“What should SEO services cost?” You likely googled something similar, hoping to find out how much to pay to rank your website on the first page of search engine results.
There’s no one-size-fits-all rate that determines the value of SEO in business. It depends on many factors, mainly your budget and business needs. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a long-term investment—you get what you pay for.
Want potential customers to find your business? Then you must invest money and time in it.
What Factors Affect SEO Pricing?
SEO benefits are easy to point out, but the cost isn’t as clear-cut. Choosing the cheapest SEO services to get a high search ranking just won’t cut it.
Before creating your SEO budget, consider what you want to achieve for your business. Ask yourself these questions when gauging how much to pay for SEO services:
- What are my business goals? What role do I expect organic search traffic to play in achieving these goals?
- What kind of SEO campaign do I want to implement?
- Do I need SEO for a one-off project or a long-term engagement?
- How big and broad is my target market? Will I launch a worldwide or country-wide SEO campaign? Or just reach a smaller local area?
- Is my website brand-new or established already? Is it ranking in organic search? Is the site’s on-page SEO in order?
- How competitive is my niche or industry?
- How soon do I want to see results?
How Much Do SEO Services Cost?
Once you’ve decided on your requirements, use them as the basis for setting your SEO budget. Make your allocation realistic by checking how much SEO costs based on industry standards.
Typically, SEO agencies charge clients using any of these three pricing models: monthly retainer, project-based, and hourly rates.
Note: The figures below are based on the latest Ahrefs research on SEO pricing.
Monthly SEO Retainer
Typical cost: US$501 to US$1,000 per month
Ideal for: Businesses that need to outsource their SEO campaigns entirely and whose requirements are indefinite in nature
Most SEO agencies (74.71%) charge a monthly retainer fee, according to Ahrefs survey findings. This long-term setup involves paying an SEO agency to handle your campaigns end to end.
Typical cost: US$501 to US$1,000 per project
Ideal for: Businesses with temporary SEO requirements or the need to outsource specific activities, like SEO audits, managing 301 redirects, or linkbuilding
Per-project SEO services are charged a one-time fee. They’re often under a contract that defines all deliverables and timelines—so you know what you’ll get exactly.
Typical cost: US$100 to US$150 per hour
Ideal for: Businesses that want to run SEO campaigns on their own and just need a consultant to validate their work
Some clients opt to have SEO services billed hourly to easily track what the SEO agency is doing, predict costs, and control spending.
What Should I Pay for SEO Then?
When paying for SEO services, price is an important consideration—but value matters more.
Instead of just picking an SEO agency with the lowest fee or whose rate matches your budget, find one that can deliver the greatest value for your money. Pay for what you want to accomplish in terms of organic traffic.