How Much Does SEO Cost in Australia? The Price of Success
So you already know how SEO works and what it can do for your business. You also know that you’re better off letting a professional work on your campaign instead of having a go of it yourself.
But now comes one of the most sensitive and frustrating topics for SEO clients – pricing. How much should you really pay for SEO in Australia, and how can you tell if the price is justified?
Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer to these questions. Rates vary greatly between different agencies and freelancers. But we’re here to help you understand what goes into the cost of SEO in Australia so that you can make an informed decision.
Common SEO pricing models
Before we get into pricing, you first need to understand how SEO agencies in Australia charge their clients. Here are some of the most common pricing models for SEO services:
- Hourly rates – Under this pricing model, you compensate for an SEO professional for the hours they spend working on your campaign. A 2011 survey by SEO Moz found that 62% of SEO firms in Australia and New Zealand charged $76 to $200 (USD) per hour for their services.
A more recent survey by Ahrefs found that $100 to $150 (USD) was the most common pricing tier for SEO practitioners, with 25% of respondents who charged per hour falling within this range. After that, the next most common pricing tier is $75 to $100 (USD), with 19.3% stating that they charged this much by the hour.
The 2018 survey also revealed that the most popular per-hour pricing tier among SEO agencies in Australia and New Zealand was $101 to $150 (USD), with 40% of respondents in the region falling within this range.
Ahrefs notes that agencies typically charge more per hour than their freelance counterparts – while 53.45% of agencies command $100 per hour, only 15% of freelancers and 33.33% of consultants did the same.
Most freelancers charge $4 to $50 (USD) for an hour’s work while SEO consultants usually get paid $75 to $100 (USD).
- By-the-project pricing – In some cases, SEO professionals charge depending on the scope of a project. 43.39% of those surveyed observe a per-project pricing model for part or all of their SEO services, with 25.17% charging $50 to $1,000 (USD). 52.32% command over $1,000 (USD) for one-off projects while 30.46% charge $2,000 (USD) and above.
In Australia and New Zealand, 22.22% of respondents fell within these pricing tiers per project:
- $1,501 to $2,000
- $2,501 to $5,000
- $10,001 to $25,000
- Monthly retainers – Many agencies charge a monthly retainer to maintain a long-term working relationship with clients. Moreover, the dynamic and hands-on nature of SEO coupled with the never-ending expense of ethical link building necessitates a monthly fee.
Under this model, the client and the SEO agency decide on a number of keywords, with the former paying the latter a monthly fee until the client starts ranking in Google search for said keywords.
In the Ahrefs survey, 74.71% of respondents charged monthly retainer fees. Although the amount varies in every country, SEO professionals rarely charge more than $5,000 (USD) per month, with 94.23% falling within that price range or lower.
- Performance-based pricing – Under this dynamic pricing model, the fee depends on your ranking success, and so it is difficult to pin down a price range for this kind of arrangement. Just be aware that unscrupulous agencies will use vanity metrics to inflate their results without any impact on your revenue.
Factors that impact the cost of SEO in Australia
When it comes to SEO, there are many variables that go into costing, including:
- Local versus national/international campaigns – Local campaigns cost less than national and international ones. According to Search Engine Journal, business owners can expect to pay at least $2,500 to $5,000 (USD) per month when working on a national or international campaign with a top SEO agency. A local campaign, by comparison, will cost you around $500 (USD) per month.
- Local versus worldwide markets – Going back to the 2018 Ahrefs survey, SEO professionals confined to local markets charge much less than those that cater to clients worldwide. Practitioners who serve the worldwide market charge 130.74% more in monthly retainers on average than those serving local markets. The same goes for hourly rates and per-project pricing, although the disparity is not as high.
- Fixed-price contracts versus open-ended agreements – Some agencies require clients to sign a 12-month contract. There are pros and cons to this arrangement: generally speaking, it takes four months to a year of good and works to get results, which means that a fixed-price contract ensures that you stay on board long enough to see positive changes.
However, if you find yourself working with a lacklustre SEO agency, you’ll be stuck in a year-long contract with no results and a hefty tab.
On the other hand, there are SEO professionals that offer trial packages at budget-friendly rates and no contract. This allows you to try their services while minimising risk.
Experience level – It should come as no surprise that more experienced SEO professionals command higher rates than less experienced ones. According to Ahrefs, practitioners who have two or more years of experience make:
- 39.4% more per hour
- 102.41% more for monthly retainers
- 275% more for one-off projects
- Your industry or the type of business you own – If you belong to a highly competitive market, ranking well for specific keywords will require more time and effort, which, in turn, can inflate the costs of your SEO. Running a business in a niche market makes it relatively easier to improve search rankings.
Think of SEO as an investment, not an expense
Most business owners view SEO as another expense, and one with intangible results at that, which is why they look for the lowest rates possible. This is completely understandable – running a business is no joke, and it can be very difficult for entrepreneurs to balance the books.
However, treating SEO as an investment will change your perspective on the costs associated with it. The amount you spend on optimising your site will come back to you in the form of organic traffic, better rankings, online visibility, and ideally, conversions and revenue.
But why does any of this matter? Simple – 93% of online experiences start with a search engine. What’s more, is that 91.5% of users will only click on first page results.
The problem is that SEO results can never be guaranteed – beware of SEO practitioners who promise to put you on the first page of Google overnight. But keep in mind that the likelihood of getting great results can be increased through SEO best practices, strategy, content, and more.
The key to increasing the likelihood of getting an ROI on your SEO budget is to work with a professional with proven experience – something that you can verify through their portfolio and social proof such as reviews, testimonials, and references.
Moreover, the dangers of cheap SEO are well-documented. A poorly executed SEO campaign can do more harm than good to your site, such as a decrease in rankings, poor content, or worse, a Google penalty.
Which is not to say that SEO quality is directly linked to price – an agency can charge you thousands and still do a poor job. However, price is linked to time and effort, hence the pricing models mentioned above.
Someone charging peanuts for SEO will have to turn in a profit, and that means spreading themselves out over several projects in order to make a living. They might also feel the need to cut corners by recycling content or building links to questionable sites, which raises red flags with the search engines.
With a professional spending less time on your campaign, you might not see the results you envision. Moreover, bad SEO can end up costing you more in the long run – correcting the damage to your site would cost you time and money. And that’s not even mentioning the additional revenue that you will fail to generate with low traffic and poor rankings.
Work with Contevo for ROI driven SEO
Contevo understands the need for ROI driven SEO among Australian businesses. That’s why we offer a free SEO audit and 15 years of data driven experience to help you reach your goals. get in touch today.