SEO Pricing: How Much Does SEO Cost in 2023?

by | Mar 28, 2023 | SEO

Key Points

  • Estimating SEO campaign costs involves analyzing competitors’ content quality and quantity, the competition level, and their rankings.
  • Invest in SEO-driven activities, such as content creation, expertise building, and enhancing credibility and trustworthiness, to improve your website’s search engine performance.
  • Aligning your content and website with Google’s guidelines for YMYL and EAT can help you achieve better search engine rankings in your industry.


In 2023, the world of SEO has evolved, and so has the cost associated with it. Businesses looking to improve their online visibility need to understand the investment required for quality SEO. This article will provide a detailed analysis of SEO pricing, what to look out for when choosing an SEO service, and how to estimate campaign costs based on the competition.

Understanding the Average SEO Cost

Based on industry standards, quality SEO should cost around $3,000+ per month, with an average hourly rate of $150+. The cost of SEO campaigns can vary greatly depending on the vertical, ranging from $5,000 to $100,000+ per month. For local SEO, the cost may be slightly lower.

However, the average cost should not be your primary concern. Focus on the SEO package that will deliver a positive return on investment (ROI) and the time it takes to achieve that ROI.


SEO Pricing: Red Flags to Avoid

When evaluating SEO services, be wary of companies charging less than $1,000 per month. These providers may be offering automated services, which at best do nothing and at worst put your site traffic at risk. Quality SEO services, even for local campaigns, should cost at least a few thousand dollars per month to ensure manual, high-quality work is being done.

Another red flag is guaranteed rankings. Instead, work with a vendor who communicates in terms of ROI and has confidence in the expected return and time to achieve that return.


Estimating SEO Campaign Costs

To estimate the cost of an SEO campaign, analyze your competitors in your vertical and assess their content quality, authority, credibility, and trustworthiness. Consider the concepts around YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) and EAT (Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness) as critical factors in evaluating your competition.

For example, examine the depth and breadth of your competitors’ content, their expertise in the your industry, and their online reputation. Determine the gap between your current content and online presence compared to your competitors and estimate the resources required to bridge that gap.


Content and Authority: Cost Considerations

It’s essential to invest in SEO-driven activities that build your website’s authority, credibility, and trustworthiness, rather than merely focusing on the number of links. Key investments to consider include:

  1. Content Creation: Creating high-quality, informative, and engaging content is vital for establishing your site as an authoritative resource. The cost of content creation can vary depending on factors such as the length, complexity, and research required.
  2. Expertise Building: Collaborate with industry experts or invest in employee training to ensure your content demonstrates a high level of expertise. This may involve partnering with professionals, attending industry conferences, or obtaining relevant certifications.
  3. Credibility and Trustworthiness: Build credibility by ensuring your website is user-friendly, secure, and transparent about your company’s practices and policies. This may include investing in website design, HTTPS certificates, and clear privacy and disclosure statements.
  4. YMYL and EAT Compliance: Align your content and website with Google’s guidelines for YMYL and EAT to improve your search engine performance. This may require regular content audits and updates to ensure your site meets these requirements.

The actual cost of these investments may vary significantly based on your industry and the resources required to reach a competitive level. By focusing on content creation, authority, credibility, and trustworthiness, you can improve your website’s performance and ultimately achieve better search engine rankings.


Developing an SEO Budget

To develop a budget for SEO services, consider your website’s current position compared to competitors, your desired progress, and your goals. Set measurable goals with a defined timeframe and success measurement. Prioritize organic sessions, goal conversions, and revenue as the most important metrics.

Google suggests that SEOs need four months to a year to implement improvements and see potential benefits. Keep this timeframe in mind when allocating your budget. Remember, the lower the budget, the longer it will take to see results.

For local campaigns, expect to pay $500+ per month for top-level SEO services. National or international campaigns will require a minimum budget of $2,500 to $5,000 a month. Some firms offer trial packages without contracts to minimize risk for prospective clients.


SEO Pricing Models

Finally, it’s essential to understand the different pricing models available for SEO services. Some common pricing models include:

  1. Hourly Consultation: Charging clients based on an hourly rate for consulting, planning, and strategy development.
  2. Project-Based: A fixed price for a specific project or campaign, with clear goals and deliverables outlined.
  3. Retainer: A monthly fee for ongoing SEO services and support, which typically includes a combination of on-page optimization, off-page optimization, technical SEO, and reporting.

Understanding these pricing models will help you choose the most suitable option for your business and budget.


Questions to Ask Before Hiring an SEO Agency

To ensure you choose the best SEO agency for your needs, consider asking the following questions:

  1. What is their experience in your industry?
  2. What is your approach to on-page optimization, off-page optimization, and technical SEO?
  3. How do you keep up with industry changes and Google algorithm updates?
  4. How often will I receive updates on the progress of the campaign, and what types of reports can I expect?
  5. How do you measure success and ROI for your SEO campaigns?
  6. What is your policy on communication and project management?
  7. Are there any additional costs or fees outside of the quoted price?
  8. What is the duration of the contract, and are there any penalties for early termination?

By asking these questions, you can better understand the potential SEO provider’s approach and determine whether they are the right fit for your business.



In 2023, the cost of SEO remains a crucial consideration for businesses looking to improve their online visibility. By understanding average costs, red flags, and how to estimate campaign costs, you can make an informed decision about the right SEO package for your business. Remember that investing in quality SEO services is essential to achieve long-term success and a positive return on investment. When selecting an SEO provider, consider their track record, communication, and ability to deliver results within a reasonable timeframe.

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