How much does an SEO strategy cost?
By helloDarwin
August 13, 2019

How much does SEO cost in 2021?

If your business has a website in 2021, then you probably know a thing or two about search engine optimization (SEO). If you’re not using SEO tactics, then you’re missing a key element of creating and maintaining a strong online presence.
Consider this statistic: Today, 93% of online experiences start with a search engine. And 75% of people never scroll past the first page of search results. That means you could have the most beautifully designed site on the world wide web—but without SEO, your chances of attracting customers are very slim.
If you’re looking for concrete ways to increase your visibility and reach, a qualified SEO specialist can’t be beat! But how much should you budget for SEO services? It’s important to know the average cost of SEO services today before diving in headfirst. That’s why helloDarwin is here to break it down for you!

How much do SEO services cost?

There are several different factors that influence the cost of SEO services. So unfortunately, the most accurate answer to that question is: it depends. 
We get it, that’s probably not that answer you wanted to hear—we hate wishy washy answers, too! That’s why we’ve outlined some of the factors that CAN help you determine the best price to pay for SEO services and outlined some of the most common pricing models (with dollar amounts!) later on in this pricing guide.

Factors that influence SEO optimization costs

In part, it depends on the needs of your business and which services are included, but SEO prices also vary based on several different factors, including:

Expectations for ROI

It’s natural for a business owner to ask “How much should I pay for SEO?”, but a better question to ask yourself is “How much am I willing to invest in SEO?”. That’s because SEO isn’t a simple one-shot marketing tactic that you can just set up once and leave by itself; it’s a long-term, continuous process that you need to maintain if you want to maintain high search rankings for your website.
While it might disappoint you to learn that you can’t achieve everything you want from SEO in a single afternoon, SEO is still one of the most cost-effective (and just plain effective) marketing tactics at your disposal. It might take a bit of time, but it’s definitely worth it for the exceptional ROI that comes as a result.

Quality of SEO services

It turns out that SEO is one of those things where you actually do get what you pay for. According to a recent survey, businesses that spend more than the national average ($500/month in the US) on SEO are 53.3% more likely to be “extremely satisfied” with their results.
A good SEO firm understands the nuts and bolts of internet marketing, stays up to date with all of the latest algorithm updates, and never resorts to black hat SEO—tactics that attempt to “cheat the system”, so to speak, and which can result in your website being penalized with lower-ranking positions and a decrease in organic traffic (the opposite of what you want to be paying for!).
If you want to achieve excellent results, we recommend choosing an SEO specialist or agency that has considerable experience, employs the latest techniques, and has a good reputation.

Your site’s current technical state

The price you should expect to pay for SEO services depends in large part on the current technical state of your website. If you’ve got a long way to go in making your website rank-worthy, then that’s going to increase how much SEO costs for you.
In some instances, your SEO cost might be lower if your SEO was appropriately done years ago and only needs some fine-tuning. But Google’s search algorithm is constantly updating, and what worked in ranking years ago may not work today. If you’re starting from scratch with a whole new website, or if you’ll need to restructure your existing site, expect to pay more since you’re essentially hiring someone to build your SEO strategy from the ground up.

SEO cost calculator: Average cost of SEO packages

Does this mean there are no real guidelines for SEO prices? Not really. Even though the cost of SEO can vary widely, most SEO companies—and even many freelancers—offer packages. That makes it easy to give an estimate of their average price. 
Most SEO package quotes usually fall under one of two categories:
  1. Hourly SEO: If you’re a small business or startup that’s just getting started, then hourly SEO might be a good option. This type of payment structure is useful for when you only want to accomplish a specific task or are working with a specific deadline. The actual cost will depend on your particular needs, but to give you a general idea, the average hourly rate for SEO services in Canada is $150 per hour, with individual services ranging from $100 to $300+.
  2. Monthly SEO: Monthly SEO is great for ongoing campaigns or more complex projects and is the way in which most agencies operate. Since SEO is usually an ongoing process, clients will usually pay an agreed-upon amount each month. Monthly SEO costs can range from $650 on the lower end all the way up to $5,000+ on the higher end, with an average cost of $2,000 per month in Canada. Again, the cost will depend on a number of factors (such as those mentioned earlier in this article).
Another great option to help you get started is a one-time SEO audit—where you pay a flat fee for an agency or SEO consultant to create a detailed audit of your website so you can see what needs to be fixed and optimized. A manually-created SEO audit costs between $1,500 to $10,000, with an average cost of $2,500 in Canada.
A custom plan is a bit more difficult to accurately price, especially since the plan will need to change over time. The best thing you can do is to speak with a few different SEO specialists to get a better sense of the SEO packages and prices they offer. They might have alternative options for you, from less intensive updates to working on an as-needed basis.
Whatever your budget and business needs, we recommend getting quotes from several different SEO agencies or experts in order to get a sense of their priorities and price options. Whenever you’re ready to start comparing service providers, helloDarwin can help! Submit your project on our platform and we’ll put you in touch with 3 SEO specialists in 48 hours, free of charge.
So, what are you waiting for? Our expert advisors are standing by, ready to help!
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