Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is one of the most in demand marketing services in the UK. It’s not by chance – it’s essential to growing your business.
Nearly £2 billion was spent on Google advertising in the UK in 2020 alone, the majority of which is powered by SEO research and keyword targeting.
It’s easy to see already just how valuable SEO is within the advertising industry, but what does that mean for your business?
SEO is the driving force behind the way you’re ranked on Google and other search engines. It helps businesses all over the globe to generate organic traffic and get new customer leads/enquiries.
But what does search marketing cost? Surely such an intensive marketing strategy will be too expensive for your small business? That’s not entirely true.
Overall, average SEO costs in the UK vary depending on what you need and what payment structure you pick. But what will it really cost you? And if you pay for an SEO service, what can you expect?
Let’s make sure you know the details before you make any moves.
Table of Contents
What is SEO? A quick overview
SEO (search engine optimisation) is about optimising your website to appear when customers search for a solution to their need that you can help them with. The solution being your product or service.
Without an online presence for your business, you’re missing out on hundreds of users (customers!) every week. Most people turn to Google when they need a solution, SEO content allows us to show that you are the solution that your customers need!
Most people understand that SEO is about getting your website ranking highly on search engines. True, but there’s more. It’s about ranking, getting customers to come to your website, stay, read and then get in touch with you (or buy from you).
That’s why content plays a big role in the success of your SEO.
You can also use SEO to drive more local traffic to your door. If a potential customer is nearby they’re nearly 40% more likely to make a contact or a sale. Targeting local keywords and being first page ranked in your area really does pay dividends.
For more information on SEO, check out our blog – ‘our SEO process‘.
Common SEO pricing structures and providers
How much does SEO cost for small businesses in the UK? Overall prices tend to start from £500 and can cost upwards of £2,000 per month. It’s important that you find a provider that’s flexible enough for your needs and budget.
If you invest in SEO for your company, you’ll likely work on one of the three pricing structures below.
They all have their own pros and cons, and their benefits will depend on your SEO goals.
Let’s go through them in a little more detail.
Monthly retainer SEO – agencies
A full marketing agency
- Average cost £1,000 per month
- Costs start from £1,000 and right up to £5,000 per month
A monthly retainer fee means you’ll receive SEO on a monthly basis. With a full marketing agency, they will cover all the usual elements of SEO, and usually, more:
- Keyword research
- Backlink research
- Content optimisation
- Regular copywriting – blogs and landing pages
- Keyword reporting
- Design – new page designs or visual assets for blogs
- Development – building new page template and technical optimisation of your website
This pricing structure is mostly used by marketing agencies to ensure long term client relations. It will either be an ongoing agreement, or you may need to pay 6 – 12 months in advance so there’s no interruption to service.
For an average cost working with a full service marketing agency, you can expect to pay anythign from £1,000 per month.
However, it’s easy for an agency to use monthly retainer models to lock clients into long term contracts. You can easily expect to face up to a year or more working with the same agency.
If you find their work to be unsatisfactory or you need to move on for any reason, you’ll have to serve out the rest of the contract you’ve signed up to.
- You’ll have the support of many people on your SEO campaign. SEOs, writers, developers and designers.
- Agencies usually have access to the best (and most expensive) SEO tools, so you don’t have to invest in additional software.
- Full marketing agencies have been known to provide a service in the most cost effective way for themselves to make profit from their SEO service. This means there is a slight risk that an element of the SEO may not be completed to the highest standards. E.g., the content may be written by a junior copywriter.
- A very expensive monthly outgoing. Typically full service agencies will not charge less than £1,000 per month, and you could pay up to £5,000 per month for the level of service you need.
- You’ll be in a contract, which means any disagreement or dissatisfaction of service you can’t end the service immediately.
A content agency
- Average cost £800 per month
- Costs start from £500 and right up to £2,000 per month
A content agency will be focused on creating amazing content that gets you ranking on search engines, but also focused on converting users.
The biggest factor of any successful SEO campaign is the content you’re producing, and so working with a content agency is a nice affordable way to get results at a much cheaper cost than a full service marketing agency (above).
With a content agency, they will still provide the essentials to SEO:
- Keyword research
- Content optimisation
- Regular copywriting – blogs and landing pages
- Keyword reporting
When teaming up with a content agency you will usually have a campaign lead (who is SEO and content focused) along with an SEO copywriter (who will produce all content).
- An affordable option yet can still produce the same results as the more expensive full marketing agency.
- They specialise in SEO content, which means all content produced will have SEO in mind, but most importantly, focused on creating the best experience for your customers.
- Unlike a full marketing agency there won’t be designers or developers on hand to make technical website changes.
SEO with a copywriting agency is a great option for affordable yet effective SEO
For any sized business looking to complete SEO but doesn’t have a substantial budget, working with a content agency is a great option.
If this is your preferred option, drop us a message and we can find a SEO content expert to work with you.
Hourly – SEO/marketing consultants
Hourly rate of £75 or more
The average SEO hourly rate in the UK is anywhere from £75.
Whether you’ve got experience with SEO and your own marketing team or not, working with consultants on an hourly rate is a great way to achieve your SEO goals. You’ll be able to gain a lot of insight based on the consultant’s own experience in the optimisation market.
If you’re working with a consultant, you’ll likely pay towards the higher end of this model. Paying by the hour means you’ll have a lot of control over how much actionable advice you receive.
Most consultants will be available to take conference calls, meaning they’re also incredibly accessible to you. This is often just what a small business needs.
A consultant is usually only around in the beginning of your process and it can be difficult to strategise without this guiding hand. Your own employees will often be the ones putting the SEO knowledge you’ve gained into action. If they don’t have any marketing training, it can take them a long time to get to grips with SEO.
- Consultants can give a fresh perspective on your overall SEO marketing strategy.
- They can share their experience with you and give you next steps to keep costs down in the long run. The initial consultancy costs are a one-off rather than an ongoing monthly cost.
- If you can’t complete the work suggested by the consultant, they’ll know someone who can help you.
- A consultant won’t complete the optimisation work for you. They’ll give you the advice to do it yourself or to hire additional support.
Want to get stared with a consultant?
Per project – affordable providers
Costs start from £200
For small businesses, the per project pricing model can seem like the most friendly.
It works with your advertising budget, which can be slim to none when you first start out. But when a SEO or marketing agency charges per project for optimisation services it can be a sign they’re willing to cut corners.
As the saying goes, you really do get what you pay for when it comes to the SEO world.
Why we don’t recommend a one-off SEO project agreement
SEO is an ongoing process and takes at least 6 – 12 months to really see results from the work. A one-off service is unlikely to be enough to really see valuable results for your business.
Paying between £200 – £600 for the service can feel like a normal value you’d expect anywhere else.
Cheap providers can often use a network of public blogs (PBN) to improve your website’s backlinks. The agency can easily build links by making use of these blogs, which often feature in a variety of different niches. Search engines however want to see backlinks that are relevant and valuable.
So a PBN backlink will likely have little or even no positive impact on your SEO. Essentially, you’ve paid for nothing.
A one-off project can be anything from backlinks, keyword discovery or content.
- Cheap option.
- May be able to achieve some sort of keyword ranking improvement.
- SEO is an ongoing process and takes at least 6 – 12 months to really see results from the work. A one-off service is unlikely to be enough to really see valuable results for your business.
- Low quality optimisation or content.
What do I get with SEO services?
SEO allows your business to shine for what it really is: a strong brand that just needs dressing up a little. As such, using SEO services can cover a broad definition of your marketing needs.
Whatever goal you have in mind, using optimisation tactics will help you to align with it.
But before you invest in any SEO services, it’s good to know what you’re paying for.
In developing a full SEO strategy, SEO copywriting agencies like us at TJ Creative will often follow a 5 step program that fully covers your personal SEO needs.
This is where it all starts. Before anything can be done to optimise a web page, we need to know what you’re trying to rank for. A bank of research will be done to identify suitable keywords and their authority.
Above all else, you need to target words, phrases, and terms that are actually being searched for. If we know what these are early on, we know if we can use them or not. We can then track them as time goes on to see how you’re performing compared to when you first got to work.
The way your website is performing is crucial to your SEO ability. With relevant keywords in hand, we’ll comb through your entire website to see how things currently stand. Think of this as an audit, just a little less scary.
In this section of an SEO service, we’ll get into the technical aspects of your website. We’ll be able to tweak and optimise meta descriptions, tags, and links. This helps to ensure your website is user (and search engine) friendly across all outward facing elements.
A big part of website SEO, filling out your website with new content is a cornerstone of most optimisation services. No matter if you’ve already got content or not, you can expect a full plan of what to post and when to help hit those keyword targets you’ve already established in earlier steps.
If your website has no content, it’s going to be hard to rank it. Google won’t see it as having value and you’re unlikely to get organic traffic either.
In more simple words, using content writing and copywriting will allow you to keep your website moving. Post short, sweet, and interesting things regularly and people will actually stick around to read it.
Any work put into your website at this point will only take you so far. It will do good work in the moment and help your business to rank high, but it won’t last forever. You’ve got to keep updating your website with new and fresh content.
It’s a simple concept: no one wants to come back to a website that never has something new to offer. And this is especially true for the algorithm itself.
SEO is never a rigid and straight concept. It will change from time to time to reflect your business’ online standing. You’ve come a long way since you first started out with an SEO strategy and you can’t let your momentum stop here. Google needs to see more on a regular basis and any SEO consultant or agency you work with will recognise the need for that early on.
Once the above is all put into action, the next step in the program is to monitor and keep an eye. You can expect monthly reports from whatever service you’re working with to show you how things are evolving. You’ll be able to track your progress from day one using these, and also see if you’re on target for hitting your online goals according to the timeline you’ve set.
When will you know your SEO strategy has been successful?
It’s different for every business out there. Depending on what you want out of an SEO campaign, you can use the services available above in a variety of ways to push you towards the goals you’ve set out.
Remember, progress is success; any positive change in the way your website is perceived by search engines should be noted down.
- Ranking higher on Google – this can lead to more sign ups, call backs, and organic traffic that wouldn’t have found you otherwise.
- You start to see enquiries coming through – in the form of contact form completions, emails or phone calls.
- More sales online.
- Increase in social media following – it’s all interlinked. The higher your online presence the better all of your online profiles will perform.
Is SEO worth the investment?
SEO, when done right and given enough time to work, offers a great return on investment. If you pay, say, £800 per month on your SEO, how many sales do you need to convert from your website to pay off the work?
The best thing is that when the SEO works it’s there to stay, so you’ll keep reaping the reward well into the future.
Here’s what SEO success looks like
Our client Lucky Beans is a London based childcare agency. When they came to us with SEO worries, we were able to improve their organic traffic rate by 102.43% (and still increasing!) in just 6 months of SEO work.
They now rank number 1 for a variety of keywords related to local childcare in London and even better, they’ve expanded their business by opening a further 4 new nurseries.
A simple check of their online visibility, as well as keeping their goal to gain more local childcare enquiries in mind, meant they could expand in rapid time.
If you want to know more about the work we did for Lucky Beans, you can check out a full breakdown of the project right here.
The cost of SEO is well worth the investment, if you’re willing to give it the time and attention it deserves
The average cost of SEO in the UK will vary depending on who you’re working with and what structure you’re paying for.
But in our opinion the cost of SEO is more than worth it. As we‘ve shown above the benefits can be numerous! Based on your goals and objectives, you could see over 100% positive increase in traffic to your website in under a year.
Here at TJ Creative, we’ve taken time to craft an expert SEO service.
Complete the form below if you want to get started on your SEO needs and we’ll be in touch!
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