SEO Pricing: What’s The Cost Of Search Engine Optimization?

September 30, 2019


SEO pricing is something you can’t be so sure about. There isn’t a universal price a business has to pay or metric to measure the amount of effort put in.

It’s not like paid marketing campaigns such as, direct mail or PPC where you can map out your budget based on the cost per click. However, factors like the size of your company or level of competition in your niche help determine the price level.

The point is, there isn’t a certain answer to the question: “How much does SEO cost?” But there are determinants or pricing models that can help you estimate what your investment budget should look like.

Thankfully, carried out a survey on 600 companies that shows the average costs SEO agencies charge.

Let’s dive right in.

Performance-Based SEO Pricing Model

It’s a relatively new p\SEO pricing model where you only pay after you start seeing results. Once you select keywords you want to rank for, the SEO agency then gives you specific prices several SERP positions.

If they successfully get your ranking up to certain position after a month, you’ll be charged based on the price of that SERP tier.

For instance, ranking your keyword in the top 3 position of Google may cost you around $300 for the month. Likewise, if you were in not in the top 50 and your rank increases, you’ll be charged based on your position at the end of the month.

Ultimately, if your position on the search engine doesn’t improve, you won’t have to pay a dime.


Although pricing structure looks enticing, it also means you can’t be sure of what you’ll spend on SEO on a monthly basis. Also, SEO agencies would usually only accept less competitive keywords that they are sure to rank for.

Monthly Retainer Pricing Model

Most companies that aim to build long-term relationships choose this pricing model. This sort of payment is beneficial if you don’t have an in-house SEO team. The agency will then handle every aspect of your company’s SEO strategy.

According to the Moz survey, monthly retainer rates have a very wide pricing range. The two most common price ranges were: $251-$500 per month and $2,501-$5,000 per month.

On another hand, this price ranges have now increased over the years but sets a tone of what agencies will likely charge.

It’s a great way to develop a long term relationship with the SEO agency.  At the same time, you’re stuck with an agency even if you aren’t seeing good results.

Project-Based SEO Price

Based on the Moz study, this is the most popular SEO pricing model you’ll find agencies offering their clients.

Nonetheless, you still can’t be so sure about its cost. To give you an idea, here are the four price ranges of about half of the SEO agencies:

  • $1,001-$1,500
  • $1,501-$2,500
  • $2,501-$5,000
  • $5,001-$7,500

It’s not hard to see why it’s the most common pricing scheme. The agency will work to achieve your set demands over a specified period of time. The only issue is that you may be overcharged or have to pay extra fees for any changes to your campaign strategy.



If you want to work with a seasoned SEO agency, expect to pay anything between $75 and $250 per hour.  Avoid any agency that offers a rate that’s lower or too good to be true for what they promise to help you achieve.

If you want a breakdown of our price quotes, contact us here.