Local SEO Costs In 2021 Can Vary Wildly, So Read On To See How Much You Should Expect To Spend
TL;DR At The Bottom
Local SEO, or Local Search Engine Optimization, is one of the best ways for small businesses to reach customers. 3.5 billion searches are done on Google every day, and as many as 43% of those Google searches are for a local business or service. And, since these searchers are looking for a specific business or service, traffic from search tends to be high quality, from people who are ready to spend their money and become potential customers.
It’s not unusual for a local business to dedicate the majority of their marketing and advertising budget to local SEO.
Another reason to invest in local SEO is that the cost for paid ads on Google continues to rise. As an example, I just checked what the average Cost Per Click is for the local SEO keyword search “roofers near me”:
As you can see the CPC, or cost per click for each ad, could be as much as $40. That doesn’t mean each lead is $40, but each time someone clicks on an ad or calls from an ad could cost a business owner $40.
Compare that to an SEO campaign, and you’ll be able to see how local SEO could be a more cost effective marketing strategy for a local business.
How much should these local SEO services cost though? And is the cost of SEO the same for every business?
It’s hard to accurately plan out your internet marketing budget if you don’t know how much core parts of it will cost.
You can have an idea of how much you’re willing to spend, but it may not be enough to get the SEO services your business needs, especially if you’re in a highly competitive industry, or are a “YMYL” service.
Local SEO pricing also depends on the geographic location of your business. Obviously, a business in a town of 5000 people could get by spending a few hundred dollars per month on SEO, while a business in a city of 50,000 with lots of competition would need to spend thousands per month.
Many local SEO agencies (and some local SEO freelancers) have different tiers of SEO pricing packages, offering to work on a few keywords each month for a flat fee. The SEO strategy usually doesn’t change too much, except the type of service would be different depending on how much you paid.
What Is Local SEO, or Local Search Engine Optimization, And Why Should A Business Pay For It?
Local SEO is a type of SEO marketing that focuses on local businesses that service a particular geographic area. These businesses might have a physical address and rely on foot traffic coming into their shop, or might drive to a local customer’s location.
Local SEO will focus on search terms or a search query that includes a specific city or geographic area, or include the term “near me”. An example would be a roofing company that targets Orange County, California. Their targeted search rankings might include “roofers near me”, “roofers Orange County”, or “roofers Huntington Beach”.
Aside from “organic search rankings”, which is the 10 blue links that show up on most searches (what we might think of as “regular search”), local SEO also targets Google Maps by way of Google My Business optimization tactics.
This should play at least a small part in any business’ marketing and advertising budget. Getting organic traffic from Google can be a low cost (although not entirely free) way to turn your website into a sales or leads creation engine. With good local seo services, you won’t have to pay for any media, ads, or additional staff or sales people.
Local SEO ranking techniques and services will vary from agency to agency, and from freelancer to freelancer, but in general, local SEO focuses on:
- Content creation, especially content relevant to the business’ local area
- Website optimizations, such as speed, usability, and general local SEO best practices
- Review management for Google My Business reviews
- Backlinks, especially high authority links or links from local websites or sources
- Citation building, or building listings on business directories
- To a lesser extent, reputation management, social media management and media or ad buying
How Much Do Local SEO Services Cost In 2021?
So how much does local SEO cost? In 2021, for local SEO services you can expect the monthly price range to be between $500-$3000 per month for SEO depending on the type of business you have, level of service and number of services you need, and target keywords. Additional factors for monthly costs include the number of locations that need to be optimized, whether or not you choose to go with an SEO agency or freelancer, the search volume for the keywords you are targeting, and your overall online marketing strategy.
Local SEO Campaigns: SEO Pricing And Factors
Local SEO campaigns share much in common with national campaigns in that relevant keywords need to be chosen, engaging content has to be created, and quality links need to be built.
An added wrinkle, however, for local SEO is Google My Business. Optimizing the Google My Business listing helps businesses rank higher on Google maps, and can help them appear in the “Map Pack” on the first page of Google search results.
Ranking in Google maps gives a business access to a broader audience. Voice searches for directions or for service keywords, or people using Google to make phone calls, are always pulled from Google Maps.
Businesses should also make sure their website is fast, easy to navigate, and free from any barriers that would prevent users from becoming customers. A local agency can send all the traffic in the world from Google, but if the website is slow or has a poor design all that marketing effort will be wasted.
How Much Should Small-Scale SEO Campaigns and SEO Packages Cost?
Small-scale local SEO campaigns should start around $500/month for most local businesses. This is about the bare minimum needed for an effective campaign. Any less and there will not be enough in the budget for the agency or freelancer to do much beyond creating content or citation building. Total SEO services cost will vary depending on the competition of the keywords and amount of services ordered.
Business owners who budget this much for SEO should ideally be in a low competition industry, in a small to mid-sized city with a single physical location and a relatively simple website.
Monthly services for an SEO plan at this price might include:
- Citation building (creating business directory listings or an online directory)
- One or two short pieces of content, such as short 500 word blog posts
- Link building from a private blog network or low authority sites
- Google My Business page setup
- Google My Business images
- Monthly SEO reports
Local SEO done on a small budget like this probably won’t get returns for a business in the short term, especially for competitive niches. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. A good campaign should produce results, but it may not happen for many months (even up to a year in some niches).
Large Budget Search Engine Optimization Campaigns
Companies with more than one physical location, in an industry with lots of competitors, or one that has unfortunately had lots of “black hat” SEO or scammers should set their marketing budget closer to $3000/month for SEO. Smaller-scale campaigns, around the $500-$1000 monthly budget, simply won’t work for some businesses, such as locksmiths, garage door repair, emergency plumbers, or water damage specialists.
For an SEO budget of this size, it would be best to go with a larger, more established SEO company or digital marketing agency who can offer more services and resources, rather than a smaller agency or freelancer.
Monthly services for a plan like this might include:
- Citation building (creating business directory listings) for multiple business locations
- Multi-location Local SEO campaigns
- Google My Business optimization
- Multiple long form, quality content pieces including local relevant blog posts and landing pages
- Content Marketing
- High quality backlinks, including manual outreach to highly authoritative links or local bloggers, newspapers, or magazines
- Review Managment, or soliciting and monitoring both positive reviews and bad reviews
- Conversion rate optimization experts
- Social media management
- Media or ad buying
- Google My Business Posts
- Other custom SEO Services
- Monthly meetings to review keyword rankings, campaign goals, business goals, and ROI
Again, as the saying goes, “you get what you pay for”. A higher SEO or marketing budget naturally means more and better quality services.
The Many Hidden Costs Of Using A Cheap SEO Company
The high cost of SEO, recurring costs of a campaign, or difficulty proving ROI can put off many businesses from investing in a quality local SEO strategy. Still, most owners know the importance of Google traffic, and will attempt to get by with using freelancers or less than reputable SEO agencies, often times from overseas. I have seen ads for services ranging from $79/month to $299/month.
It’s not hard to imagine that it would be hard to find reputable SEO experts willing to price their services this low.
These types of shops often use low-quality SEO tactics that will, at best, not produce any amount of measurable success, or at worst cause search ranking penalties due to “black hat” SEO. Penalties could include website ranking demotions (or even complete deindexing) for spammy links or suspension of the Google My Business listing. These consequences could set a business back years and completely wipe out any search engine presence that business may have had.
So when looking for a local SEO agency, make sure to choose one that is in line with typical pricing ranges.
TL;DR For Local SEO Pricing
How Much Does Local SEO Cost? A Business Should Expect To Pay Between $500-$3000 For Local SEO Services.
Local SEO services should include:
- Backlinks & Local Citations
- Content creation, such as blog posts
- Link building
- Monthly results reporting
High budget local SEO pricing might include
- Reputation management services, such as monitoring or soliciting reviews and online review management
- Website optimization, such as speed or usability
- Citation audit or cleanup to ensure citation consistency
- Backlinks from high authority websites
- Content marketing
- Services for multiple locations
- Google Maps and Google My Business optimizations
- Monthly meetings to track keyword rankings, other marketing and advertising costs, discussion of any Google algorithm updates, ROI, and other results and KPIs
How much your company should spend on local SEO depends on several different factors, such as:
- Location of the business, as well as number of locations
- Competitiveness of the industry or niche
- Amount of local SEO services desired
- Desire to use a freelancer or an agency
- How quickly results need to be achieved
- Amount of SEO Budget