WHAT TO CHARGE FOR SEO SERVICES

Matthew Carter
Hello friends, my name is Matthew Carter. I’m a professional link builder for a large SEO agency in New York City.

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36.78% of respondents price some or all of their work by the hour.

Looking at US data in isolation, 66.25% charge at least $1,001 per month—some command as much as $25,001-$50,000 per month!

Shows how many different websites are linking to this piece of content. As a general rule, the more websites link to you, the higher you rank in Google.

SEO Pricing: 10 Top Takeaways.

Here’s a breakdown of per-project rates by region:

I delve into specific findings for each section below. But first, a few takeaways…

If we assume that all surveyed SEOs charge the upper end of their respective pricing tier (e.g., $1,500, from $1,001-$1,500), and then take the average monthly retainer rate for each subset (Agency, Freelance, Consultancy), here’s what we get:

Two other notable points:

45% of respondents charge between $501 and $2,000 per month.

Those offering their services locally earn $96.44/hour, on average, whereas those serving the worldwide market earn $118.80/hour.

Do SEO Agencies Charge More Per Month Than Freelancers?

Here’s a breakdown of monthly retainer rates by region:

By these stats, the hourly rate charged by SEO agencies is almost double that of SEO freelancers.

If we assume that all surveyed SEOs charge the upper end of their respective pricing tier (e.g., $150, from $100-$150), and then take the average hourly rate for each subset (Agency, Freelance, Consultancy), here’s what we get:

It’s clear that there is one outlier here: India .

Share this article.

A surprising survey respondent I found while sifting through the survey results.

That’s a significant difference of 62.5%.

India and Latin America are the outliers here.

75.77% charge $2,000/month or less, meaning that only 24.23% command retainers of $2,001+.

Now let’s dive deeper.

Personally, I think that results and experience are important factors to consider when sizing up an SEO agency. That said, that doesn’t mean that the provider will automatically deliver amazing results for YOU.

As you might expect, SEO plans that include more, cost more.

This is a complete guide to SEO pricing.

In short, working with an SEO agency is more expensive than a freelancer or SEO consultant.

In fact, small businesses spend anywhere between $100 to $5,000 per month for SEO services.

What Do SEO Services Typically Include?

That’s because certain SEO services cost significantly more than others. Either because they’re more time-consuming. Require specific expertise. Or both.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that providers with years of experience (and tangible results) can charge a premium for SEO services.

But again, the average tends to be around $500 per month.

On the other hand, link building is an ongoing process.

Results and Experience.

But that’s not the entire story.

And these are SEO services that are usually on the cheaper side:

Hiring an experienced SEO freelancer or agency by the hour typically costs anywhere between $50-$150 per hour.

For example, one of the sites that I manage had what’s known as a “page bloat” problem. In other words, we had more indexed pages than we should.

Let’s dive right into the numbers.

How Much Does It Cost for Hourly SEO Services?

(In fact, I’ve heard countless horror stories from people that have worked with “experienced” SEO providers that delivered nothing).

As it turns out, there are LOTS of factors that go into SEO pricing. Some of the most important factors that influence the cost of SEO include:

That’s because their results remove some of the risk of working with them (which is especially important if you sign up a contract that ties you into a monthly retainer commitment).

In that analysis we asked 1,200 business owners and decision makers about their experience with SEO providers. And a good chunk of our questions revolved around cost.

For example, here’s a list of monthly tasks that one SEO agency lists on their site:

Types of Services Offered.

According to several sources, including the SEO Services Report I mentioned earlier, this SEO jobs report, this pricing survey by Credo, and other industry sources, $50-$150 per hour is the average rate for hourly SEO services.

How Much Do Monthly SEO Services Cost?

In fact, SEO pros with development skills make 7% more than those that can’t code.

Needless to say, hiring someone to help with a specific SEO project means that the price range can vary significantly (literally $25-$25k). It really depends on the project. And who you choose to work with.

Although not completely solved, that freelancer started to fix our page bloat problem within days.

Instead, we hired a freelancer off of Upwork to help with this issue.

(There’s also the opposite case to be made: that individual freelancers can provide more personalized time and attention than an agency can. However, the data does strongly suggest that people are willing to spend more on SEO when working with an agency compared to a freelancer).

Why? Well, finding keywords is much faster than building white hat backlinks. Plus, keyword research is essentially “one and done”. Once you find a large group of keywords to target in Google, you’re pretty much set for months.

Of course, you can find people that charge significantly less or more than this hourly rate.

That figure comes from this large-scale analysis of SEO services that we conducted last year.

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