How Much Does SEO Cost?

As an overall budget, businesses should invest at least 5% of annual revenue on just SEO.

  • If you are spending less than $10,000 for the year, you should have your SEO company do the work in a two month time period. They will unlikely do actual search engine optimization otherwise.
  • If you are spending less than $20,000, have them complete the work in 3 months.
  • If you are spending over $20,000 you should likely stretch the budget over the course of the year. With this type of investment, you will gain from the longer term relationship and make improvements based upon success or change recommendations from data.

With organic search results, it really depends on how much value this type of traffic can bring to your business and how many different marketing channels you are investing in. Some businesses just do SEO while others run paid ads, social media, radio and more.

If I were a teacher in a classroom and asked how much should be spent on marketing for a small business, I would have to stop and ponder, then give the following answer –

About 10 to 15 percent of revenue should be spent on marketing.

That is the short answer. Easy, wrapped in a bow, done.

Business doesn’t occur in a classroom though. For a small business that is looking to bring in $250,000 their first year, it can almost come as a shock to the system to realize you will need to put up $35,000 in marketing for one year.

In some cases it is almost unavoidable to do so. If you are opening a divorce law practice in Chicago, it would be near impossible to expect leads without investing in online advertising and SEO. Legal Practices and digital marketing go hand in hand nowadays.

What are SEO Companies are Charging for

I can only speak on what I provide and here is the breakdown.


There is time that goes into setting up tools, receiving passwords, gaining access to needed online resources, etc. There is also a process of getting an intake of client goals and objectives are from stakeholders within the company and confirm exactly what your business should rank for.


Gaining a historical understanding of the domains, company history, data from past reports and more takes time. Once this process is complete, an strategy and work plan can be formulated and executed.


If you are not having actual conversations with your SEO company, you are likely not getting nearly the benefit of the relationship that you should be.

Website Content Improvements

Based upon the plan, pages can be evaluated to determine which require improvements, which ones need to be merged or removed and what pages need to be created that do not yet exist.

Technical Onsite Improvements

These can be as simple as image file sizes are too large to a new website is needed because it is not mobile friendly. Google and the other search engines have requirements to make it easier for them to crawl and index websites. We make sure we abide by these best practices when possible.


Other websites linking to your build up a profile in the search engine algorithms. We spend time trying to deliver these backlinks to strategic pages on your website.


You need to be able to see the results of these efforts.

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