What Marketing Agencies Don’t Want You to Know

Before Choosing an SEO Agency, Make Sure You Know What You're Paying For

If you were to call 5 SEO agencies, you would probably receive 5 very different quotes.

“Why does the cost of SEO range so drastically?”

I frequently get asked this question. I understand that it can be confusing.

It seems like everyone offers the same services, but prices seem to vary from a few hundred to thousands of dollars depending on the company.

Well, let me stop you there.  Not all SEO is created equal.

Let’s dive into the real reason behind pricing and you can expect from each level of service… and what to avoid!

0 – $800 per Month


Be wary of this kind of SEO agency – they are generally overseas and produce low quality SEO.

  • Company uses spammy/blackhat SEO tactics. This puts your website at risk for being blacklisted by Google, which will result in Google reducing your rankings or even completely removing your website from its search engine results.
  • Very little is actually being done on a month-to-month basis to optimize your website for search engines.
  • Most small business using this kind of company pay for several months and see very little return on their investment before quitting.

This company’s business model isn’t result-focused. Instead, they are focused on selling SEO packages. Watch out for automated tools that this company claims to use – some may be against Google’s guidelines and could get you blacklisted.

Recommendation: Stay away from companies like this. You will end up wasting money with very little return. Moving forward with a plan like this is how most small businesses get burned.  You are better off investing your money elsewhere if you cannot afford a reputable company.


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$800 – $1600 per Month


This is typically a freelancer or a very small business with a home office that produces average quality SEO.

  • The person managing your SEO campaign will know the foundations of SEO, and this is okay if you’re just getting started with SEO. Expect to see moderate returns the higher the cost within this budget range.
  • On a monthly basis, the SEO agency may write 1-2 blogs per month that are low quality, email you confusing reports, and make small SEO changes to your website every few months. You will have meetings, although infrequent, to go over what work is actually being completed.
  • Most businesses move on to another agency or strategy after 1-2 years in order to see more aggressive results from their campaigns.

This company will do decent work, but have limited resources due to being typically understaffed. They won’t be able to spend adequate time on your account to achieve the results you’re looking for.

Recommendation: SEO agencies in this price range are a gamble. You could win or lose in regards to seeing the results you are hoping to achieve.

I recommended thoroughly researching the SEO agency and results they’ve provided for their clients.  Get a detailed list of what will be done every month on your website (and hold them to it!).


$2,000 – $3,500 per Month


This SEO agency typically has 5-15 employees with several years of experience in SEO. They have a proven track record of generating results for their clients.

  • The quality and frequency of work increases with your budget – this company working on your SEO will know the latest techniques and Google updates to generate measurable results.
  • This agency should create 3-4 blogs/articles each month that range from moderate to expert quality, integrate social media accounts, make routine SEO changes to your website, pay attention to off-page SEO, and hold monthly meetings to explain their process based off accurate reports and leads generated from their efforts.
  • In this price range, the SEO agency should work more closely with your business to align your business goals in order to achieve the results you are looking for.

Recommendation: Choose an agency in this price range that will results in a well-funded campaign that is focused on generating great results for your business.

The agency should have several examples of successful SEO campaigns they manage. This is the average cost range for businesses that are serious about improving their SEO and generating more leads and sales.

$5,000+ per Month


This agency is typically large with 3+ employees possessing expert skills and years of experience working in SEO.  They have a proven track record in generating results and have worked with large “big-name” clients.

  • At this price, you should be receiving excellent SEO quality and top-notch service. The agency should know exactly what is involved in managing a successful SEO campaign.
  • On a monthly basis, the SEO agency should create 4+ expert quality blogs/articles, manage your social media accounts, implement SEO changes to your website, monitor off-page SEO, manage your online PR, and have monthly meetings to discuss their progress based off reports, emails, and leads their efforts have produced.
  • At this price range, the SEO agency should work more intimately with your business to help achieve the results you are looking for.

This agency has plentiful resources to get the job done.  They majority of their clients are large enterprises, with whom they work closely .

Recommendation: The most expensive isn’t always the best option. An agency that charges within this range usually has high overhead. So, in addition to SEO, you are often paying for lofty office spaces and free-lunch-Fridays. Be careful you’re not paying more for the same service and results you could receive from an agency within the $2,000 – $3,500 range.

Regardless of which type of agency you take a chance on hiring, make sure they all do what is best for your business and your SEO campaign. Let’s look at the most important aspects of a successful SEO campaign:

3 Critical Elements Your SEO Campaign Should Have

3 elements of seo


  1. Monthly Meetings – These are important because you need to understand what is going on with your campaign. You should have an understanding of what your agency is doing every month and the results that are being generated from their efforts. Don’t let them slip under the radar.
  2. Lead tracking – Your agency should be able to track leads/sales from their SEO efforts. Tracking website phone calls, contact forms submitted and sales (for ecommerce sites) specifically from SEO is important. This is the only way you’ll know if your investment is paying off.
  3. Content is king – Google said it themselves – Content trumps SEO. You are not getting the best results from your SEO campaign if your agency isn’t writing quality website content (web pages, blogs, articles, etc.) a few times each month. Ideally, your SEO agency should be writing 4+ content pieces per month that are at least 1,000 words in length. Creating fresh, engaging content is where most of your SEO agency’s time should be spent.

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