SEO Pricing – How to Charge for Your SEO Campaign


How much you should charge from your client once you have interviewed him and understood his advertising objectives and other requirements? Your SEO campaign pricing can depend upon the following factors:

  1. Competitiveness of the client’s Industry
  2. Current Ranking potential of the client’s site and its competitors.
  3. Size and complexity of the Client’s website.
  4. Resources Required to achieve marketing objectives.
  5. Your profit margin & Business overheads
  6. How much risk you can take off from the client
  7. Your market value
  8. Client’s Financial Status
  9. Self-sufficiency
  10. Your Geo-location


Competitiveness of the client’s Industry

If your client’s industry is something like: Insurance, Finance, Travel, Telecom, Web Design, Web Hosting etc then you can be pretty sure that you are going to work in an extremely competitive market. Consequently, seo campaign will be very costly as lot of resources will be required. Another good way to determine competitiveness is by keyword difficulty tool. Determine the keyword difficulty of all the primary keywords which your client is targeting or wish to target. If keyword difficulty is more than 60% then you are chasing highly competitive keyword. I use keyword difficulty tool of seomoz. However this tool is only for the pro members. You can also use keyword difficulty tool provided by seochat or seologs which are free to use.


Current ranking potential of the client’s site & its competitors

You can determine the ranking potential of the client site through following metrics:

  1. Page Authority of the home page (use open site explorer)
  2. Domain Authority (use open site explorer)
  3. No. of unique domains linking to the home page (use open site explorer)
  4. Total no. of links to the home page (including internal,external, followed and no-followed) (use open site explorer)
  5. Age of the client’s domain (use whois)
  6. Current ranking positions for primary keywords. (use Google)

If client’s website is brand new or under production then you may need to figure out the current ranking potential of top 10 sites which rank on Google for umbrella keyword. The umbrella keyword is that keyword which describe the client’s business and which has the potential of bringing largest volume of relevant traffic to the website.


Size and complexity of the Client’s website

Every website is different. Some requires more work than others depending upon its size and complexity. That is why there is no such thing as SEO packages. Use site: command on Google to get rough idea of how many pages of the site are in Google Index. If you have access to Google Webmaster Tool, then you can get a more exact figure. Complexity is something which you can determine by visiting the site and scanning its functionality page by page.


Resources Required to achieve marketing objectives

If client doesn’t have content writers, graphic designers and developers to address website issues or implement your recommendations then you need to hire them on behalf of your client and it is going to cost you dearly. Resources requirement is something which you can best know through experience in the client’s industry. Other than this, you can make educated guesses. Competitors analysis can also help here.


Your Profit margin & Business overheads

To improve your profit margin you can do two things: reduce business overheads and charge more. Every business has different level of expenditure and to remain profitable they have to charge accordingly.  Consequently bigger SEO agencies have to charge more than the smaller agencies. You charge for your campaigns according to your profit goals. If you want a higher profit margin, you will have to charge more.


How much risk you can take off from the client

Majority of SEOs take the risk of only rankings. Once the desired rankings are achieved, their job is over. In this case risk involved is minimal as you don’t take the risk of generating leads or sales. Consequently you can’t demand more. If you could take the risk of generating leads in addition to rankings, you can demand more. If you could take the risk of generating sales in addition to generating leads and getting rankings then you can earn most from your client. This is because now you work as his business partner. In short the more risk you can take off from your client, the more you can charge.


Your Market Value

Reputation precedes the seo. More reputable you are in the seo industry, higher is your perceived value and consequently more you can charge.


Client’s financial Status

You can simply charge whatever you think your client can afford to pay. Many companies do that. I have seen big companies paying ridiculous amount of money for work that is not worth that much.



If you already have lot of clients then you can be as much selective as you want. Which means you can decide to work with only those clients who can pay the fees you desire.


Your Geo-Location

Your fees depends a lot on the location you live in. If you live in one of the most expensive cities in the world like London, New York, Zürich, Los Angeles etc then obviously your living cost and business overheads are going to be sky-high and you need to charge a lot just to stay profitable. So it is wise to relocate to cheaper nearby location, if possible. This can greatly reduce your living cost and business overheads and you can pass these benefits to the clients in the form of competitive pricing or can just use it to increase your profit margin.


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  • Di Drinkwater

    I’d not really looked into the price of SEO, but the cynical bit of me thinks that the ones who are good will cost a fortune!
    If I was top notch at SEO I certainly wouldn’t sell my services though. I’d know I could make more money promoting my own websites via my brilliant SEO than I could by selling the service.

    • seo himanshu

      Hi Di Drinkwater,

      How much do you think you can make through your site? $100,000 per month?……….. No. Many big SEO companies (as you have seen in the list) charge this much amount or more just from one client. So you can imagine the revenue potential. It’s enormous.

    • Tim

      This is not always the case. Running a website is not always profitable.

  • Amit

    We are paid peanuts in comparison to these seo companies :(

    • Jitendar

      Become a consultant. Problem solved :-D

  • Tim

    Great Post. The only thing that bugs me in this entire article is the resources required to achieve goals. This is something which i am still not good at. Generally end up charging less and then later it becomes a problem to ask more from the client.

    • Anna

      I just found your blog. An SEO giunes that also knows legal contracts AND posts them for people to use! swoon thank you! Following ya on twitter too.

  • Parul

    Nice post. Thanks. But why you have not included any Indian seo company in the list?

  • Jitendar

    seo himanshu huh. nice dude. Keep up the good work.

  • PhilipSEO

    You give away good stuff, well worth a bookmark. You have obviously thought this through based on experience, which is what makes it valuable. Thanks for a useful refresher: I am running an SEO business of my own and was glad to hear some of these points. I like how your blog is geared toward SEO professionals and I just gave it a tweet as well. Are you on Twitter? (I am SEOeye there).

  • sonali sen

    its really good and informative site. thanks

  • Amin Digital Marketer

    Good post. I think it could be slightly improved by giving a price example from a company although like you said pricing should be tailored. I think companies would be prepared to pay once they are sold on the ROI and the threat of the changing landscape from competitors.

  • Kashif


    Love your writings buddy. Been following you from your comments on SEOMoz.

    Every time I think of ideas to write on (someday on my blog), I realize you’ve covered it months ago.

    Would anyone please tell me what ‘list’ of SEO companies you’re all talking about in the comments… I don’t see anything in your post.