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How Much Does SEO Cost in Australia? [2023 Price Guide] 💸

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  September 5th, 2023

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SEO services in Australia typically cost $1,250 to $3,500+ per month on average. For hourly SEO services, the rate generally falls between $51 and $160. It’s important to note that the cost of SEO can vary based on factors such as the level of competition in your industry. Additionally, hiring a highly skilled and experienced SEO expert may come at a higher cost.

In the below article, we will dive deeper into the intricacies of SEO pricing in Australia, providing you with a comprehensive understanding of the cost factors involved. From exploring different pricing models to considering the impact of industry competitiveness, we will equip you with the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions when budgeting for SEO services.

What is the Average Cost of SEO in Australia?

The most common pricing model for SEO in Australia is the monthly retainer model. SEO agencies typically offer different packages based on the level of service and the scope of work required. Here’s an overview of the average cost of SEO packages in Australia:

  1. Basic Packages: These entry-level packages are suitable for small businesses with limited budgets and low competition in their industry. The average cost ranges from $1,250 to $2,500 per month.
  2. Standard Packages: These packages are designed for businesses operating in moderately competitive niches. They offer a more comprehensive range of SEO services and typically cost between $2,500 and $5,000 per month.
  3. Premium/Enterprise Packages: These higher-tier packages are for businesses in highly competitive industries or those with larger websites and more complex SEO needs. The cost can range from $5,000 to $10,000 or more per month.

It’s important to note that these are average price ranges, and the actual cost may vary based on factors such as the size of the website, the competitiveness of the industry, the goals of the SEO campaign, and the reputation and expertise of the agency. It’s recommended to request detailed proposals and pricing from multiple SEO providers to get a more accurate understanding of the costs specific to your business.

See the graph below for an illustration of monthly SEO pricing in Australia:

What is the Hourly Rate for SEO in Australia?

According to Talent.com, the average hourly rate of SEOs in Australia is $46.15/hour. It’s worth mentioning that this number is based on the average salary range for people working for SEO companies – if you hire a freelancer or consultant to work directly for you, the rate they charge may be higher, depending on their experience and location. See the next section for SEO freelancing/consulting rates.

Image source: Talent.com

How much do SEOs charge per hour?

A 2023 survey in the SEO Community Australia Facebook group found that the majority (54%) of SEOs charge between $51-$160/hour. Only 19% charged less than $50/hour while $26% said they charge $200+/hr. Although there is a fairly narrow standard deviation (the majority of SEOs charging in the low $100s/hour), the huge gap between the bottom- and top-end providers highlights the breadth of expertise available in the Search Engine Marketing field.

Understanding Different SEO Pricing Models

📅 SEO Cost Per Month (Monthly Retainer):

In the SEO Cost Per Month model, the pricing is based on a fixed monthly fee for the SEO services provided. Here’s an overview of its pros and cons:

Pros:

  1. Predictable Budget: Clients have a clear understanding of their monthly SEO expenses, allowing for better budget planning.
  2. Comprehensive Services: SEO agencies typically offer a range of services within the monthly package, providing a holistic approach to optimization.
  3. Ongoing Support: Clients can expect continuous monitoring, optimization, and reporting throughout the month.

Cons:

  1. Fixed Commitment: Clients are committed to a fixed monthly fee, regardless of the actual workload or results achieved.
  2. Limited Flexibility: Changes in business needs or budget constraints may require adjustments to the package, which could lead to additional costs.
  3. Potential Overpricing: Some agencies may overcharge for their services without delivering the expected results.

⏱️ Hourly SEO:

In the Hourly SEO model, clients are billed based on the number of hours spent on SEO activities. Here are the pros and cons:

Pros:

  1. Flexible Engagement: Clients have the flexibility to engage SEO professionals as needed, allowing them to tailor the services to their specific requirements.
  2. Cost Control: Clients have more control over the SEO budget since they are billed only for the actual hours worked.
  3. Transparency: Hourly billing provides transparency, as clients can track the time spent on each task and the associated costs.

Cons:

  1. Uncertain Costs: Since hourly rates can vary, it may be challenging to estimate the total cost upfront, making budgeting more difficult.
  2. Limited Scope: Hourly engagements may not cover all aspects of SEO, as the focus is on specific tasks within the allocated hours.
  3. Potential Time Management Issues: Without clear monitoring and reporting, it may be challenging to ensure that the allocated hours are used effectively.

✍️ Pay-per-deliverable:

The Pay-per-deliverable model involves paying for specific SEO deliverables or milestones achieved. Here are the pros and cons:

Pros:

  1. Results-Oriented: Clients pay only when specific deliverables are met, such as achieving a certain ranking or completing a website audit.
  2. Clear Expectations: The pricing is based on predefined deliverables, providing clarity on what will be delivered and at what cost.
  3. Risk Mitigation: Clients have more control over their investment, as payment is contingent upon the successful completion of agreed-upon milestones.

Cons:

  1. Limited Flexibility: The pricing model may not account for unforeseen changes or additional optimisation needs that may arise during the engagement.
  2. Potential Disputes: Differences in the interpretation of deliverables or disagreements on the completion of milestones may lead to conflicts between the client and the SEO provider.
  3. Focus on Short-Term Results: Pay-per-deliverable models may incentivize agencies to prioritise quick wins over long-term strategies, potentially compromising sustainable SEO efforts.

🔎 Pay-per-keyword:

In the Pay-per-keyword model, clients pay for specific keywords they want to target or rank for in search engine results. Here’s an overview of its pros and cons:

Pros:

  1. Targeted Approach: Clients can focus on specific keywords that align with their business objectives, improving the relevance of SEO efforts.
  2. Cost Control: Clients can allocate their budget according to the priority keywords they want to rank for, allowing for better cost management.
  3. Performance-Based: Payment is based on the success of achieving rankings for targeted keywords, ensuring a results-driven approach.

Cons:

  1. Limited Keyword Coverage: Paying for individual keywords may limit the overall scope of optimization, potentially overlooking the importance of broader keyword strategies.
  2. Keyword Competition: Highly competitive keywords may require more resources and effort, leading to higher costs for those specific terms.
  3. Keyword Volatility

What are the factors that determine SEO prices?

The following factors may influence the cost of your SEO campaign:

Project scope: How much technical work is required? How much content do you need? How much do you have already? Who will edit/upload new content on your site? How big is the website, and how many pages and keywords are there to work on? 

Competition: How many other websites are going after the same keywords as you are? How established and authoritative are they? How good at SEO are they? How generic/long-tail are your target keywords (the more long-tail, the less competitive they’ll be)?

Target region: Trying to rank #1 for a broad search term on a national level will almost always be more competitive than ranking locally, since you are increasing the amount of competition along with your potential audience size.

Website authority: How authoritative (well known, and referenced online) is your brand, and as a result how much/little link building is required? Does your website have any historical Google penalties, or negative SEO?

Number of keywords: the more keywords your website ranks for, the more traffic and clients you can attract. But each keyword needs to be catered for with optimised content as part of the larger strategy in order to rank.

Timeframes: Want to rank fast? There are two ways: 1) employ black-hat techniques (not recommended, or sustainable), or 2) make a larger upfront investment to fast-track your deliverables and results.

Extras: Is your SEO agency/freelancer doing anything on top of the technical, content and link building activities, as part of a broader digital marketing strategy? A few examples could include brand assistance, graphic design, Conversion Rate Optimisation, analytics & reporting, tracking setup, online reputation management, software/tools integration, email marketing or social media management? All of these things can add a ton of value to your brand, but require time, effort and investment.

All of these questions need to be answered during the client onboarding process for your SEO agency or freelancer to give you fair and accurate pricing.

National vs Local SEO

National SEO and Local SEO services are two different approaches to optimising a website for search engines. Here’s a succinct explanation of the differences and pricing considerations:

🌏National SEO:

  • National SEO focuses on optimising a website to rank well in search results on a national or global scale.
  • It targets a broad audience, regardless of their geographical location.
  • National SEO typically involves targeting competitive keywords with high search volumes and implementing strategies to increase visibility and organic traffic on a broader scale.
  • Pricing for national SEO can be higher due to the increased competition and the larger scope of the target audience.

🏪Local SEO:

  • Local SEO aims to optimise a website for local search results, targeting a specific geographic area.
  • It focuses on attracting local customers by optimising the website, managing online listings, and leveraging localised strategies.
  • Local SEO typically involves targeting location-specific keywords, optimising Google My Business profiles, and building local citations and backlinks.
  • Pricing for local SEO can vary depending on the size of the target location, the competitiveness of the local market, and the specific services required.

Pricing for both national and local SEO can be influenced by factors such as the complexity of the website, the competitiveness of the industry, the scope of the optimization work, and the reputation and expertise of the SEO agency or professional hired. It’s essential to discuss your specific needs and goals with an SEO provider to get an accurate estimate of the pricing for your particular situation.

The Difference Between Good SEO and Bad SEO

CategoryGood SEO 🤩Bad SEO 🤮
TechniquesUtilises ethical, white hat SEO techniquesRelies on unethical, black hat SEO techniques
ApproachCustomised strategies based on thorough researchGeneric, one-size-fits-all approaches
Content QualityFocuses on high-quality, relevant contentIncludes low-quality, generic, or plagiarised content
User ExperiencePrioritises user-friendly design and navigationNeglects user experience and usability
Link BuildingFocuses on earning quality backlinks from authoritative sitesEngages in spammy or irrelevant link building tactics
Reporting and TransparencyProvides comprehensive reports and transparent communicationOffers limited transparency and lacks detailed reporting
Long-Term ResultsAims for sustainable, long-term improvement in rankingsFocuses on short-term gains without considering long-term consequences
Search Engine GuidelinesAdheres to search engine guidelines and best practicesViolates search engine guidelines and engages in manipulative tactics
Impact on Website ReputationImproves website performance, credibility, and user trustDamages website reputation, leads to penalties and decreased user trust
Overall StrategyTakes a holistic and comprehensive approachFocuses on quick fixes and shortcuts

It’s important to note that engaging in bad SEO practices can have severe consequences for your website’s reputation and organic visibility. Opting for good SEO techniques, on the other hand, helps your website grow sustainably, improves user experience, and increases its chances of ranking well in search engine results pages.

The Problem With “Cheap” SEO

Cheap SEO may seem attractive due to its low cost, but it often comes with significant drawbacks and risks. Here are some problems associated with cheap SEO:

  1. It Doesn’t Work: Cheap SEO often doesn’t work because it relies on outdated or ineffective techniques. Many providers of low-cost SEO services cut corners by using automated tools or engaging in practices that don’t align with current search engine algorithms. As a result, these approaches can fail to improve search rankings or even lead to penalties, rendering the investment in SEO virtually worthless.
  2. Lack of Expertise: Cheap SEO services are typically offered by inexperienced or unqualified individuals or companies. They may lack the knowledge and skills required to effectively optimise websites and deliver sustainable results. This can result in ineffective strategies, poor implementation, and wasted time and resources.
  3. Black Hat Techniques: To keep costs low, cheap SEO providers may resort to unethical or black hat techniques to manipulate search engine rankings. These tactics can include keyword stuffing, spammy link building, and content duplication. While they may provide short-term gains, they can lead to severe penalties from search engines, damaging the website’s reputation and long-term organic visibility.
  4. Cookie-Cutter Approaches: Cheap SEO providers often adopt a one-size-fits-all approach, offering generic solutions that may not align with the specific needs and goals of your business. SEO requires a customised strategy based on thorough research, competitor analysis, and a deep understanding of your target audience. Cheap providers are unlikely to invest the necessary time and effort to develop tailored strategies.
  5. Lack of Ongoing Support: Cheap SEO services often focus solely on initial optimization without providing ongoing support and maintenance. SEO is an ongoing process that requires regular monitoring, analysis, and adjustments. Without continuous optimization, your website’s rankings and visibility can quickly decline, rendering the initial investment ineffective.
  6. Poor Quality Content: Content is a crucial aspect of SEO, and cheap providers may cut corners by producing low-quality, generic, or plagiarised content. Quality content is essential for engaging users, building credibility, and attracting organic links. Cheap SEO services may compromise on content quality, negatively impacting your website’s performance in search results.
  7. Limited Reporting and Transparency: Cheap SEO providers may not offer comprehensive reporting and transparent communication about the work they are doing and the results they are achieving. This lack of transparency makes it difficult for you to evaluate the effectiveness of the SEO efforts and the return on your investment.

While cheap SEO services may seem appealing due to their low cost, it’s important to consider the real cost associated with them. The damage that cheap SEO can do to your website’s reputation, organic visibility, and long-term success can far outweigh the initial savings. The lack of expertise, utilisation of unethical tactics, cookie-cutter approaches, poor content quality, and limited reporting can lead to penalties from search engines, diminished user experience, and wasted time and resources. Investing in reputable, experienced SEO professionals who follow ethical practices may involve a higher upfront cost, but it safeguards your website’s integrity and sets a solid foundation for sustainable growth in the online marketplace.

Why is quality SEO so expensive?

Quality SEO is expensive because it requires expertise, experience, and significant investment of time and resources. Skilled professionals stay updated with industry trends, follow ethical practices, conduct thorough research, and employ effective strategies to deliver sustainable results. The comprehensive nature of quality SEO, customised approaches, and the value it brings to businesses contribute to its higher cost.

Top factors that influence SEO pricing

When it comes to SEO pricing, several factors come into play that can influence the cost of services. Understanding these factors will help you comprehend the variations in pricing among different SEO providers. Here are some of the top factors that influence SEO pricing:

  1. Scope of Work: The extent of the SEO services required will directly impact the pricing. Different businesses have diverse needs, and the complexity of the SEO work, such as on-page optimization, technical audits, content creation, link building, and ongoing maintenance, will affect the overall cost.
  2. Competitiveness of the Industry: The level of competition within your industry can significantly impact SEO pricing. Highly competitive industries often require more extensive and aggressive SEO strategies to outrank competitors, which can lead to higher costs.
  3. Business Goals and Objectives: The specific goals and objectives of your business play a role in determining SEO pricing. If you aim to target a broader audience, expand into new markets, or focus on specific keywords, it may require additional resources and effort, thus affecting the pricing structure.
  4. Geographic Targeting: If your business operates locally or targets specific geographic regions, the SEO pricing may vary. Local SEO campaigns typically involve optimising for location-based keywords and targeting specific areas, which can influence the overall cost.
  5. Industry Expertise and Experience: The expertise and experience of the SEO provider can impact pricing. Agencies or consultants with a proven track record, extensive industry knowledge, and a strong portfolio may charge higher fees due to the value they bring to the table.
  6. Customisation and Scalability: SEO pricing can also be influenced by the level of customization and scalability required. Tailored strategies and personalised campaigns designed to meet unique business needs may come with a higher price tag compared to standardised packages.
  7. Additional Services: Some SEO providers offer additional services alongside SEO, such as content marketing, social media management, or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. The inclusion of these supplementary services can affect the overall pricing structure.
  8. Reputation and Credibility: Established and reputable SEO agencies with a strong reputation in the industry may charge higher prices based on their brand value and the assurance of quality services.

How do you know if your SEO is working?

Ensuring that your SEO efforts are delivering the desired results is essential for the success of your online presence. Here are some key indicators to assess the effectiveness of your SEO strategy and determine if your agency is providing value or falling short:

  1. Organic Traffic Growth: Monitor the increase in organic traffic to your website over time. A successful SEO campaign should result in a steady or growing stream of organic visitors.
  2. Keyword Rankings: Keep track of your website’s rankings for target keywords. If your agency is implementing effective SEO strategies, you should see improvements in keyword rankings, particularly for relevant and high-value terms.
  3. Website Conversions: Assess the conversion rate of your website, such as the percentage of visitors who complete desired actions like making a purchase or filling out a contact form. A well-executed SEO strategy should lead to an increase in conversions.
  4. Return on Investment (ROI): Calculate the return on investment from your SEO efforts. Measure the revenue generated from organic traffic and compare it to the cost of your SEO services. A positive ROI indicates that your agency is delivering value.
  5. Transparent Reporting: Ensure that your SEO agency provides regular, detailed reports on the progress and results of their efforts. Transparent reporting demonstrates accountability and allows you to assess the impact of their work.
  6. Communication and Collaboration: Evaluate the level of communication and collaboration with your SEO agency. A reputable agency will actively engage with you, provide updates, and seek input to align their strategies with your business goals.
  7. Industry Best Practices: Verify that your agency follows ethical SEO practices and adheres to search engine guidelines. Unethical practices can harm your website’s reputation and result in penalties from search engines.

If you find that your SEO efforts are not yielding the expected results or suspect that your agency may be providing subpar services, it may be time to reevaluate the partnership. Consider seeking a second opinion from another reputable SEO professional or conducting a thorough audit of your current SEO strategy.

Remember, investing in reliable and trustworthy SEO services is crucial for achieving sustainable growth and staying ahead of the competition.

Top questions to ask an SEO agency before hiring them

Before hiring an SEO agency, it’s essential to ask the right questions to ensure they are the right fit for your business. Here are some top questions to consider:

  • Can you provide examples of your past SEO successes and case studies?
  • What strategies do you employ to improve organic search rankings?
  • How do you conduct keyword research and select target keywords?
  • What tools and technologies do you use for SEO analysis and reporting?
  • How do you approach on-page and off-page optimisation?
  • How do you stay up-to-date with the latest SEO trends and algorithm changes?
  • Can you explain your link building practices and the quality of backlinks you acquire?
  • How do you measure and track the success of your SEO campaigns?
  • Will you provide regular reports and updates on campaign progress?
  • Do you adhere to ethical SEO practices and guidelines set by search engines?
  • What is your approach to mobile optimisation and website performance?
  • How do you handle technical SEO issues and website audits?
  • Can you provide a breakdown of the costs involved and the expected timeline for results?
  • Do you offer any additional services or expertise related to digital marketing?

Asking these questions will help you evaluate the expertise, transparency, and alignment of an SEO agency with your business goals. Remember to take the time to discuss your specific needs and expectations to ensure a successful partnership.

Get a free SEO Analysis

SEO can be overwhelming, even for those who understand the fundamentals. If you’re thinking about doing SEO, or have done it in the past, why not take advantage of our Free Website and Marketing Review that takes a detailed look at the top priorities for your website performance. If what we say makes sense, we can discuss what an SEO strategy would look like for your business.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Isaac Alexander

Isaac is an experienced marketer with over 10 years of experience in content writing, SEO and digital marketing. With a flair for the dramatic and insatiable drive for success, digital marketing has proved to be the perfect battleground for Isaac to help Australian businesses succeed online.

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