What are the Benefits & Drawbacks of the SEO Pricing Models?

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SEO (search engine optimization) is important for all businesses because it increases your visibility by improving your ranking in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). SEO companies have different SEO pricing models because they have realized different businesses have different SEO needs and different SEO budgets. It is important that you know what these pricing models are and their benefits and drawbacks as this will help you pick what suits you.

Hourly Packages:

As the name implies, with this pricing model, you pay the SEO firm based on the number of hours it puts into your SEO campaign. Most businesses go for this option because they feel it is straightforward and quantifiable.

Different SEO companies have different rates, with the major factors dictating pricing being the services provided, the size of the company, the location of the company, and the reputation and demand for the company’s services. You can expect to pay anywhere between $50 and $300+ per hour according to a Moz survey and the Clutch.co report. So, what are the pros and cons of hourly packages?

SEO Pricing Models


  1. There is a higher level of transparency and accountability. You are more likely to keep track of exactly what is going on with regard to the time dedicated to each aspect of the SEO campaign with this model.
  2. You are able to allocate time very specifically. This model is a good option if you are operating under strict timelines (such as if you have a deadline to launch a website or a product) or if you do not want different SEO aspects to consume too much of time.
  3. Hourly packages allow you to easily predict costs in the short term. This makes it a good option if you have a limited SEO budget and you do not want to go over budget.
  4. Most companies give you a breakdown of service costs with hourly rates. You will know exactly what each service costs and you can then make informed decisions (such as dropping services you deem to be too expensive).


  1. This might be frustrating because you will not see results immediately. SEO requires considerable time to give the desired results. You should lower you expectations when going for hourly rates and be cognizant of the fact that you will see results long after the contract with the SEO firm is over.
  2. There is a risk that you may exceed your budget. The amount you pay for an hourly package is higher than with other packages and rates can escalate quickly since it might be necessary to go outside the scope to meet your SEO objectives.
  3. Most SEO firms have an ‘all hands on deck’ policy when faced with strict timelines like those presented by hourly packages. The different employees will generally log their hours separately even when working as a team, so there is a risk that the firm will limit the amount of manpower devoted to you if you have paid for a limited number of hours.
  4. If there are service fees involved, you may end up with fewer man hours than you anticipated.
  5. With hourly rates, you get a more cut-and-dry business relationship with the SEO firm. The team working on your SEO campaign will not feel tied to your business’s mission and vision. Focus will be on a limited perspective as opposed to long-term SEO objectives and a business relationship.

Monthly Packages

With these packages, you pay for a period of one month, renewable depending on the scope. This is the more common pricing model and you pay a predetermined amount either at the beginning or end of the month. You will get a specific package of services. The major advantages and disadvantages of this model include:


  1. With most SEO firms, you get unlimited man hours, which is the major selling point of this package over an hourly package.
  2. The SEO firm will not have an excuse for not delivering since there will be no time or budget constraints. Go for an SEO firm that does projections.
  3. The package usually includes oversight and maintenance. This is important if you are to have SEO success.
  4. You will not have awkward hourly payment discussions. The process of figuring out how many hours have been clocked can be annoying for both sides.
  5. You will have a better relationship with the SEO firm since you will be in a partnership where each team wants the other to succeed for mutual benefits.


  1. The needs of a website vary from one month to the next, but you will pay the same amount irrespective of the number of hours clocked. You may feel like you are not getting your money’s worth when the workload is lighter.
  2. The pace is slower compared to hourly packages and this might also make you feel like you are not getting your money’s worth. To prevent this, ensure the SEO firm provides regular updates.
  3. You will be locked into the contract for one month (it is easier to make adjustments with hourly plans).
  4. If you are a startup business, you may find it difficult to make monthly payments during slow months.

Project-Based Packages:

This pricing model is usually employed by SEO companies that also have monthly plans as an introduction to their services. It is also offered for short-term maintenance of a specific SEO component. You can take this as a bridge between monthly and hourly plans since you will have sufficient time to accomplish your SEO goals while still having set timelines.


  1. You will pay a lump sum and the SEO firm will be obliged to complete the project, even if it goes over budget. This makes this a good option if you have budget constraints.
  2. You get a clear contract (there will be no surprises). You need not worry about the effort the SEO firm is putting in since the firm will be trying to meet your expectations as fast as possible.
  3. If your site is already optimized for search engines, this plan allows you to focus on a specific aspect that needs revamping.


  1. You might be shortchanged by unscrupulous companies if the expectations and parameters are not clearly defined.
  2. You do not have much flexibility and you will have to pay more if, during the course of the project, you discover that you need additional services

Go for the package that suits your specific needs. Do due diligence to get a credible and reliable company like http://www.rankingbyseo.com/.

1 thought on “What are the Benefits & Drawbacks of the SEO Pricing Models?”

  1. thanks for sharing insights about different SEO packages and pricing models. Really useful for beginners to aware on pricing before trying out SEO.

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