In the field of digital marketing, SEO or search engine optimization seems to be frequently misunderstood. It’s not some type of magic trick that will immediately take you on top of Google ranks. It actually consists of practices and norms which need to be observed.

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When it comes to budget, you might be looking out for affordable SEO companies. Depending upon the SEO professional services they cater and experience, pricing differs. Generally speaking, SEO Projects costs anywhere between $500 to $2500 per month. Hourly rates start from $50 and more. A one-time SEO Project cost falls between $5000 – $25,000.

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Does your website never seem to move up in the search results? Are you tired of sending email after email to website owners and bloggers asking for a link, only to be ignored or told “no” after all your hard work?

If you’re getting tired of paying your SEO company hourly fees for colorful reports and promises of higher rankings without any real results, you’re not alone. Every year, hundreds of thousands of businesses spend big money to buy backlinks for SEO without any results at all.

Whether you’re a business owner looking for better rankings for your small business website, a freelance SEO consultant doing work for a client, or an employee at a large company interested in increasing traffic from organic search, it’s very important that you know one thing:

The reason your website isn’t moving up Google’s search engine rankings for its target keywords isn’t you. It’s that you’re spending your SEO budget on the wrong things.

If you want to fully understand how SEO marketing operates, keep reading below. We also further discussed its importance to your business.

SEO: What Is It  & how does it work?

SEO is an organic way of driving targeted traffic to your website through Google, Bing, and Yahoo search engine results. Let’s say you search for a particular keyword in Google, your website should be on top of the first page of the search engine result. Your website will get a higher position on the result page when you optimize it more.

In other words, SEO is a marketing strategy that helps you improve the bulk and quality of your website’s traffic. As Google works toward ranking high-quality websites, it’s also safe to say that SEO works as a quality control for websites to make quality structure and content.

SEO can’t be accomplished overnight. It entails a series of steps to improve the rank of your website on search engines and thus achieve free organic traffic flow from multiple search inquiries. By steps, we mean that you’ll notice good results once you follow every step.

For better understanding, let’s break down the meaning of SEO in three phrases:

1. A marketing strategy: Your marketing efforts will produce the best results if you understand SEO. An optimized website can increase organic traffic and produce leads. When writing content, make sure that it relates well to your audience.

2. A technical job: Finding out the best practices of SEO is crucial if you want to get ahead with the competition. People that are experts in SEO are on demand because they bring a high return on investment (ROI).

3. An interesting subject: Making very good content and producing leads is actually quite astonishing. You need to be updated with the new algorithm changes and keep up with the progress of SEO.

So, how do the search engines rank your website? They use a unique algorithm to calculate various factors, such as page speed, content quality, and mobile device accessibility. Other algorithmic factors are:

  • Keywords
  • Website composition
  • User experience
  • URL structure of your website and pages
  • Links to other websites
  • Quality of images

If you want to improve your SEO ranking, avoid using the automatically generated content. You should start making pages with original content and stop participating in link schemes. The simplest way to implement SEO is to create pages mainly for users.

Why Does SEO Matter?

  • Cost Effective – SEO has been proven to be one of the most cost effective forms of online marketing, delivering a higher return over time. Compared to outbound marketing strategies, like cold-calling, SEO is an inbound strategy that targets the right audience who’re actively searching for your product or service on the internet. This helps you cut down the cost of generating leads and qualified traffic.
  • Increase Brand Awareness– SEO can make your brand stronger, better and well recognized. People should find you at the top of search results. Getting the top spot on search engine result pages can mean more exposure for your site. It also helps users link the targeted keywords to your brand. Since it’s commonly assumed that companies on the first page are credible, you can foster trust with your potential and existing customers.
  • Drive Sales – Today, more sales offline are driven by research initiated on the Web. Open the flood gates and traffic keeps flowing.Whether your website is e-commerce or not, SEO offers measurable results that can be easily tracked. You can monitor almost each strategy aspect, including traffic, leads, and conversions. Comprehensive analytics can help you determine the demographic data and other user metrics.For e-commerce websites, SEO can help you see the routes customers take to complete a sale. It even helps you determine which keyword they used to search for your website before buying. For other websites, you can compute the value of your SEO strategy by determining the lead conversions.
  • Targeted Prospects – SEO can attract targeted prospects to your website and increase conversion rates by delivering the exact solution to problems they are facing. Landing on the top 5 results of the search engine page can help increase targeted traffic to your website by getting the majority of the clicks. More clicks mean more leads to sales. Your website is more likely to appear higher on the search engine page if you use relevant keywords in making title tags and meta descriptions.Actually, most people don’t go to the second page of the search engine. There’s a higher possibility that you make another search terms rather than going to the second page. According to statistics, about 75% of people never made it to the second page of search results.

How Much Does Good SEO Cost?

While the benefits of good SEO are clear, the cost of accomplishing an SEO strategy can vary significantly depending on the goals of the company and the type of strategy being implemented. No matter what your budget, the costs associated with promoting SEO should be viewed as an investment for your business and with any investment, you should be concerned with building the best possible ROI.

Choices can include hiring an SEO specialist or team internally, or contracting an SEO agency. Here are a few points to consider with each:

  • Internal Hires: Hiring an internal SEO specialist or team will be more expensive upfront due to training costs, but if you have a larger organization or a long list of strategies to implement, this is an option that you can consider for the long term. When finding the ideal candidate, note that they should have a wide range of skills that should include: link building, technical SEO understanding, content marketing, social media know-how, and an analytical mindset. However, this can get very expensive and it is not uncommon for a veteran SEO to make over $100,000. In addition, you’ll generally need to hire a team to handle all of your SEO needs and not put all the responsibility on one employee.
  • Content Marketing Agencies: These agencies often offer SEO services as an add-on to their other service offerings, but since SEO is not their primary focus, you should ensure that they have the technical know-how prior to contracting. SEO costs associated may be more expensive, because their SEO services could be bundled within content marketing packages, but this can be an excellent option if your business is looking to accomplish a variety of marketing goals concurrently.
  • Dedicated SEO Firms: Firms solely focused on SEO, generally have the most industry experience as they tend to consistently use and practice the latest SEO techniques every day across different industries. Some bigger firms employ large staffs with specialists in many areas, which can help ensure that they can solve your SEO challenges.

In addition, these firms often offer a variety of services and pricing options to cater to the needs of your company, such as monthly contracts, project-based contracts, and hourly consultations. This option may be better if you are handling very technical, individualized, project-based, or ongoing SEO specific needs.

Monthly Retainers

This is perhaps the most popular pricing model and the cost increases with the needs of your organization.

– (Sub $500/mo):

Most companies that work in this price range automate a lot of their link building, use overseas labor for content, and only do basic on-site technical work.

This might work for a local pizza shop looking to rank for their name and show up in local listing sites like Yelp and Google Local, but if your goal is to rank for a keyword that has competition, this isn’t the route you want to go.

– ($1,000-$5,000/mo):

Smaller companies with low to medium competition and less complex websites can usually get by with paying this amount, but should understand that prices at the lower end of this scale could indicate inexperience or a lack of proven results. SEO requires consistent quality content creation, high-quality link building, and a strong focus on optimizing conversions, usability, and accessibility; it’s difficult to find all of these services, correctly performed, at the lower end of this scale unless you are working with an agency that has been in business for a while and knows how to produce quality at scale.  Hiring a smaller company or individual at this rate can also be effective, but there are usually tradeoffs with quality or the amount of work that can be done every month, and it can be very difficult to find and vet those individuals.

– ($5,000-$10,000+/mo):

In this price point, you can expect to find more established SEO companies with a proven track record of success in competitive markets. This price point can often give your company access to a dedicated SEO team that employs professional copy editors, content managers, conversion specialists, web development experts, link outreach specialists, account executives, and analytics experts that will ensure success and give you the support you need.

– ($10,000-$20,000+/mo):

Companies with ambitious goals tend to work at this level with an SEO partner that manages the entire process from start to finish. Not only does your business get access to a senior SEO team at this budget, but this investment is likely to drive substantial results since the entire project is well-funded, providing more opportunities for your search partner to perform.

If the market you are trying to dominate has lots of competition, you can expect to make this type of investment for at least the first year or two. In fact, it’s not uncommon for companies to spend well over $100,000 a month on SEO if they are targeting the most lucrative keyword spaces.

À La Carte and Fixed Price Contracts (Contract Dependent):

Your SEO needs will vary depending on where you are with SEO today, the size of your site, your competition, and your goals. Contracted services include: link profile audits ($2500-$7500) or higher depending on size of link profile,  SEO/Website Audits ($1000-$3000) or higher depending on the size of the site and the depth of the audit, link building  ($250-$2000 per link) depending on the quality and the tactic, per page optimization and implementation ($100-$250), and copywriting ($0.75-$1.00/word).

For example, if you have a solid strategist on staff and the resources for excellent copywriting and content, but your technical and link building capabilities are lacking, hiring an à la carte service may be the most effective solution.

Hourly Consultation ($100-$300/hr):

If you are considering working with an SEO consultant, you should expect to spend over $100 an hour for a professional worth your time that can generate results for your business. Certainly this price point will vary on the competitiveness of your market, but you should be wary of any consultant that seems “too good to be true.”

Remember, working with an SEO specialist is an investment and you shouldn’t cut corners, look for a consultant with a proven track record and attention to deliver the performance that you need. There are cheaper consultants out there, but they tend to be much less experienced and will likely take longer to get results, if they ever do.

Employee Costs ($50-120k+/yr):

Your organization may have ongoing needs that require specific attention that can only be handled internally, in this occasion, hiring an SEO strategist or manager may be the best option. SEO employee salaries, not unlike other salaries, range primarily on experience level and geographic location.

For example, an SEO director for a large tech company in San Francisco can make upwards of $200,000 a year. To get a better idea of what you should pay, search for SEO specialists using career sites such as Indeed or Glassdoor for your specific area.

Some of these solutions may not fit within your budget or be correct for every business, but remember that any options you choose should generate results based on your goals and over time produce a positive ROI.

Keep in mind the caveats that we mentioned above. In many cases it makes sense to have an SEO or marketing manager on staff, but if your goals are hefty, you can expect that your manager is going to need to outsource some of the work. That is especially true with Web copy and link building, since those tasks tend to be very specialized and time consuming.

How Much Does Link Building Cost?

Authority is a pillar of search engine optimization strategy and high-quality links give your site authority. While link building will likely be a part of the retainer model as we discussed above, we are frequently asked how much link building costs on its own. So let’s explore!

Like with retainers and hourly models, there is no precise answer to how much you’ll pay. Your overall investment depends on your industry, competitiveness, history and how fast you want to grow. This will all inform how many links you’ll need monthly.

Ok, so how much does a link cost then, you’re probably asking yourself.

You can find in-content, off-page links for $5 all the way up to $1,000 per link. So just go with the cheapest, right? Wrong! Links, even of the same domain authority (DA) aren’t apples-to-apples.

Here’s generally what you can expect from different pricing tiers:

  • $5 – $100 per link
    Run, do not walk, away. Good link building requires manual outreach, which requires a ton of time. Someone charging cheap prices is either scamming you completely or tapping into a private blog network (PBN), which can lead to a penalty. Expertise is also a concern at this level — even if they do manual outreach and avoid PBNs, it’s easy for an inexperienced link builder to make a mistake, like over-optimizing keywords.
  • $101 – $250 per link
    Be wary of link quality at this price range. Smart scammers will set their prices slightly higher, but still post to PBNs. That’s not to say everyone falling in this range is intentionally reckless or scamming you. However, it’s important to realize that at this price range, they’re not likely taking the time to create a strategy, monitor uptimes and track real results. They’re also likely putting you on lower quality sites.
  • $251 – $500 per link
    Now we’re talking! But don’t just jump on board because they’re charging enough to seem reputable. You should be looking for a company that creates a custom strategy for you, does manual outreach, uses a variety of tactics, avoids PBNs, guarantees uptimes and provides you with reports on real results. Yes, this is a huge range, but that’s for a good reason. Natural-looking backlink profiles have sites with a range of DAs, and higher DAs require more effort to earn.
  • $501+ per link
    At this price, you should expect the highest DAs, such as media placements, from a reputable company with all the elements discussed in the previous tier.

Avoid Shortcuts. Hiring the Right People for the Job

Quit asking “how effective is low-cost SEO service?” Rather, ask yourself how you can maximize your SEO efforts to improve ranking and website visibility. Yes, this may entail time and money; however, in the long run, it’s all going to pay off.

Think about the time and money you will be wasting when you take shortcuts. Imagine all that money and time going down the drain because Panda and Google Penguin have blocked your website.

Look for experienced SEO gurus who will be with you for the long haul; SEO, as well as social media efforts, takes time. Apart from that, there may be revisions, improvisations, and additions in the future.

Ideally, SEO experts have had extensive experience in keyword generation, Google Analytics, web development, and social media labor.

Be wary of SEO amateurs who offer thousands of social media followers overnight. They may not be able to establish and communicate the brand that your company has. Followers are gained through effective and meaning strategies, such as having quality posts, addressing questions, attending to complaints, and eliciting feedback. There are other social media strategies, too, like contests, which would need a trusted administrator.

Imagine how much more it would cost you to redeem your website reputation. Now, that is going to be more costly compared to investing on good SEO tools and reliable professionals to handle the job for you, don’t you think?

Are We A Good Fit?


No matter what stage your company is at, working with growth marketing consultants can help you improve your customer acquisition strategy and grow revenue with performance-based digital marketing services. Our marketing consulting pricing starts at $700/month and is fully customizable to your company’s needs.

Our Technical SEO Services Includes:

  • Keyword Research
  • Web Presence Assessment
  • Page Title & Metadata Tag Development
  • Paragraph Headings & Content Optimization
  • Image File Name & ALT Attribute Planning
  • Internal Link Building
  • And more…

Our Off-Page SEO Services Includes:

  • External link analysis
  • Competitive Research
  • Link Building
  • Digital Marketing
  • Pay-Per-Click Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • And much more…

Whether you’re in need of local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services or have a nationwide target market, we will provide the optimal mix of  SEO services. Through this process we can help you gain a much-needed advantage over your competition.

The first step toward building a dominant web presence is ranking well for the keyword terms your prospective customers use in finding you in major search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing. From technical SEO optimization for your website to keyword and competitive research to link building, 1-stSEO can help you implement a comprehensive SEO and digital marketing strategy that will help you outrank your competitors in the search results.

Customized SEO Services For YOUR Small Business

At 1-stSEO, we don’t offer cookie-cutter SEO packages. Every business is unique. The SEO services we provide are specifically designed to meet the needs of your business and help you better target your prospective customers online.

What works for a business in one niche may not work for a business in another. The strategy for targeting a local market differs greatly from the strategy for targeting a nationwide market.

That’s why we create a customized SEO strategy based on the needs of your business, your target audience, your business goals and your budget. Our goal is to provide you with affordable search engine optimization services that offer you the best possible ROI without breaking the bank in the process.

SEO is an investment, not just a business cost. Our affordable SEO services that are customized to your business needs can help you find the solutions that will contribute to your success now and in the future.

Our commitment to truly understanding the ins & outs of your business makes 1-stSEO different. There are a lot of companies offering SEO services that don’t.  That lack of understanding results in myopic and one-dimensional task-based SEO solutions that ultimately do little to impact their clients’ bottom line revenues.

We will understand your “big picture” and actively work with you to help grow your business through the services we provide. We don’t just “do SEO.”

How Do We Help you Rank?

Our approach is constantly change for incremental gains

  • Buyer Intent Keywords

    Our SEO marketing agency analyzes and audits the top pages in search engines, identify the theme keyword used on their content, and use those theme keywords again search result with the high percentage of ESSENTIAL theme words.

  • Meaningful Metrics

    If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. We customize a state-of-the-art digital dashboard to monitor our marketing campaigns to see organic search traffic and online marketing efforts.

  • Connection with your sales

    Our digital marketing initiatives take feedback from your sales efforts. Our strategy keeps improving as we fine-tune tactics to meet your goals and decrease the cost overtime on the pay per click.

Professional SEO Services & Proven SEO Strategies

We’ve helped many small businesses reach many goals, from improving their search engine rankings for a variety of target terms to improving conversion rates and increasing sales revenues.

No matter what your small business goals are, we can help you achieve them by developing and executing a targeted strategy to help you build a strong web presence through proven SEO techniques, digital marketing, email marketing pay-per-click advertising and social media efforts that build trust with the search engines and prospective customers alike.

We deliver increased organic traffic from search engines with proven and stable methods resulting in more customers to your business.

Contact us today! We look forward to helping your business grow.

Why Our SEO Services

We provide more tools and more support to help deliver better SEO and faster results. We own our technology and have designed a platform that’s easier to work with. Our SEO services are completed in-house by our own team of search engine experts. Our clients love working with 1-stSEO because we offer complete transparency. Not only will you get results, you will also learn how we do it. We don’t just provide you suggestions, we do everything at our end.