Search engine optimization is a powerful tool for getting your website and business out into the world. But, determining how much SEO should cost per month, or even on average, can be tricky. Many services obscure their pricing, and if you’re doing it yourself, knowing the ballpark can be difficult.
Part of the reason for this is that SEO has become a highly competitive industry, and there are plenty of trade secrets and unique methods of optimization that services want to protect. But, for a novice, it can be overwhelming.
This article is here to help. We’ll take you through how much SEO plans can cost, give a few quick tips if you’re planning on going the DIY route, and outline a few recommended services.
The Guide to SEO Plans and Pricing
How much will an SEO plan cost me?
Like many marketing questions, the answer is difficult. It depends. Depending on the size of your business, you can pay between $500-$20,000 a month! Some larger businesses spend way beyond that top range monthly.
What does all this money get you? Well, it will depend on how much you spend, but many SEO companies will provide different tiers of service, working to get you backlinks, creating content for you, and optimizing existing pages. Depending on the work being done, the expenses will get higher.
But finding where you fall on that range requires you to determine what exactly you’re trying to accomplish and how you’re going to work to accomplish it. If you’re looking to hire out the work necessary to accomplish your SEO goals, there three ways to do it: Internal hiring, a marketing agency, or an SEO firm.
Internal and DIY
The first route many people take when trying to get an SEO plan going is hiring an SEO expert internally. This can end up being a massive value add to your organization because you have oversight and control over the SEO expert’s strategic horizon and spending choices. However, if you are not an SEO expert yourself, finding the right hire can be tricky because many people might be overpromising what they can do to get the job. Going with an agency or a proven group of experts can sometimes be a better route.
Ideal candidates usually have a wide range of skills and are fluent in link building, the technical aspects of SEO, content marketing strategy, and social media expertise. These folks don’t always come cheap either. Many SEO experts expect a salary range of $70,000+, which in addition to what you’ll be paying to host ads and garner other forms of traffic, can be a steep monthly bill.
If you don’t choose to hire someone, you can go the DIY route, attempting to educate yourself on all the ins-and-outs of SEO best practices. While this can be done, it takes a lot of time and energy to learn how to optimize, and many people spend years gaining proficiency. But, if you have the time, it can be a possible route.
Content Marketing Companies
Marketing agencies offer SEO plans and services to most of their clients, usually as an add-on to other content marketing services. While agencies are often filled with skilled marketing professionals, search engine optimization might not be a primary focus, but rather a supplementary add-on.
But, if you’re looking to accomplish a bunch of different marketing and branding goals, seeking out a marketing agency or company can be a solid strategy for building brand presence and SEO. However, keep in mind that this can be expensive. A baseline SEO package on average can cost around $2,000/month.
SEO Agency Plans and Pricing
There are agencies and firms that focus entirely on SEO, usually offering specific services like backlinking, site audits, and strategic consulting work. Specialized SEO firms generally speaking have the most experience specifically in SEO and SEO techniques, and if you locate a smaller one, are often more affordably priced.
Many agencies will offer payment plans that are based on performance, so you only end up paying for traffic and sales that you actually receive. If you’re working on a specific project, an SEO agency might be a real solid bet.
Read more: The Dos and Don’ts of Cost-Effective SEO
How much do specific SEO services cost?
An alternative route to hiring an entire service or employee is to pay for individual services or features. You can do many of these things yourself, but if you’re looking to understand what the different services are and how much they might cost, below is a helpful guide. All of these fee estimates are one-time fee estimates.
Content creation is a pillar of any SEO plan. You’re going to need content for your site, in the form of blog posts, landing pages, and social media posts. And it’s not just about writing a post and calling it good. You’ll need to make sure that each piece of content is meeting the best practices of the medium it’s published in.
For example, the best practices of creating a solid blog post include word counts, link optimization, image optimization, keyword research, and more.
Average cost: If you’re paying a freelance writer, expect to pay between .15 and .50 cents a word. The average blog post runs from 1,000+ words, so a single blog post or article can cost as much as $500.
A site audit is another component of an SEO service or plan, and something that is essential for you to do as part of a content plan. A site audit is the process of going into your site and evaluating how “friendly” it is to search engines. In plain language, this means evaluating how likely your site is able to meet your marketing goals.
Similar to a government audit, a site audit tries to determine how well your site is meeting the standards of search engines and SEO best practices. When you pay someone to do an audit, you can expect a report listing strengths and weaknesses, and areas of definite improvement.
Site audits are difficult to do yourself, as they often require a lot of knowledge that you might not have.
Average cost: Depending on the depth and other services a site auditor can provide, you can expect to pay $500 for a barebones audit, and up to $8,000 for a comprehensive audit.
Link profile audits
Link profile audits examine the links on your site and try to determine how well they are performing for your site. These audits determine the relative strength of each link you’re using, and how it might be improved. While this service is sometimes included in a site audit, often it is packaged as a separate service.
Average cost: A simple evaluation usually costs around $500, while services that are paired with new links and additional backlinking can start at $1,500 and up.
Social media creation and setup
Social media is essential for a small or mid-sized business, and many social media platforms have rules and standards for optimization. A lot of social media building is intangibles like how you interact with customers online, but there are plenty of best practices that you need to research and follow to optimize your posts and presence.
Average cost: Because many people have competence in social media, paying someone to do it can be a little cheaper than other SEO services, usually in the range of $500 – $3,000.
What’s your plan?
Before you go and start searching for different places to buy SEO services, it helps to have a vision of what you’re trying to achieve with SEO. Is your goal to grow your email list? Do you want to optimize a specific page or series of pages? If you don’t really know what you want to do beyond “grow traffic” you might end up disappointed by what a service can offer you.
In general, there are three main pillars of SEO:
- On-page SEO: This is optimization that focuses on content that is “on the page,” meaning the text, images, and content that is visually represented on a given webpage. The focus here will be keyword optimization, image optimization, and other methods of making a page appear more useful to search engines.
- Off-page SEO: Search engines are designed around trustworthiness, and one of the measures of that is how other pages or sites online are connected to yours. The more highly-ranked and “useful” pages that link to yours, the better your off-page SEO will be. Services around this focus on building backlinks with trusted sources and networking your page.
- Technical SEO: This is what goes on behind the scenes of your site. Search engines do not only review your page on content, but also on how the site itself is built on the backend. Code matters when it comes to moving a page up in the search rankings and this form of SEO often requires some specialized know-how to optimize.
As you search around for SEO services, knowing what areas you’d like to improve upon is essential to making sure that you get the most bang for your buck.
SEO also continues beyond the initial optimization phase. There’s quite a bit of upkeep required to keep a page relevant and maintain its status in the search engine results pages (SERPs), including, but not limited to:
- Updated and relevant information – Evergreen content is ideal (content that doesn’t need to be frequently updated), but regardless of how evergreen something might be, search engines often respond positively to updates with new and better information. Part of the SEO plan will need to involve occasional updates to old blog posts with newer information.
- Keyword changes – As you gather data on page performance, you’ll likely need to go in and make keyword alterations to more effectively hit search queries, or alter pages that aren’t getting any traffic.
- Algorithm changes – Every search engine makes regular algorithm changes, Google especially. Often, these changes can dramatically alter both the SERPs and your page’s position within them. Algorithm changes are often not public, so some folks spend all of their time trying to research and define the changes, given how important they are to business success.
Looking at all that, are you ready and prepared to dive into the world of SEO yourself, or would you prefer to hire someone to help out? Here are some potential services to explore.
Selz Ecommerce SEO
While the three services listed above are decent, for an ecommerce business, you want ecommerce SEO. At Selz, we provide a premium service for a low price point, backed by experts that specifically work to optimize your website to meet your business goals. We work with business owners every day to either optimize their online store or build an internet presence from the ground up.
Rather than creating a complex plan structure that is difficult for you to follow, Selz Ecommerce SEO is a personalized service. When you contact us, we pair you with an Ecommerce Expert whose sole job is to make sure that you are getting the results that you need. Here are some of the services we offer:
- Keyword research and optimization, starting with 5 keywords
- Site analysis
- On-page optimization
- Content creation
- Search ranking optimization
- Monthly reports
- Press release writing and distribution
We pride ourselves on delivering competitive pricing and a plan that is suited to meet your needs. The best part? It’s free to schedule your first SEO audit with us. You can learn more about what we do here, and how you can start getting big gains for your business.