Digital Marketing Industry Pricing Survey from Credo (updated 2019): SEO agency and consultant rates

SEO agency and consultant rates


Credo is very SEO-focused for the clients we bring in who are looking to hire. In fact, over 70% are looking for a project that has an SEO component (technical, content, outreach) involved.

There are many studies out there that show “SEO consultant rates” or “SEO agency rates”, and while those may have more respondents than ours they are also more global-focused and less focused on the specific countries that Credo serves.

So, this section is mostly about US and UK based SEO agencies and consultants, though we also give you a view into our view on the global SEO market and its rates.

The important takeaways from this section are:

  • Worldwide, SEO firms charge an average of ~$149 per hour;
  • 71% of US SEO agencies charge between $101-$200 per hour;
  • Only 41% of UK SEO agencies charge between $101-$200. UK agencies are more likely to charge between $51-$150 per hour.
  • The average SEO consultant hourly rate worldwide as of January 2019 is $148 per hour.
  • 55.32% of US SEO consultants charge $101-$200 per hour, and 25.53% charge less than $100 per hour!

Let’s get into the numbers.

Average SEO firm rates worldwide

First, let’s look at the SEO firm average rates worldwide.

Average SEO firm hourly rates

Worldwide, SEO firms charge on average $149 per hour.

Here is how it breaks down:

As you can see, on average:

  • 30.98% of SEO firms charge $101-$150 per hour;
  • ~$17% charge over $200 per hour, which means
  • ~83% charge under $200 per hour;
  • 8.68% of our respondents charge under $50 per hour and ~29% charge under $100 per hour.

Now let’s look at some deeper cuts to see how the numbers change.

Link building is a common activity in SEO and is absolutely important for ranking sites. We were interested in whether firms that build links charge more or less than firms that do not.

Here are the findings:

Takeaways:

  • A higher percentage of link building firms charge $101-$200 per hour than non link building firms.
  • A slightly higher percentage of non-links firms charge more than $201 per hour;
  • A higher percentage of non-links firms charge $51-$100 per hour than firms offering link building;
  • 4x more non-links firms charge $501+ per hour than links firms.

Overall, this data surprises me a little bit, though then I remember that this is worldwide and the data skews lower than I usually think it will.

The figures I expected are that a higher percentage of links-offering firms bill between $101-$200 than non-links firms and that non-links firms charge more as a percentage in the higher hourly rates.

The other way we wanted to look at the data was by company size. Here are the results:

And here’s the data:

Hourly Rate Solo 2 to 5 5 to 10 10 to 20 20 to 50 51+
Under $50 8.05% 12.90% 9.52% 10.53% 3.57% 4.00%
$51-$100 28.74% 19.35% 9.52% 0.00% 14.29% 24.00%
$101-$150 24.14% 41.94% 23.81% 47.37% 35.71% 16.00%
$151-$200 21.84% 12.90% 33.33% 31.58% 28.57% 28.00%
$201-$300 10.34% 11.29% 9.52% 10.53% 14.29% 20.00%
$301-$500 2.30% 0.00% 9.52% 0.00% 3.57% 4.00%
$501+ 3.45% 1.61% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 4.00%
N/A 1.15% 4.76%

Average SEO firm minimum monthly Projects

Here are the SEO firm minimum monthly one-time projects as reported by our 242 respondents:

The raw data:

Project minimum Count of Single project minimum Worldwide SEO firm single project minimum
Under $1,000 55 22.73%
$1,000-$1,999 65 26.86%
$2,000-$2,999 45 18.60%
$3,000-$3,999 15 6.20%
$4,000-$4,999 7 2.89%
$5,000+ 40 16.53%
Do not accept one-time projects 7 2.89%
No minimum 8 3.31%

The important takeaways:

  • We are extremely heartened to see that 16.53% of the SEO firm respondents do not take minimum projects for less than $5,000!
  • 49.59% (almost half) of the respondents report doing single projects for less than $2,000.

Average SEO firm minimum monthly retainers

Here are the SEO firm minimum monthly retainers worldwide as reported by our 242 respondents:

The raw data:

Worldwide SEO firm minimum monthly retainer
Monthly retainer Count of Monthly minimum budget Worldwide SEO firm minimum monthly retainer
Under $1,000 62 25.62%
$1000-1,999 66 27.27%
$2000-2,999 42 17.36%
$3000-3,999 25 10.33%
$4000-4,999 5 2.07%
$5,000+ 23 9.50%
I do not accept ongoing engagements 4 1.65%
No minimum 15 6.20%

Average SEO firm rates (US)

Now that we’ve established the worldwide SEO agency/firm rates, let’s look at the US numbers.

Average SEO firm hourly rates (US)

Here’s the raw data:

Hourly Rate SEO agencies
Under $50 2.22%
$51-$100 5.56%
$101-$150 40.00%
$151-$200 31.11%
$201-$300 15.56%
$301-$500 3.33%
$501+ 1.11%

The interesting callouts are:

  • 40% of US SEO agencies charge between $101-$150 per hour;
  • A full 71% charge between $101-$200 per hour;
  • ~20% charge $200+ per hour with ~4.4% charging over $300 per hour;
  • ~8% charge less than $100 per hour.

Average SEO firm minimum projects (US)

Here are the US SEO firm minimum projects according to our 137 respondents:

The raw data:

Project minimum Count of Single project minimum US SEO firm single project minimum
Under $1,000 22 16.06%
$1,000-$1,999 37 27.01%
$2,000-$2,999 32 23.36%
$3,000-$3,999 9 6.57%
$4,000-$4,999 3 2.19%
$5,000+ 27 19.71%
Do not accept one-time projects 3 2.19%
No minimum 4 2.92%

Average SEO firm minimum monthly retainer (US)

Here are the US SEO firm minimum monthly retainers according to our 137 respondents:

The raw data:

US SEO firm minimum monthly retainer
Monthly retainer Count of Monthly minimum budget US SEO firm minimum monthly retainer
Under $1,000 25 18.25%
$1000-1,999 41 29.93%
$2000-2,999 28 20.44%
$3000-3,999 17 12.41%
$4000-4,999 4 2.92%
$5,000+ 14 10.22%
I do not accept ongoing engagements 1 0.73%
No minimum 7 5.11%

Average SEO firm rates (UK)

Now let’s look at UK SEO agency hourly rates numbers. We had significantly fewer UK agencies who do SEO respond than US (90 for US, 24 for UK) so these numbers are not as strong as US, but they’re still directionally helpful.

Average SEO firm hourly rates (UK)

Here’s the raw data:

Hourly Rate UK SEO agencies
Under $50 8.33%
$51-$100 37.50%
$101-$150 29.17%
$151-$200 12.50%
$201-$300 12.50%
$301-$500 0.00%
$501+ 0.00%

Here are the main callouts:

  • A significantly higher percentage of UK agencies (45%) charge under $100 per hour than US agencies. In fact, more UK SEO agencies from our set report that than US even though we had 4x the number of US respondents than UK;
  • 41% still charge $101-$200 per hour though, the same as the US. I suspect this is skewed by fewer respondents in the UK, but is interesting nonetheless.
  • Zero UK SEO agencies in our dataset charge $301 or more per hour.

Average SEO agency rates

Now let’s look at the average SEO agency (2+ people) rates both worldwide and for the United States.

Average SEO agency hourly rates (worldwide)

Here are the SEO agency hourly rates worldwide for our 155 respondents:

The raw data:

SEO agency hourly rates worldwide
Hourly rate Count of Average hourly rate SEO agency hourly rates worldwide
Under $50 14 9.03%
$51-$100 24 15.48%
$101-$150 54 34.84%
$151-$200 36 23.23%
$201-$300 20 12.90%
$301-$500 4 2.58%
$501+ 2 1.29%
N/A 1 0.65%

Average SEO agency project minimums (worldwide)

Here are the worldwide SEO agency projects minimums as reported by our 155 respondents:

The raw data:

Worldwide SEO agency minimum project
Project minimum Count of Single project minimum Worldwide SEO agency minimum project
Under $1,000 33 21.29%
$1,000-$1,999 39 25.16%
$2,000-$2,999 28 18.06%
$3,000-$3,999 10 6.45%
$4,000-$4,999 5 3.23%
$5,000+ 31 20.00%
Do not accept one-time projects 5 3.23%
No minimum 4 2.58%

Average SEO agency monthly retainer minimums (worldwide)

Here are the worldwide SEO agency minimum monthly retainers as reported by our 155 respondents:

The raw data:

Worldwide SEO agency minimum monthly retainer
Row Labels Count of Monthly minimum budget Worldwide SEO agency minimum monthly retainer
Under $1,000 40 25.81%
$1000-1,999 38 24.52%
$2000-2,999 27 17.42%
$3000-3,999 19 12.26%
$4000-4,999 5 3.23%
$5,000+ 17 10.97%
I do not accept ongoing engagements 3 1.94%
No minimum 6 3.87%

Average SEO consultant rates (worldwide)

Before digging into the average SEO consultant rates in US and UK, let’s look at them worldwide.

Average SEO consultant hourly rates

The average SEO consultant hourly rate worldwide as of January 2019 is $148 per hour.

Here is the data:

And the data:

Hourly Rate Solo
Under $50 8.05%
$51-$100 28.74%
$101-$150 24.14%
$151-$200 21.84%
$201-$300 10.34%
$301-$500 2.30%
$501+ 3.45%
N/A 1.15%

As you can see, the average is $148 per hour but the takeaways are:

  • ~36% of SEO consultants worldwide charge less than $100 per hour;
  • ~60% of SEO consultants worldwide charge less than $150 per hour;
  • Only 5.75% of SEO consultants who responded to our survey charge over $300 per hour.

Average worldwide SEO consultant project minimums

Here are the worldwide SEO consultant project minimums from our 87 respondents:

The raw data:

Worldwide SEO consultant single project minimum
Row Labels Count of Single project minimum Worldwide SEO consultant single project minimum
Under $1,000 22 25.29%
$1,000-$1,999 26 29.89%
$2,000-$2,999 17 19.54%
$3,000-$3,999 5 5.75%
$4,000-$4,999 2 2.30%
$5,000+ 9 10.34%
Do not accept one-time projects 2 2.30%
No minimum 4 4.60%

Average worldwide SEO consultant monthly retainers

Here are the worldwide SEO consultant monthly retainer minimums from our 87 respondents:

The raw data:

Worldwide SEO consultant minimum monthly retainer
Row Labels Count of Monthly minimum budget Worldwide SEO consultant minimum monthly retainer
Under $1,000 22 25.29%
$1000-1,999 28 32.18%
$2000-2,999 15 17.24%
$3000-3,999 6 6.90%
$5,000+ 6 6.90%
I do not accept ongoing engagements 1 1.15%
No minimum 9 10.34%

Average SEO consultant rates (US)

Now let’s look at US SEO consultant (only 1 person in the company) rates. We had 47 such respondents.

SEO consultant hourly rates (US)

Here’s the raw data:

Hourly Rate US SEO consultants
Under $50 2.13%
$51-$100 23.40%
$101-$150 27.66%
$151-$200 27.66%
$201-$300 8.51%
$301-$500 2.13%
$501+ 6.38%

The interesting callouts are:

  • 55.32% of US SEO consultants charge $101-$200 per hour;
  • 25.53% charge less than $100 per hour!
  • 78.72% of US SEO consultants charge between $51-$200 per hour;
  • 16.92% of US SEO consultants who responded charge over $100 per hour;
  • 6.38% of our US SEO consultant respondents charge $500+. This is 3 of the 47 who replied.

SEO consultant Project Minimums (US)

Here are the single project minimums for the 47 US SEO consultants in our dataset:

The raw data:

US SEO consultant minimum single project
Row Labels Count of Single project minimum US SEO consultant minimum single project
Under $1,000 7 14.89%
$1,000-$1,999 15 31.91%
$2,000-$2,999 12 25.53%
$3,000-$3,999 4 8.51%
$4,000-$4,999 1 2.13%
$5,000+ 6 12.77%
No minimum 2 4.26%

SEO consultant Monthly Retainer Minimums (US)

Here are the monthly retainer minimums for the 47 US SEO consultants in our dataset:

The raw data:

US SEO consultant minimum monthly retainer
Monthly retainer Count of Monthly minimum budget US SEO consultant minimum monthly retainer
Under $1,000 7 14.89%
$1000-1,999 17 36.17%
$2000-2,999 9 19.15%
$3000-3,999 6 12.77%
$5,000+ 2 4.26%
I do not accept ongoing engagements 1 2.13%
No minimum 5 10.64%

Average SEO consultant hourly rates (UK)

Similarly to the SEO agencies, we had dramatically fewer UK respondents than US respondents. We had 47 respondents in the US versus just 16 in the UK.

SEO consultant hourly rates (UK)

As such it’s barely worthwhile to give averages as they are so skewed, so here is the raw data:

Hourly Rate for UK SEO consultants Count
Under $50 1
$51-$100 11
$101-$150 2
$151-$200 0
$201-$300 2
$301-$500 0
$501+ 0

If you really want the averages, here they are:

Because we do not have enough data here, we will not call out interesting pullouts.

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