How Much Should SEO Cost? Here’s Your Answer with Stats and Facts…

November 28, 2018

So, the scenario goes…


You have a business or idea and you want to get people to know about it.  You’re doing your research to choose a marketing plan that works for you, and SEO is something that’s sparking your interest.  You like the idea of being able to set up your website and have sales coming in from online.  You’re not sure if you’d want to create the content and do the research it takes to implement an SEO strategy, so you want to know “How much should SEO cost?”.


This article will help.


If you’re looking to grow your business and you want to go online, search engine optimization is the “holy grail”.  Most website owners doing SEO get 50% or more of their traffic from the search engines, and SEO is HIGH ROI TRAFFIC!  With the growing number of internet users is a growing number of search engine queries and traffic to website owners!  SEO traffic can easily translate into tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of website visits every month.


Don’t believe me?  Let’s take a look at a big company to see where they’re getting their traffic from.  Let’s try Walmart. Take a look…


how much should seo cost

(Image Source: Spyfu)


On the left side where it says, “Organic Search”, you can see they’re getting 248 million SEO clicks per month.  Their organic traffic value is $149,000,000!  That means they are creating content and Google is sending traffic based on their credibility and effort at creating what’s in high demand.  On the right side, you can see they’re paying for some traffic as well, but they’re not paying for nearly as much traffic as they have earned thru SEO.


If you think Walmart knows how to market a business, then I’d suggest learning a thing or two from them.  SEO is good and it works.


Let’s Compare other Marketing Tactics


In contrast, billboard advertising, flyers, business cards, or other forms of advertising typically cost per item, per estimated impression, as a percentage of sales, or something else.  Since SEO doesn’t require that you pay per click or per item, then it’s possible to get extremely high returns on your investment.


Like any other form of marketing, SEO requires some upfront work: content creation, market research, and some technical skills.  Some people don’t want to put in the work.  They’d prefer to focus on their trade and pay an agency to keep the leads coming to them thru SEO–that’s where we come in.


You might be in the boat with other entrepreneurs who simply want to focus on their trade, but you don’t want to be “bamboozled” with astronomical costs.  We completely understand which is why we wrote this post to explain “How much should SEO cost?”.


The Factors That Make SEO Vary


Before I break down the cost, let me explain what factors cause SEO to vary…


how much should seo costThe ingredients to getting a site to rank in the search engines includes:


Keyword research – Before creating content on a site, it’s good to perform some research on the keyword to ensure you’re creating content about a topic that search users are actively searching for. Keyword research using a tool like Jaaxy or Spyfu will reveal how many people search for the keyword your considering, how much competition there is, and more info.


Market research – Similarly, market research can help you understand who the search user is, what they’re looking for, and ideas for how to satisfy their queries.


Website Content – Website content explains what the page or topic is about. For example, this article is written content. Some people create visual content and others create video or audio content.


Search Volume – When you do your keyword research and your market research, you want to ensure that you’re creating content on your website that satisfies the demand of the search user.  A keyword with high search volume or a topic with high search volume has potential to drive lots of traffic when it’s ranking well in the search results.


The Factors that Make it Harder to Rank a Website


how much should seo costLet’s say, you decide to do your keyword research, write an informative article with those relevant keywords, and publish it on your website.  Is that all you have to do to rank a website in the search engines?


Unfortunately….No. That’s a common misconception especially with the numerous amounts of scammers spreading false nonsense out there.  Instead, you also have to factor in…


Competition – Some industries and niches have more people that are competing for optimal positions in the search engines than others. For example, a construction services site in Los Angeles is likely to have more competition than a pet store in a small town. As a result of the increased competition, more content, more outreach, and more time will be required to rank a new construction services site in LA than to rank the pet store in the small town.


The credibility of the site – Added to that, Google and Bing are in the business of satisfying the search user.


Amount of Outreach – There are some site authors who do lots of public speaking, lots of public relations, and are constantly in the public eye. When they buy a new site, the word gets out fast, people begin to organically link to their sites, and they climb the rankings relatively fast.  If you are a person whose introverted, away from people most of the time, doing little outreach, and has a small social circle as a result, it will require more work to earn trust and honest quality backlinks.


Web Design – Regardless of how much content you put on a site, if the site is ugly, people will quickly leave.  When search engines notice people quickly leaving your site, they pull your result from rankings.


So, I Have a Brand New Site…Now What?


A brand new site with no content that wants to rank in the search engines will take an average of 6 months before they start seeing rankings organically.  During that 6 months, someone has to do keyword research, plan engaging content, learn about the target audience, perform market research, do outreach, and build the credibility of the site.  As a result, the beginning of SEO can seem like a lot of work for a low return UNTIL, the results drastically shift after the upfront work has been put in.


The first 6 months when the returns have not come yet can seem painful when you’re starting out.  For this reason, we recommend clients who want quick turnarounds also add guerilla marketing, promotional products, outbound sales, event attendance, association memberships, social media ads, video marketing, and paid advertising commensurate with what their budget will allow.


With All of these Factors in Mind, “How Much Should SEO Cost?”


According to Rand Rishkin’s recent survey of over 400 SEO Agency Owners and CEOs, SEO costs typically look like this:


how much should seo cost

(Image Source: Sparktoro)


As you can see most companies are paying between $1000 and $10000 per month on search engine optimization.


What Services Are Included in SEO Costs?


The service packages for SEO vary quite a bit.  Some clients want articles on their blogs, videos, graphic design content, outreach to acquire backlinks, tracking so they can see progress, keyword research, market research, and idea generation or consulting.  The depth each company wants to go on investing in SEO can range quite a bit. Some companies will want lots of content published, while others are okay with one article bi-weekly or so.  It really depends.


SEO agencies typically cater product packages to customer demands and their observations of what works.  Aside from content creation, SEO requires research time and possibly outreach time: sending cold emails, making cold calls, attending workshops, and more to boost the backlinks and site credibility.


Are Site Rankings Guaranteed?


While case studies can prove site rankings are pretty predictable after site credibility is built, no SEO agency can guarantee a site ranking organically by a certain day or time.  If someone tells you they can guarantee a page one ranking with a date, run fast!  Regardless of talent, SEO site rankings has lots of contingencies like:


How many blog posts are published per day

How efficient search engine employees and technology is working

How much content was published in your niche (possibly even with your keywords)

and other technical factors about your site like hosting (that’s not necessarily a part of SEO)


How Long Does it Take to Achieve Top 10 Rankings?


While I apologize that alot of this information is subjective, there is data that can help us determine how long it takes to rank in search engines.  Here’s a good video that explains data based on two million rankings:



In summary, the average website earned a first page ranking after 3 years and 5.7% earned one first page ranking in less than one year.  Websites that earn a first page ranking in less than one year consistently rank faster if they target low competition keywords, which is how an SEO agency can help.  While SEO has upfront costs (like any other form of marketing), following a good SEO strategy can offer high ROI traffic for a long period of time.  SEO can outpace other marketing options in costs, amounts of visibility, and overall conversions into sales.


Final Words on “How Much Should SEO Cost?”


The goal of this article was to give you realistic expectations when hiring an agency to do SEO for you.  There’s a wide array of options and many “get traffic fast” schemes that speak a give a great sales pitch, but use shady practices.  Avoid these!


Search engines harshly penalize website owners who try to “beat the system with shortcuts”.  Instead, you want to seek out an SEO agency, like KOHA Inc., who has been trained on what Google and other search engines are looking for, knows how to satisfy the criteria to get sites ranked, and will serve you well along the way.


Give us a call at (210)564-7749 or leave your information to schedule a FREE consult to discuss how we can help drive more traffic and sales to your business!


Now, it’s Your Turn…


Have you paid for SEO services before? How much did you pay? Did you like the service you were given? Have you started a website using SEO? How long did it take you to get rankings? Leave your comments and questions below.

18 Replies to “How Much Should SEO Cost? Here’s Your Answer with Stats and Facts…”

  1. Hey Tiffany! How are you doing? I really enjoyed reading this blog on “How Much Should SEO Cost?” and I liked it as you’ve provided us with tonnes of valuable information. I have a website running live and I personally try to aim for free traffic which comes from different search engines like Google, Binge and Yahoo. My website is new so I haven’t made any sales yet but if I do so, I’ll be able to invest on paid SEO resources. 

    Thanks a lot for taking your time in writing this post. Well done!

  2. Thank you for sharing with us this great post on the cost of SEO.When I started building my website,my first thought was that I could get traffic to my website.Unfortunately my thought was a bit discouraged after finding about SEO.

    it is really very important to know how SEO works and how much it can cost.

    I think it all depends on the effort webmaster put into this business.When we use not competitive keywords it will be easy to get free traffic from google,yahoo,…if it is not the case, webmaster could get traffic through their payment.

    1. Hello Julienne. You’re right about paid versus free options to rank in the search engines. Both SEO or PPC advertising take effort like any other form of marketing. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  3. Great article.  Trying to figure out SEO gives me a headache sometimes.  I have just started to delve into affiliate marketing so trying to come up with my own keywords for SEO is quite daunting, but as I grow i think that outsourcing SEO might be a valid option.  I hadn’t considered it before reading your article.  Thanks.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Mike! Many entrepreneurs want to focus on their trades and feel just like you about SEO.  It can be a full-time job which is why we offer it as a service to help out. Keep us in mind when the days come where you’re considering outsourcing.

  4. I am still learning this online marketing thing. I have heard of SEO several times, i have been trying to create a content and follow the right right keyword, so far I still haven’t got that traffic to my website. At this early stage of my website, it is too early to outsource someone and do some SEO for me, trust me if I have that money I will pay someone to do it for me lol

    Great article.

  5. This was very informative and extremely helpful. 

    Just the information I needed to take my business to the next level! You made this very easy to ready and it is very understandable, I appreciate the time you put into making this as I can’t wait to share it with my friend who is just starting out!

    Thanks again,


  6. Thanks for all this great info. I’m a new website owner and am working on the SEO strategy for the low hanging fruit. My website is only two months old. So I don’t get much traffic organically. I’m working on it though. Some things that I keep hearing but don’t know what they are are backlinks and domain rating. The video went into them a little bit, but could you explain more?

    1. I’ll give you a little analogy to explain….In the offline world, we look up to industry professionals who are very well integrated. They write for industry articles, speak at industry engagements, maybe teach in different places, and are very helpful when people have questions related to the industry.  Similarly, an authority website owner is engaged in many places online and has many people citing them as a credible source. In a healthy backlink strategy, high quality content is created and marketed, and readers link to it and share because they want others to know about it. Alternatively, spammy backlink strategies try to imitate a healthy strategy using all types of practices Google bans people for. Focus on writing great content and getting it in front of the right people and backlinks will follow.

  7. My SEO skills have vastly improved over the years.  Unfortunately, instead of using those skills for myself I used them for other businesses!  Due to life circumstances I (idiotically but, compassionately) thought I could help others while slowly building my own brand.  I didn’t really need to go that route.

    One thing seems to be a theme with the costs of SEO, that not a lot of people really understand what it is let alone how much you should be paying for it!  I hope your readers see the value in your message as I did.  It’s people like you that are changing the face of the internet into a safer more positive environment.

    I was speaking to an acquaintance a few months ago about online marketing and, he told me he was helping ‘build his friends’ sites and making them profitable.  When I asked him what SEO tools he was using I received a blank stare.  What that tells me is that you and I Tiffany, will always have some more good work to do!

    The varying costs and their factors as you described can be daunting for people who are new to it all.  I think they will be in good hands with you!

    1. Thanks so much Fyre for sharing your experience as a fellow SEO agency! With the growth of the internet, there’s more competition and the old rules of ranking in the search engines have changed. Now, it’s more sophisticated, it takes time, and there’s costs as a result. 

      If you hang around teenagers, you know the internet will continue to grow, and the dependence on it for commerce will increase as they come of age. As a result, those who put in the work now, will be positioned for an advantage for a long time. 

      The big companies know this and small businesses should as well.

  8. Hi Tiffany,

    An outstanding article with a clear explanation of SEO and what is really required to find the important keywords to get a site ranked. .

    I am still rather new and your article has been a great help for me in understanding SEO and how I should focus from now onwards. As it has been for me, I am sure it will assist many others. The way you have structured the article with your detailed explanations with the help of videos.

    I have still not considered paid ads yet, but it is plain why I should and I will definitively be considering it once I have a budget.  A way to move faster but one really needs to do ones homework which you have clearly pointed out. This should be done in different ways and some technical skills are required but with the information you have paved out, it has given me a great deal of thought which will assist me from now on, for which I am very grateful. 

    Thank you.

    Angel Blessings!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *