How Much Does SEO Cost?


As is the case with every product or service that you purchase or consider purchasing, it is important and crucial that you find out what it costs on average from a number of different dealers and stores. If you only get one proposal or talk to one company, your chance of getting taken advantage of are extremely high. When talking about pricing and offers it is always a good idea to trust the majority. That isn’t necessarily the case with every decision you make in your life, in fact in a lot of cases you want to do what the majority is not doing. This is one of those rare cases where it is a good idea to trust the masses. If you get proposals from five marketing agencies and all the quotes are similar except for one, it’s usually the case that that particular company is a scam or offer that low of a price because they don’t have any other business and can justify doing so.

SEO Hourly Rate

From California to New York, all the way to India and even the Philippines, you are going to be getting a wide variety of people, skillsets, and hourly rates. For the purpose of this article, let’s toss out the overseas contractors and just talk about companies here in the states. On average, a good company will typically bill you anywhere from $60-$100 per hour. You may be thinking that sounds high, or you may think that sounds low. If you compare that hourly rate against a minimum wage job, yes it is extremely high and absurd. If you are used to dealing with an attorney or doctor that has a billable rate of $250-$500 per hour then SEO companies aren’t charging near enough. With 12 years of experience, we have come to realize that companies that aren’t in this range are usually somebody you don’t want to mess with.

Just knowing the hourly rate alone does not tell you what it is going to cost you personally to get your site up and ranking for the number one spot in Google. Here at Cotton Tree Media, when we sit down to put together a proposal, we are trying to figure out how many hours of our time each month it is going to take to get the job done as quickly as possible. If you don’t know how Google works or are new to the business or the online space it may seem like the best idea would be to put forth as many hours as possible in the first month and hurry and rank. Theoretically, this is how it should be done. Google and Google’s algorithm does not agree and will actually penalize you for trying to game the system. There is definitely a sweet spot between getting things done quickly and being way too aggressive.

Generally speaking, when we put together a marketing strategy for how we are going to take down an industry and help a company rank in the top spot in Google, we are looking at three aspects:

  • Backlinks
  • Content
  • Time

For the most part, this is what Google is looking at when their robots decide which sites should show up first in the SERPS.

We make it a point to look at the competitors online that are ranking on page one for the terms you want to be ranking for. We then look at those same competitors backlink profiles and how many pages of content have been produced on their website. Lastly, we will take a look at how long the said company has been online and live and determine how difficult or job is going to be. That means we will make an educated guess as to how many backlinks we will need to acquire, how many pages of content we will need to produce, and what type of an uphill battle we will be fighting.

With this information, we can accurately estimate how many hours it will take us per month and how many months it will take to start seeing results. As you can probably see by now, this process isn’t just turnkey and requires quite a bit of time and resources. If you can’t get a straight answer from a company on what it will cost and how quickly you will be ranking, it’s definitely a good thing. It just means they are taking time to actually give you an accurate proposal.

Again, as always we encourage you to shop around and get a feel for the SEO and internet marketing industry. Getting your feet wet is the best way to ensure you aren’t going to get taken advantage of.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

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