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How Much Should SEO Cost?

November 9, 2016

If you conduct a search comparing how much marketing agencies charge for SEO services, you will quickly learn that prices can vary anywhere from $500 to $100,000 per month. With a large number of digital marketing agencies in your area, it can be difficult to determine how much you should be spending on SEO. In effect, the determination of how much SEO should be costing you should be made after considering the following three major factors:


  1. The factors that contribute to SEO algorithms.

Google, the world’s largest search giant holds the precise details regarding how its search algorithm functions as a closely guarded secret. What we do know, is that SEO is influenced by over 200 specific factors which determine a website’s SRP (search rank position). What’s more, there are a number of factors that are weighted more heavily than others. These include the following:

  • Website: When it comes to increasing your online presence and search ranking position, Google will always favor high quality websites. If your website structure is code heavy, cumbersomely designed, or if the site is of a comparatively low quality, Google will either eliminate your site from the algorithm, or rank it lower than others. Here are additional elements to be conscious of:
    • Mobile Friendly
    • Responsiveness
    • Page Load Speeds
  • Content: Even if you have a great looking and easy to use website, the quality of your content matters for search engine algorithms. Google’s algorithm tracks and determines the quality of your website’s content, and will rank high-quality content greater in the final composite, while dropping or eliminating websites that had a lower quality of content. At its core, “quality content” refers to things like website copy and information regarding your business. Content must always be well-written and original. If even 20% of your content is duplicated elsewhere on your site or anywhere else on the internet, you will be heavily Finally, be keenly aware of:
    • Keyword Density
    • Section Headers
    • Inter Linking and Anchor Text


  • Content Distribution: The number of people that share, link, or mention your business in blogs, articles, press releases, etc., has a direct impact on your search engine ranking and position. These are additional content distribution related factors:
    • Social Media Shares
    • Trust Rank


  • Frequency of Content: Having high-quality content on your website is a major factor in how well your website will perform on search rankings, but is not the only factor. In all reality, you should be updating, adding, and revising what you post to your site on a frequent basis. Websites that are regularly updated with new, original content score higher in rankings than websites that only post infrequently.


  1. Evaluating your market, industry, and SEO landscape.

When pricing out how much SEO should cost your business, it’s important to ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much am I already doing?
  • How much do I need to do?
  • Should I be doing more?
  • How much should I be spending on SEO?


To better answer those questions and align them with your overall business goals and objectives, it’s important to look at the size of your market and industry.

  • Large Markets: Population size of 6 million or more people.
  • Medium Markets: Population size of 2-5 million people.
  • Small Markets: Population size of 1 million or fewer people.


Naturally, if your business operates in a large market, competition will be much greater than it would be in medium or small markets. But equally as important as analyzing the size of the market, is analyzing which industry your business belongs to within that market.

In this sense, the competition level in your business’s industry will mimic which market you belong to. In effect, the prices that marketing agencies charge for SEO services will be higher in more competitive, larger markets, and will decrease in price as the market size becomes smaller.

However, it’s important to consider what type of industry your business falls into. For instance, does your business provide a niche service without many competitors? Or does your business provide a more popular service in a market with lots of competition? The market size you operate in, as well as the type of industry your business falls into will greatly affect how much you will be paying for SEO services at a marketing firm.


  1. Comparing different SEO/digital marketing agencies

Even within one specific market, the prices that marketing agencies charge for SEO will vary. Take a medium sized market for example, where SEO can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 per month. But what makes these prices vary within a single market?

Experience: Marketing agencies who have been around longer have more experience than other, younger firms. Therefore, they will be more inclined to charge more for SEO than companies looking to build their reputation and experience.

Client Retention: If a marketing firm provides top quality SEO services that their clientele find valuable, they will more than likely stay with that particular firm for a long time than continually shop around for different firms. With that in mind, a marketing agency can charge more for SEO, seeing that they have been able to maintain a strong client retention while proving  top quality services.


So does this all mean??  

Okay, so let’s get down to brass tacks.

Clearly, SEO is complicated. As we mentioned, there are hundreds of interconnected, co-dependent factors which contribute to SRPs. If you work in a low-competition industry, in a small market, an agency may be able to get you to the front page for as little as $700 a month. However, those situations are very rare.

If you work in a competitive industry, in a medium sized market, and are targeting high-volume keywords, you are going to need to hire an experienced agency, and can expect to pay $10,000+ per month if you want results.

And the numbers just go up from there. Business in high competition industries in large markets routinely pay as much as $100,000 per month, but that secures them a dominate position on the front page of Google.

But here is another factor to consider, SEO is not the only option when it comes to digital marketing.

While SEO is an important piece in building a robust online presence, it is one piece out of many.

For more information on how you can start growing your business, check out one of our other blogs titles: Effective Use of Blogs For Marketing.


For business inquiries, or if you would just like to learn more about any of the topics we have discussed here today, give us a call at (800)588-2188, or send an email directly to our managing partner, Michael Donato at

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