How much does SEO cost in Australia?

This is one of the most common questions that we get from businesses looking to invest in digital marketing. And it’s understandable, seeing as SEO pricing and the quality of work can vary so widely. 

For those who aren’t as familiar with the world of digital marketing (most business owners), this can make it quite difficult to decide who to go with and how to best invest their time and money. And unfortunately, this means that countless clients come to us with horror stories about being charged exorbitant prices for pitiful results or even being penalised by Google and having to start all over again. 

This brings us to the question: how can you tell if you’re paying too much (or not enough), and how can you make sure you’re actually getting the best value for your investment?

We’ve compiled a guide of everything you need to know to understand why SEO costs what it does and how to choose a reliable SEO company to help with your strategy. 

How is SEO priced?

There are three types of SEO pricing: hourly SEO rates, monthly SEO rates, and per-project SEO. Monthly retainers are the most common, as it takes time for you to see results from your SEO efforts and you’ll want someone capable of tweaking and finetuning your campaign to optimise your performance.

According to a worldwide study conducted by Ahrefs, monthly rates commonly vary between $250 a month to $5000. This is also reflected by the Australian/NZ data, as seen below.

What affects SEO pricing?

There are a few important factors that will affect how much you pay for SEO:

  • Whether any previous work has been done to lay the groundwork for on-site SEO
  • How competitive your industry and keywords are
  • The ranking you want to achieve
  • Whether you’re implementing a local campaign or national/global
  • The amount of new content/pages that need to be created
  • The experience level of the SEO specialists

Some companies will develop different SEO pricing tiers based on the amount of SEO needed and the type of business (for example, small business SEO vs. Enterprise SEO), allowing you to find an SEO package that suits your budget.

How much should eCommerce SEO cost?

With the eCommerce market booming in Australia and worldwide, there’s never been a better time to start selling online. Unfortunately, this is exactly what your competitors are thinking and if you don’t have a solid SEO strategy, you’ll get lost in the crowd. 

Ecommerce SEO will be more expensive than other types of SEO, simply because of the sheer amount of product pages necessary. That being said, there are a few factors that will impact how much you pay:

  • How big your business and eCommerce store is 
  • The number of products you sell
  • The expertise of the SEO company you choose

Like with other types of SEO, you may pay an hourly, monthly, or per-project fee, though a majority of agencies will charge a monthly retainer for their eCommerce SEO services. 

What’s included in SEO?

What’s included in your SEO package will depend on a few factors, including your business goals, your budget, and the expertise of the SEO company you’re working with. 

You’ll want to make sure that your SEO package includes both on-page and off-page SEO, as both are vital to the success of your campaign. Content marketing is also something you should consider, as creating highly relevant content that users and search engines love is an essential part of SEO. 

At Search Marketing Group, for example, we develop a data-driven SEO plan to target the most valuable keywords for your business that provide you with the best return. We also conduct a website and competitor analysis, allowing us to identify any areas of opportunity, and offer web design and content writing services to ensure that your website is populated with converting pages.  

We look at over 500 ranking factors that may be affecting your website, including:

  • Duplicate and missing content
  • URLs
  • Meta tags
  • Sitemaps
  • Internap linking
  • Internal linking
  • 404 errors
  • Heading tags
  • Alt tags
  • Word count
  • Backlinks
  • Nofollow/Dofollow
  • and much more

It’s important to note that all SEO takes time to work and there are no (good) shortcuts; any company promising instant results is selling something unrealistic. Our clients generally start to see results after 3–6 months as a minimum. 


Why are some companies more expensive than others?

When comparing SEO pricing, you’ll find some extremely cheap and extremely expensive options.

Offshore SEO companies can be cheaper but often compromise in terms of quality. The same goes for so-called ‘experts’ on platforms like Airtasker or Fiverr – while you may see some early success, you won’t see the long-term benefits you would if you were working with a professional. In fact, cheap SEO can end up costing your business far more than a properly planned strategy. 

Following this line of logic, you would think that the more expensive SEO companies would do a better job, right? Unfortunately, there is a fine balance between paying for the expertise of an SEO specialist and overpaying a scammer. And while you should expect to pay more for someone who has more experience, studies have shown that less experienced SEO companies are often more expensive

At the end of the day, when deciding who you want to go with and developing your SEO budget, you should focus on the value that you will get and the ROI. 

What should you look for in an SEO company? 

There are a few red flags to look out for when it comes to SEO companies:

  • They utilise black-hat SEO tactics like keyword stuffing and link purchasing
  • They charge per keyword
  • They don’t provide analytics and (at least) monthly reports on your campaign progress
  • They offer prepackaged SEO plans that don’t take your needs or website into account
  • Their offer seems too good to be true

In terms of what you should be looking for, you’ll want an Australian-based SEO company that has a proven track record of results and is completely transparent about its process. You’ll also want someone who will stay in regular communication with you and report their progress so that even if you don’t see results right away, you’ll know exactly where your money is going. 

Optional, but highly regarded, is a full suite of digital marketing services, allowing you to create a holistic online presence. After all, SEO works best in tandem with other strategies such as PPC and social media. 

The right SEO company will ultimately depend on your business goals and budget, but make sure that you do your research. 

What’s the difference between local SEO, state-wide and national SEO?

We’ve already discussed that local SEO will cost less than state-wide or even national SEO, but how do you know which one will be the most valuable for your business?

First of all, let’s look at the difference between local SEO and traditional SEO targeting wider areas (state-wide, national, and international). While traditional SEO is all about optimising organic web traffic on a broader scale, local SEO focuses on targeting a certain area where you know your customers will be located. 

This is especially useful for small local businesses and physical stores, seeing as at least half of users visit a store within a day of their search. And, as 80% of local searches convert, this is a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal. 

There are a few strategies unique to local SEO that you’ll need to consider:

  • Claiming and optimising your Google My Business listing and profiles on other listing sites
  • Adding your business ​​name, address, and phone number to your site and local directories
  • Earning (and responding to) reviews
  • Using location-specific keywords and web copy
  • Targeting local websites to build backlinks

Should I focus on traditional SEO or local SEO?

While the benefits of local SEO are clear, the type(s) you want to focus on will ultimately depend on your business and goals. 

If you’re looking to boost visits to your physical store – for example, a restaurant – or only service a certain area, then it makes sense to focus on local SEO only. This will lower your spend on SEO, allow you to target more specific and highly converting keywords, and see results quicker than with a larger SEO campaign. 

An eCommerce business, on the other hand, might benefit from widening their reach, allowing them to reach their target market wherever they might be located geographically. 

What SEO approach should you take for your business website?

The approach you will take will depend on your business goals. Some of our clients come to us and want more leads; others want to see more profit. Below are two of our long-term clients, both with different aims, who have seen success with different SEO strategies. 

Case Study: Brisk Landscaping

This client came to us looking for a way to increase the number of leads they received. As a landscaper, lead generation is absolutely vital to the survival and growth of the business, bringing in a steady stream of new and old clients.

For the last 5 years, we’ve been working with Brisk Landscaping, focusing on a local SEO strategy that targets clients in the suburbs of Melbourne. This has helped us keep our clients’ spend lower while simultaneously bringing in 200x more qualified leads in their area. 

You can see Jamal’s testimonial below:

Case Study: T+R Sports

This client wanted to give their online store a competitive edge. Traffic wasn’t a problem – they were getting a good amount of visitors – but they found themselves lacking in the sales department compared to their larger competitors. 

After a comprehensive review of their eCommerce site, we implemented a strategy that involved:

  • Optimising product and category pages with converting content
  • Ecommerce SEO and conversion optimisation, focusing on different aspects of the sales funnel to bring in more qualified leads
  • Creating business pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Google to boost their profile and build brand awareness
  • Remarketing to previous visitors
  • Facebook and Google Ads to support SEO and drive traffic

As a result, T+R Sports have increased their annual revenue to $10 million and achieved a 1000% increase in ROI. 

Having worked on this client’s SEO strategy for over 4 years now, we’re still seeing consistent improvements. Below, you can see how their order numbers have more than doubled since the start of 2021.

How can Search Marketing Group help?

We know that SEO is an investment – we’re here to make sure it’s a worthwhile one. 

We use a number of fixed pricing models depending on the scope of your SEO campaign. For example, if you want to focus on bringing in local business, we offer a different package than if you were hoping to target all of your state or even all of Australia.

We don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to SEO – what works best will depend on your business goals and needs, the size of your business, what industry you work in, and several other factors. That’s why we make it our mission to get to know our clients and how we can help them get results. And with a personal Account Manager as your single point of contact and a regular reporting schedule, you’ll always know what’s going on with your campaign (and dollars). 

We offer a free 30-minute SEO consultation where we discuss what you want to get out of your SEO strategy, what needs to happen to get you there, and give you a concrete quote.  

Want to find out what a solid SEO strategy will cost your business? Reach out to our team today and we’ll be happy to give you an assessment during a free consultation. You can also get a free SEO report here that details any problems with your site and gives you suggestions for improvement. 

Client Reviews

 Fantastic company to deal with. Very professional and a high attention to detail that is not normally seen in an Australian business. Recommend these guys for SEO and website building.
Managing Director – Bang Packaging.

 We have found SMG to be very professional, proactive and helpful in respect of our marketing needs. The whole team are also very helpful and have gone to significant lengths to assist us with any technical issues we have had to deal with. We highly recommend Search Marketing Group to anyone seeking a quality and effective marketing team.

 I have been with Search Marketing Group for 4 years now and i have been extremely happy with the service and results. My business has grown drastically because of these guys. Great job definitely recommended!

 I have been using Deepak for a long time now and would recommend SearchMG to anyone looking for great service and brilliant results. 8 years and still going strong.
Thanks Search MG team

We have been with Search Marketing Group for 4 years now and I highly recommend them. They have done excellent SEO on our website and also manage our Google Ads which has been generating an excellent return on investment for us since we came on board with them. They are professional and also go the extra mile to help always. Keep up the good work.

I have been with Search Marketing Group for 4 to 5 years now and they have helped me grow my business from few hundred thousand dollars to a few million dollars over the last few years. Deepak and and his team are great and always go the extra mile to deliver. I highly recommend them.