SEO costs can be tough to wrap one’s head around. One SEO agency might charge peanuts, while another asks you to pay a king’s ransom. Having worked on both sides of the table, agency-side and in-house, for a large brand and later founding a digital marketing agency, I understand how overwhelming and complicated SEO costs can be.
A short backstory. Several years ago, I worked for a well-known digital marketing agency in Australia. After some time had passed, I decided to work in-house for an Australian fintech company with a billion-dollar valuation, whereby I managed their SEO campaign in Australia and later ran their entire international SEO campaign from London.
Missing Australia and wanting to settle down, I decided to move back to Melbourne. Fast forward some time, then I founded Aperitif Agency, a digital marketing agency specialising in providing customised search engine optimisation (SEO) growth strategies for small, medium and large-sized businesses in Australia.
In my 10+ years of SEO experience working in the digital marketing industry, I understand how complicated things can be when it comes to SEO costs. That’s because the costs vary so much when choosing an SEO provider.
I’ll explore not only why but also how SEO costs vary. In this guide, I’ll draw on my unique observations from working in-house for brands and my personal experiences working at SEO agencies.
Not only is this guide meant for anyone looking to find out how much SEO costs in Australia for the first time. But it’s also helpful for those who want to make better-informed decisions about their digital marketing investments.
What are the different types of SEO agencies?
Many service providers offer comprehensive packages. These packages often include a detailed plan outlining the tactics and strategies the specialists will implement to improve your site’s SEO performance. There are 3 main types of SEO agencies offering SEO services:
- SEO-only agencies: Specialised agencies focus solely on SEO, offering services such as keyword research, link building, and content creation. They deeply understand ranking factors and how search engines work, making them ideal for businesses paying for targeted SEO strategies.
- Digital marketing agencies: Agencies that provide a broad spectrum of digital marketing services, including SEO, social media marketing, and ads management. They can help with organic searches and paid search marketing, maximising your online visibility and driving more traffic to your site. Some of these services can be more experienced in SEO as their leading service, while others might be stronger in other aspects, for example, web design, conversion rate optimisation, or creating social media ads.
- Reseller agencies: Reseller agencies, also called “white-label agencies,” offer various services, from on-page SEO to link building and content management. Some of these can offer premium services at discounted rates to other SEO agencies, while others might completely off-shore all of their work. A business needs to be careful with reseller agencies as there can be a massive difference between the two.
Each type of agency will have a different pricing structure based on their service level and expertise. For instance, you can expect to pay more for experienced SEOs at an SEO-only agency than a reseller agency.
How much does SEO cost in Australia?
SEO, short for search engine optimisation, is a strategic approach to improve a website’s visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Search engine optimisation involves a combination of technical adjustments, such as making changes to a page or website architecture, keyword research, SEO copywriting, and creating off-page strategies to improve search rankings.
In Australia, the SEO costs can vary quite a bit. Here is a breakdown of what you could expect to pay for SEO services on a monthly recurring basis:
|$500 for simple work
|$5,000+ per month
|$300 per article
|$2,000+ per article
|$300 per link
|$1,000+ per link
|Digital PR links
|$1,000 per link
|$3,000+ per link
|$2,000 per month
|$10,000+ per month
These SEO prices are based on my own unique experiences of having worked in the SEO industry for 10+ years and also meeting and talking directly with people who work at other SEO and digital marketing agencies.
In the above table, I’ve purposely excluded SEO audits from the list. That’s because most SEO agencies will provide these free of charge as an SEO audit acts as a mechanism to turn an agency’s cold sales leads into clients. That said, some SEO agencies will and do charge for these.
Typically, you could expect to pay a minimum of $1,000 for an SEO audit. If you are an enterprise company, you could expect to pay a lot more for complex and detailed SEO audits that require more time to investigate SEO issues thoroughly. But in most cases, if the SEO audit is awesome, then the price of this will definitely justify and pay for the costs.
The cost of SEO can also vary significantly depending on the industry. For instance, eCommerce websites may require more extensive SEO work, including product page optimisation and eCommerce website design, which can impact the overall SEO budget.
Regardless of the industry, a comprehensive SEO strategy should include technical SEO, content creation, and link building. Each element is critical in enhancing a website’s visibility in search results and attracting more organic traffic.
What factors influence SEO costs?
Investing in SEO can significantly benefit your business, from higher search engine results pages (SERPs) ranking to increased organic traffic and better conversion rates. With the right agency and a robust digital marketing strategy, you can enhance your online presence, boost your online sales, and grow your business.
Several key components play a significant role in determining the cost of SEO services, such as:
1. Business size and industry
Larger businesses or those in highly competitive industries may require a more extensive SEO strategy, leading to higher costs. For instance, a global corporation operating in a saturated market will likely need to invest more in SEO than a small business in a niche industry.
2. Website complexity
More intricate websites may necessitate more challenging technical SEO work. This includes website architecture, page load speed, mobile optimisation, and security features. The more complicated a website is, the more time and resources are needed to optimise it for search engines, increasing the overall cost.
3. Services required
The cost will also hinge on a business’s SEO needs: basic SEO, content management, or Google ads management. Different SEO tasks require different levels of expertise and effort. For example, keyword research and on-page SEO might be less expensive than link building or content creation.
4. An SEO agency’s expertise and team size
More seasoned agencies and SEO consultants may charge premium service rates. An agency can justify premium pricing if its experience has a proven track record in delivering successful SEO results. Likewise, if the SEO agency employs many people, they’ll have a lot of fixed hard costs because they’re constantly hiring and training staff.
5. The number of pages
The size of your website, in terms of the number of pages, can significantly impact the cost of SEO services. Optimising a larger site with more pages requires more time and effort, which can drive up the cost.
6. Link acquisition
Getting high-quality backlinks is a critical part of SEO, but it is also one of the most challenging and time-consuming tasks. Therefore, if a brand’s SEO strategy includes a lot of link building, which is quite common for insurance and fintech companies, then you could expect to pay more.
7. The current technical state of your site
If your website has numerous technical issues or wasn’t designed with SEO in mind, it may require significant work to make it search engine-friendly. This could involve improving site speed, making the site mobile-friendly, or fixing broken links.
8. Target location and its authority
The geographical area you’re targeting and your website’s authority in that area can also influence the cost of SEO. If you’re targeting a competitive area or your site lacks authority, it might require more effort and cost more.
9. The number of keywords a business wants to target
The number of keywords you want to rank for can also affect the cost. More keywords mean more optimisation efforts, which can increase the price.
10. SEO software and tools
The cost of SEO also factors in the various SEO tools and software an agency uses for keyword research, competitor analysis, tracking rankings, content optimisation, web scraping, and other tasks. An SEO company can spend north of $10,000 per month just on SEO tools alone.
What makes a good SEO agency?
When choosing an SEO company, it’s essential to consider the potential return on investment. While a cheap agency might seem appealing, it may not provide the same service or results as a more expensive provider. As with many things in life, with SEO, you often get what you pay for.
The cost of SEO can vary widely, from hourly rates to monthly retainers or project-based SEO pricing. This can depend on several factors, including business size, the complexity of your website, and the specific services you need.
For example, eCommerce websites can require more SEO work, like optimising 100s or 1000s of product page text, which can take a lot of time. But then, on top of that, getting those product pages to rank by building high-quality links to those pages plus creating a detailed content roadmap for their blog. In short, eCommerce SEO can be a lot of work for large sites.
A quality SEO agency will conduct comprehensive SEO audits to identify areas of improvement and develop a custom SEO strategy tailored to your business’s needs. This could involve various tasks, from content creation and link building to Google Ads management and tracking metrics through Google Analytics.
What are the benefits of hiring an SEO agency?
SEO can enhance your website’s visibility in organic searches, increasing web traffic and increasing sales leads. SEO is a cost-effective marketing strategy that often provides a high return on investment compared to other forms of online marketing, but it takes time to start seeing results.
Are there any downsides to hiring an SEO agency?
While there are numerous benefits to hiring an agency, business owners should be wary of any agency promising quick results. SEO is a long-term strategy, and it can take several months to see improvements in rankings.
The level of service can vary so much, making it unbelievably important to conduct thorough research and select a reputable and experienced SEO provider.
SEO is a valuable investment for businesses of all sizes and industries. While the cost can vary, the benefits, like increased visibility, more traffic, and higher sales, can make it a worthwhile addition to any digital marketing strategy.
Need help with SEO? Then, get in touch with Aperitif Agency today. Our experienced SEO specialists can create a custom strategy tailored to your business’s needs and goals. Contact us today to learn more about our SEO services and how we can help your business grow.