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How Much Does SEO Cost? Pricing and Pay Off

It is becoming common knowledge that everything on your website should be optimized for searching. Enter search engine optimization (SEO). Many businesses hire an individual SEO consultant or a digital marketing agency to optimize their content, URLs, local listings, images, and more for searching. It is a lot of work, and the cost on average is anywhere from $85 to $135 per hour.

Most successful SEO marketing campaigns take about 15 to 20 hours of labor per month. Your SEO cost on average will be anywhere from $1,275-$2,700 per month. Remember that prices will vary based on your location, website size, content needs, and other factors. Also keep in mind that, in addition to your monthly SEO costs, there is usually an initial setup fee.

So will investing in SEO pay off for your business? The short answer is, yes.

SEO Cost: What You are Paying For

When you first meet with an SEO consultant, they will discuss what will need to be done to optimize your home page, landing pages, and contact forms. The cost of this will vary depending on how SEO-friendly your website is to begin with. The initial SEO setup can be labor intensive, and can take anywhere from 15-40 hours. Here is what you will be paying for with initial SEO setup fees.

1. Analytics and Keyword Research

Why it is important: Through analytics, you will find out how your website is performing on Google and where your web traffic is coming from. Finding the right keywords for every page of your website will help with your Google ranking.

How it is done: This is done by setting up dashboards to view web traffic trends in Google Analytics and performing thorough keyword research with a keyword planner.

2. Optimizing Page Titles, Meta Descriptions, and URLs

Why it is important: Google needs to know what is on every page of your site so it can index the web pages correctly.

How it is done: This is implemented by adding researched keywords to titles, meta descriptions, and URLs and knowing best SEO practices.

3. Building Out Landing Pages

Why it is important: This is important for data tracking and lead generation.

How it is done: This can be done by adding multiple pages to your site showcasing specific products or services and adding content, images, and call to actions on existing landing pages.

4. Optimizing the Site for Mobile Search

Why it is important: 57 percent of traffic heading to your site is from mobile devices. Google ranks sites that are optimized for mobile higher on the search engine results page (SERP).

How it is done: This is done by improving page load speed, optimizing images, and incorporating responsive web design.

In the name of transparency, we will say that you can do all of these things yourself, but it is extremely time consuming and could be frustrating if you don’t have experience with web development. Now that you know what initial SEO costs cover, let’s take a look at the long-term payoff.

Monthly SEO Costs and the Long-Term Pay Off


This monthly SEO cost can seem a bit daunting for small to medium-sized businesses, but the amount of revenue that a well put together SEO campaign creates will pay for the monthly service multiple times over. Here is how your SEO cost pays for itself in the long run.

SEO Improves Your Google Ranking

The main goal of SEO is to have your website rank higher on Google and get clicks from the right people. 60% of clicks go to the top three websites on the SERP; this is why it is important for your businesses to invest in SEO services.

Google changes their algorithm 500-600 times per year. These algorithm changes need to be monitored and tracked in order to achieve a lucrative spot on the results page. One week Google could rank you number 1 and the next week you could be number 120. SEO experts pay attention to these updates and adjust the elements of your website so that you stay in a good position on the SERP. In addition to making adjustments based on constant algorithm changes, you are also paying SEO pros to improve and maintain your company’s position on Google by:

  • Creating backlinks to improve site authority.
  • Generating relevant, high-quality blog content based on long-tail keywords and phrases.
  • Putting together an effective internal linking strategy within your website as new content is generated.

60% of clicks go to the top three websites in on the search engine results page.

How SEO Pays for Itself

Now that we know how SEO can improve a company’s Google ranking let’s find out how this translates to more leads and more revenue for your business.

Organic Search Traffic and Revenue

According to a report from BrightEdge, over 40% of revenue is captured by organic traffic. Organic traffic is any traffic your website receives from a search engine that was not generated by paid ads, a direct URL search, or a link from another website.

40% of revenue is captured by organic traffic.

Inbound SEO Leads Have Higher Close Rates

Traditional outbound methods (mailers, billboards, etc.) have a broad advertising message that is meant to reach as many people as possible, but sometimes this approach falls on deaf ears. Inbound marketing efforts like SEO can be targeted directly towards customers and clients that have a need for your product or service. Studies have shown that SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate compared to only 1.7% for outbound leads such as print advertisements.

Your SEO consultant will ask you who your target market is and use their expertise to put together an SEO campaign that will bring you desirable prospects through organic search.

SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate compared to only 1.7% for outbound leads such as print advertisements.

Paying for Expertise (and Time Efficiency)

What you are really paying for when you hire an SEO specialist is their expertise. SEO is not something that can be learned in a weekend. Many SEO pros have spent thousands of hours learning their skill, and because of that, they know how to drive more traffic to your website.

They are also in an industry that is continuously changing and evolving. You could definitely learn SEO on your own, make updates every time Google changes their algorithm, check that your page speeds are all fast as lightning, and optimize every piece of content that gets published on your website, but let’s be honest, nobody has time for that.

Speaking of time, hiring a reputable SEO expert means that you will see results faster and see a return on your investment sooner. We will say that if your website hasn’t ever experienced any SEO love, it will take a few months to see significant improvements in web conversions. But if you hire someone who has the experience, a good reputation, and a proven track record for increasing web traffic and revenue for previous clients, the reward is worth the wait – and the cost.

More Reasons Why You Should Invest in SEO

Have we justified why SEO costs are the price that they are? If not, let’s take a look at a few more statistics. Have we justified why SEO costs are the price that they are? If not, let’s take a look at a few more statistics.

  • 81% of people perform online research before making a big purchase.
  • 75% of people won’t go past the first page of Google.
  • 70-80% of people ignore paid search results and click on organic listings.
  • 300% more traffic comes from search engine to websites than social media (sorry Facebook).
  • Inbound leads, such as SEO, cost 61% less than outbound leads  i.e., print advertising, billboards, direct mail, or cold calling.

Making the decision to invest in SEO is worth it if you are looking to: grow your business, increase online conversions, and improve your website. The SEO cost may seem hefty at first, but the amount of business that is generated definitely justifies the price tag.

Are you wondering why your website isn’t showing up on Google? Lack of SEO is probably the problem. Contact the SEO experts at RSM Marketing and for more information on how to improve your Google ranking with SEO.

Scott has a passion for growing companies using marketing and consulting with businesses to make their processes better. As a speaker and author, Scott loves to share knowledge and ideas. Scott is the President of RSM Marketing.

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