A controversial post about SEO rates claimed that some consultants charge over $1,000 per hour for SEO. So, however how much should you expect to pay for professional SEO services?
Current London, UK market rates for SEO:
SEO day rates here in the UK vary from £200 to £300 for a half decent SEO consultant and probably more for a seasoned specialist.
British SEO agencies tend to range from around £400 to £1,350 with most charging £500-£750 for linkbuilding and £750-£1,000 for SEO audits and other more technical work.
The trick to justifying the higher fees is to work for on bigger companies on larger projects.
For example, if a client approaches me to optimise a website that makes £600 per month then even if I can triple its traffic (and sales) the client is still only £1,200 per month better off, and that’s revenue, not pure profit. At that level it’s hard to justify fees of more than say £500 per month for most clients unless they’re not fussed about making a positive return on investment.
For a client with a website turning over £100,000 per month however (and there are many businesses making more than a million year) even a 10% rise in performance is worth a welcome £10,000 per month to them. At that level fees in the region of £1,000+ per month could well be justified.
And if you imagine lifting the sales of a £10M+ per month business by over 20% then it’s easy to see how fees upwards of £10,000+ per month could become “reasonable”, as long as you can the desired results.
Of course, winning such big contracts isn’t easy and will probably require you to have several years’ experience, a high profile within the SEO community, some big names on your CV and probably a team of support staff too. – In short, the confidence, capability and credibility to manage clients and projects of that scale.
Having said that, I have, once, made the equivalent of £1,000 per hour, although I must confess that it was only for 15 minutes. essentially a client wanted some updates made that would have taken them a couple of days to do manually so they offered me £250 to make the changes for them.
Given my familiarity (unlike my client) with the process in question I managed to make all of the changes requested in 15 minutes by making good use of mass search and replace commands and the like… Hopefully, one day all of my clients will be happy to pay that kind of hourly rate!
I should add that many clients ask for a 10-20% discount or more (some up to 50%) on a companies rates.
So, unless you want to end up working for less than expected, it’s generally better to go in a touch higher, just in case. Besides, perception is (almost) everything and somebody who charges $1,000 per hour “must be good” (at something, if only self-promotion).
Fancy earning over $500 per hour without complaints? All you have to do is start telling people that “that’s a massive discount off you regular rate of $1,000 per hour”.