Professional Local SEO Service Pricing Strategies
Local SEO can cost anywhere from $100 to over $5000 per month. Understanding the factors that govern local SEO pricing can help you offer optimized services at great prices.
I’m going to break down local SEO services to understand how to price your services and charge your clients for the same. For this, we have to factor in monthly management, website audits, on-page, and off-page practices, and content creation costs. These elements have a significant impact on local SEO prices and practices.
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How Much To Charge For Local SEO Services?
Local SEO services are different from physical products. They depend on several variables, making it challenging to describe them through a fixed value. Consequently, an SEO professional finds it challenging to create and share the best quote for their services.
The correct pricing for digital services is possible by understanding the different pricing models. Local SEO services pricing becomes more straightforward when breaking the costs down according to these models.
We will develop a better understanding of pricing models for digital services by discussing different examples. It will elaborate on the process of presenting the best quote for local SEO services.
Hourly Pricing Model
The hourly pricing model works well for professionals that work as independent contractors. They are suitable for projects where it may be challenging to create a list of quantitative tasks. Sometimes, clients are apprehensive about this model.
They may argue that a digital service provider spends more time on a task than necessary to increase their charges. Business clients may especially think that they might be ripped off if it is a smaller local SEO project. In such tasks, it is pretty challenging to define the number of hours required before actually starting the project.
Another factor in offering local SEO services based on the hourly model is that, as an experienced local SEO practitioner, you’re most likely going to take way less time for the same project than a beginner. That would lead to a decreased hourly rate, while your work quality is higher.
So, if you’re a real expert in what you do, try to avoid the hourly pricing model.
Upwork is a freelancer platform. Local SEO professionals working on this platform mention an hourly rate for their services. Still, they must communicate with a prospect to decide on an estimated number of hours.
This model becomes possible by creating milestones against weekly logged hours. There is not much difference in the overall costs if the services are priced according to the market demand.
Package-Based Local SEO Pricing Model
Local SEO package pricing depends on the factors that we have thoroughly discussed above. The analysis of the current website, its performance of relevant keywords, and inbound links reveal the required number of SEO tasks.
Consequently, a good professional can calculate all these costs and then create a single quotation. This quote will cover content creation, design changes, link building, and other digital marketing activities.
Visit any digital marketing service provider, and you will find packages for different local SEO services. They will define specific activities like GBP optimization, location page creation, or page speed optimization.
Project-Based Local SEO Pricing Model
This type of pricing is not much different from packaged pricing. Local SEO pricing using this model depends on the customized requirements of individual projects. It usually works by dividing the required marketing tasks into different activities.
An SEO project is an excellent example when it has fixed objectives. For instance, the goals can include making it into the top ten in local rankings for three specific long-tail keywords. Another would be to achieve this goal in six weeks, placing the project deadline simultaneously.
Many service providers have a project estimation tool on their websites. It would contain essential variables such as keywords, target audience, geographical regions, and others. On the back end, such a tool has fixed values for individual values.
A local SEO professional who may not have access to such a tool can still use project-based pricing. They can create a table where they mention the charges for individual elements of the required SEO activities. It is possible to add different features and achieve this type of pricing, which many clients prefer over variable pricing strategies.
Value-Based Local SEO Pricing Model
Value-based pricing is an excellent model for selling services. It depends on the perceived value of a product or service instead of focusing on making a profit. Consequently, this type of pricing requires market research and an understanding of consumer demands.
While it is challenging to set up perfectly, a value-based pricing model offers the chance of becoming an industry leader. Digital marketing may seem like a field full of competition, but it is still possible to follow this pricing model by focusing on product marketing.
Companies or professionals that offer a unique blend of services can get the most out of value-based pricing. They can use successful examples to present quotations to prospects and work on them according to their perceived value.
When creating local SEO services pricing, top industry experts rely on their branding. Instead of focusing on covering their costs, they create a heightened perception of their services. Prospects are then willing to obtain their services at the generated face value.
An excellent example of this method is when a professional service provider offers a comparison tool, allowing prospects to compare the prices obtained from industry giants. While this may seem to benefit the competitors, it is beneficial for their business, too.
Prospects are then willing to take an enhanced interest in the offered services when companies offer discounts on the perceived value pricing.
Pricing Breakdown Of Local SEO Services
Digital professionals can come up with the best local SEO package pricing by following the advice of the top firms in the industry. In addition, they have performed extensive pricing studies that offer insight into how people buy SEO services. Ahrefs is a famous name in the digital marketing community.
Here is an outlook of the pricing models used in the industry by going through three studies from credible sources.
Ahrefs performed a study with digital marketing firms to get some great insights. They found that 59.2% of SEO companies only offer one type of pricing model. As a result, it limits how they can target the different marketing segments.
These SEO service providers worked on the business retainer model, charging a monthly fee for service delivery. It was found to be the most form of pricing, favored by most of the clients.
Still, some SEO companies offered project-based pricing, which remained within the $500-$1000 price range. Hourly costs of these services were around $100-$150. However, the most important statistic is that individual freelancers charged considerably less than agencies on projects of similar specifications.
SEO professionals with over two years of experience charge over one-third more per hour than new freelancers. Additionally, these experts charge 275% more than professionals with experience in only one project for an SEO project.
Credo carried out a global study of 137 SEO professionals working in US and UK firms. They found that SEO prices for projects were most commonly under $2000. Only 16.5% of companies charged over $5000 for a stand-alone SEO project.
Many SEO firms also used the monthly retainer model. Similar to above, 49.59% of the companies charged under $2000 for these retainers. However, 9.5% of SEO firms charged more than $5000 for these services.
Valuable insight from the study shows that 62.66% of the participants don’t offer link-building services as a stand-alone project. Interestingly, 15% of PPC firms don’t provide social ads, but organic SEO services are in their repertoire. However, PPC firms offer link building at a greater rate than only SEO service providers.
The study finds that large firms offer more holistic services when it comes to local SEO pricing and relevant services. Moreover, tracking SEO activities is essential for companies to perform well in their digital marketing efforts.
Moz conducted a valuable study related to the pricing model of SEO services. The 2011 study surveyed 600 agencies. They found the hourly rate of $76-$200 across the world for various SEO services.
The most common pricing followed project-based pricing. However, it found that the range of pricing was somewhat extensive, amounting to $1000-$7500. Another insight showed that only 55% of companies and professionals offered hourly pricing.
Monthly retainer prices also had quite broad distributions, with the two largest groups at $250-$500 and $2500-$5000 per month. Again, it may have occurred due to the different sizes and scopes of the websites managed by SEO professionals.
PRICING SPECIFIC LOCAL SEO SERVICES
Google Business Profile Monthly Management & Optimization
Google Business Profiles are listings that allows people to find your business and leave online reviews for a business on Google.
Small businesses should have an optimized GBP profile as it helps improve local SEO and increases their visibility in search results.
How Much To Charge For Google Business Profile Management?
SEO experts are often hired to manage profiles on this platform. Monthly GBP management prices start from $200 and go up to $600 for premium Google Business Profile account management. This service essentially keeps a profile relevant, attractive, and discoverable in a highly dynamic local search environment.
If you offer this service, the chances are that you’ll have to use some relevant tools and resources that can cost at least $50 per month.
Another essential part of this service is the optimization of the current GBP. Local SEO experts usually provide this service to clients who switch their digital marketer or take work off the owner’s hands.
Google Business Profile optimization (former Google My Business) may cost a premium of $400-$600, with lower monthly recurring payments. So the subscription charges are high, but once the initial effort is made, monthly maintenance usually costs less.
Here are other services you are able to provide with GBP monthly management:
Create Business Groups
A Google Business Profile allows the use of business groups. Management includes setting up owner and manager profiles with contrasting levels of administrative rights.
Adding new locations or editing the text of the existing ones is a crucial activity, especially for a newly formed business. As a local SEO expert, you could make this service part of a larger package.
Google Business Profile Verification
Google services provide great value for money when combined across all platforms. Moreover, it allows firms to use company-name-based domains, ensuring a more significant brand presence.
These are all sub-services that come under the Google Business Profile management. Local SEO package pricing should factor in all the work it takes to verify the authenticity of a business on GBP. This means a fluid listing of around $500 for this service seems like in the right ballpark for most service providers.
Good SEO marketers understand the importance of creating relevant, knowledgeable, and accurate citations for websites. This is a valid form of link building and mentioning NAP (name, address, phone) across the internet that marketers use to ensure the effectiveness of their local SEO strategy.
Local SEO pricing for citations and backlink building services depends on the quality and the number of authentic websites listing business information and pointing to the business website. And this is hard work, akin to manual labor.
After that, standard citation building packages can cost around $30-$150 with an SEO freelancer. However, marketing agencies usually charge a lot more for providing the same service.
Benefits of Local Citation Building
The primary benefit of local citation building is the visibility boost. Google takes NAP mentions into consideration and evaluates the power of a Google Business Profile based on the number of mentions across quality directories and websites.
Locally significant citations are essential for the success of local SEO projects. Hence, this type of SEO targets consumers that usually use brick and mortar stores in the area to switch to digital stores that save them time and money.
Another benefit is the enhanced business reputation. Even if people don’t buy from your store, they become aware of it as a viable option in the area. As a result, businesses get a boost in the future.
Local SEO Reputation Management
SEO reputation management is an essential service and plays a critical role in local SEO services pricing. It involves ensuring that searches on the Internet produce results that contain brand-related content. Hence, it usually consists of preparing content and placing it according to people’s search terms to find a local business.
Expert digital marketers use SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, & Threats) analysis to gauge a website’s reputation. This also helps them identify weaknesses in design and content and figure out how to make it rank higher in SERPs.
But more importantly, reputation management requires actively ‘listening’ to the online banter about your brand, business, and products. What are people saying when they discuss you? Are there too many bad reviews online? Was one of your services recently dissed by an influencer?
If the answer’s yes, the SEO specialists will get to work and bury the negativity in search results, under tons of good things about your brand by making unique content that gets ranked fast.
That is why reputation management for local SEO services can cost between $500 to $15000. Mind you, the higher end of the range is only applicable for businesses that have abysmal SEO reputations.
Local SEO package pricing for such projects would cover the costs of other services like content creation, website review, analysis, and replacement of targeted keywords in most cases. However, clients must receive a single quotation from a local SEO expert, ensuring transparency and business clarity.
Local On-Page Optimization
Covered Local SEO Activities
On-page SEO optimization includes multiple activities. A local SEO would first optimize the web content according to the local audience. It may consist of an introduction to the store’s physical location or service area. Some headings and content may also need to be altered to empower a local keyword.
How Much Should On-Page SEO At Least Cost?
Top industry resources show that on-page optimization should cost at least $750 a month. However, many local SEO consultants charge by the hour, especially when analyzing websites with plenty of old content. These hourly rates usually fall between $25-$250.
Therefore, it is not uncommon to quote over $2000 for a website that needs drastic on-page content improvements. This figure also accounts for hiring any additional resources, i.e., content writers, web developers, and designers, to improve the appearance and readability of the website.
Local SEO packages usually include on-page SEO optimization services that update current website content and layout to ensure maximum exposure for the targeted keywords.
On-page optimizations can be a stand-alone service. However, One-time project costs for on-page SEO optimization are higher. So, it’s understandable that some local SEO experts offer monthly and yearly optimization packages.
Reputed companies in the industry usually charge at least $500 per month for this service. A one-time project quote can also be obtained by sharing the exact requirements with local SEO service providers.
The packaged service structure may divide the costs into monthly service charges of a few hundred dollars. However, the benefit of this mode of work is that it allows SEOs to improve the site content gradually. Consequently, they can better handle Google’s algorithm changes or the dynamic needs of a business website.
Reason for Varied Costs
Local SEO project pricing depends on the customer experience a website offers as of now.
An expert SEO first analyzes how many improvements are required on the active web pages. Hence, the cost breakdown often includes content creation, curation, analysis, and layout changes. Therefore, a local SEO professional must carefully account for these and other services. Otherwise, they face the danger of quoting a price that doesn’t do justice to the project requirements.
WHY OFF-PAGE SEO?
Local SEO experts must understand why off-page SEO is essential since it allows them to inform the customers about the need to use good link-building practices.
Off-page SEO service results in improved online exposure. It offers two main benefits. First, it enhances the website’s page rank. Second, it provides better exposure to the website’s on-page SEO.
As a result, more visitors can reach the website through different channels. Once the number of visitors to the website increase, the business enjoys more conversions. The entire effort results in achieving the best local SEO results.
Link Building For Better Rankings
Local SEO experts also use off-page optimization or link building to rank websites higher. This is where they focus on obtaining links from popular and credible websites.
Now, there are many ways to achieve this objective. The first method is to post engaging content on the webpage that attracts people. Visitors then link the page on other websites since they find them useful for others. Thus, it creates a buzz on a website and often results in an increased number of visitors.
People also share interesting content on social media. This is the fastest way to rank in Google as the number of shares can quickly reach an exponential value.
However, these varying methods also make it challenging to price this service right. Local SEO package pricing has a vast range of $10-$5000. It depends on the selected avenue. Some services are cheaper and quickly help a local SEO achieve the best results.
Off-page optimization requires a combination of link-building and anchor text analysis. Different packages may cost from $400 to $10,000 per month, depending on the offered link-building strategy.
However, off-page optimization works well over a monthly or quarterly period. Therefore, as a local SEO expert, you should offer this service at a monthly service fee of $400-$2000 based on the required number of quality links.
Ultimately, nearly all local SEO package pricing must include content creation charges. Thus, it is an essential digital marketing service that goes hand in hand with other technical SEO efforts. Moreover, it contains all tasks that produce information for posting on the Internet.
Common content types include service page copies, product descriptions, infographics, general images, and videos. Local SEO may require any of these services to empower on-page and off-page optimization activities.
Content development pricing depends on several factors. Sometimes, additional research is required for producing the desired content. Another time, it is possible to create optimized product descriptions quicker by using a suitable template.
Consequently, developing content for a local SEO campaign may cost around $400-$3000. If clients want additional content like social media posts and guest blogging, the charges would be more than preparing a few new local landing pages and link building.
How much does written content cost?
Web pages may individually cost $50-$200 for written content. Pictures and other visual elements can be taken from photo repositories like Shutterstock. Their packages cost from $1.5 per image to only $0.27 per image. The right package depends on the required use.
I recommend using Canva as most of their images are available for free. Though I would encourage everyone to use real pictures from the local business for max conversions and authenticity.
Businesses can hire content producers on freelancing platforms for as low as $5 per page. However, agencies routinely charge a couple of hundred dollars for producing dedicated landing pages for your local SEO campaigns.
Local SEO pricing depends on creating a solution that works well in a geographic region. However, website analysis may reveal the need for creating better visual cues and website elements. As a result, SEO professionals must also provide a quote for related design services.
Website design costs depend on the design style, number of pages, active elements, and responsiveness. A custom website design for local SEO may cost around $3000 from a digital marketing professional at an individual level.
However, getting a similar website design service from an agency may cost up to $15000. Complicated website designs with thousands of pages will cost a lot more than this high number. Ideally, the best design estimate would depend on a local SEO project’s specific needs.
Pricing Your Local SEO Services Right
Getting your local SEO services pricing right can be a hit and miss in many situations. However, it is possible to reduce variables and create a template that you can use to quote and charge your customers.
Here, we will present how you can set local SEO prices to ensure profitability while maintaining competitiveness.
The first step is to calculate your working costs. It requires answering questions like the following.
How much time does it take me to analyze a website with 50 URLs and ten total content-filled pages? And what’s the time worth to me?
What are the costs associated with obtaining guest blogging and forum posting content services?
How much would it cost to manage on-page and off-page local SEO for a brand for monthly tasks?
The answers to these questions will be different, but they will help you formulate the fundamentals of the pricing structure. The next task is to assess which pricing model works well for you.
I encourage independent SEO professionals to use project-based pricing for stand-alone projects. However, hourly pricing works well for managing one-time tasks primarily related to technical SEO activities.
Research shows that companies that spend more than $500 on local SEO find it an effective solution. As a result, local SEO professionals should ensure that their service prices lie in this range. Furthermore, they should ensure that their prices lie within the median range of prevalent prices in their locale.
SEO professionals should always offer a breakdown of services when developing a quotation for a business prospect. It allows them to formulate discrete sub-services that are measurable and quantifiable based on both delivery and time.
Here are example breakdowns of different services that may formulate the local SEO package pricing:
When you offer such a digital breakdown of local SEO services, business clients are likelier to feel satisfied with the rendered services.
Local SEO services pricing is quite challenging since it depends on so many factors. However, some principal elements required in local SEO are on-page SEO, off-page SEO, citation building, content creation, design services, and reputation management.
Local SEO freelancers can compete with agencies by providing a unique blend of services at a discounted price. In addition, they can follow different pricing models like hourly rates, project or package-based quotes, and value-based charges.
Adding the local SEO costs explained in this article will help you as a local SEO professional decide the best pricing model. This is key to communicating confidently with prospects and winning projects.
Want to learn how to optimize your Google Business Profile? Check out my Google My Business Optimization Checklist.