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How Much Does SEO Cost?

If you’re looking to invest in SEO, The first thing you’ll do is search online for a reputable service provider. There are thousands of companies and individuals fighting for your attention, and the pricing for their services is extremely dynamic. We’ll walk you through the different tiers of SEO service providers, their cost ranges, what to look for, and what to expect.

Different Tiers of SEO Service Providers

There are 7 distinct tiers of SEO service providers, each has their own strengths and weaknesses.

  1. Resellers – SEO resellers are the “bottom-of-the-barrel” option for SEO services. They are incentivized to keep their costs low, which means there’s no telling who or where they’re going to fulfill your service. We recommend you steer clear of this tier of service provider if you want to keep your website’s good standing with Google.
  2. Freelancers – Typically specializing in one area of SEO, freelancers come with varying levels of experience. They usually require more oversight and SEO knowledge on the buyers side to truly be effective, and they bill either hourly or per project.
  3. Consultants – Most SEO consultants are great generalists, and some might specialize in one particular area of SEO. They are slightly more expensive than freelancers, but you can often find them advertising their services in the same places as freelancers. SEO consultants also bill either hourly or per project, more experienced consultants will offer a monthly retainer option.
  4. Digital Marketing Agencies – Generally the best option for most small businesses looking to take advantage of SEO services. Agencies of this tier might offer other services than SEO, but they have a team of specialists to execute your SEO service. It’s common to offer value packed, pre-built packages based on common budget ranges in the industry.
  5. Boutique Agencies – Extremely similar to digital marketing agencies, but specialized in one industry or vertical of SEO. The most common boutique SEO agencies are those specializing in e-commerce. This tier of SEO service provider is typically more expensive than digital marketing agencies.
  6. SaaS Companies – Software SEO companies offer data and tools as a service. Prices vary greatly, and some might offer done-for-you services at a steep premium. It is common for SEO SaaS companies to outsource their done-for-you services to other SEO agencies.
  7. Enterprise Agencies – The most expensive option, but also the best option for large companies that need an SEO service provider than can easily integrate with their large-scale websites and tools.

Pros & Cons of Different SEO Service Providers

Type of SEO ProviderProsCons
Resellers– Often cheaper
– Quick setup and onboarding
– Quality can be unpredictable
– May not adhere to best practices
– Potential for black-hat techniques
Freelancers– Specialized expertise
– Flexible pricing
– Direct communication
– Limited to their skill set
– Requires more oversight
– Potential inconsistency in quality
Consultants– Broad or specialized knowledge
– Personalized strategies
– Flexible engagement models
– Might not execute strategies
– Costs can be higher than freelancers
Digital Marketing Agencies– Comprehensive services
– Team of specialists
– Structured processes
– Pre-built packages available
– Might not be industry-specific
– Can be more expensive than freelancers and consultants
Boutique Agencies– Industry or vertical specialization
– Expertise in niche areas
– Tailored strategies
– Typically more expensive
– Might not offer as broad a range of services
SaaS Companies– Advanced tools and data
– Scalable solutions
– Continuous updates to tools
– Primary focus on software, not services
– Done-for-you services can be expensive
– Potential outsourcing
Enterprise Agencies– Tailored for large-scale operations
– Integration with enterprise tools
– Comprehensive service offering
– Most expensive option
– Might be overkill for smaller businesses

SEO Cost Breakdown by Provider Type

Type of SEO ProviderPricing Information
ResellersVaries widely (often cheaper but unpredictable quality)
Freelancers$15 – $150/hour or $100 – $2,000/project (can vary based on expertise)
Consultants$20 – $300/hour or $500 – $5,000/project (experienced consultants may offer monthly retainers)
Digital Marketing AgenciesTypically $500 – $20,000/month (prices can vary based on package offerings)
Boutique Agencies$2,500 – $25,000/month (can be higher based on specialization)
SaaS Companies$25 – $1,000/month (software subscriptions + additional for consulting/managed services)
Enterprise Agencies$10,000 – $100,000/month or more (based on the scale and complexity of services)

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