How Much Should You Charge For SEO?

SEO Freelancers

A quick Google search reveals that the average SEO agency charges $75 - $150 per hour, and $1,500 - $3,000 per month.

Quite a hefty sum!

But as a freelancer, how much should you charge and how should you outline your SEO strategy? Before we get into pricing, let me give a quick word of advice on how you can secure more clients in SEO.

Specialize In A Certain Field

There are plenty of SEO jobs out there and you won't be limiting yourself much by specializing in one field. You can still apply for other ones, but the advantages of being a specialist is you have a deeper understanding of the industry and can write better content. Also, you'll have connections to outlets, webmasters and people in the field that you can outreach to.

If you're doing SEO in a brand new field, everyone is a stranger. So my advice is to focus on one field, study it hard. For me, I chose to do SEO for the crypto industry. I read books on blockchain technology. I read articles. I went on Reddit to study crypto marketing. And most importantly, I started to build connections in the industry.

Pricing For Beginners

If you're just starting out in SEO, have read some books on the topic and have a bit of hands-on experience with your own website, I recommend working for free to gain experience, or charging $0-$25 per hour until you can get 2-3 sites on your portfolio.

Target small local businesses. Those will involve mainly content creation, on-page technical SEO and some local citations. That should be enough to rank most businesses, but if you're feeling savvy, you can build a few high-quality backlinks along with a few nofollow ones.

Pricing For Intermediates

Once you have a few sites under your resume and have a track record of success, it's time to start charging decent money. If you don't have a track record of success ranking small local sites, then you need more practice.

But at this point, a fair amount is $50-$75/hour, although you could go slightly higher. At this price range, you can target local businesses and some low-competition international websites. Continue building your track record. Once you've worked on 10+ sites, you should be feeling confident to move on to the next tier:

Pricing For Experts

This is where you can start charging a respectable amount: $100-$150/hour. Since you have a track record of success, not only can you find clients, but clients should be coming to you through word of mouth.

If you aren't at this stage yet, then consider lowering your price. Working on 10 sites should get you plenty word of mouth... if you're doing it correctly and your clients are satisfied.

SEO Plan For Professionals

My SEO plan usually takes 3-4 months to implement and see results. Here's the outline of what I do:

First Month: Keyword Research. Create content for those keywords. Fix any current on-page issues. Do basic on-page SEO. Improve site speed.

Second Month: Finish any on-page optimizations that haven't been done in the first month. Create more content. Build citations or backlinks (depending on if the client is local or not)

Third Month: Build more backlinks. Do some PR and guest posting.

The third month is where things start to pick up.

Fourth Month: Re-evaluate your strategy. If your site isn't ranking high yet, ask yourself: is your content satisfying user intent? If not, refurbish the content. Build more backlinks.

Content that doesn't satisfy user intent will not rank well even if you have great backlinks (of course there are exceptions). 

Overall, if you're unsure of pricing and want me to have a look at your portfolio to see how much you're worth, drop me a line in the comments. 

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