Average Cost of SEO Per Month: PLUS Top 5 SEO Roles and Their Potential Monthly Salaries

July 11, 2024

The average cost of SEO per month is $500 to $5,000. This comprises of different SEO services. It includes content creation, keyword research, and on-page optimization. It also covers complex tasks like SEO audits, link building, and technical SEO. According to various online reviews, most freelancers charge between $75 to $300 per hour for their SEO services. Since they spend around 10-15 hours of work monthly, the costs reach around $750-$4,500 monthly.

The average cost of an effective SEO campaign per month for a small business is $750 to $3,000. According to WebFX, costs could reach $10,000 or more for big businesses. In the US, the average monthly cost of SEO can reach around $2,500 to $10,000. Some companies even spend up to $30,000 per SEO project. The price depends on the business size, competition, website health, and client goals.


Andrei Saioc, CEO and founder of Softgurus LTD, shares that good SEO costs $1,500 a month. This can go up to $8,000 or more. He also warned about freelancers and agencies offering SEO services at a cheap price. Some of these are bluffs and overpromises. That's why you need to hire reputable SEO professionals to do the job.

According to a case study by Shortlist, it costs approximately $2,300 per month to get to page one. This varies based on the target keywords and the level of competition. Digital marketer Asim Ali emphasizes that keyword competition affects the price of getting to the first page. You can ask for more than $5,000 to rank for in-demand keywords. The cost to reach page one also depends on how quickly a client wants to see results. A slower, more organic approach may be more affordable. Meanwhile, expedited strategies come at higher SEO costs.

Backlinko found in a 2019 report that clients who spend over $500 monthly for SEO were 53.3% more likely to be “extremely satisfied.” But, doing SEO has become more challenging for experts. Search Engine Online's State of SEO Report 2024 shows that 62.7% of SEO professionals find SERP competition more difficult nowadays.

Lots of Redditors are commenting on the increased difficulty of SEO. This is because of constant search engine algorithm updates. One individual also said that creating high-quality content is getting more difficult. Site optimizations are becoming like a guessing game. Freelancers can't guarantee 100% success in driving organic traffic.

This article will discuss the average cost of SEO per month and the factors that contribute to it. We will also cover the top SEO roles in 2024 and their potential salaries. Also, we'll answer why SEO is expensive, some red flags to watch out for, and the easiest way to earn with SEO. 

Top 5 SEO Roles and Their Average Salaries

1. SEO Specialist - $5,615

An SEO specialist optimizes websites to improve search engine rankings. They conduct keyword research, on-page optimization, and technical SEO audits. These experts also do content creation, link building, and performance analysis. Sagar Traneja, an SEO consultant and co-founder of Two Creators, describes an SEO specialist as someone who focuses on on-page and off-page optimization. ZipRecruiter’s data shows that SEO specialists in the US earn $5,615 monthly or $67,388 yearly.

2. SEO Manager - $7,183

SEO managers organize and manage a company's SEO research efforts. As an SEO manager, you develop and execute comprehensive SEO strategies. You manage teams and projects. You also communicate with stakeholders. The Digital Marketing Institute says SEO managers consider all aspects of a search. They help convert a website visitor to a paying customer. ZipRecruiter’s data shows SEO managers in the US earning $7,183 a month or $86,206 yearly.

3. SEO Director - $9,444

SEO directors lead and direct an organization's overall SEO vision and strategy. They manage resources, evaluate results, and ensure alignment with business objectives. According to Zippia, an SEO director's responsibilities include:

  • Managing the development and execution of A/B testing
  • Overseeing teams to ensure timely content production and creative design
  • Redesigning existing sites 
  • Focusing on driving maximum brand-appropriate advertising
  • Developing lead acquisition strategies

ZipRecruiter says an SEO director in the US earns an average of $9,444 monthly. Among the top 5 SEO roles, they have the highest hourly rate at $54.

4. SEO Consultant - $7,958

An SEO consultant's responsibilities include performing comprehensive website audits. Site audits help identify areas for improvement and provide actionable recommendations to clients. SEO consultants check and analyze website performance. They use SEO tools and analytics platforms. They also provide regular reports and insights to refine and optimize SEO strategies. SEO consultants keep themselves informed of the latest SEO trends and algorithm updates. ZipRecruiter says SEO consultants in the US earn $7,958 monthly or $95,500 per year.

5. SEO Content Writer - $7,012

SEO content writers plan, create, and optimize content for ranking in search engines. They conduct keyword research and ensure that content aligns with user intent. Unlike content writing, SEO writing aims to drive organic traffic to a website. Content writing has the goal of keeping site visitors engaged. ZipRecruiter’s data shows that SEO content writers in the US earn $7,012 monthly or $84,151 per year.

What Factors Determine the Cost of SEO?

Business size, industry competition, current website health, and SEO goals determine the cost of SEO services. Here's how each factor affects the cost of SEO:

  • Business and website size. Big businesses with larger websites and many pages require more SEO work compared to smaller and simpler ones. Optimizing each page for search engines takes time and effort. Ask to be paid more for extensive websites. According to Nutshell, the average SEO pricing for startups ranges from $750 to $1,500 per month. It ranges from $1,500 to $3,000 per month for small businesses. For medium-sized enterprises, the average cost of SEO per month is $1,500 to $5,000. Because of its size, the price for enterprises is above $5,000.




$750 to $1,500

Small business

$1,500 to $3,000

Medium business

$1,500 to $5,000

Big enterprise


  • Industry competition. The level of competition in a client’s industry largely affects SEO costs. If the client is vying for a top rank in a highly competitive field, like finance or e-commerce, ask to be paid more. It's because you'll create SEO strategies that outrank established competitors. Quora user Ben Bridges shares that the most competitive niches in SEO include digital marketing, technology, and health & fitness. Niche markets with lower competition need less work and incur lower SEO costs.
  • Current website health. The current health of a client’s website plays a crucial role. Quora user Arafat Rahman explains that site health is how well their website performs technical functions. This includes page speed, mobile friendliness, and ease of navigation. Websites with technical SEO issues, outdated content, or slow loading times will require more work. Fixing these problems should add to the overall SEO service cost.
  • SEO goals and timeline. A business’ SEO goals influence the price of the service. Ask your client what their aim is. Is it local SEO dominance or national visibility for specific keywords? The scope and timeline of their desired results affect the SEO strategy and its cost. SEO company Sprout Media Lab prices its national SEO package at $1,299 per month for starters. Aggressive goals with shorter timelines often require more resources and incur higher costs.

How Do You Calculate SEO Cost?

You calculate SEO cost by evaluating the needs and SEO goals of the company. You also need to consider the strategy required for implementation. This will include looking at the following aspects:

  1. Target audience
  2. Number of pages to optimize
  3. Target keywords and their starting rankings
  4. Advertisement cost

Entrepreneur Udit Goenka adds that you should look at the links you are going to build. Consider the cost of writers and the time you will devote to achieve SEO success. Computing the price of SEO services also involves evaluating the cost of a targeted return on ad spend. There are several SEO calculators online to help you estimate an SEO cost based on client needs. Below is an example of an SEO calculator from Upgrowth.

3 Red Flags To Avoid When Considering Monthly SEO Costs

Guaranteed rankings. SEO providers who promise specific rankings on SERPs are not trustworthy. Nathan Gotch, co-founder of Rankability & Gotch SEO Academy, explains that companies or Google employees do not control search rankings. There is an algorithm that analyzes every website on the internet. Every search term fluctuates in ranking positions. Nathan adds that this makes it unlikely to get specific results. Companies that give such promises only rely on black-hat SEO techniques. This can penalize the website.

PRO TIP: Focus on strategies that improve a client’s website health and user experience. This will improve organic ranking.

Unbelievably low prices. Rock-bottom prices indicate low-quality services. It may involve automated tactics or content spinning. These can negatively affect a website's reputation. Samuel Edwards, Chief Marketing Officer at SEO.co, says cheap SEO packages will give the impression that the provider lacks financial resources. Resources are important to address two critical SEO strategy elements: content and links. Low prices can also mean a generic SEO strategy. It may not fit a business’s specific needs.

PRO TIP: Provide the client with a breakdown of the services included in the package. Be clear on the services you'll provide. Basic services include keyword research, on-page optimization, content creation, and link building.

Lack of transparency. A reliable SEO company will be transparent about its pricing structure and services. For instance, Nick Stamoulis, Fractional CMO at Brick Marketing, illustrates how you can be transparent with the client for link building. In an article for Search Engine Journal, Nick says, "I like to outline a 6- or 12-month link building strategy for the site and review it with the site owner before we start any link building activities." He adds it "serves as a guideline and reference point for both my team and the client."

PRO TIP: Give clients detailed proposals. Outline the specific tactics, timelines, and performance metrics you'll use to measure success. 

Why Does SEO Cost So Much?

SEO costs so much because it is an ongoing strategy. Experts deal with constant algorithm changes. SEO is expensive because skilled professionals have technical skills. They devote time to keeping up with SEO trends. Search Engine Land reported that, on average, Google search is changing 13 times per day.

This Reddit user shares that the quantity of content needed to catch up with competitors causes high SEO rates. The number of quality links that need to be developed is a factor. SEO price also reflects the high ticket nature of the advertised product.

Is It Worth It To Pay for SEO Monthly?

Yes, it is worth it to pay for SEO monthly if you get good rankings. It's worth the investment if you improve click-through rates, backlinks, and page visits. SEO professionals can systematize website optimization to attract more clients. Hiring them is ideal for businesses that lack in-house expertise or resources for SEO.

You don't have to pay monthly for SEO services. You can hire a freelancer if you want to spend on an hourly basis. Some businesses pay for SEO per project. This depends on your needs, budget, and goals. You can do SEO on your own to save on ongoing costs. However, you need to have technical SEO skills. This lets you successfully launch dynamic and performing campaigns.

These Redditors stressed the importance of SEO as an ongoing investment. It's because many established companies will strive to outrank you. Plus, new search algorithm updates are also released regularly. A study by Semrush shows that fewer than 5% of websites can maintain first-page rankings for a year. These positions would fluctuate. Another Redditor mentioned hiring SEO professionals to continuously add keywords and update web content.

pay-for-seo-monthly 1-reddit
pay-for-seo-monthly 2-reddit

What is the Easiest Way To Earn With SEO?

Local lead generation is the easiest way to earn with SEO. You make money by making local niche websites and renting them out to business owners. While search engine optimization can be a lucrative opportunity for some, it requires significant time and effort. You need to do tons of research and strategizing to create a high-performing SEO strategy. Plus, you can't guarantee 100% success with your campaigns because of the volatile and competitive market.

Earning as an SEO service provider is challenging, whether freelance or through an agency. The State of SEO Report in 2024 reveals that one of the major causes of shifts in the SEO industry is the competition for talent. This is because of the industry's low barrier to entry. The other causes are AI and Google updates. These factors have pushed the competition much higher.

With local lead generation, you can narrow the competition by choosing a niche and local area. This geographic barrier helps you become an expert in a chosen locality. Then, you need to build a website and rank it organically on Google. You can then offer it for rent to local businesses. In local lead generation, you own these websites. You treat these websites as your digital assets. You have more control than having an SEO agency or working as an SEO freelancer. It is easier to keep clients because you own the leads. This lets you earn $500 to $3,000 per website per month.

Don't rely on a competitive industry to achieve business success and financial stability in 2024. Learn local lead generation and start earning passively.

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