“How much do you charge for your SEO?”

It’s one of the questions you’ll get from SEO clients—and if you’re starting an SEO business, you probably have the same thoughts.  

Pricing your SEO products can be tricky. You need to find a balance between making your SEO pricing competitive and having enough profit to run your SEO business. On top of that, you want to give clients a fair rate for the value of your services. 

You’ll find SEO prices ranging from $500 to $5000. But, it’s up to you to find the sweet spot for pricing that’s agreeable to your clients and more than enough to maintain a steady cash flow for your SEO business. 

If you’re wondering how much to charge for SEO – whether as an agency or as a solo SEO consultant – this blog can provide you with insights on setting your SEO services price.  

1. Pay Attention to the Competition’s SEO Pricing

SEO businesses have carte blanche when setting their SEO prices. 

There’s no standard rate or absolute formula when it comes to pricing SEO services. That’s why before you charge clients, look at how much the competition is charging for their SEO. 

Think of it as an online marketplace where businesses flock to SEO agencies that can offer the best price for the services they need. 

How much your competitors are charging on average for their SEO services can be a good baseline for your own pricing. 

Lower or Higher Pricing Than the Competition?

Some SEO experts have the tendency to lower their prices to compete with others and get more clients. If you’re thinking of doing the same thing, don’t. 

Don’t price yourself down just to stick close to what your competitors are offering. It’s important that you know the value of your service. Don’t undervalue your service—because if you do, your clients will. 

To make sure you’re SEO is priced competitively, consider the following:

  • Location of your SEO business: If your agency is in the metropolitan area, you’ll need to charge more to cover business expenses and ensure you still have a desirable income. 
  • The state of your client’s competition: You’re not just looking at your own competitors; you should also look at how the competition is for your potential clients. Most clients in the metro likely have tougher competition, and getting them the visibility they need will require more work. 
  • Scope of the competition’s SEO services: The costs of SEO services vary for every agency or consultant based on what they can offer to clients. Some agencies have SEO packages with different tiers to provide clients with options. Look at five competitors and compare—this can provide you with a realistic baseline on your SEO costs. 

2. Match Your SEO Pricing with Your Target Market

Pricing your SEO services will depend on your target market, their digital marketing needs, their industry, and the nature of their business. 

Thorough market research is crucial before setting a price. This allows you to match SEO costs to your clients’ demands. 

What Niche are You Targeting?

Different industries have different levels of SEO competition. Some niches are more competitive and saturated than others, which means double the efforts to increase website rankings. 

For instance, SEO for real estate can be highly competitive. Clients coming from this niche will likely need a hefty marketing budget. 

Competition isn’t the only factor here, though. A business’ marketing budget also relies on the average transaction value (ATV) or customer lifetime value (CLV) they get. 

If they have a high ATV, they’re likely to have more budget to spend on SEO. This makes it easier for you to justify your SEO pricing. An example of this is when you’re offering SEO for car dealerships. 

How Big is Their Business?

Business size is also a factor when setting your SEO pricing. 

Are you planning to target small businesses for SEO? Do you only offer SEO to enterprises? 

Small businesses and mom-and-pop shops will have different SEO needs compared to larger organizations or businesses. Those with a physical store and want to focus on getting more foot traffic are likely to get local SEO marketing services. 

Enterprises are likely to have a more established online presence but it doesn’t mean they won’t be needing SEO services. 

At this point, you need to determine who will be your primary target market. This allows you to set a baseline that aligns realistically with their marketing budget. 

3. Determine Your SEO Pricing Model

The easiest way to convey the costs of your SEO is by setting a pricing model. 

Creating an SEO pricing model allows you to identify line items that you can fulfill for your clients, so they have clear expectations from the get-go. 

Set your SEO pricing model

SEO agencies and consultants may price their services as: 

Hourly SEO Rates

Freelancers, SEO consultants, and solo agencies often set an hourly rate for their services. Some apply this pricing structure for minor projects or SEO services that require minimal work, such as keyword research, website SEO audits, and content creation. 

Hourly rates may range from $100 to $150 per hour, depending on the level of difficulty and the requirements for the work. 

Project-based SEO Pricing

If you prefer to provide custom SEO services to clients, project-based pricing may work best. This means you may have more flexibility in setting your SEO rates, as the inclusions for your work depends on the project needs. 

Project-based SEO prices may range from $500 to $1000. Those with more experience and have been in the SEO business for years are likely to price their services up to $5000. 

Monthly Retainer Fees

A monthly fee is the most common setup among SEO professionals when offering their services. This allows their clients to pay within their marketing budget for specific SEO work based on their needs. 

Monthly SEO retainer fees may range from $500 to $1000—agencies with more experience tend to price their services up to $2000. In some cases, SEO professionals offer different tiers for their monthly retainer fees with differences in the inclusions. 

Ala Carte Pricing

If you have specific services that fall outside the scope of your SEO services or add-ons, you may set these as ala carte services and have individual pricing. 

For example, clients need additional blogs for their content marketing but you’ve already covered content creation and editing in your SEO. You can provide blogs as add-ons to their current SEO plan. 

4. Don’t Charge Too Much – But Don’t Keep Your Pricing Low

The point of buying wholesale SEO services is to mark it up and sell it for a premium while keeping prices competitive and reasonable. 

As a rule, don’t charge too much. 

Some agencies who get white label SEO services and resell these as their own charge double for their work. This may or may not be too much—it will all depend on your inclusions.

As a rule, don’t charge too much. 

SEO is not a get-rich-quick business, and charging too much could backfire on you when clients find other providers with more competitive pricing. 

In our experience working with agencies and SEO professionals, 50% is an acceptable figure. This is enough to attract new clients and still give you the revenue you need. However, make sure to evaluate very carefully if you will be marking up to 100%.

Another very important rule: Don’t undersell your services if you know they are worth more.

Keep the value of your services in mind

For example, you’re offering services to a highly competitive niche, such as law firms, real estate businesses, or dentists. Because the niche has a high rate of competition, you need to price your service based on the inclusions that will drive the best results. 

5. Set SEO Pricing That Gets the Job Done and Delivers the Best Returns

Setting your SEO prices is all about managing your client’s expectations from the very start. It’s the same as when you’re pricing website design services. The value of your service should reflect what they’re getting. 

In other words, don’t pitch an SEO quote if you don’t have the capability to deliver the work.

In other words, don’t pitch an SEO quote if you don’t have the capability to deliver the work. Your SEO price should get the job done and deliver the best returns for your client. This way, you’re not shooting yourself in the foot by overpromising and asking for a high SEO cost, only to deliver less work. 

Here are a few pointers:

  • Have the right mix of face-to-face consulting with clients to justify the charge. Explain your service inclusions and your methodology thoroughly. Customers are always willing to pay when they see great value in your work. 
  • If you want to charge more, roll other services into your SEO line. Including social media, paid ads, or additional SEO link building sets your packages apart from your competitors’ by adding value.
  • When meeting with your clients, take their requests in mind, but don’t let them define your value entirely. You will encounter clients who will continue to fight and negotiate down your rates even after you cut them a very good deal. 
  • Don’t set your prices too low just to please a few clients—this may define your price range in the future.

A Few Things You Need to Prepare

Be sure to prepare a contract and a timeline of deliverables to set expectations on how long your SEO service will run.

To justify the cost of your SEO and the value of your service, you need to produce results. If clients leave at the end of three month’s worth of SEO work and turn to another SEO provider, they may attribute the sudden ranking improvements to the other agency. 

Show them that you can deliver long-term results that make every dollar they spent with you worth it.

Key Takeaways: Set the Right SEO Price

Nothing is absolute when setting your SEO pricing. At the end of the day, you’ll have to make the decision based on what your clients need and what you can do to give them the results they’re looking for. 

So, if you’re ready to set your SEO prices, be sure to keep these golden rules in mind:

  • Know how much your competition is charging for their SEO. Use this as a benchmark on how you can create your pricing model.
  • Know your market. Thorough market research and analysis can provide you with insights on how much your potential clients pay for their SEO.
  • Choose a pricing model that works best for you. Whether it’s hourly, project-based, or monthly SEO retainer fees, determining your pricing model makes it easier to know which services you can include. 
  • Don’t charge too much or too low. If you’re reselling SEO, we recommend sticking to a markup of two to three times the original price. 
  • Set pricing on what you can deliver. Pitch an SEO pricing that will deliver the work your clients deserve. 

Remember, no one knows the value of your SEO services more than you do. However, it’s up to you to be transparent about the work involved for every dollar your clients will spend with you. If you can communicate this effectively, you can come up with a fair pricing strategy that displays the best value for you and your clients.