SEO Rates Establishment: How SEO Prices Are Formed in 2020

SEO Rates Establishment: How SEO Prices Are Formed in 2020

An SEO price list does not exist; therefore, the cost of a project will depend on many factors. Later, we will talk about them, but now, let’s figure out the average cost of services for search optimization.

In a majority of cases, agencies and freelancers set an hourly rate. MOZ research shows that the average rate for SEO specialists’ services ranges from $70 to $200 per hour. According to the SparkToro quiz, the average monthly investment of clients in site promotion in search engines ranges from $2,500 to $5,000; the figure depends on the competition in the business niche and other factors.

There is no guarantee that the price of SEO services will not increase every year because the demand for specialists is consistently growing. To confirm this, let’s compare the data of the employment market from 2016-2018:


There is expected to be an even greater increase in indices in 2020. That is why some companies will need to invest more in the promotion.

A lot of agencies are cooperating with clients upon signing a monthly, more rarely an annual, contract. SEO pricing varies depending on the chosen services package. But on average, the price starts at $1,000.

Research on the Formation of SEO Services Pricing

According to research, $100-$150 per hour is the most common hourly rate for SEO services.

It is the amount that is usually mentioned to clients by 35.29% of respondents. 20.59% of surveyed specialists charge $75-$100 for their work, while 11.76% of respondents have a rate of $201-$300 per hour. The rate of $150-$200 is of the rarest occurrence in the USA.

According to MOZ research, 70.1% of specialists offer clients packages of services with a fixed monthly cost per project. In this case, the average cost of SEO is from $1,000 to $7,500. Such a wide range of prices is not surprising since the final price depends on the variety of services and the number of hours devoted to the project.

Some companies or independent specialists offer clients a range of one-time services. For example, on average, the SEO audit cost begins at $1,000. The company Whatisseo concluded this based on their research.

What Is SEO

As one can see from the graph, Google SEO services pricing does not differ considerably from that of MOZ quizzes. The only difference is that the lowest hourly rate of the services starts at $50.

SEO consulting rates start at $1,000. The final cost depends on the complexity of the project, which is why the range of prices on the graph is quite wide.

According to Whatisseo, local SEO pricing is considerably lower in comparison to ordering the promotion in the foreign market. The range of services for campaigns within one region varies from $250 to $5,000 per month depending on the competition in the business niche. For example, the promotion of legal or medical services will always cost more. The price for nationally promoting sites starts at $750 per month.

The difference in pricing depends on who you are contacting, an agency, freelancers, or advisers. 53.45% of interrogated companies have stated the rate of $100-$150 per hour. SEO advisers charge $75-$100, while freelancers get on average $41-$50.

Prices also vary depending on the optimizer’s level of experience. $79.37 per hour is the average rate of a specialist who has been working in SEO for up to 2 years. $110.69 is charged by optimizers with experience of up to 4 years. Experienced specialists working in the field for more than ten years get $142.50.

Factors That Influence Price Formation

Multiple factors influence the SEO pricing guide, which is why you can see a wide price range. In the first place, the price depends on who you are working with, an agency or freelancer. In the first case, services will cost more; however, a team of professionals will work on your project. Thanks to reports, it is easier to evaluate the effectiveness of the promotion. 

In the meantime, there is nothing wrong with cooperating with freelancers. Among them, there are plenty of experienced specialists who are capable of propelling a site into Google’s Top-10 and even higher. However, even with a good available portfolio, there is no guarantee that the desired results will be achieved. Besides, working with freelancers, it is harder to trace KPI.

The SEO social media consulting pricing of an agency depends on the location of the office. For instance, the services of New York specialists will be more expensive than those from Ohio.

Regardless of who you are going to work with, the following factors influence SEO service pricing:

  1. Site volume. The more pages that need to be optimized, the more expensive the project will be.
  2. Positions in organic search. If it is necessary to promote a new project with a zero domain authority and the same rating in the search results, you will have to pay more to achieve positive results.
  3. Competition. The higher it is in a business niche, the more complicated and expensive site promotion will be.
  4. Targets and tasks. Depending on the result a client wants to yield, whether it is to get to the top positions in the SERP with specific requests or to increase target traffic to the site, the strategy will be developed, and a price will be calculated.
  5. Demographics of the target audience. The hourly rate or SEO package pricing is influenced by the regions of promotion. A local campaign will be much cheaper than a global one implying entering the global market.
  6. Content. The more complicated the texts, the more expensive services will be. It is especially true if the topic is field-specific, and it will be necessary to order articles from experts.

The eCommerce field is usually more expensive than others. On average, SEO specialist pricing starts at $150 per hour. The majority of companies invest in promotion from $2,000 to $10,000 per month. Of course, these prices are due to the purchasing of links to increase the quality link volume. Content will be also more expensive as it is intended to not only describe the benefits of the product but to sell it to the audience. You can read more useful information in the article about Ecommerce SEO.

Expenses of an SEO Team

SEO cost is also influenced by the cost of professional tools that are used in the process of work. Let us check the main services to better understand how the cost of services is established.



The service helps collect data from Google and Bing about the promoted site and its main competitors. It shows the amount of traffic to particular pages or for a specific domain, analytic ads on Google, campaign optimization. It also finds competitors’ positions via key requests and fulfills a lot of other functions.

The cost depends on the chosen package and starts at $99 per month.


It is the tool for tracking competitors: their positions in the SERP by key queries, organic rating, and many other parameters. It helps create an effective strategy for site promotion based on the collected data.

The price starts at $33 per month.


The tool helps to collect the semantic kernel. It provides the ability to select the most relevant keywords.

The Standard package costs $99/month, while a Premium package is $599.

These are the most popular services that are used most often by specialists in their work. They feature different SEO plans and pricing. The fluctuation of their rates also influences the final price for the search promotion.

Risks of Cheap SEO

The cheaper SEO services cost, the higher the risk of wasting the budget. We are not saying that beginning specialists or small agencies that offer relatively low prices are ineffective. However, exceptions are only confirming the rules. Usually, a low price is an indicator that a minimum amount of time will be devoted to the project.  To achieve quick results, some specialists resort to black SEO methods.

A cheap SEO can become expensive if an incorrectly optimized site is sanctioned by search systems. In the best case, the rating will decrease by several positions in the SERP (depending on the filter). In the worst case, the domain will be banned. You can spend several thousand dollars and see no results even after a year.

To regulate the situation, you will have to hire other specialists. As a rule, it is more expensive to fix errors. In some cases, it will be even necessary to register a new domain and restart the promotion.

Payback Period of Investments in SEO

SEO is a long-term investment. You cannot expect to receive immediate results. The work is laborious and includes several stages: audit, analysis of competitors, internal and external optimization of the site. You can read more information in the related articles:

In some cases, you can see an improvement in the search rating after a couple of weeks, but on average, the process takes several months to a year. Anyway, only 5.7% of pages reach top-10 positions within a year. Everything depends on the business niche and the number of competitors, which is why it is impossible to predict the exact terms. Besides, the updating of ranking algorithms and technical errors on the site can slow down the process.

About author
Anna is a content manager and copywriter since 2013. In 2017, she started working as a copywriter and editor at a digital agency. In 2019, she began to cooperate with a SERM agency. The main responsibility is writing of the corporate blog. In 2020, she completed courses in SEO-optimizer and began cooperation with SeoQuake as a content manager.