SEO is like a cat-and-mouse game. Search engines such as Google are constantly changing their algorithms to prevent website operators from optimizing their pages specifically for the search engine.

But what if you hire an
SEO agency
that focuses on search for your industry?

In this article we will look at what a good SEO agency costs and why it is worth investing in it.

  • How much does search engine optimization (SEO) cost and which billing models make sense?
  • Does performance-based compensation make sense?
  • How is the SEO daily or hourly rate calculated?
  • What if I do SEO badly or not at all?

These and other questions are answered in this article.

How much does an SEO agency cost?

The reasons why companies hire anSEO agency for search engine optimization support are many. Too little time to take care of it yourself, often in combination with lack of SEO know how and of course the use of experience of the SEO agency.

As an SEO client you buy time and therefore hourly or daily rates are the common billing basis. Often are also flat rates for specific modules of an SEO optimization such as SEO strategy, SEO audits. Keyword research, etc. common.

The amount of SEO hourly rates are, of course, different. However, because all SEO agencies have to calculate with similar personnel costs, the hourly rates move in a fairly narrow band between 120 to 160 euros per hour.

Particularly favorable SEO hourly rates usually have two causes. An SEO agency would like to establish itself in the market and therefore does not cover its costs. Or trainees are assigned to client projects at low hourly rates. Both are associated with a high risk for the client.

How is the daily or hourly rate for SEO created?

The prices for an SEO agency are logically in close relation to the hourly rates.

The amount of the hourly rates is calculated by the personnel costs of the consultants, the attributable direct and indirect costs, the margin of the agency and the planned degree of utilization of the SEO consultants.

Kalkulation Tagessatz

For effective search engine optimization, most different experts are needed. At least one expert for technical SEO, i.e. the technical optimization of the website, a content creator and/or copy writer is required.

Depending on the scope of the project, there may also be an employee for backlink building, content marketing and project management.

Due to the very different requirements of the companies, the workload of the employees fluctuates strongly and can hardly be planned. The problem can be easily recognized using the example of SEO content creation. Many companies create their content in-house, other companies want your SEO agency to do just that.

Because content creation is one of the most time-consuming tasks in SEO, the copywriter’s workload can increase sharply with a single client or decrease sharply if the client is no longer available.

Many SEO agencies try to cushion these fluctuations, especially in the area of content creation, with freelancers. However, because freelancers tend to be motivated in the short term due to the lack of project responsibility, the quality of freelance content is often variable, and sometimes simply poor.

In sum, this means that having all the necessary trades on hand through permanently employed and long-term motivated SEO experts is the most important prerequisite for successful SEO projects, but it also drives up the daily rates.

How much does an SEO freelancer cost?

The cost of an SEO freelancer can vary greatly depending on various factors such as experience, expertise, scope of the project and the region in which the freelancer operates. In general, hourly rates for SEO freelancers in Germany range from 50€ to 150€ per hour. Some freelancers also offer flat rates for specific SEO projects.

It is important to note that these are only rough estimates and actual costs may vary depending on individual circumstances. It is recommended to obtain several quotes and carefully check the experience and references of freelancers to make the best choice.

What about performance-based billing for SEO?

Success-based models, as some marketing managers would like to see, are business nonsense due to the lack of predictability for both sides. For this reason, success-based SEO has not caught on in professional marketing.

The idea actually sounds quite good: the customer only pays if the search for his product or service has improved and he makes more sales as a result. The agency or freelancer, on the other hand, has to show what it can do and is also paid accordingly – ideally a little more every month, because the rankings are (theoretically) getting better.

But this model is in practice disadvantageous for both sides. On the one hand, it is impossible to say beforehand exactly whether and to what extent the search can be optimized. On the other hand, it is almost impossible to prove that the improvement in rankings is actually attributable to SEO and not due to natural fluctuations in the search engine market.

You only pay if a search term ranks at the top – or at least better than before. This way, you pay for the service provided and the risk lies with the service provider, who is then guaranteed to put in more effort. Sounds fair, right? However, because it is always more complicated in reality, this model has not prevailed to this day.

From which budget is SEO worthwhile?

The development of an SEO strategy, the keyword research, the technical optimization of the website and especially the creation of content take time.

For a website in an average highly competitive market, you should allow at least 20-30 business days before you start seeing results.

If you consider the daily rate of around €1,000, then it quickly becomes clear in what order of magnitude a reasonable SEO budget should lie.

Over what period, this SEO budget is distributed, is initially not decisive. But clearly, SEO with 8 hours per month makes little sense entrepreneurially, because success will be very long in coming. And if the competition comes at you with more ambition, you may not move forward at all.

3 man-days per month should be the minimum for an SEO project with good prospects of success.

How much does an SEO audit cost?

The cost of an SEO audit can vary depending on the scope and complexity of the audit as well as the agency hired. There are no set prices, as each audit is customized to meet the needs and goals of a website. As a rule, SEO audits are charged on an hourly basis or as a flat rate.

For smaller sites or basic audits, the cost can range from €500 to €2000. More comprehensive audits for larger websites with more complex structures and extensive SEO analyses can cost several thousand euros.

It is important to note that a quality SEO audit can be a worthwhile investment, as it will help you identify your website’s weak points and highlight optimization opportunities. This can help you improve your website’s visibility in search engine results and increase traffic in the long run.

Does SEO off-shoring make sense?

Given the quite substantial cost of good SEO, one or another entrepreneur gets the idea to outsource SEO to countries with much lower labor costs. India in particular, with low day rates and supposed tech expertise, seems a logical place to buy SEO services.

For one-off technical tasks, such as moving to a faster server, this is an option, with all the risks of IT off-shoring. However, this alone will not give any website a good ranking.

High-quality, relevant content can only be developed by a native speaker with a good feel for a brand’s target market and audience. That’s why content creation abroad, and in a different culture to boot, is almost always doomed to failure.

Bad SEO: More expensive than no optimization?

Bad SEO costs money. Probably even more than not doing any SEO at all (more on this in a moment).

There are various reasons for this.

On the one hand, technically poor SEO is poison for visibility and therefore traffic.

Unfortunately, there are still SEOs who try to trick search engines into giving them better rankings. This is also known as “black hat SEO“.

Links and texts are hidden to accommodate additional keywords or to generate more links. We speak of keyword stuffing when texts are literally “stuffed” with keywords – often in inappropriate places.

Inappropriate subheadings and meta tags that are only geared towards the search engine do not help users and are penalized by Google and other search engines.

If the optimization is carried out poorly or even in violation of Google’s guidelines, this will at best result in a deterioration of the rankings.

Visibility and traffic from search results decreases.

In the worst case, Google will impose a penalty, which can go as far as complete de-indexing of the website.

Then it is no longer accessible at all via the search function and visitors only come via other channels, if at all.

On the other hand, professional support is required to correct poor SEO practices, so in most companies a second agency must be commissioned.

The correction also takes some time, and until the measures take effect, there is no traffic.

For entrepreneurs or marketing decision-makers, it therefore makes sense not necessarily to accept the cheapest offer when choosing an SEO agency or freelancer.

Instead, you should also look at the reviews and experience of the people you hire to optimize your website.

The costs incurred by poor SEO far exceed the savings.

Without SEO: Missed opportunities and lack of control

Not using SEO can have far-reaching consequences for companies, which mainly manifest themselves in three areas:

  1. Lower sales due to less traffic: Websites without a strong SEO presence often struggle with a lack of visibility, which leads directly to fewer website visitors and therefore lower sales figures.
  2. Limited organic growth: If a well thought-out SEO strategy is lacking, organic growth can suffer as a result. This results in a limited reach among new target groups and the associated potential loss of sales.
  3. Technical and content problems: Without continuous SEO monitoring and maintenance, the risk of technical defects and outdated content increases. This can have a negative impact on the performance of the website and thus reduce its competitiveness.

In summary, the costs incurred by not using SEO can be described primarily as missed sales opportunities.

These lost opportunities can be more serious in the long term than direct expenses.

It is therefore essential for companies to consider SEO as an integral part of their marketing strategy in order to continuously promote visibility and growth.

Doing without SEO does not necessarily lead to the problems mentioned.

If the website is technically good and attention is paid to high-quality, user-oriented content, a website can also generate good positions “by itself”.

Without the monitoring and targeted control of these effects, however, success is left to chance to a considerable extent.

If you forgo SEO support from experienced professionals, you run the risk of missing out on opportunities for traffic, leads and sales.

A tip if you’re not sure how much SEO would bring you: most freelancers and agencies offer a
SEO audit
to get you started.

First, the current status of the website and possible construction sites are determined.

Depending on the results of the audit, you can then decide whether or not you would like further SEO support.

Optimizing for growth: The added value of SEO

Investing in SEO is an investment in long-term, organic growth.

In most cases, you will not benefit from good SEO immediately, but you will benefit continuously – usually for years to come.

The greatest opportunity here is to build up your brand and position it permanently.

We have a detailed article about brand visibility through SEO.

We will therefore be brief here and only provide the most important information.

The advantage of organic rankings in search engines is that they are associated with a high level of trust on the customer or user side.

By placing yourself and your company in these positions, you not only increase your traffic, but also your sales.

Increased visibility also increases awareness of and trust in your brand.

Investing in an effective SEO strategy not only offers improved brand visibility, but also financial benefits.

An optimized website appeals to users who need exactly what you have to offer. Such users have a clear intention to use your product or service.

These targeted visitors are more valuable and increase the likelihood of sales or registrations.

Statistics show that investing in SEO almost always pays off!

Conclusion: Good SEO has its price – but it’s worth it!

In conclusion, it can be said that SEO is a fundamental investment for every company. The effect of search engine optimization goes far beyond pure traffic generation.

It is essential for brand visibility and promotes long-term, sustainable growth.

However, there is a risk of reducing or completely torpedoing the effect through excessive thriftiness.

This doesn’t mean that good SEO has to be expensive, but quality has its price.

Reputable SEO freelancers and agencies will not promise to make the cheapest offer, but will make you an individual offer based on your goals and current status.

And above all, they are prepared to be transparent about how the price comes about and what they get for it.

This gives you the collective experience and expertise of professionals who will help you to position your website and your brand in the best possible way.

It is therefore important to choose a qualified and experienced SEO agency or freelancer. This way you avoid the risk of bad or unfair practices and fully utilize the potential of SEO.

Working with such reputable SEOs also pays off financially when you have more high-quality traffic and more visibility for your brand.

At UnitedAds, we understand the importance and complexity of SEO and offer transparent solutions tailored to your specific needs.

Get in touch today so that we can work together to achieve organic and sustainable growth.

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