobs or other commitments that will mean that they may have time restraints.
  • Agencies while the most expensive are more readily available and typically have more people that can service your account.
  • One thing I didn’t mention is outsourcing. You can get a better rate if you work with an SEOs or agencies in places such as India. However, I always caution outsourcing anything that has to do with marketing or language because even if they speak the same language as your market, unless live and breath in the market that you are targetting they can never be an expert. But that’s a whole different discussion.

Hopefully, this helps answer the question of how much you should expect to pay for SEO. If you have any questions or insights, please leave a note in the comments.

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How much do you need to budget for Social Media in 2011?

I came across a blog post today from a respected speaker in the Social Media Industry (Mack Callier) about costs for social media projects and I thoughtSocial media dollars it might help some of you with budgeting. The data is kind of a barometer for the industry.

One of the Mack points out and I completely agree with is that you can’t cookie cutter social media. When talking with consultants or marketing firms, if they try to give you prices without asking any questions, then you are better off moving on and finding someone that is really interested in understanding your business and why you want to use social media.

Here are some of the questions we’ll ask you:

  • Why do you want to use social media. What are your goals?
  • Who is your target market? Do you know where they hang out?
  • Do you have the resources to manage your social media efforts in house after it is launched?
  • ETC..

A little background on the data.

These figures come from rates shared with me by fellow consultants and agencies that specialize in social media marketing, in addition to my own research, as well as what I charge for similar services. – MC

Here are some of the numbers:


Launch a blog from the ground-up, outsource all content creation (including customer interaction, handling responses to comments, etc) — $1,000-$12,000 a month

Most Charge — $3,000-$5,000 a month

Launch a blog from the ground-up, outsource some content creation — $1,000-$8,000 a month

Most Charge — $2,000-$3,500 a month

Restructure an existing blog to improve your efforts — $1,000-$5,000 a month for 3-6 months

Most Charge — $2,000-$4,000 a month for 3-6 months

Ghostwriting blog posts — $50-$500 per

Most Charge — $100-$250 per


Launch a new presence on Twitter and outsource all content creation and customer interaction — $1,000-$7,500 a month

Most Charge — $2,000-$4,000 a month

Launch a new presence on Twitter and then provide ongoing training for company — $1,000-$6,000 a month

Most Charge — $1,000-$3,000 a month

Restructure an existing Twitter presence to improve your efforts — $1,000-$4,000 a month for 3-6 months

Most Charge — $1,000-$2,500 a month

Limited coaching to improve your existing efforts on Twitter — $1,000-$4,000 a month

Most Charge — $1,000-$2,500 a month


Launch a Facebook Page from the ground-up, outsourcing all content creation and customer interactions — $2,000-$9,000 a month

Most Charge — $2,500-$5,000 a month

Launch a Facebook Page from the ground-up, with limited ongoing training — $1,500-$7,500 a month for 3-6 months

Most Charge — $2,000-$4,000 a month

Social Media Strategy:

Comprehensive Social Media Strategy Creation, assuming outsourcing of all content creation through all channels(minimum 2)  — $3,000-$20,000 a month

Most Charge — $4,000-$7,000 a month

Comprehensive Social Media Strategy Creation, assuming limited outsourcing of content creation and/or ongoing training  — $3,000-$15,000 a month for 4-12 months

Most Charge — $3,000-$6,000 a month

Audit of existing Social Media Strategy Including Recommendations for Improvement — $2,000-$10,000

Most Charge — $2,000-$5,000

Social Media Consulting:

Hourly rates — $50-$500/Hr

Most Charge  — $75-$200/Hr


On-Site Training/Workshops (All fees excluding travel expenses)

1-2 Hours — $500-$5,000

Most Charge — $500-$2,000

Half-Day (4 hours) – $1,000-$10,000

Most Charge — $1,000-$4,000

Full-Day (6-8 hours) — $2,000-$50,000

Most Charge — $2,500-$5,000

One thing you need to keep in mind is that when a consulted does a training session or webinar there is a lot of behind the scenes work. I very rough estimate for calculating how much is 2 to 1. So for every hour of presenting there is at least 2 hours of preparation.

Read Mack Collier’s full post here: How much does Social Media cost companies in 2011?