The Ultimate SEO Pricing Guide
How Much Should You Pay?

SEO is an investment for your business – it enhances your visibility online, creates brand awareness, and improves the rankings across a number of search engines. Your consumers are searching for your product – it should be any business’s priority to appear on the first page.

Throughout this guide we will discuss the ins and outs of SEO pricing. You’ll learn about the different types of pricing companies will offer, what factors play into pricing and even some bad practices that you should look out for. By the end, you’ll have a solid understanding of what will best fit your SEO needs.

SEO Pricing Variables:

  • Internal employee, outside agency, or outside specialist help
  • Payment models and service plans
  • How the value of SEO is defined
  • Rankings, content, and timing of results
  • Targeted audience and business goals

EXAMPLE: The strategy for a local produce market will differentiate greatly from a business looking to become nationally known.

When to Hire Within and When to Hire an Outside Help

Depending on the resources of the company, it could be beneficial or troublesome to hire an SEO specialist to the company’s regular payroll.

Vacation day expensePayroll flexibility
Sick day expenseIndustry expertise
Employee benefits expenseMultiple employee backgrounds/creative minds
Easy accessFlexible calendar

Payment models

If your business is considering implementing an SEO plan or strategy with an outside specialist or agency, know the pricing structure you’re looking for. Based on the goals of your company, some models may be more favorable than others for your business.

Most Common SEO Pricing Structures:

Monthly Retainer
  • Monthly payment from the client to the agency
  • Both parties agree on a set fee for their services
  • Common model for clients because they are not bond to a long term contract
  • Expect agency to provide you with the analytical results displaying their efforts yielding ROI
  • Typically used for a particular service.
  • Usually fixed price with minimal negotiations.
  • Often used when required work exceeds a month
  • Payment options can be one initial deposit with smaller increments (ie. 50% payment to begin and 50% payment when complete, or one large sum to begin)
  • Usually a custom service
  • May be a modification of one of the services listed, or a service not listed
  • If you need customized service with an unfamiliar agency, gather estimates from other agencies for comparison

* A red flag should be raised if the agency recommends purchasing mass amounts of links, e-mail addresses, or followers.

  • Paying an hourly rate with a specialist
  • Some agencies may offer free consultation


Investing in the right SEO strategy should be carefully considered by the business.  In your search, check their online visibility.

  • Does the firm practice what they preach?
  • Are they claiming to be an SEO specialist, but nearly invisible on the web?
  • Will they provide client references?

Show Me the Rankings!

Whoever the business hires for SEO, the main goal of search engine optimization is actually optimizing on search engines. Any given keyword can fluctuate in rankings over time, but is the SEO strategy plan meeting the company’s goals?

PLEASE NOTE: When you invest, you are entitled to have access to reports displaying the ranking status of your business.

What to ask for in an audit:

An audit can be performed on the website; which will give the current state of your website and recommended steps to take to improve the health of the website.

  • Link analysis
  • Tag analysis – title, meta, header information and images
  • Content analysis – web content, sales strategy, blog
  • Website error correction plan
  • Score

The corrected website with the high score can result in higher rankings, because it is triggering the cues of the overall search algorithms.

Content Management Strategies

The purpose of the content management strategy will be to keep pushing content out for search engines to detect, and analyze for SEO rank purposes.

The content will reflect the goals established in the SEO strategy, in respect to keyword usage.

Factors that will affect SEO pricing:

  • Maintenance of a blog or news section on your website
  • Frequency of posts – more posts will create more possibilities of your pages to be discovered by searchers.
  • Reputation management – comment moderation and response
  • Both internal and external linking

Timing of Results

Remember that this is an investment, and even though the results will typically start appearing within four to six months, the results will continue to grow as your business continues their SEO efforts.

Here is a breakdown of what to expect:

Phase 1
  • Research
  • Exploration of industry
  • Building of SEO strategy
  • Website audit; receive recommended solutions
  • Target keyword list
  • Recommendations implemented and modified
Phase 3
  • Content management strategy launch (blogs, industry news, whitepapers, and articles.)
  • Begin to see search results
Phase 4
  • Link-building
Phase 5
  • Customer outreach
  • Social media marketing strategy implementation
Phase 6
  • Customer conversions
  • Regular audits

Take Caution: Cheap Isn’t Always Better

Every business has a budget to follow, and with limited funds, the cheapest SEO plan may be more attractive than others.

Be wary of the following practices:

Search engines are constantly updating their algorithms. Some keyword rankings will be nearly impossible to take ownership of the top result. Any SEO agency can determine which keywords will require extensive work and time to achieve high rankings.
Immediate Results
A red flag is raised when a business achieves rapid rankings, because the agency is most likely performing unethical methods. Once your website has been flagged by a search engine for these practices, it may take an extended period of time build up your reputation on search engines again.
Questionable link-building
Placing in-bound links across the web will boost the notoriety and accessibility to your site – but only if they’re quality links. The agency could be linking spam, which will only link to your site for a brief period of time, until the spam is detected. When the spam is detected, your links can be broken or removed.
Discounted Services
SEO is a luxury service available to any business that is interested in investing in their own business. When considering a proposal that is deemed extremely discounted, should your business consider the risk?

Is SEO right for your business?

The investment in the right plan could take your business to unprecedented levels of success. This is your businesses opportunity to take control over the competition.

The top 5 search result placements in Google make up 87% of all clicks of a search result. Your goal should be to land in those rankings, take action.

Creative Click Media is an award winning agency, specializing in result driven SEO. Whether your business is looking to dominate locally or nationally we provide custom strategies for your business.

We offer competitive month to month plans for different business goals and budgets. We provide custom content management strategies that will engage your consumer and improve your rankings.

Don’t let potential business pass you by! Move up in the ranks with SEO services from Creative Click Media.

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