SEO Prices: What Does Search Engine Optimization Cost? Search Engine Optimization | May 9, 2011 | By Aaron Schoenberger

Before hiring an SEO company, it’s imperative for businesses to fully understand search engine optimization pricing. Some prices may be reflective of an SEO company’s experience, while others can be a red flag.

Back in July of 2010, I wrote an article on social media consulting rates that received loads of attention and continues to draw visitors each day. After speaking to a few businesses that contacted us while reading the article, I realized that most companies are equally clueless about search engine optimization pricing. This lack of knowledge is a recipe for disaster.

When looking at the costs associated with search engine optimization, you truly get what you pay for — as I’ve stated many times before. On a regular basis, I see companies fall for the “$9.99 SEO packages” or ridiculously cheap monthly retainers for ongoing SEO, then they wonder why they’re not seeing results. SEO is a laborious process, especially for large websites, and there’s no way to magically generate high rankings. If someone tells you there is, run for the hills.

SEO services are typically billed in three ways: hourly, on a per-project basis, or on a monthly retainer (for ongoing SEO). I’ll touch on these three methods below:

SEO Hourly Rates
Often used for SEO consulting and smaller, short-term projects, hourly rates for SEO range anywhere from $50-$1,000. The lower end of the spectrum is usually for beginner to intermediate SEOs, whereas the upper echelon is for experienced consultants with a long track record. Additionally, hourly rates are dependent on clients themselves — SEO consulting for a Fortune 500 company costs more than similar services for small to mid-size corporations.

Per-Project SEO Rates
Many of the projects we (The Brainchild Group) take on involve consulting for the development of new websites, wordsmithing social media campaigns, optimizing blogs, and conducting in-house training sessions. Smaller projects like this are ideal candidates for per-project rates, which are in the range of $1,500-$7,500. Some SEO companies offer predefined packages that seem like an awesome deal, however SEO is not a thing that can be packaged with set deliverables. Every project is its own animal, therefore requiring a customized approach and, ultimately, price.

Monthly SEO Retainers
Paying for SEO on a regular basis is the most effective way to ensure superiority and ongoing profits. A majority of businesses want to simply hire an SEO company to manage all search engine optimization efforts, which is a smart move. From my 10+ years of experience, I’ve seen monthly SEO packages from $15 to $15,000. Experienced, result-driven SEO companies with reputable clients typically offer monthly SEO packages starting at $1,500. The cost is highly dependent on clients’ wants, needs and past progress, as well as the SEO company itself. If you’re searching for the best of the best, expect to pay $3,000+ per month.

The moral of the story is that not all SEO companies are created equal, and you must strive to hire the best SEO services your money can buy. Don’t nickel and dime your business; it won’t pay off in the long run.

Aaron Schoenberger
The Brainchild Group

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