How much do SEO services really cost?

No matter how much we want to do something, the cost is always the deciding factor, and it works just the same for SEO. How much time do I have, do I outsource the work or do I do it myself? I’ll look at the 3 best options you have for organizing your SEO work.

1. Doing it yourself
I’m a strong, independent person who can do this all by myself!

I know, ‘doing it yourself’ may seem scary and that you’ve just added another chunk of work into your already busy schedule but it’s still very much a viable option if you have the time to do it yourself.
In order to get an understanding of how much this will cost, you first need to determine how much data you’ll need. For example:

  • how many websites do I have to optimize?
  • how many keywords will I want to track?
  • how many pages will I analyze?
  • how many backlink analysis’ do I want to be able to do?

These factors will determine what type of package you’ll pay for in an SEO tool. From here you can start looking at what tools exist in the market. Fortunately for you I created a list of my top 10 tools to give you a head start in your research wink. You’ll see that tools range from $0 to $1000 depending on the criteria (some can be more and often require a quote) that I mentioned above. Although the cost is important, it’s also just as important that you get along with tool. What I mean here is that you understand the data, you find it easy to navigate and it allows you to be efficient in your optimization work. It’s not valuable or cost-efficient for you to pay for a tool and end-up only using 35% of the features it offers, when you can pay for a tool that you 100% understand (even 80% is pretty good).

If you decide that you’re going to do this yourself with an SEO tool, planning and organization is ESSENTIAL! You need to set time aside every week where your focus is fully SEO. It’s not just the tool that will cost you but also your time, and if you’re not using your time efficiently then your optimization won’t be either. For example, as a minimum put two hours aside per week for your SEO and take it page by page of your site, even noting down in your agenda what you plan to do each week will make you more organized.

SEO is a long-term game so everything can never be done all at once and you can’t expect results straight away either. You need to see it as a long-term investment for your business and be patient, results might only start to come through after six months.

  • Test out different SEO tools to find the one that best suits you in terms of data and cost
  • Tools range from $0 to $1000
  • Plan out your optimization work so you’re using the tool as efficiently as possible
  • SEO optimization takes a lot of time and patience

2. Outsourcing to an agency
The stage is all yours.

You have a website and to get noticed you need search engine optimization but like everyone, sometimes you’re just too busy to do it yourself. This is where an SEO agency steps in to take that load off you!

SEO agencies tend to work on a project-by-project basis as they’re specialized in SEO tactics and have a diverse way of tracking methods. A big advantage of hiring an agency is that they handle an entire project from beginning to end, from auditing your website to creating a plan of action to implementing a strategy. A good agency will:

  • Complete a full audit of your website
    Most agencies provide a free SEO audit for your website so that you can get a better understanding of the performance of your site. From there, that’s when they create a plan for the next steps.

  • Prioritize the most critical issues
    They will look at the issues found from the audit that will impact your rankings the most and work on fixing them as a priority.

  • Provide expertise
    Agencies are experts in their field so if you don’t know what you’re doing, they certainly do! They know what will work or not in your industry and the best strategy to put in place for you to achieve optimal optimization.

  • Simplify the process for you
    Agencies put all the pieces of the puzzle together in a simple and comprehensive way so you can in a way ‘sit back and relax’. For example, they’ll tell you which keywords that’ll perform well and therefore prepare the work for that, rather than providing a report for you to then take on some of the work as well.

  • Avoid errors that could cost you further down the line
    You need to avoid hurting your rankings as much as possible i.e. using a keyword too much (keyword stuffing) and so agencies are there to make sure you’ve got the right optimization balance.

Now, to the cost wink. On average hiring an agency will cost you $134.66 per hour and $2,819.87 per month. If you don’t have time to do SEO yourself and require as little involvement as possible then hiring an SEO agency is a good option. As they handle everything, there’s very little to do except from admire the results!

  • SEO agencies tend to work on a project-by-project basis
  • They handle an entire project from auditing your site to creating a plan to implementing a strategy
  • The average rate is $134.66 per hour & $2,819.87 per month
  • Agencies require less attention from your company

3. Hiring an SEO consultant
Choose wisely or forever rest in peace.

Some wonder what’s the difference between hiring an agency and hiring an SEO consultant, they both do the same thing right? Well yes and no! Apart from the cost of course, the two have different ways of working.
Hiring an SEO consultant will take the workload off you and give you involvement in the work just like an agency, but working with a consultant provides a ‘closer, more hands-on’ approach to the work needed to be carried out.

  • Consultants provide ‘customized’ meetings
    They study exactly what your company needs and the challenges it faces in terms of the optimization work needed to be done to make the process as efficient as possible for both parties.

  • Consultants show inclusion
    Rather than hand over your whole SEO project to someone and check the results 3, 4, 6 months later, SEO consultants inform and advise clients about the overall SEO strategy that needs to be put in place rather than just implementing it themselves.

  • They want to educate their clients
    Hiring a consultant is a way of outsourcing your work but at the same time a way of learning about all the in’s and out’s of SEO. Often consultants provide training to employees to explain how to best implement the strategy. They’re there to tell you everything that needs doing and make the process a team effort.

  • Consultancy is a little cheaper than hiring an agency. On average it would cost you $122.33 per hour or $1,906.48 per month. Choosing this option is ideal if you don’t have the time to do it all yourself but you still want regular communication and involvement in the progress of your site’s optimization.

  • SEO consultants provide ‘customized’ meetings depending on your company’s unique needs or challenges
  • Consultants inform and advise clients about an overall SEO strategy rather than implement it themselves
  • They can provide training for your employees
  • The average fee is $122.33 per hour & $1,906.48 per month


There are several factors to take into account when deciding how to organize your SEO work; time, budget, motivation, involvement…But it’s important to understand that there are so many SEO tools, agencies and consultants available that it can take a lot more time than planned to even start the optimization process.

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