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How Much Does SEO Really Cost for Small Businesses?

The Surprising Costs of SEO Success

There are 33,185,550 small businesses in the US across all kinds of industries and specialties, from niche services to homemade products. According to one source, the average spending on SEO services for small businesses falls just under $500 for basic services, which can include local SEO, some content creation, and other optimization.

And while this is a decent budget—for now—to get you started, 53.3% of businesses are more likely to be ‘extremely satisfied’ when spending more.

An illustration depicting time and money

Of course, it’s easy to wonder how accurate that observation really is, especially when coming from a well-reputed SEO service for small businesses like ours. But we’re just trying to help businesses like yours grow and thrive in the ever-changing digital landscape!

At Search Berg, you can expect to pay anywhere from $335 a month to $1800 a month, depending on the plan and packages you choose. These packages and plans can vary from annual to monthly services. They can comprise multiple services, from basic keyword search and content all the way to guest blogs, multimedia content, website optimization, link-building and more.

So essentially, for only $335 a month, you could be seeing an uptick in SEO performance and SERP rankings, conversions, and more—right? Well, almost.

Recommended Read: How Local SEO Works and Why It Matters

Should I Cheap Out When It Comes to SEO?

Many small businesses struggle to see the value of spending upwards of $300 a month for marketing that they could probably do themselves if they really tried. There’s a wealth of information, resources, and even AI generators now to help you build and boost your own marketing strategy.

An illustration of people investing money into their business

You might even think that you don’t even need a professional marketing strategy—because you’re so small and local that it’s basically pointless. You may have a loyal clientele and get by fine on word of mouth.

But if in 2023 you’re still not investing in local SEO, at the very least, you’re missing out big time.

Think of SEO services as an investment in your business. You generate a little bit of money through your sales and service delivery, pay your team, get your own cut, and then put the rest back into the business, except now a small chunk of that money is dedicated toward SEO.

It’s definitely worth it when you consider the average ROI for SEO is between 700% and 900% for e-commerce businesses over time. So, you’re looking at thousands of dollars worth of returns on a few hundred dollars that you spend, making it one of the most rewarding decisions you can make for your small business.

In determining how much SEO costs for small businesses, you’ll want to look beyond numbers and figures, instead focusing more on what they represent and intangible factors like your satisfaction.

Recommended Read: SEO Services for E-commerce Websites: What You Should Know

Investing in Comprehensive SEO Services for Small Businesses

One of the more underrated factors in determining how much SEO costs businesses like yours is how much you trust the service provider or individual you hire for SEO services.

It’s not only trusting them about the quality and type of services they provide or how available they are to you but how much they offer you in return. It’s not a simple formula where money in = conversions out, but rather, a complex process of building and revamping your digital presence from the ground up.

An illustration showing calculations for SEO ROI

Calculating your ROI is part of the services you receive when you choose Search Berg, as our experts will share regular reports about their pricing for SEO services—but that’s not where the real magic happens.

It’s when your SEO agency takes time out to explain to you exactly why they’re making the decisions they are, what the advantages of doing so entail, and how you will benefit from these decisions and actions that makes it worth it.

As compared to old-school, real-world advertising and paid marketing on social media and Google, SEO is a tad more complex, and it’s only normal for small businesses to feel hesitant about spending thousands of dollars a month on services they don’t quite understand.

Where ROI for PPC marketing is pretty high and almost instantaneous, SEO can take a lot longer to generate results. The average rate is 4–12 months before you see a significant turnaround and positive outcomes, which can seem like far too long for small businesses working with limited budgets.

But like with anything worth doing in life, consistency, patience, and pacing yourself are the major contributors to your success. It takes a while to see progress and achieve the goals you set for your campaign and efforts, but you eventually get there.

A key tip to remember when deciding on a service and estimating small business SEO costs is that SEO isn’t a product, it’s an investment. The lowest price does not guarantee affordability and can actually hurt you through sub-par efforts, spamming, stolen data and websites, and more.

Cutting corners to make easy money is not something any reputable SEO agency would do or condone. It can result in bans, penalties, and being blacklisted—effectively undoing years of existing marketing efforts.

Recommended Read: A Step-by-Step On-Page SEO Guide: Dominate Search Rankings in 2023

A Well-Rounded Approach to SEO for Small Business Owners

We understand that managing a successful business is time-consuming, and small business owners are pulled in multiple directions. You’re running operations, acting as a manager, possibly HR, accountant, marketer, customer relations rep, and more, which makes it impossible to add more to your plate.

You can spend time learning about the ins and outs of SEO and experimenting to see what works through trial and error, but it’s time-consuming, to say the least.

That’s where we come in, helping you streamline your SEO marketing efforts and minimize the amount you spend. As a full-service agency, we have the unique advantage of having dedicated teams to do everything you need and present their services to you in a comprehensive, multi-faceted, and well-rounded package.

A graph depicting various elements of SEO strategies

Not only do we make ourselves available to address all your concerns and educate you on each aspect of our SEO strategy as we implement it, but we also share continual feedback and input on what works and what doesn’t. You pay a set monthly rate that you can budget for and increase as you see more progress.

Not convinced that our services are affordable and right for you as a small business? Let’s compare some average SEO costs for more perspective, breaking down different components of a solid strategy, and look at how much it can cost to either do it on your own, or set up an in-house SEO department:

Keyword Research

We perform extensive keyword research and audits to determine which phrases and words will help you rank and perform better before selecting them for your campaign. There are several free and paid keyword tools available on the market, but there are various types of keywords, including long-tail and broad-match keywords, which can be too much to deal with. Plus, more effective tools can cost $200–500 a month to access!


Content is king—this is a saying that originates all the way back to Bill Gates’ 1996 essay under the same title. And 27 years later, this holds truer than ever, with content dominating everything we know.

From social media to your personal blog, content determines your success, public perception, and thus, customer reach more than possibly anything, and that is not changing any time soon.

The average salary of a copywriter in the US is just over $72,000 but can go up to $230,000 depending on their experience. Freelance copywriters, on the other hand, make about $35.71/hour and may spend several hours a month developing content for your brand.

The sheer cost of hiring an in-house content strategist or copywriter, or a freelancer is likely to exceed your annual SEO budget.

Recommended Read: SEO Content Writing Guide 2023: Best Practices for Higher Rankings

On-Page and Off-Page SEO

On-page or on-site SEO services involve elements of web design, optimization, improving the UI/UX, and more. They collaborate with your web developers, project managers, and your team to improve your website’s performance and optimize it to be SEO-friendly and geared toward results. The average pay of a UI/UX designer is around $82,796 a year.

Plus, you’ll more than likely need a web designer for the technical side of things, which can cost you $120,000 a year based on their experience. And we’ve already established that cheaper services hurt you more than you realize.

On the other hand, off-site SEO requires professionals who understand digital marketing like the back of their hands, can engage in public relations, strategize for you, and generate a comprehensive strategy.

Two diagrams comparing on-site vs. off-site SEO services

Social Media

With 4.59 billion social media users worldwide, you need to leverage this incredible tool for your SEO strategy. While on the surface, advertising and marketing on social media seem pretty budget-friendly at a few hundred dollars a month on average, there’s more than meets the eye.

The annual worldwide spending on ads was $65.31 billion in 2022, but that doesn’t account for all the money spent on developing content for social media, generating unique shareable material, infographics, videos, and garnering partnerships and affiliate links. Not to mention, it also doesn’t factor in the average pay of an in-house social media manager, which is upwards of $57,000 a year.

Conversion Tracking

In addition to the above, you’d also need a CRO consultant or expert to design, track, and evaluate your ongoing SEO efforts. Without their unique skills and input, your strategy would not be fairly or accurately evaluated.

You can hire them in-house or bring them on for projects, consultancy roles, and freelance positions, which may seem like you’re saving more. However, the cost of CRO SEO freelancers would put a dent worth $100,000 per year in your pocket.

When you choose us, you get a dedicated content strategist and SEO specialist who will design your entire strategy and a dedicated team that will routinely track, measure, and share insights into how your work is progressing.

An illustration of different aspects of social media management and engagement

Add-On Features

Other features that our packages include are SEO audits that gauge and gather how your current strategy is performing, where your business has been mentioned, and what needs to be fixed, routine progress reports, market insights and competitor analyses that examine what others are doing, and link-building.

We also double down on local SEO and make sure your business is ranked for local keywords.

So, SEO for Small Businesses Costs HOW MUCH!?

If you haven’t already done the math, you’re looking at roughly $108,0296, just based on the figures above. It can be significantly lower or significantly higher—but one thing is for certain: there are several hidden costs that haven’t been accounted for yet—and it’s just not worth it.

You shouldn’t have to spend such abhorrent amounts—and, frankly, you can’t do that—as a small or even mid-sized business, considering the average salary of a small business owner is $63,560 a year. No ROI could even compete with that disparity.

You don’t have the time, money, manpower, or energy to run a business AND handle the demands of the diva that is SEO.

But we’ve got your back because we know why SEO is important for small businesses.

Our strategy can be personalized and customized based on your specific requirements, tailoring the amount of content you get, how often we post on social media, redesigning your website if needed—and so much more.

While we do have packages, we understand that it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, and we can’t possibly deliver the exact same services to everyone regardless of their industry. We specialize in working with small businesses, and some of our biggest successes have been getting these clients recognized.

Discount Golf saw a 296% increase in the top 3 keywords, while 3ALPHA LLC saw a 1000% increase in organic keyword rankings. Through our dedicated SEO services for small businesses, you might be among those clients who see a 91% increase in online conversions.

It doesn’t matter what your small business’s goal is—with our help, you’re bound to achieve that while still saving significantly. When you look at the big picture, the cost of comprehensive, continual SEO services is definitely easier on you financially.

An illustration showing a person investing in their businesses

Various Pricing Models and Cost Structures for Small Business SEO

Overwhelmed by all the numbers and costs for SEO services? It’s not surprising.

SEO is a fast-growing field, with experience determining pay grades and making it increasingly more challenging for businesses to run in-house departments. In any case, your needs as a small business aren’t that extensive and don’t warrant having your own team.

You can, instead, choose one of our packages to help you save more and save smartly. We offer one-time services and additional services in addition to the following:

Annual SEO Services

Our annual services, as suggested by the name, are a year-long subscription. It helps you save 33% on the cost of SEO services for small businesses and features three main packages. The Basic package is $335/month and is ideal for new businesses and startups; the Standard package is $505/month, which is ideal for increasing conversions; and the Advanced package, which is the most impactful, is $670 a month.

Each package comprises content marketing, link building, dedicated Project Managers and other perks.

Quarterly SEO Services

These services help you save a whopping 25% on your services and also feature three main variations. You can choose the Basic plan for $375/month, Standard for $565/month, and Advanced for $750/month.

Quarterly services are great if you’ve had a bit of a taste of the SEO world and want to extend your usage and services to get more long-term results and outcomes. You can re-subscribe for an added quarter and eventually convert your partnership to a full year.

An illustration depicting how one saves with SEO packages


Monthly SEO Services

Monthly services are a great way to ease into SEO for your small business and may seem expensive at first, but eventually, you can renew for longer and save more. They help you save 10% overall, at $450/month for Basic services, $675/month for Standard services, and $900/month for Advanced services.

Our monthly services also include a few other packages, including a one-time on-page SEO service for $199.

There are more variations and details about the Pro and Premium packages for each category that you can find here, and explore which option works best for your budget.

Keeping a flexible budget and focusing on the long-term returns, benefits, and savings that comprehensive SEO services cost is the best approach. After all, the average cost of SEO for small businesses goes beyond these numbers.

You’re paying for a whole package and array of services that are smartly packaged to give you the best deal. No hiring, managing, paying, or tracking your own team—outsourcing SEO is the best financial decision for small businesses.

The Cost of SEO Services for Small Businesses

It’s easy to rationalize cutting corners on the cost of SEO services for your small business, but it’s only hurting your company in the long run.

Invest in high-quality services that help you achieve your SEO goals and objectives and get your business ranked and recognized on the SERPs. It’s an important investment in your future and helping your business grow.

You can work with Search Berg’s team for a wide range of comprehensive, premium-quality SEO services that are catered to your needs. We offer detailed recommendations, services, and packages that help you get to your objectives.

If you want to know more about pricing for SEO services or you’re interested in learning more about our work, get in touch with us to set up a free consultation and get more personalized feedback and input from our SEO specialists.

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