It’s natural to feel a bit confused when it comes to SEO costs. How much should you spend? What is the best SEO pricing model? What SEO services are you receiving? The answer is not always straightforward, but there are some things you can do to figure out the right price for your business. It can be challenging to determine how much SEO services should cost for your business.

The answer to the above questions varies depending on several factors including the SEO company you choose, the SEO pricing model and what SEO services you require.

One of the first steps in understanding SEO pricing is figuring out what type of SEO services you want and need – PPC, content marketing, link building, Web page optimisation etc. Once you know this information, it’s much easier to determine the SEO costs that your business may incur.

VIMAR have various SEO pricing models and packages that are designed with your business in mind. We believe it is important to know the many ways SEO agencies charge so you understand how we do it also. By knowing SEO pricing structures, some of the SEO services you require and some package options you can better determine the SEO agency for you and what your business needs. But firstly, what is SEO, why is it so important and what do agencies do?

You can view SEO as a marketing strategy that targets search engines and their users. VIMAR and other digital marketing agencies use their years of experience, continued training and education to help business and website owners improve their SEO. This improves their chances of being discovered by search engines and their users.

The complexity of SEO packages, length of contract and type of website all play a factor in SEO costs and pricing structure. Let’s have a look at some SEO pricing structures and some of your available options.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of developing websites and content that is searchable and rankable within search engines.

Expert SEO can ensure that you are discovered when someone makes a specific search on the web. All businesses need a website and to be found on search engines.

SEO agencies use their expertise and know-how to craft user-friendly websites, attractive web designs and content that can be found and crawled by search engines.

Many factors affect the ranking of a website with some of them including:

  • User Experience: How easy is your site to navigate, is the content structured correctly.
  • Quality of the content: Are keywords and proper structure being used, how often do you publish.
  • Page Speed: Another aspect of user experience but focusing on the content and how fast it is updated.
  • The use of keywords and phrases: Another aspect of content creation focusing on keyword research.
  • Link building structure: Off-site optimization assists your page rank by using well content link building,
  • Age of your website: A factor most agencies cannot help with, but which build upon your website.

SEO agencies can vary their packages from being simple content creation to website building, design and continued maintenance.

You can view SEO as a marketing strategy that targets search engines and their users. VIMAR and other digital marketing agencies use their years of experience, continued training and education to help business and website owners improve their SEO. This improves their chances of being discovered by search engines and their users.

The complexity of SEO packages, length of contract and type of website all play a factor in SEO costs and pricing structure. Let’s have a look at some SEO pricing structures and some of your available options.

Understanding different SEO pricing models

SEO pricing models vary by company. There are primarily five main categories: fixed price, hourly rate, monthly SEO retainer, project-based SEO services, and ala carte pricing.

Check-in with VIMAR about which model we use. It may vary depending on the type of site you have, what services you require and what we believe is the best SEO cost and price structure for your business.

The five primary SEO pricing models:

1. Fixed Price:
In this type of model, you know exactly what your costs will be before the project begins.

In most cases, a flat fee is charged for an agreed-upon amount of work or items to be completed within a certain period. However, there may also be additional fees if any changes need to happen on your end.

The benefits here are that it’s easy to budget because you have a set number in mind from the start and usually some kind of guarantee as well. Many businesses prefer fixed prices since they can sometimes mean lower rates than other models.

Fixed-term pricing is ideal for project-based work. For example, a set number of produced articles, photography and website migration may fall under the umbrella of a fixed-term project.

The SEO costs for fixed-price contracts should be discussed between you and the SEO agency you choose.

2. Hourly SEO Rates:
This is one of the most common SEO pricing methods, and it’s also very simple. You pay for each hour worked by an SEO company or individual. The main benefit here is that if your campaign requires a lot of work, you can budget accordingly without worrying about hidden costs along the way (if there aren’t any additional fees).

Many businesses can find this model to be pricey since companies can charge upwards of €100/hr.

It’s important to determine the scale of your project when working on an hourly rate. Certain SEO services may fall under the umbrella of hourly pricing include link building and content creation, site maintenance and upgrading etc. Talk to your SEO consultants to determine the right SEO pricing structure for you.

3. Monthly Retainer:
Some agencies use monthly retainers instead of hourly rates. This is where customers prepay a set fee in exchange for unlimited support from their agency during that time.

Many businesses benefit from this model since it provides a steady cash flow and can help with budgeting. If your campaign requires more work than expected or additional fees are added to the monthly bill, then you could be in for a little shock at renewal time. Ensure you know all the agreed-upon fees before work commences.

A Retainer structure is perfect for websites that need continuous work and upgrading. Many SEO agencies will have long term contracts with their clients and retainers are often used. It provides structure and formality to the work and tasks produced.

If you feel you have a large task on hand, then a retainer may be the best option for your business and SEO strategy.

4. Project-Based SEO Pricing:
This is one of the most common SEO pricing models, where clients pay an agreed-upon fee for each project that includes both onsite optimizations as well as securing backlinks among other tasks.

The main benefit here is that you typically pay lower rates because there’s less time spent per month compared to hourly billing (so fewer hours billed) as it is task-based. Companies may use this when in-house teams cannot undertake certain tasks.

Many freelance SEO professionals will use these structures as they may only provide one or two of the services that you require such as content creation, graphic design etc.

This model only works when you are sure of the project that you require. An SEO agency may also use this model but only for large scale projects such as developing and publishing a website.

5. Ala Carte SEO Pricing:
This model doesn’t fit into one of the categories above because there isn’t a monthly fee involved; you simply pay per task or specific service. For example, if your website needs to be moved over to another host OR you need content written/rewritten/proofread OR an infographic created OR social media updates posted, you can typically hire an individual freelancer using the ala carte pricing rather than hiring them on as part of your full-time staff.

Like the project-based pricing model, this is suitable when you are sure of your task. The downside and issue here are agencies provide all the experts you need under one umbrella, if you choose this approach, it’s up to you to vet each individual and what they can provide to your business.

What SEO services can you get?

Please note that SEO services incorporate a range of elements that must be taken into consideration.

SEO services include:
Off-page SEO:
Link building,
Brand awareness
Social Awareness
Trust development etc

These are all tasks that occur off your site but can impact how search engines view your site.
On-Page Optimization :
Page speed optimization
Website Auditing
Removal of content
Graphic design
User experience development

And any other tasks which take place on your site to help improve functionality and search findings.

Companies may offer packages that combine all these elements, including SEO audit and reporting or possible only certain services from this list. SEO companies such as VIMAR offer all these services and more, meaning you never have to look around for the package as it is ready for you.

What is Local SEO?

SEO services also take into consideration local SEO (optimizing a website for search engines, such as Google and Bing that are devoted to providing location-specific results).

Local SEO is one of the most popular SEO package types here at VIMAR. That is because it focuses on the smaller business owner and the customers they want and need. Local SEO services allow us to focus more importantly on the search and visitors that you need in your area.

We work with local businesses across Ireland giving them a platform that allows them to compete with similar companies and which allows them to be found by the customers that they want and need.

How Local SEO differs from standards SEO:

Local SEO includes how businesses rank in searches based on their geographical location, including factors such as proximity of search locations to the business itself. This does not affect pricing structures, but how VIMAR approaches our SEO strategy to your business.

What affects the pricing of SEO companies?
The higher the cost for your project typically reflects more expertise and experience in the area you’re looking to hire an agency for, as well as their proven track record over time.

Some SEO companies will focus on and be experts in certain industries, while others will have a more general approach to their clients and SEO structure.

What you should look for in your SEO company:
If the SEO company you choose can show how many companies they have worked with within the last year or two along with proof that those projects generated leads/sales as promised, then it’s likely that they’ll deliver the results as expected.

If you are looking for local SEO pricing, have a particular business niche or are looking for a one-off project all affect the approach your SEO agency will take.
If you wish to see some of VIMARs most recent successes and many of our happy clients, please feel free to let us know and we will be happy to provide you with this information.

If an agency or freelancer cannot provide you with results or samples of their work, this might be a good time to consider going with another agency. You need one that has more experience and a better reputation for delivering on its promises.

Project Pipeline:
Whether or not you’ll need multiple campaigns running at once? For example, if you have SEO campaigns along with marketing and social media etc, it’s important to factor in additional costs depending on how many other projects you have going simultaneously. This will affect communication/turnaround times as well as your agencies availability if an emergency should arise (e.g., broken link building campaign, which means your website could lose all its search engine rankings due to no longer being indexed by search engines). In addition, some agencies may even charge extra just to manage several SEO jobs at the same time. It’s best to ask about these types of issues before signing any contracts. This way, there won’t be any unpleasant surprises down the road.

Removal of content:
Another thing to consider is whether they’ll be removing any existing content from your site during a particular campaign. This could be part of an on-site SEO strategy for enhancing certain pages without losing their rank due to duplicate/overlapping attributes. If so, then this will result in even more work being done that must also factor into what you’re paying for since it’s still considered as part of the overall project and cannot be separated just because some aspects may have been completed earlier than expected (e.g., keyword research report). In other words, don’t expect them to send over all deliverables immediately once everything has been finished unless there are specific terms stated within your contract that dictate otherwise.

The primary entities of an SEO quote
All SEO quotes should include the following:

Project description – This is where an SEO company or individual outlines exactly what you can expect from them. It’s a good idea to ask for details about every aspect of your campaign, including both onsite and off-page optimizations. Some common types of tasks that are typically included in most campaigns are link building (manual), social media profiles created/optimized, blog posts written/rewritten/proofread, keyword research & analysis, meta tag optimization, etc. If they don’t list these items as part of their services by default, then it could be a red flag since many small companies will cut corners here if they’re trying to save money. Keep in mind that some agencies lump all “task-based” SEO work into a monthly package rather than charging by the hour.

Amount of time estimated – This is one of the most important parts since you’ll need to know how long it will take for your campaign to start showing results as well as when those results should be completed (e.g., within three months). If an agency quotes something like “it could take anywhere between six months and two years before we see any improvements”, then that’s not good enough. Ask them what you can expect in terms of performance during specific periods along the way or if they have references available that can back up their claims with verifiable data. Also, make sure they provide estimates based on actual numbers such as the total number of keywords targeted/pages indexed/links built, etc., rather than just saying “company x or y saw $x in revenue within three months.”

The size of your website – This is a significant factor that affects the cost of your campaign since there’s more work involved for larger sites. It can help to ask them what they’d recommend based on either the number of pages or overall website traffic (if available). Also, some agencies charge extra if you have specific requirements, such as international SEO, which adds a layer of complexity due to translation and localization issues.

What kind of results you’re looking for – The main goal should always be increased revenue through conversions/sales OR improved rankings in search engines so potential customers can find your website easier than before? However, it doesn’t hurt to know exactly how many visitors/leads each ranking position will generate, so you’ll know exactly when you’ve reached those milestones along the way. This can be tough to estimate accurately since you’ll never know how much SEO website traffic will convert at the exact moment your website hits a certain position in search engines for specific keywords/phrases, especially if those phrases are very competitive. It’s also possible that some of these results may take place over longer periods than expected (e.g., six months or more).

The level of service – This should be a no-brainer, but you’ll want to make sure they understand exactly what type of service will suit your needs. If it’s just a minor technical SEO glitch that only requires the developer to fix some broken code on their end, then hiring an outside contractor might not be necessary since those tasks can typically be completed by any competent web designer/developer as part of their normal workflow. However, if there are major issues with your website that need immediate attention from someone who knows how to pinpoint and resolve them quickly (e.g., crawling errors or site speed), then this is something you won’t want to take chances with due to potentially negative consequences such as temporary drops in rankings until the problems get fixed (or worse).

When does your business require SEO?
Whether you are looking to show up on search engines results pages, rank highly for local SEO or improve upon existing gains, any business which has a website should use the power of SEO to its advantage. How much does SEO cost for your business depends on many factors, as we have seen in this article. Professional SEO strategies, combined with well-crafted digital marketing will do wonders for your business and brand.

With that being said what should you expect to be paying in 2023?

How much does SEO cost in 2023?
As of 2023, the average cost for SEO services is $500 per month as referenced by Brain Dean of Backlinko in the US. However, this can vary depending on your location and industry (e.g., NYC or Dallas will be more expensive). That is, the average hourly rate for New York SEO is $100/hour, whereas a whole project can cost anywhere between $1000 and $100,000 or even more.

In Ireland typical monthly rates can vary anywhere from €500-€5000 per month. This is because of the many various factors mentioned above.

If an agency charges by the project instead of billing hourly rates with a flat fee for certain tasks like content development and link building campaigns (which are ongoing), then their prices may start around €500-€1000+/month depending on how many pages need to be optimized along with other criteria, such as speed optimization. These could take longer to complete compared to others due to specific strategies needed to achieve better results from search engines.

As mentioned above, the higher costs associated with SEO services may also depend on where you’re located since it’s typically more expensive to rank in densely populated areas than smaller rural towns. For example, if your business is looking for local customers within a smaller county (Leitrim, Laois, Cavan), then this will be cheaper than trying to rank in Dublin and Cork.

VIMAR’s SEO Pricing Model:
Now that we have discussed many of the SEO pricing models, what you can expect and some of the services [1] provided it is important to view what VIMAR can offer your business [2].