SEO costs UK: The different types of SEO providers
The most common types of SEO providers you’re likely to encounter are:
➡ In-house teams
With an SEO agency (like us) you’ll partner up with a team of SEO professionals who will run your campaign on your behalf. This is perhaps the single most common way for SMEs to ‘do’ SEO in 2024.
Freelancers are, by nature, SEO professionals who will do odd jobs as and when they are required. This is another common approach for SMEs, especially the smallest of the SMEs.
At the other end of the spectrum we have in-house teams. These teams tend to be reserved for companies that are so big that they can afford to have their own members of staff trained to run an SEO campaign for them.
This approach is not so common as it is more expensive (some SEO tools, such as Ahrefs, cost £1,000s per month). So usually, you’ll only find in-house SEO teams in either very large companies, or the largest of the SMEs.
SEO pricing UK structures
So, there are only three different types of SEO providers out there. Phew! You’ll also be glad to know that across these providers, the same general pricing structures also tend to be offered:
➡ Per project
➡ Per product (‘productised SEO delivery’)
➡ On a performance basis
Let’s look at them more closely…
SEO costs per hour
Charging an hourly rate for SEO is one of the most common pricing structures you’ll encounter in the industry, alongside the monthly rate.
SEO costs per hour can be ideal if you:
➡ Don’t have a big budget but would like to benefit from SEO
➡ Are a local business in an uncompetitive niche
➡ Only have a small website, and only require basic on-page SEO work or linkbuilding
➡ Just want some advice from a professional SEO consultant
➡ Have a good presence online already, and just want a professional team to ‘maintain’ your brand and help you keep apace with the competition
We specialise in providing a service to SMEs that tick all of these boxes.
SEO costs per month
A monthly retainer is another very common standard that most digital marketing agencies offer. It’s also the standard that we offer at Add People.
With this pricing structure, normally you’ll pay a flat fee a month and we’ll work out together how many hours a month that will entail. And then we will deliver that number of hours which meets the agreed monthly fee. You’ll receive monthly reports at the end of each month, too, detailing the work that has been done along with the successes of your campaign and any further actions.
This standard is ideal for businesses who:
➡Want a consistent and sustained SEO campaign to grow their reach online
➡ Are operating in competitive industries
➡ Want to build out their blog to attract the right customers
➡ Require a PR team to strengthen their backlink profile, and a UX team to make their website conversion-friendly
This pricing structure of course speaks to most businesses. And yes, there’s no reason why you can’t get all of the above with an hourly rate. But for a continued and sustained SEO campaign, monthly is typically the most common way to go about it.
Some agencies may require you to sign lengthy contracts. At Add People, our contracts are flexible. We can offer 12 month and six month contracts — and can help to negotiate an arrangement that’s well suited to your needs.
Get in touch with us and we can work out a contract that matches your needs and budget.
SEO costs per project
Another relatively common way to pay is to pay a flat fee per SEO project.
For example, at Add People we offer a Convert & Grow CRO package. This usually involves the UX team examining your core pages and presenting reports on how your pages could be improved from a user experience level.
We also offer a Content Strategy SEO package that will examine your commercial pages, existing blog pages, and ideate on further blog content creation — building you a solid content foundation for the next year or so.
Other ‘projects’ could include things like keyword mapping, technical SEO reports — the list goes on. Usually these projects are pretty straightforward for the professionals to deliver. That’s why a flat fee can often usually be quoted for each one.
Productised SEO delivery
This ‘per product’ approach is less common, but still about. With this pricing structure, a company might offer to deliver a set number of words for a flat fee, or buy a number of backlinks for a static price.
An example might be:
Cool SEO inc. will deliver 1,000 words of SEO-copy over to you, for just £80. Even better, we’ll write 2,000 words for £120.
Links Galore ltd. will build 10 backlinks to your website from relevant websites with a DR of 75+ for only £6,500!
Obviously these are just (fictional) examples, but you get the idea.
This is another relatively uncommon pricing structure, in which an SEO company might charge a flat fee to get so many conversions and / or leads to your website in a month.
It’s an archaic, waning and unpopular type of pricing model, due to a variety of factors (recent developments in the SEO world making it harder to track attribution; the non-linear way that customers convert on a website — and so on).
The result is that you’re more likely to spend much of your time arguing with your SEO professional over what leads you can really attribute to the SEO campaign or not.
But that being said, this model can still work for some people. If you’re particularly anxious about getting over a certain number of leads for example (perhaps you’re on a very tight profit-margin) this approach could be worth trying.
SEO costs UK: Budgeting & what to expect
With all that out of the way, now we can talk numbers.
Obviously, the numbers below are just approximations. The actual cost of your SEO will depend on lots of other factors that we can’t go into here. But these numbers should give you a general idea of what to expect.
|Average SEO Monthly Cost UK
|£50 — £600
One man / woman bands, hyper-local businesses; low competition industries and anyone with a small SEO budget.
Good for basic on-site SEO (optimising your Google Business profile, citation backlinks, etc.) and technical maintenance.A dedicated SEO consultant will keep you on the right course of action, steadily improving on and strengthening your online presence.
|£600 — £6,000
|Most SMEs will fall into this bracket.
At Add People, we typically work with clients in this bracket. At this level you’re looking at a serious and sustained SEO campaign to help established businesses or new businesses grow quickly. This will include all aspects of SEO running concurrently. From general copywriting, to mapping out and executing a blog strategy suited towards your target audience. Alongside an effective PR / linkbuilding campaign designed to strengthen your website’s domain, helping you to stay abreast of the competition. Some agencies (but not all) may also have a UX team like we do at Add People, who will work to make your website more attractive to potential customers.
You can also expect technical SEO support and even some non-SEO services, such as help with website builds or site migrations.
|Enterprise-model businesses; very large corporations, government agencies, educational institutions.
This level of SEO is mostly reserved for the largest companies, usually enterprise-model businesses if they haven’t got their own in-house resources already. The bigger the website, and the more customers it handles, the greater the complexity. (Think big fashion brands, government websites, media companies, etc.).
Now, given that almost no one reading this article will be looking for information on how enterprise-model businesses utilise their enormous budgets for SEO, we’ll only be looking at the first two in more detail. So here goes…
£50 – £600 Average SEO costs
As mentioned above, this price range is pretty common for many small businesses in uncompetitive niches, or for businesses that tend to mostly operate in specific (localised) areas.
At Add People, we have plenty of smaller, under £600 clients that we work with.
With this type of budget, it’s also pretty common for SMEs to engage with freelancers too, as freelancers can be more than capable of delivering wonderful SEO work on an ad hoc basis.
The one thing we will say is, if you’re hiring freelancers to write content for you, then make sure you communicate with them as much as possible. They won’t be familiar with your business on an intimate level like you will be.
So talk to your freelancers. Tell them what the message it is you want to put across. You get what you put in with content — at all levels — but if you’re a particularly small operation with a small(ish) budget, it’s especially important to get things right the first time.
£600 – £6,000+ Average SEO costs
For most SMEs out there, a mid-range SEO pricing UK budget will likely do you just fine.
As stated above, we ourselves at Add People offer a mid-range B2C, SaaS and B2B SEO agency service, and at cost-effective prices that are lower than the national averages for a mid-range budget.
We can’t speak for other agencies, but here’s a quick idea of what we can do for your business if you sign up with us:
➡ A series of onboarding calls & interviews where we’ll discuss your business goals, target audience and ideal customer.
➡ A dedicated, interactive client strategy spreadsheet where you’ll be able to see and keep track of everything we’re working on — and be encouraged to offer suggestions.
➡ A fully developed content strategy that will centre around your most important commercial pages, and build out blog posts that will help attract new customers to your commercial pages.
➡ A review of the current content (blog and commercial) on your website to see if it’s up to scratch — along with a technical SEO audit of your website.
➡ In addition to your content marketing strategy, you’ll also receive a dedicated PR / link building strategy and (if necessary) a strategy for improving the UX of your website.
➡ All of this will be clearly communicated with you, along with a list of actions and deadlines on our end. You’ll also be able to track our progress in your dedicated spreadsheet.
➡ A dedicated account manager will also supervise your entire campaign and you’ll be free to message them at any time. You can also use our WhatsApp messaging service too.
➡ All the while our SEO experts will continue to measure how your SEO campaign is performing, to see where it can be improved upon.
If there’s another SEO agency out there that you’re thinking of partnering with instead, ask them if they can match all that we are offering above and beat our average prices. We’re quite confident that, at Add People, we can offer as close to an in-house service as possible, while at the same time still being an agency.
Estimating SEO return on investment
Understandably, you’ll want to know if it’s even worth your time and money running an SEO campaign in the first place.
Here’s how we do it:
➡ Keyword research — We’ll start by mapping out all of the relevant keywords that match your business offering. We do this using an SEO tool called Ahrefs, which tells us how many monthly searches / organic traffic each keyword receives. Then we’ll add up the total search volume of all of these keywords together to get one big estimated number.
i.e. “200,000 monthly searches”
➡ Engagement rates — we’ll then work out the average CTR (click-through rate) for all of these keywords to get an estimate of the number of monthly visits your website could receive.
We can get CTR information from Google Ads Keyword Planner and also by using click distribution metrics on Ahrefs’ keywords explorer tool.
i.e. 8% average CTR x 200,000 monthly searches = 8,000 estimated monthly visits
➡ Conversion rates. We can then compare this number of monthly visits with your average conversion rate on Google Analytics to get an approximate number of how many conversions you might have with this SEO strategy in place.
i.e. 3.5% conversion rate x 8,000 visits = 280 new leads
➡ Lead-to-sale rates. Next, we’ll use your internal data to see how many of your current leads turn into sales (your lead-to-sales rate) and apply this to the new leads we estimate your business will receive.
i.e. 8% lead-to-sale rate x 280 new leads = 22 new sales
➡ Revenue. Finally, the revenue from these new sales on your website will be calculated by using your average order value.
i.e. £280 average order value x 22 = £6,160 estimated revenue
During this forecasting process, of course, you’ll also have a thorough idea of how we will plan to get you there. For example, what pre-existing web pages it is on your site that we will optimise first; what new web pages we will create along the way to target said keywords, and how we will build out your blog content to attract more visitors.
With a proper SEO strategy in place, you should see a rise in total clicks and impressions over time. And remember, your conversion rates and click-through rates should increase anyway as we optimise the pre-existing pages on your website!
On Google Search Console, a successful campaign might look a little something like this (this is one of our clients, by the way):
Read more: Is SEO worth it for small businesses?
Conclusion: How much does SEO cost in the UK?
Hopefully this article has cleared things up, and given you a good idea of how much you might be expected to pay for a decent SEO campaign.
Before you go here are some final tips to keep in mind:
➡ You’ll want an SEO budget that matches the competition you’re facing. If your business is facing tough competition in the marketplace, you’ll likely need a higher budget to take them on.
➡ SEO is a bit of a slow burner. It can take months to see results from SEO naturally. So if you want faster results, it will be worth a lot more for you to spend more in the initial stages. (You can always lower your spend once your campaign is up and running and you’re seeing results.)
We should also say that SEO isn’t always the best solution for all businesses. Really it depends on your business model, and in what part of the marketplace it is you’re selling. While that’s a whole other topic, it might be that PPC, Social Media or some other form of digital marketing is the best solution for you.
Note: If you’re unsure of what type of digital marketing is best for you, then please get in touch with us by either calling us or by filling in the contact form below.
Lastly, remember that nothing is guaranteed in SEO. On the whole though, most SMEs should do very well if their SEO campaign is well organised and managed by the right people.