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Most small business owners know what SEO does – but don’t know how it works exactly.

You know its value to an ecommerce business – but can’t put a price on it.

And you know you need to spend money on it – but don’t know how much.

Of course, we’re talking about search engine optimization (SEO). It can be the difference between your online store getting tons of targeted visitors…or tumbleweed blowing through it.

SEO accounts for 37.5% of all ecommerce traffic and in my experience brings in a lot more profit than other organic efforts like Instagram marketing for most brands.

But I have a little truth to tell: all SEO is expensive if it doesn’t work.

If you spend $200/month on getting rankings and the rankings don’t come, that’s wasted money that could have been spent elsewhere.

Conversely, if you’re in a competitive niche and you can outrank your competitors by getting high up on page one of Google for your main product search terms, how much is that worth to you?

$500 a month? $1000 a month? $5000 a month?

The most affordable SEO services for small business are those that get results without it costing so much that it handicaps the business in other areas.

It can be a thankless task hunting such companies down. So we’ve done some of the legwork for you.

Based on a combination of our own observations, reviews, customer testimonials, and social proof, we’ve narrowed the field down to seven SEO companies that should be affordable for most small ecommerce businesses.

SEO Pricing

As we’re talking ‘affordability’ it’s worth taking a second to consider pricing models with SEO.

Some small business SEO agencies are rather ‘cloak and dagger’ about it, hitting you with bills that you didn’t expect. This immediately precludes them from our list.

Pricing needs to be transparent. The unfortunate thing is that it isn’t generally listed on the agency’s website – you need to apply for a quote.

Typical questions to ask an agency include:

  • Are there any initial upfront fees?
  • What’s the management fee?
  • What are the total monthly fees?
  • Do you offer special SEO packages?
  • Are they fixed price or is there a sliding scale?
  • Are there any other fees we need to know about?
  • Will you break the monthly fees down line by line on the bill?
  • Do we pay if we don’t get the expected results?

SEO encompasses a wide range of services. Without getting too technical, on-page services focus on keyword research and optimizing the content on your site; and off-page services are focused on activities like link-building and citation-building.

As with any marketing service, be sure what the pricing includes and excludes before committing to anything.

How much does SEO cost?

According to Ahrefs 2018 industry study, SEO experts charge $75 to $150 USD per hour.

However, most SEOs charge a monthly retainer rather than hourly rates.

Ahrefs also determined the cost of 1 backlink to be $361.44 USD in 2018.

In the US most agencies charge $2.5k to $5k USD per month for SEO.

In this affordable guide, we’ve searched for agencies charging less, with a track record of more: more traffic, more sales, more profit.

Affordable SEO Services for Small Business: The Top 7

Here they are in no special order…

Engine Scout

Pricing: From $499/month

Pricing: From $499/month

Based in: Australia

Core services: SEO is one of several areas of expertise, including Facebook advertising, content marketing, and PPC.

Pros: Boutique marketing agency focused on SEO for small-mid sized businesses. Specialists at targeting customers with Facebook ads. No lock-in contracts.

Cons: They’re a smaller operator and might have some availability issues including being based in Australia.

Straight North

Image result for straight north logo

Pricing: $1000 month.

Based in: USA

Core services: SEO is a focus along with a full suite of other marketing services, including PPC management, email marketing, web design, etc.

Pros: Especially good for small businesses in a wide range of sectors from agriculture to technology. Transparent pricing guidelines on the website, along with plenty of case studies.

Cons: Not as SEO-focused as some other agencies in this list. And not especially focused on ecommerce businesses.

Local SEO Search Inc.

Image result for local SEO search logo

Pricing: $50-99/Hour

Based in: Canada

Core services: SEO is their entire focus – specializing in local SEO in particular.

Pros: Dedicated to small business SEO. Great for start-ups and small businesses yet to get established online. Can offer a highly personalized service.

Cons: Not as established as some of the other players. Fewer employees than most others on this list – so there may be some communication and availability issues (though most reviews report good response times to inquiries).

Fiverr

Pricing: From $10 one-off to $400/month

Based in: Israel

Core services: Freelancer marketplace for all types of services (individuals and agencies).

Pros: Very well established in providing online services from writing, graphics and technical assistance to translation. Flexible enough that you can hire SEO professionals on a per-task basis or as an ongoing monthly deal. A quick search for SEO services yields almost 9000 results. Generally low cost and affordable for all businesses.

Cons: A little hit and miss with who you get to do your work – but doing your homework on the freelancer helps. You get what you pay for – be sure you know exactly what you’re getting for your money.

The SEO Works

Image result for SEO works logo

Pricing: Difficult to establish though user reviews report good value for money.

Based in: UK (3 locations)

Core services: SEO is their main focus but they also offer PPC, website design, app design, etc.

Pros: Offer a free website review. Certified Google Partner Specialist for SEO and Google AdWords (PPC). Small & medium business focus with ecommerce one of their specialist areas. Award winner.

Cons: Pricing is a little difficult to establish without contacting them for a quote. Some small businesses may be looking for a smaller, more personalized SEO agency.

Boostability

Pricing: $25-49/Hour

Based in: USA

Core services: 90% SEO focused – onsite optimization, local search, link-building & content development. Also, they offer web design services.

Pros: Established company (since 2009) offering affordable per hour pricing – suitable for project work and micro businesses but can also help larger small businesses scale up with their SEO. Offer a free consultation to get you going and monthly calls as part of the ongoing deal.

Cons: Very few negative comments – most are about suggested improvements to communication rather than results. No specific focus on ecommerce.

SEO. Inc.

Image result for SEO.inc logo

Pricing: On application – but expect to pay $1000+/month.

Based in: USA

Core services: SEO is the main focus – but other marketing services like social media marketing, reputation management, mobile optimization & PPC management are also provided.

Pros: One of the most established agencies (since 1997) but have kept a small, well-knit team together. Agency of the Year finalist.

Cons: Not especially focused on small businesses so you may risk being a small fish in a pond full of bigger fish.

Big Leap

Image result for big leap logo

Pricing: $100 – $149/Hour

Based in: USA

Core services: SEO is one of four core focus areas along with online PR (reputation management & social media) and content marketing services.

Pros: Well established company (since 2008) providing a comprehensive and well-reviewed service. Award winners in several areas – for the services they provide and their culture.

Cons: No free site audit offered. Not as small-business focused as some other agencies: perhaps better for larger small businesses.

Affordable SEO Services for Small Business – Rank without breaking the bank…

Most ecommerce store owners don’t have the time, technical skills, nor patience to handle SEO themselves. But you know you need it.

And it really is a necessary investment in your small business. Don’t expect instant results but look at the long term effect it has on your sales. Try to learn about SEO even if you outsource the work so you can accurately analyze the company’s performance and ROI.

The seven SEO agencies listed should be able to help you get ranking well in Google for your main search terms – and driving hungry shoppers to your store – without it breaking the bank.

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About the author

Giles Thomas

Hi, I’m Giles Thomas. Founder of AcquireConvert & co-founder of RisePro.co, the place where ecommerce entrepreneurs & businesses go to learn how to increase conversions & profits. I’m also the founder of ecommerce growth agency Whole Design Studios. I’m the head marketing mentor at the Google Launchpad Accelerator & Google Marketing Expert.