Published on: March 08, 2021
How Much Does Good SEO Cost in 2021?
If you’re looking for a straight-up price for SEO, you won’t find it anywhere.
Good SEO is not something that you can put a price tag on.
Nobody can say good SEO costs $500/month, or $2,000/month, or $5,000/month.
Because good SEO has an entirely different meaning for every business and industry.
But don’t worry.
We’re not going to leave you in the dark.
In this article, we’ll take a look at what goes into pricing SEO services.
This way, you should have a general idea of how much you will be spending for SEO in 2021.
How Does SEO Work?
To understand why you can’t slap a price tag on good SEO, let’s look at how SEO works first.
SEO is not something that you “do” per se.
SEO is a marketing strategy that involves several disciplines that all work towards pushing your website up the search engine rankings.
Some of these disciples include:
For some companies, getting all of these disciplines will help them rank, while others will find that all they need is good content.
Companies in a competitive market will find that they have to produce LOTS of content, videos, graphics, and do link building like crazy.
While companies in less competitive markets can do far less than them and still rank #1.
Some companies need to reach people from all over the country. Or even the whole world!
Others will find that they only need to focus on their local SEO – whether that’s their state, city, or neighborhood.
So you see?
Every business has different goals for SEO.
Your SEO campaign will look drastically different from a business in another industry.
Why You Can’t Put a Price Tag on SEO
Now that you know how SEO works, you can see why SEO pricing is tricky.
An SEO company will charge completely different prices depending on the SEO services they provide to you.
That’s why you’ll never get a straight answer if you ask, “How much does SEO cost?”
Also, here’s a shocking fact:
SEO can be completely free if you want it to.
You can learn how to write content, upload it to your website, do on-page SEO, do link building, and on and on and on.
You can learn everything that an SEO agency does and do it yourself.
Why don’t people do that?
Because it would take way too much time and effort!
If you’re going to do everything that SEO entails, you might as well do it for someone else and charge them for it.
That’s what an SEO company does.
Yes, SEO agencies do have professionals who know the best digital marketing strategies employed. And they also have the best tools for your SEO campaign.
But if you break it down, the real value of hiring an SEO agency is that they’ll do all the hard work so that you don’t have to.
SEO costs depend on the amount of expertise, time, and effort put into your search engine optimization.
How to Determine How Much You Can Expect to Pay for SEO
Since we can’t answer “how much does SEO cost?” straight up, let’s at least help you get an idea of SEO pricing.
To get an estimate, you’ll need to know which SEO services your business needs to rank.
Again, search engine optimization is composed of various disciplines.
What you should be asking is what would a good SEO strategy look like for my business, and how much do you need to pay to get that?
Because here’s the deal:
Not all companies need a video editor.
Not all companies need a graphic designer.
Heck, some companies might not even need a content writer. Maybe the CEO enjoys writing his own articles.
So, to find out what you need, ask yourself these questions:
Do I Need Content Written for My Website?
Content marketing is the bread and butter of SEO.
Writing excellent content on your website is the best way to start ranking for your target keywords.
Every business needs good content.
It’s the backbone of good SEO services.
Even with the best technical SEO, you’ll still have a hard time ranking for your target keywords if your content is subpar.
However, the question is:
Do you need content written? Or should you write the content yourself (or in-house)?
You could write your content if you want.
However, if you’ve seen our content marketing guide, you’ll know that this job is not easy at all.
That’s why outsourcing your content is an excellent idea.
Good content can easily cost $0.5 per word, while great writers can charge $1 – $2 per word. This means you can expect to pay around $1,000 – $2,000 per blog post!
However, you may find good content writers overseas who charge far below that rate – and that’s what most SEO agencies do.
That’s why an SEO company can package their services – including content marketing – at a much lower price than if you hired everyone in-house.
Do I Need Graphics and Videos?
The “ideal” SEO services will include both of these.
However, not every business needs them.
Both of these add extra cost.
Graphics are super helpful for explaining complex ideas to your target audience.
Hiring a graphic designer, however, can be pricey.
Freelance designers can easily charge over $100 per design, depending on their skill. You may also have to pay them monthly retainers fees to keep them with you.
Hiring an in-house designer per hour, on the other hand, can cost you a load of money.
Again, the way SEO companies can handle the cost of having designers is by outsourcing.
The same is true for video production.
You’ll never find an SEO company that serves multiple clients that don’t outsource their work. It’s just not sustainable.
They’ll have to charge tens of thousands of dollars a month to have all their professionals in-house.
That’s why SEO companies saying that they do all the work 100% in-house just isn’t realistic.
How Competitive Is Your Niche?
The next question to ask is how competitive your niche is.
If you’re in an industry where the competition is very, very low, we have some good news for you.
The cost of your SEO will also be relatively low – at least compared to other industries.
All you’ll need are a couple of good articles, and you should draw your target audience to your website.
If you’re doing local SEO in a low-competition area, winning local SEO may be as simple as optimizing your GMB profile.
However, if you’re in a highly competitive niche, prepare to spend a lot more.
In an industry like insurance, there are so, so many companies with deep pockets that are already working on their SEO.
If you do a little keyword research, you’ll find that almost every keyword already has a HUGE keyword difficulty.
That’s why if ever you’re going to win in that industry, you’ll need to spend boatloads of money creating ultra-high-quality content.
You’ll also have to get into link building, creating super helpful graphics, videos, and more.
And guess what?
Even with all that, you still might not win.
You’ll have to outplay your competitors in every angle. You won’t get anything with cheap SEO in these niches.
The same is true if you’re doing local SEO in a competitive area.
If you’re a real estate agency in, say, the Bronx, you’ll find that many other agencies are already doing local SEO.
To beat them, you’ll need to chase after every citation, get every review, and optimize your local SEO like crazy.
You’ll also need to grab tools like Yext if you’re serious about winning local keywords.
Knowing what you need for your SEO strategy to work will give you an idea of what you need to spend for.
How SEO Companies Do SEO Pricing
Now let’s have a look at how SEO pricing works.
To give their clients a price, SEO companies have to know first exactly what their client needs.
That’s why it’s so important to be on the same page first.
You should never hire an SEO company without first talking with them about your business and your goals.
Asking the right questions before hiring an SEO company is super important, as is telling them what you want.
There are no 5-step plans for SEO. It’s not something you can walk up to, pay a fixed price, and get what you need.
Every single SEO plan is customized.
That’s why when it comes to SEO pricing, agencies need to know about you, your company, and your goals first.
Once you’ve talked together, only then can they properly gauge how much you’ll need to spend to get the results you’re looking for.
… let’s give you some hard numbers.
Most of the time, a good SEO project starts at $1,500/month.
That typically includes a content plan, written content, some graphics, on-page SEO, and maybe a few links.
Again, it can include completely different things.
But that price should be good enough to rank for a few keywords that you want to rank for.
You could stick to that fee as a monthly retainer, or you could go for project-based SEO, where you pay more for more deliverables.
Either way, unless you’re in a very low-competition niche, or unless you’re going to do a lot of the work yourself, $1,500 is a good starting point.
Again, the price of the SEO services you get can go way higher.
The more effort you’re asking from SEO services, the higher the SEO pricing will be.
How Long Should You Spend for SEO Services?
Another tricky question you need to answer is how long are you planning to spend on SEO services?
SEO is a long-term investment strategy.
It doesn’t produce results right away. It tends to take 3-6 months before your website starts ranking for the keywords you want.
That’s why when you hire an SEO company, you’re hiring them for a long-term relationship.
Because otherwise, things wouldn’t work.
But you may be wondering, “If I’m already ranking for keywords, should I still continue paying my SEO services?”
And we’ll be honest with you.
Even if you stop paying your SEO agency one year in, you’re still going to enjoy the results of the hard work they poured in for you.
Now, there are always more keywords you can go after. And completely dominating your niche can take years and years (not to mention your competitors will always try to outrank you).
That’s why even though you can cut off your SEO company a year in and still enjoy the fruits of their labor, it’s not a very wise idea.
The Dangers of Cheap SEO
You may find a marketing agency or an SEO expert that is charging a very low price.
You may even find an SEO expert that charges nothing until you rank for your target keyword.
Whenever you see these, be careful!
There are too many companies that use sneaky techniques that Google will penalize if they are found out.
You get what you pay for when it comes to SEO.
Furthermore, the offer of you not paying anything until the results show up might sound fantastic at first, but there’s a very dangerous twist.
You see, these companies can easily wipe out everything they’ve built for you if you don’t pay them.
They can hold the results they’re bringing you hostage, and ask you to pay exorbitant fees.
And if you don’t? They can sell what they’ve built for you to your competitors!
That’s why it’s always better to go to an SEO company you can trust, even if it means spending more.
There are too many businesses that get tricked by these so-called SEO experts.
So How Much Does SEO Cost In 2021?
So with all that said, you should have a guess of how much good SEO for your business should cost.
SEO can be completely free if you want it to.
But if you’re serious about growing your business, you’ll find that it starts at about $1,500/month. And that number grows based on the types of services you need, plus the competition you’re up against.
If you’d like an SEO agency to give you a quote without any commitments, you can sign up for our FREE audit!
There we’ll take a deep-dive look at your site, develop a content plan, and give you a clear idea of how much you should be spending to take your website to the number one spot.
So sign up today!