Why is SEO So Expensive? (Breaking Down the Cost in 2022)

Blog Cover for "Why is SEO So Expensive"

As a small business owner, you may wonder why SEO is so expensive.

SEO has become vastly critical to growing your business online – and online growth translates to company growth. 

The higher you rank, the more people will click on your site. The more clicks you get, the more chances you will close a customer. The general concept behind SEO is pretty simple, but the execution is complex. 

That’s part of the reason SEO services are so expensive in 2022. Another reason is that SEO is in very high demand because, quite frankly, it works. 

If you don’t think Search Engine Optimization is essential, consider the following statistic: consumers will begin their interaction with a business or service via a search engine query 68% of the time. Consumer behavior demonstrates clear evidence that people use search engines to find products and services. 

In the following post, Nolen Walker Academy sheds light on the question, ‘why is SEO so expensive?’ 

Time, Expertise, and Resources

SEO takes time, requires expertise, and demands resources. Finding a single person to meet all three of these criteria is nearly impossible. Therefore, for the most part, professional-level SEO campaigns come from an agency. A company can employ experts in each facet of SEO while driving results efficiently through human resources.


SEO involves several stages, each of which takes a significant amount of time. Of course, if you have multiple people handling the tasks, it will go by much faster. Depending on your online presence, budget, and goals, you may need to spend more time on SEO than other companies nearby.


Expertise rightly costs more money because it drives better results. So while you may think you are paying more for SEO services, you are also lowering the chances of wasting money on your digital marketing campaign. Mitigating the risk of lousy SEO is worth spending more.


The smartest SEO professional can’t implement their recommendations without resources. If you hire an SEO consultant, you probably have in-house resources who can execute their plan. However, many things can get lost in translation. SEO agencies with resources for content, link building, and website design typically drive the best results quickly.

How Much Does SEO Service Cost in 2022?

In general, you can expect to pay between $100 and $300 an hour for SEO services. Lump-sum single project deals usually run the gamut from $2,500 and $30,000. Monthly SEO services typically range from $750 to $2,000 per month. 

The truth is that there is no universal answer to the question. It will depend on several factors, including:

  • Whether you choose to pay for hourly SEO service or one lump sum for a single, long-term project.
  • The level of expertise of the consultant or agency that you hire
  • Your level of need (SEO services that you opt for)

It’s certainly not the cheapest service out there, which speaks to the high demand. So what are the specific costs associated with SEO services?

Infographic Showing How Much SEO Costs

Multi-Faceted Work

SEO is so expensive because it is highly involved, multi-faceted work that requires several different areas of expertise. So many various aspects of marketing and web design go into a complete SEO strategy. Here are just a few of them:

  • SEO Auditing: Before launching a strategy, the company must audit your existing web presence. An initial audit involves tracking your current rankings, identifying target keywords, measuring monthly traffic, and researching your competitors’ traffic and ranking stats. 
  • Web Design: Web design is a huge part of SEO because alterations always need to be made to your website to optimize it for search engine queries. 
  • User Experience: UX is also an essential part of SEO. Optimizing your website means making sure that it runs quickly and smoothly. The user needs to easily find the information they need so that they will be more likely to complete a purchase. 
  • Copywriting: Effective and clear writing with knowledge of SEO structure is essential to any SEO strategy. 
  • Content Marketing: Like any good digital marketing strategy, a great deal of creativity goes into the content you publish. Content marketing is a massive part of a complete SEO strategy, whether written or video. 

An SEO consultant needs to wear many hats to drive tangible results. That’s why SEO agencies are so prevalent. With an agency, you get a team instead of a single consultant. The group usually has various skills and experience backgrounds to develop comprehensive SEO strategies. 

Level of Expertise

You can undoubtedly find monthly SEO services on the (relative) cheap. You may find a solo consultant willing to provide monthly SEO services for around $80 a month. Their level of expertise is likely to be minimal, though. 

Often, these cheaper services come from consultants who are still cutting their teeth. They probably have a limited track record which is why they’re willing to offer such intensive service for so cheap. 

The problem with SEO services and training is that it is not regulated. Therefore, there is no regulated training needed to start offering their SEO services. In general, though, it takes about 18 months to learn everything you need to know about SEO. 

However, using it in the real world is a much different story. It’s generally agreed that it takes eight years of experience to yield results for clients. Like with many other kinds of services, level of experience and expertise will drive up the cost. 

SEO Takes Time

We don’t just mean time to learn; but time to execute. Very rarely will you hear about someone hiring an SEO agency or consultant for a one-off service. Typically, people pay for monthly SEO service or “by the project,” which is usually a long-term deal. 

That’s because it takes time to see actual results from SEO. 4-6 months at least – and that’s on the moderate end. So while you may start to see results after just four months, such results won’t necessarily translate to a fatter bottom line. 

Upping your rankings and getting more sales takes time with SEO, so you will have to hire someone for long-term work, which, of course, also drives up the cost. SEO is very rarely a “one and done” service. It requires constant maintenance, adjustments, testing, and refinement to increase sales. 

Infographic Showing How Long SEO Takes

What to Look for in SEO Services

Whether you are a business owner or someone interested in learning SEO as a career, it’s essential to know what to look for and what you should be learning. Unfortunately, there is plenty of misinformation online regarding SEO.

As someone looking to hire an SEO service, you should ensure that the plan they are offering you fits your business needs. The agency or consultant should also be very clear about the pricing structure. 

Ask them to explain all the costs in detail and tell you each service. Then, as someone looking to learn SEO, make sure you understand white hat tactics and offer them to clients. 

It would help if you stayed away from any agency or consultant who practices keyword stuffing, link farming, an ad-centric strategy, and other Black Hat SEO tactics, even as a consumer.