How much should you pay for SEO in 2021? If you are new to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), it can be hard for you to determine the cost of SEO services. To make things worse, different pricing models such as hourly rates, fixed monthly retainers and fixed project costs, are widely used by service providers in the industry.

The many benefits of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) are known widely. From increased targeted site traffic – which can be converted into leads and more sales – to higher rankings in search results, enhanced brand visibility and awareness. SEO, when done correctly, can ensure the success of your business for years to come. And, with it, justify the cost incurred.

While price/cost should not be the biggest concern when it comes to choosing whether you should get professional SEO services, or not, it is definitely an important factor to keep in mind; especially for those working with limited budgets.

With that said, read on below to find out everything you need to know about the average cost of SEO services in 2021.

A Brief Roundup Of The Average Cost Of SEO Services

The cost of SEO services varies significantly; depending on the nature of services offered and the objectives involved. Here’s a brief breakdown of the average costs to expect in the UK.

The average hourly cost of SEO services varies from around £20 (for small service providers) to upwards of £250 when it comes to the largest SEO companies.

You can also expect to pay anything from just under £200 to more than £7,000 for monthly packages. According to available data, the median cost of monthly packages is around £2,000.

SEO services offered on a per-project basis may cost anywhere from £2,000 to £4,000 for each project. However, you can also find some service providers charging upwards of £7,000 per project.

In some cases, the cost of SEO services may be based on results including, higher rankings and customer sign-up and/or sales numbers. This type of pricing is normally used where SEO services are offered in combination with PPC campaigns.

How Is The Cost Of SEO Services Determined? (Different Pricing Models)

From the above, you should have a general idea of the average cost of SEO services. However, SEO service providers use different pricing models to determine the cost of their services. To give you a clearer idea of what to expect, here’s a detailed breakdown of the most widely used pricing models. With this information you will be able to identify the model that is most suitable to your mode of financing.

Hourly Rates

Considered to be the most flexible – in terms of financing and the nature of the work that can be done – this pricing model is commonly used by small and medium sized and owner operated agencies, as well as freelancers. With this model, the client enjoys a lot of freedom when it comes to specifying the nature of the work to be conducted (areas of focus) as well as the budget to be spent.

As previously mentioned, hourly rates can run from as low as £20 to over £250.

Fixed Monthly Retainer

SEO services are to be provided for a set period of time – mostly a few months at least. The entire cost of all the work to be conducted during the entire contract period is divided into fixed monthly payments. This monthly cost is calculated using a set hourly rate and a given number of hours of work per month. This pricing model is normally used by both large and small SEO agencies.

Since this model is mostly used for larger SEO projects, most contracts run for three to six months; thus, making it possible for both the client and service provider to gauge the effectiveness of the efforts made, as results can be seen after a few months.

Depending on the size of the project and the level of work to be done, monthly costs may start from lower than £300 to upwards of £10,000.

Per Project Pricing

Many large and medium sized SEO agencies price their services per project. To determine the cost to be charged, agencies normally start by defining the requirements of the project, before dividing the job into distinct work elements – whose cost is based on hourly or daily rates. A variety of additional factors may also be considered before arriving at the final project cost, such as operational costs and the service provider’s profit margin among others.

Bespoke Package Pricing

If you have a clear idea of the services you need to enhance/optimize your presence on major search engines (such as Google), then a bespoke package, which comes with its own specific price is might be a better fit for you.

To ensure that you only spend what you want, you can specify the nature and type of SEO services you want to be included in the package. More importantly, you can even ask the service provider to give you a detailed rundown of what is included in the package (or each service) to ensure that you only pay for what you need.

Results/Performance Driven Pricing

Some services may offer performance driven pricing for their SEO services. However, unless the SEO services in question include an aspect of Pay-Per-Click advertising then such claims might be misleading. It normally takes a while for SEO efforts to start yielding any sort of results (increased organic traffic); and if anyone is saying that they can offer results overnight, they are simply lying or plan on using nefarious strategies that are bound to put your site/business at risk; and do more harm than good.

Average SEO Costs Depending On Type Of Service Provider

The average cost of SEO services can also vary depending on the type of service provider you choose.


For small businesses that only have a small budget to work with, a freelancer charging around £20 per hour or £350 monthly, can be a good fit.

However, it is important to note that while an individual might be able to deliver on smaller goals, it’s unlikely that they will have access to the skills and resources needed to deliver more demanding goals/objectives.

Small SEO Agencies

Normally made up of a number of people (anywhere between two and ten), small SEO agencies offer highly specialized SEO services (as dictated by the shared pool of skills and knowledge between the individuals).

Hourly rates starting from around £50 and/or monthly packages starting from around £500 to around £2,000 are the norm, when it comes to such service providers.

One of the main drawbacks of small agencies is their limited resources and sharp focus on SEO services, which ignores other important digital marketing channels.

Medium Sized Agencies

Made up of a larger pool of highly skilled individuals, medium sized agencies have more resources and can handle larger SEO projects. With more people on the payroll, these agencies can afford to divide their workforce into different teams of people specialising in various SEO and digital marketing disciplines.

These agencies normally use daily rates (of around £500) to determine the total cost to charge customers (with a minimum of at least £2,000 per project). Furthermore, some extra costs may be charged depending on the project requirements.

Large SEO Agencies

Normally focused on serving the biggest clients (think top brands) that only want to see results and are not necessarily focused on the cost, large SEO agencies charge the highest prices.

With these agencies, single project SEO costs normally go beyond £10,000 in most cases.


Search Engine Optimization services can transform your business, and lead to long-term success. While the huge variations in the cost of SEO services may make the work of choosing a service provider harder for most clients, They also make it easier for you to find a suitable option that matches your needs and budget as well.