Search engine optimisation (SEO) is one of those things that every business wants for driving organic traffic, but no one really knows precisely how much SEO costs. You’re also probably here because you can’t look into SEO in-house and wonder how much it costs to hire a company that specialises in SEO.
If that’s the case, then let me clear up some misconceptions about this strategy and answer questions about related to how much does SEO cost in the UK once and for all! So let’s get started.
How Much Does SEO Cost in the UK: The Short Answer
The truth is that there’s no such thing as a fixed “SEO cost.” The price depends on how detailed your SEO strategy is and what you want to achieve through good SEO. So, ultimately, the cost of hiring an SEO company will vary depending on what type of services you need them for.
For example, if you just want them to take care of keyword research, it’ll cost much lower than planning and executing a link-building SEO campaign.
To give you an approximate estimate of the average SEO costs, the ballpark numbers are around £1,200 – £9,000 per month for an SEO agency and around £100 – £1,000 per hour for an SEO consultant.
The Different Pricing Structures for SEO Services
Before I jump to a more detailed answer about how much does SEO cost, you need to first understand how SEO services are priced—since there’s a different pricing structure for every SEO company and consultant. So, let’s jump right into the most commonly followed pricing structure.
One-Off Project Pricing (Per Project)
Some digital marketing or SEO agencies will charge you on a per-project basis. That means that at the beginning of an SEO project, you’ll agree with the consultant, SEO expert, or SEO firm on how much you want to pay to achieve a certain goal.
Once you reach this goal and get the desired results, you can complete the contract and move on to another project with a different goal. This is one of the expensive ways to outsource SEO because it requires multiple employees and departments—there needs to be someone who manages contracts, invoices, legal issues, and similar issues.
That’s why this type of pricing is common for ad-hoc tasks like guest posting, one-off link building projects, and so on.
Monthly Fixed-Rate Pricing (Per Billing Cycle)
Monthly packages are the most common type of SEO contract. This cost structure applies to a monthly retainer SEO package where you pay a particular company or SEO agency for their services every month until the contract is ended by either party.
Typically, it includes two things:
1. A monthly fee for a fixed number of hours on SEO and existing content marketing activities, such as carrying out keyword research, outreach, content generation/curation, and similar.
2. A comprehensive end-to-end package, including specialist support for prioritising tasks based on their importance and urgency; developing overall content marketing strategy; reviewing your current SEO efforts; providing SEO reports and data, and similar.
This type of service is popular with larger companies with a stable SEO budget because it provides more consistency and scalability than project-based pricing. It’s also ideal for companies with many websites because they can quickly scale their budget without hiring dozens of SEO consultants at once.
Besides, it’s convenient because you can plan ahead and prepare a budget for SEO activities. The disadvantage is that usually, the minimum term for such a contract is 12 months, which can be quite a long commitment for small businesses.
Hourly Pricing (Per Hour)
Some consultants and freelancers will charge their clients hourly rates instead of monthly retainer fees. An hourly rate is typically higher than the fixed monthly one because it’s based on how much work is needed.
That’s why hourly contracts are ideal for consulting work since most of the time, the customer needs to pay for the expertise of the SEO consultant rather than hours spent on a project—and there are absolutely no restrictions regarding the minimum term.
This type of pricing is less common. But it can potentially save you money if you are a small business with a limited budget because it’s only used for the actual hours needed. It’s also rarely adopted because SEO often requires long-term commitments to achieve results—so most SEO agencies are reluctant to work by the hour.
For that reason, hourly SEO pricing is popular with many small businesses and companies because they don’t have a stable and predictable SEO budget. It brings more flexibility and scalability to their business. So, if you’re a small business owner, you can definitely go for this plan!
Hybrid Pricing Structures
Lastly, you can also find SEO service providers who offer hybrid SEO pricing models. It’s possible to combine different types of SEO contracting in one project, depending on your goals and available budget.
Typically, this means that you get a monthly retainer for some activities, like SEO consulting and reporting, with additional hourly rates for other services offered.
This is often a preferred option because it offers more freedom than fixed-rate pricing while still giving some predictability. It’s also good if you have a small budget because you can just pay for the SEO activities that are most important to your business, rather than being forced into a long-term contract that includes many other services that you don’t need.
The disadvantage is that it’s harder to budget ahead and make plans because the total SEO costs of your projects are likely to fluctuate.
What Is the Average Cost for SEO Services: By Type
Now, with the overwhelming range of SEO services in the market, it’s difficult to tackle the question—how much does SEO cost in the UK?
To answer it succinctly, it all goes back to the old saying, “you get what you pay for.” In other words, it depends on the quality of the service you’re opting for, and here are the three types you’ll come across in the SEO industry.
As the name implies, cheap SEO is the cheapest service on the market with average SEO prices between £50 and £2,000 per month.
But it’s not exactly ideal if your goal is to get more traffic from potential customers and sales. Why? In most cases, the agency or company providing cheap services doesn’t have a reliable system or strategy in place. So, they’ll probably use outdated methods that won’t benefit you at all. It’s either that or they use black-hat techniques that go against Google algorithms.
You might get a few quick wins. But in the long term, you’ll see your ranking drop significantly. For the most part, if you choose a cheap agency or SEO professional, you’ll get low-quality SEO techniques with no long-term results—and that’s why I don’t recommend this at all, even for small businesses on a tight budget.
Mid-range SEO services are a little more expensive than cheap SEO, costing between £2,000 and £6,000 per month—but they’re also a much safer bet. SEO companies providing mid-range services know how to access and analyse your data to clearly define your business goals and set up a tailormade strategy for you.
In other words, your SEO provider won’t lose sight of your brand or strategy and you can rest assured that they’ll do everything in their power to meet those objectives. The good thing is that companies offering mid-range services don’t require any black hat methods because they follow Google’s (and other search engines) best practices.
However, as you might’ve guessed from the name, mid-range SEO services aren’t comprehensive— that is, they’re not suitable for businesses with very specific goals or complex websites. They’re more suitable for businesses with average or modest websites operating in low-competition industries.
These services tend to focus on optimising titles, descriptions, and URLs, improving internal linking, analysing competitors’ backlink profiles, auditing your website’s on-page SEO elements for errors, and more aspects relating to your website’s architecture and technical SEO.
Last but not least, you can get the highest level of SEO benefits by working with a high-end agency with comprehensive, professional SEO services. Now, how much does SEO cost in the UK? Well, the cost of SEO services in this range starts at £6,000+ per month, but they’re worth every penny because they provide pretty much everything you need to move your business up in SERPs.
These high-end agencies go through every element of the SEO process, including your website, content strategy, competitor’s backlink profiles, social media activity, technical SEO elements, and beyond. They also provide additional recommendations to boost your business’s progress, such as content strategy and social media management.
These experts know how to deal with highly competitive industries and develop a customised strategy depending on what you’re trying to achieve and who your target audience is—and navigate them to you accordingly using Google Search Console and Google Analytics.
Given the level of expertise available in this SEO service, you can expect results that’ll last several years. The more the financial investment, the more organic traffic and sales through more customers you can get. So, remember that high-end SEO is definitely worth it if your business has the budget for it.
The Bottom Line
By now, it’s evident that the answer to the question of “how much does SEO cost in the UK” is completely dependent on the type of services you’re looking for.
To recap, if you want low-cost SEO, be prepared to work with unreliable SEO agencies or freelancers whose strategy will do more harm than good to your website in the long term. Choosing well-established mid-range SEO services (from £2,000 per month) will fetch you reliable and sustainable results to help your website consistently rank higher in SERPs.
If you want comprehensive SEO services to produce long-term results for your website, then premium and high-end agencies are the way to go—but they’re also the most expensive option.
Keep in mind that these are just average SEO costs and that SEO prices will vary depending on your business goals. In the end, it’s up to you to decide which type of offerings will be most beneficial for your business!
For the most part, you’ll get what you pay for. So, if you’re looking to grow your business through SEO services, it’s best to invest in reliable and comprehensive services that offer SEO success for the long term to make your business succeed.