We all like to know we’re getting our money’s worth, don’t we?

That is especially true in business, as paying too much out and not getting much in return could leave you in a sticky situation.

However, when it comes to finding an SEO service, things can get particularly confusing.

A quick 10-minute online search will provide you with a wealth of SEO services being touted from as little as £20, to £10,000 a month.

So, what should you be paying?

How much SEO should really cost

It goes without saying, SEO services that come with a hefty price tag can be off-putting, making the cheaper deals seem more tempting than ever.

However, it’s worthwhile to bear in mind that when it comes to SEO, you really get what you pay for.

In other words, be wary of really cheap SEO, as more often than not, it’s probably not going to do much at the end of the day.

According to Website Magazine, the average monthly cost of SEO services is $750 (that’s just under £500).

At an hourly rate, you should expecting to be paying around £65.

However, as you’ll probably be aware, the actual cost of SEO can also vary depending on the different types of packages and services you use.

So, how do you work out which service is right for you, and which is ripping you off?

Work out the true value of SEO

My advice here is not to focus too much on cost; instead, try to think about the value an SEO service is going to bring to your business.

Take a close look at a few SEO company websites. What are they offering?

If they say they can increase your sales by 500 per cent, it’s probably too good to be true.

However, they should be able to demonstrate the value you’re going to get back from their services, and explain how they’re going to do it.

Remember, getting to the top of Google rankings isn’t necessarily the best SEO practice. Nor is simply directing a lot more traffic to your website. What you really want to know is how many more sales and leads the service is going to generate for you over the next 6 – 12 months.

You can’t always expect solid promises, as nothing is ever guaranteed, but a company should at least be able to give you a good estimate on the return of your investment.

Do your homework

If possible, really do your research before committing to an SEO company by looking at the company’s history, and any third party reviews online.

Don’t just check customer testimonials published on their website; actually speak to these previous customers directly and find out whether they’ve actually seen tangible results.

Next, interview the company.

To help you out a bit, here’s a checklist I’ve put together called ‘33 Questions you need to be asking an Edinburgh Digital Marketing agency’. These can easily be adapted and are exactly the sort of questions you need to ask an SEO company, before you commit to buy.

By asking the right kind of questions, you should be able to work out the true value of your investment, and whether the cost is justified.

The most affordable way to use SEO

It’s important to note here that SEO on its own won’t work – it needs to be part of a wider strategy – such as inbound marketing  – to actually be successful.

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on SEO for your business, my advice is to go it alone. Sounds scary, doesn’t it? It’s really not.

All you really have to do is spend time understanding the questions your customers are asking, and then write about them.

Inbound marketing 101

By regularly coming up with helpful, quality content that your customers will love (and adding some important keywords naturally within the text), you’ll be well on your way to coming up with a solid inbound marketing strategy.

At the bottom of each blog post or web page, you should have a call-to-action – whether it’s downloading an ebook, reading a brochure or booking an appointment – so that you move your customers through their buyer’s journey.

Use free SEO tools such as Google WebMaster Tools to analyse your website from a technical perspective and make sure you’re on the right track.

Finally, don’t forget to use social media effectively. Share your posts, but also get involved and interact as much as possible – it’s not just an advertising platform.

These are all things that will help you to grow your business.

Remember; if an SEO company can’t tell you what you’re going to get in return, in terms of leads and sales, don’t pay up.


The world of SEO can be a confusing one, with services ranging from as little as £20 to £10,000 a month. On average, you can expect to pay around £500 a month for SEO services, depending on the type you choose. However, in order to get a good return for your investment, you need to work out the real value you’re going to get from paying.

Really do your homework on an SEO company before you decide to buy. Check out the company’s history, look at third party reviews, and actually speak with previous or existing customers. When interacting with these companies, make sure you ask the right questions and that you know exactly what you’re going to get from your investment.

My rule: If a company’s main promise is to get you to the top of search rankings, run a mile.

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