How Much Does SEO Cost for a Small Business? An Honest Answer

Want to know how much does SEO cost for a small business? Discover the factors influencing the cost and learn how to create a budget.

How much does SEO cost for a small business?

This is a question that many business owners ask when considering investing in search engine optimization (SEO) services. The cost of SEO can vary greatly depending on several factors, including 

  1. The specific services required, 
  2. The size of the project, and 
  3. The location of the business. 

In this article, we will explore the factors that influence the cost of SEO for small businesses and provide some insights into the pricing structures and options available.

Why Does SEO Pricing Vary? 

When it comes to SEO pricing, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The cost of SEO services can differ dramatically based on various factors, such as the 

  • Amount of content needed, 
  • Technical support, 
  • Expectations, 
  • Projections for business growth, and 
  • The range of services required

It is essential for business owners to have a clear understanding of their needs and goals before seeking quotes from marketing agencies to ensure they are not overcharged or surprised later on.

How is SEO Pricing Done?

SEO pricing is not a fixed cost, and marketers cannot provide an exact quote without gaining key information about their clients’ specific needs and requirements.

While you may come across fixed monthly costs for certain SEO packages, it is crucial for marketers to have an in-depth understanding of your business before providing an accurate quote.

It is important to be wary of companies or specialists offering SEO services for very low prices, such as $150 per month or less. These low-cost options often rely on shady methods like link schemes or provide minimal results. 

Generally, a fair price for SEO services can range from $1,500 to $5,000 per month for large projects or $100 to $300 for hourly services. However, these numbers can vary depending on the specific needs, requests, and location of the business.

Clients who are willing to pay more for SEO services tend to report higher satisfaction rates over the years. SEO services are often a “get-what-you-pay-for” kind of deal, and investing in higher-quality services can yield better results and returns on investment.

When considering the cost of SEO, it is important to understand that it is not a one-time project but a constant service or solution. SEO requires ongoing attention, updates, analysis, and adjustments to deliver the desired results. 

Monthly SEO services are often a better option as they ensure continuous optimization, including tasks like link-building and content marketing.

How Much Does SEO Cost for a Small Business Doing Local SEO?

For businesses targeting a local customer base, local SEO can be a more cost-effective option compared to national/ global SEO services. 

Local SEO campaigns targeting a smaller, more concentrated audience with lower competition can cost as little as $300 per month, depending on the specific needs of the business.

Local SEO services can be categorized into three main types: 

  1. Automated local SEO, 
  2. Small-scale local SEO, and 
  3. Comprehensive local SEO. 

Automated local SEO focuses on providing business information to directories but does not guarantee improved search rankings. 

Small-scale local SEO involves highly targeted advertisements or localized social media campaigns to reach a geographic audience. 

Comprehensive local SEO offers a more thorough approach covering all aspects of SEO, including content management, reporting, social media, link building, citation optimization, and online review management.

The type of SEO service needed by a business will also impact the cost. SEO pricing can vary based on whether the focus is on 

  • Organic search optimization, 
  • Building a review profile, 
  • Content creation, or 
  • Other specific goals. 

Different pricing structures may be suitable for different businesses based on their specific needs.

The current brand awareness and visibility of a business can also influence SEO pricing. New businesses starting from scratch may require more initial work, while established businesses may focus more on optimization and maintenance.

How Does the Technical Parts of Your Website Impact the Cost?

The overall technical aptitude of your website and the CMS (content management system) for the content on the website affects how much the overall SEO cost will be. Not all CMSs are created equal and some require more work than others to adhere to Google’s Tech SEO best practices.

 For example, Fuller Digital Strategy,  is a leading provider of website and eCommerce website creation and maintenance, and the websites they build for clients are designed to exceed the expectations that Google and other search engine algorithms demand. 

Because they know what the best practices are they are inherently added to how the site is built. Most website companies however don’t do that, especially for small businesses, because they don’t have the in-house expertise and are not SEO first, but rather website design first. 

Having a technically sound site built with SEO best practices in mind makes it much, much easier to optimize effectively and efficiently, and also costs less to maintain. 

Other Large Factors That Affect How Much SEO Costs for Small Business

The competitiveness of the keywords you are targeting. Highly competitive keywords in popular industries will require more extensive SEO efforts and resources to rank well in search engine results. The more competitive the keywords, the higher the cost of SEO services.

The scope and complexity of the SEO services required. Different businesses have different needs when it comes to SEO. 

Some may require a comprehensive SEO strategy that includes:

  • Keyword research, 
  • On-page optimization, 
  • Content creation, 
  • Link building, and 
  • Ongoing monitoring and maintenance. 

Others may only need assistance with specific aspects of SEO, such as local SEO or technical SEO. The more extensive and complex the services required, the higher the cost.

The location and reputation of the SEO agency or professional. SEO services can vary in cost depending on the location and reputation of the agency or professional you choose to work with.

Agencies or professionals located in major cities or with a strong reputation in the industry may charge higher rates for their services.

The level of experience and expertise of the SEO provider. SEO is a complex field that requires knowledge, skills, and experience to achieve optimal results. 

SEO providers with a higher level of experience and expertise may charge higher rates for their services. However, it is important to note that the cost of SEO should not be the sole determining factor when choosing a provider. Quality and results should also be considered.

The goals and expectations of your SEO campaign. The specific goals and expectations you have for your SEO campaign will also influence the cost. If you have ambitious goals and want to achieve significant improvements in rankings, traffic, and conversions, it may require more resources and a higher investment.

The timeline for achieving results. SEO is a long-term strategy that requires consistent effort and time to see results. If you have a shorter timeline and need to achieve quick results, it may require more intensive and costly SEO efforts.

It is important to keep in mind that SEO is not a one-time project but an ongoing process. It requires continuous monitoring, optimization, and adaptation to keep up with the ever-changing search engine algorithms and industry trends. Therefore, it is advisable to view SEO as a long-term investment rather than a one-time expense.


The cost of SEO for a small business can vary significantly depending on various factors such as the scope of services, competitiveness of keywords, location and reputation of the SEO provider, and the goals and expectations of the campaign. 

While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how much SEO costs for a small business, it is essential to allocate a reasonable budget that aligns with your business goals and ensures the quality and effectiveness of the SEO services. 

Remember that investing in top-quality SEO services can yield significant returns in terms of increased visibility, organic traffic, and conversions for your small business.

So, outline all your business goals (on and offline), ask a lot of questions, and ask each consultant/agency you are interviewing for real life success numbers. 

Lastly, listen to see if they have “off-the-shelf” solutions that promise you the moon and the stars or if they say “well, it depends…” and ask you more questions about your business. The people who refuse to promise you the moon and the stars are the ones that are reputable.

If you have more questions, drop them in the comments section below, and we will do our best to answer them.

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