The national average cost for SEO services from an agency or freelancer is $50-$75 per hour. The exact cost of hiring a search engine optimization (SEO) professional to improve your business's website will depend on the frequency of services (one-time services versus ongoing services), whether you opt for an agency or freelancer, additional marketing services (like social media and PPC marketing), their experience, and the scope of your project(s).
If you're not already familiar, SEO is a practice that helps increase 'the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results' (
To make sure your business appears in important search engine results, an SEO company or consultant can find the right keywords to target and implement the right optimization strategy to get you there. Before you
What impacts the cost of SEO services?
SEO pricing varies depending on whether you hire an agency or freelance consultant, their specializations, additional marketing services, project scope, and whether or not you need ongoing SEO work. Many SEOs will charge a retainer for ongoing work beyond an initial website audit or project.
When you start researching SEO consultants, you'll want to know more about their company, clients, experiences, and what results they can help you work towards. Here are some considerations to help you understand what services to look for and how much they'll cost.
SEO company vs. freelancer
If you hire an SEO agency, you will likely have a small SEO team supporting your account. This is a great option for mid- or large-sized websites or companies, who need a lot of support, additional marketing services (like SEM, or search engine marketing), or a wider breadth of expertise from an SEO specialist. However, since hiring an agency means hiring multiple people, you'll pay more for their SEO services.
With an individual consultant, you're just hiring one freelancer. This is a great option for small businesses. It will be less expensive, but also allows you to focus in on one or two specific business goals, like getting more people to discover your restaurant with a local SEO strategy, or increasing the number of customers with high purchasing intent finding your line of organic beauty products.
Hourly rates vs. project-based pricing
Agencies and consultants will either set hourly or project-based rates. Hourly rates average $50-$75 per hour. A project based rate can range from $1,000 - $7,500 depending on the company, project, and the exact services you request from your SEO team.
Types of services offered
With SEO, you may not know what exact services you needeven if you know the goals you want to reach. When an SEO firm or consultant begins working with a new client, they'll often run an audit to identify website problems and look for opportunities for optimization. They will then help you develop a customized SEO strategy based on your business goals, industry, and the current state of your website.
Some common SEO services include:
Before you hire an SEO professional, ask the consultant about the range of costs for standard SEO services and how those costs differ depending on their pricing models and packages.
Monthly retainer for ongoing services
Monthly retainers cost an average of $501-$1,000 per month, according to the popular SEO software,
Level of expertise
As with any industry, you'll pay more for SEO work if the person you hire has less experience. Someone with only 2-3 years experience will usually charge a lower hourly or project-based rate than an SEO professional who is well-versed in every aspect of SEO (it's a complex and ever-changing field!) and has a proven track record driving results for clients.
Additional marketing services
Some, but not all, SEO professionals and agencies offer additional marketing services. If you need help with social media, paid search marketing (SEM), web development, or web design, and your SEO firm has experience with that area, they will charge an additional fee.
Average hourly rates for additional marketing and website services:
Like SEO, many of these professionals might set rates on a per-project, not hourly, basis.
How can you save on SEO service costs?
In order to save money on SEO costs, try the following tactics:
What should you look for in an SEO consultant?
Before you hire an SEO agency or consultant, don't just get a low-down on their pricing modelsget to know more about their past projects and specializations as well. When interviewing potential SEO firms or freelancers, be sure to ask:
What do you specialize in?
SEO is more than just keywords, and SEO experts have a broad range of expertises within the field. Some may have a strong web development and technical background, while others are more experienced with content marketing. Make sure their specializations match the needs of your website.
Also ask about credentials and certifications. Although the SEO expert may have SEO certifications and experiences with courses, it's also important that they're staying up-to-date on changes to search engine algorithms.
What are some of your past clients or projects?
This will give you a sense of what types of businesses your SEO agency or freelancer have worked with. Doing search engine optimization for an e-commerce website is different from creating an SEO strategy for a blog or publication, so it's good to know if your SEO has experience with your business type. If you have a physical location for your business, you should also ask if your consultant has experience with local SEO.
How do you measure success?
Ideally, your SEO specialist will be able to give you more than just website traffic and keyword rankings. Other important metrics include click-through rates, conversions, conversion rates, growth over time, and revenue impact (especially for e-commerce sites). Ask them: How do you measure success? How long will it take to move the needle on my search rankings?
How do you charge?
Is it by the hour, monthly, project-based? If it's project-based, what are your prices for some common SEO services?
Now that you've learned the basics of SEO pricing models and the costs of SEO projects, all you have to do is find your perfect hire. Start looking for consultants near you today.