The Latest The SEO Pricing Statistics for 2021 (and Beyond)

By Bill Acholla February 6, 2021

SEO Services primarily means hiring an SEO agency to improve the company website’s search engine optimization.

It aids in enhancing the company’s visibility on search results on various popular search engines, such as Bing and Google.

An SEO company will essentially prioritize your company’s search results and the products and services you offer.

SEO is one of the most profitable opportunities to get consistent and expandable growth.

Perhaps your customers are high-value because of your comparative advertisements creating landing pages.

Or maybe your customers come through paid traffic organically because you want to reduce the cost of acquiring customers.

Turn the tables around and say, you are a contractor. You have convinced a prospect with your excellent case studies.

And you have laid down a full-fledged strategy on SEO to suit their business objectives.

They are content, and you sense an opportunity knocking on your door until they ask you the big, daunting question.

“Speaking of which, how much will you charge for your SEO services?”

Then you realize“ahh…the pricing!” Before you stumble on this situation when you are so close to grabbing that opportunity, give this article a read.

Several factors affect SEO Pricing.

This topic can get dreary, but the answers depend on the service you provide as a contractor.

Some salient factors are as below.

A. Source

If you are thinking of a US-based firm to do your work because you live there, you know that the cost will be much higher.

The resources in the US are costly and involve high-profit margins. If you were to outsource the work to a country like India, you could cut down the cost almost 5 times.

B. Task

Once you have decided on the source, you might want to clarify with the SEO agency about the activities and cost.

Most firms do not communicate the scope of their work, leading to cost variation later.

C. Quantity of content

The next crucial factor is the quantity of your website. While you discuss the activities with the SEO firm, do include discussing the number of pages they will offer along with it.

The plan should make the quantity clear to cohere with the activities involved in the work. Make this step clear to avoid confusion in costs later.

D. Quality of content

One of the most pivotal factors is the quality of content. It plays a significant role in your business’ success.

You might want to prefer a firm with proficiency in the language or are available to peak over phone calls and look promising to deliver great content. You won’t mind paying well to such a team.

E. Time in business

Every firm claims they are reputed and the best in the business. But how many would you find them on Google?

Make sure you outsource the work to a firm that has proven records and testimonials.

Find out if they have real experience before inviting an adverse impact on your business by letting a Black Hat SEO do the work for you.

Hence, it is crucial to take into consideration the company’s value and experience before putting your company’s success at stake.

F. The business type

Are you contemplating hiring a company or a freelancer? While freelancers charge much lesser, you may want to question their turn-around time and credibility.

On the other hand, companies may be expensive, but they have the skill and efficiency. Their quality of work also speaks for themselves.

Let’s understand them more clearly with the help of this article. And for that, let’s get an insight into the SEO services and their charges.

According to a survey of the SEO industry in May 2018, here are the findings from 348 respondents.

You can view the survey here if you want to base this article on the data in context.

However, please note that we have capped the survey and will not consider new responses to keep the data and findings intact.

Here are our three types of fees we have boiled down to from the survey.

You will find all the data in all three segments in the same pattern for a seamless understanding.

01). SEO Pricing On Hourly Basis

The survey indicates that respondents who charge by the hour amount to 36.78%.

And the most common fee range in this category, as per 25% of the respondents, is $100-$150.

The data also states 50% of respondents fall in the $75-$200 per hour category.

It is also clear that only 6.25% charge $201 or more per hour while 88.28% take a meager $150 or less per hour.

Let’s disintegrate the hourly charges according to regions to get a bifurcated understanding.

The figure indicates that India is the only country that deviates from the rest of the regions.

83.33% of respondents are charging only $25 or less per hour, while the remaining fall under the $41-$50 category.

Talk about the US, a majority of 61.76% of respondents charge anywhere from $75-$200 per hour.

If we have to average the figures of the fees each business type charges, it looks something like this.

  • Agencies at $134.66 per hour
  • Consultants at $122.33 per hour
  • Freelancers at $68 per hour

Please note that this section has three categories on taking the survey- locally, worldwide, or both.

Through data sifting, it has come to light that worldwide and both are the same category.

02). SEO Pricing On Monthly Retainer

As per the survey, we found out that respondents who charge a monthly retainer are a majority of 74.71%.

The most common retainer rate they charge is $501-$1000/month, as 23.08% of respondents charge this amount.

The data indicates that the respondents who take from 501-$2,000/month contribute to 45%.

On the other hand, SEOs who charge $2000 or below per month are 75.77%, and a handful of 24.23% take monthly retainers of more than $2,000.

Let’s divide them into regions and look at the rates accordingly.

In this segment also, India deviates from the rest. 91.3% of SEOs based in India take up to $1,000 per month.

The rest of the 8.7% take a monthly retainer from $2,001-$5,000.

If we take US data independently, 66.25% command a minimum of $1001 while some take a whopping $25,001 to $50,000 as a monthly retainer.

Let’s understand the rates on average for every business type.

  • Agencies- The average rate is $2,819.87 per month
  • Consultants- Average monthly retainer is $1,906.48
  • Freelancers- $1,364 per month

03). Per Project SEO Pricing

Out of all the respondents, 43.39% charge a fee for a project for some or all of their services.

It’s come to our learning that the most common fee per project is $501-$1,000 as 25.17% of respondents charge this amount.

Respondents who charge $1,001 or even more contribute to 53.32%. Only 30.46% charge $2,001 or more per project while 69.54% take $2,000 or even lesser.

Let’s break it down into regions and understand the fees per project accordingly.

In this case, India, along with Latin America, comes in the outliers’ category. In Latin America, 100% of SEOs charge a universal $1,000 or lesser per project.

The difference isn’t much with India as 92.31% charging the same while only 7.69% command from $2,001 to $2,500.

Taking statistics for the US alone, a majority of 64.29% take a minimum of $1,001 per project, and a mere 11.9% command $10,000 to $25,000.

The per-project fee that is most common for all business types is $500-%1,000.

Let’s break them down into averages.

  • Agencies- Average charge is $5,222.06
  • Consultants average at $4,481.94 per project
  • Freelancers get an average of $1,530.85 per project

Key Takeaway

Those were the categorized breakdown of the survey. If we have to summarize the entire survey, here are our takeaway points.

1. How much do monthly retainers typically cost?

According to statistics, 74.71% of respondents price their clients a monthly retainer fee.

Pricing varies with different countries but doesn’t exceed $5,000 a month, as 94.23% of respondents fall under this fee category.

Out of all, 23.08% fall under the said category, followed by the second most popular range of $75-$100 with 19.23% retainers.

But, that said, 24.23% take $2,001 or more s monthly retainers. The most common tier in the US was $2,501-$5000.

2. How is the SEO Pricing ranged on an hourly basis?

While 25% of SEOs fall under this range, the figure leaps to 35.29% in the US. The second most common range is $75-$100, accounting for 19.53% of all hourly fees.

A majority of 88.28% command $150 or less, and more than half of those population charges from $75-$100.

Those who exceed $150/hour account for 11.72% of respondents, and 6.25% take more than $200/hour.

3. What do SEO services cover?

An SEO company typically covers the following under their services.

  • Analysis of website structure
  • Analysis of website content, including conversion rate
  • Review of off-page online
  • Optimizing structure and code of the website
  • Onsite content enhancement
  • Improving off-page factors
  • Securing the website (HTTP vs. HTTPS)
  • Making the website accessible through mobile
  • Enhancing the speed to load pages
  • Ensuring the website contains schema markup
  • The quality and quantity of content

4. SEO agencies vs. freelancers

The survey clarifies that the agencies earn more than freelancers irrespective of the type of fees.

If we take a look at the $100-$150 hourly rates, only 15% of freelancers come in this category, followed by 33.33% consultants and a whopping 53.45% agencies. This rate, in reality, is the most common fee that agencies charge.

If we have to talk about the monthly retainer range of $1,001 or more, only 33.33% of freelancers take this amount, followed by 44.64% of consultants and a majority of 50.98% agencies.

Agencies and consultants mostly take a monthly retainer of $500-$1,000, while freelancers commonly take $251-$500 per month.

Even in the case of project-based fees, the figures clearly state that SEO agencies earn  more.

64.71% of agencies charge $1,001 or more per project, followed by consultants at 47.22%. A minority of 38.3% freelancers take home the same amount.

The main reason behind the difference in earnings is that agencies’ pay structure is much higher than freelancers. Freelancers also fall behind with generating revenues.

Another important highlight is the working hours. While an agency may spend fewer specialized hours delegating tasks, freelancers have to put in more hours taking complete responsibility.

5. Why do SEOs prefer to charge per project?

Firstly, as opposed to hourly and monthly pay, projects do not have a fixed rate. You can earn anywhere between $1,000 and $7,500, which is a pretty good margin.

Most SEOs prefer to charge by the project because you are selling value here, instead of labor.

Value reaps more margin than labor. Simple projects may involve a one-time fee, but the more complex ones can charge fees in phases.

6. SEOs offering their services worldwide earn more

Those who render services worldwide earn 130.74% more than those serving locally in all the business types.

That is because a local SEO mainly caters to smaller-sized businesses with fewer customers.

However, international SEO offers services to companies who have their footprints in the global market.

7. SEOs from India and Latin America charge lesser than the rest

On an hourly basis, 100% of Latin America and India SEOs take $60 or less.

SEOs in India and Latin America charge relatively lesser because the resources are less expensive, as low as 5 times to an SEO in a country like the US.

Over To You

Let’s culminate everything we have learned about SEO pricing.

If you are eager to learn more about it, use the data explorer in Google Sheets. Click here for an easy-to-follow demo to explain how it works.

The demo is straightforward and will not require you to possess advanced knowledge of MS-Excel.

All you need to do is select options from the drop-down to filter automatically.

It’d be awesome to get your insights.

Please leave your comments below with your knowledge or ask questions, if any.

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