How Much Does Local SEO Cost

How Much Does Local SEO Cost?

Are you looking to hire someone to take over your Local SEO but not sure how much it will cost?

If you've done some online research you have probably found that most Local SEO and online marketing companies don't post their prices.  Or if they do, it's all over the map.  You may have seen monthly Local SEO plans running anywhere from $99 a month to well over $3,000 a month.

So what's the difference?  Why do the prices for Local SEO services vary so much?

The cost of Local SEO services varies so much because there are so many factors involved when it comes to delivering Local SEO as a service.  Local SEO is an umbrella term for many individual tactics that make up Local SEO.  Some service providers may only deliver a small part of the full menu of Local SEO tactics, while others may offer comprehensive Local SEO packages.  Other factors, like your geographic market, your industry and the level of service and results you expect, all play a role in determining how much you will pay for Local SEO services.

In this article, we will discuss the factors involved in determining how much you will likely pay for Local SEO services and will arm you with the knowledge you need in order to hire the right Local SEO company for your needs.  I've also included some past examples of what we have charged for Local SEO, depending on the industry and market size.

Before we start, I suggest you watch this short video so you understand exactly what Local SEO is and how it works.

Your Industry

How competitive is your industry when it comes to Local SEO?  Some industries focus a lot more on online marketing and Local SEO than others.  Plumbers, locksmiths, lawyers, real estate and finance are just a few examples of industries that can be very competitive online. Typically, industries that rely on people searching online to find their services and sell higher priced, profitable services will be very competitive online.

To give you an example, a contractor in Toronto may have 1-2K people a month searching online for general contractors in their area.  If their average project is 8K, then you can see the huge potential in ranking high in the search engine results brings to that contractor.  Thus, they are willing to invest more money in Local SEO, then say a store that sells gift baskets that only average $49 a sale.

Be prepared to pay more if you are in an industry that has a high payout potential and has lots of people looking online for your type of business.

Your Geographic Location

Your geographic location plays a big role in how much you will pay for Local SEO.    The size of the city as well as what area you are targeting in that city will factor in how much you will pay for Local SEO services.  Will you be targeting the entire city or a specific part of the city?  If you plan on targeting all of NYC, plan to spend a lot more than if you were only targeting Parker, Colorado, a suburb outside of Denver.

It also depends on how competitive your industry is for that city.  I have a client that offers waterproofing services in Toronto, which is the most competitive market for waterproofing services in North America due to the size of the city, the age of the buildings, weather, and the massive amount of waterways underneath the city.  Doing Local SEO for waterproofing in a city like Charlotte would be a breeze compared to Toronto.

The size of the city and how competitive your industry is in that city will play a factor in how much you will pay for Local SEO.  To bring costs down, consider focusing on a specific part of your city instead of the entire thing.

How You Compare To Your Competitors

Are you just starting out or new to online marketing?  Are you in a competitive field and have a lot of catching up to do? Do your competitors have lots of online reviews and you have none?

If you want to pay for results then you will need a Local SEO strategy that will close the gap between you and your competitors in a time frame that you are ok with.  If you are running a marathon and in second place, only seconds behind the front-runner, you would not need as much extra effort to win the marathon than if you were currently in last place and wanted to win.

If you have a large gap to fill in order to catch up with your front running competitors, then you will pay more for Local SEO.

Type Of Local SEO Services You Are Looking For

Not all Local SEO services are created equal.  Some Local SEO companies will offer full, comprehensive Local SEO strategies that cover all the bases.  Others will only offer 1-2 services and still call it a Local SEO strategy.  You need to know if you are paying for a complete Local SEO strategy or just a few select tactics.

Local SEO is made up of the following:

  • Optimizing your website
  • Content creation
  • Link building for your website
  • Citation building
  • Google My Business and Bing Places management
  • Online reviews
  • Managing third party web properties that are under your control
  • Consulting and strategy advice

A complete Local SEO strategy would take all of these into account.  Many Local SEO companies will only focus on a few.  An example would be an agency that only specializes in link or citation building.

It is up to you to determine if you need a complete strategy or if you will be managing parts of your Local SEO strategy and only need outside help for specific tactics.  Usually, if you see a Local SEO company offering set pricing, like when buying a product, they are offering specific Local SEO tactics with a fixed set of deliverables, regardless if they meet the needs of your Local SEO goals or not.  This isn't a bad thing, you may only need a specific tactic from them but you will still need to develop a strategy and fill in the remaining gaps yourself or with another Local SEO company.

It sounds complicated, but Local SEO is made up of lots of moving parts that all work together in making up a complete Local SEO strategy.

Type Of Results You Expect

If you want your Local SEO company to deliver results for you, then you'll pay more.  If you just want them to deliver an agreed upon set of goods each month with no responsibility for results, then you'll pay less.  Use paying for citations or links as an example, the Local SEO company delivers what they promise each month but it may be of no help to you in gaining higher rankings or more business.  Someone who focuses on strategy and implementation will take more control and responsibility for the results, which mean you'll pay more for this.

You also have to communicate what your expectations are for Local SEO.  Are you a brand new plumbing company that wants to rank in the top 3 for your main search term within 6 months?  You will pay a lot more than if you were a seasoned plumbing company already ranking fairly well and want similar results in that time frame.  A lot of SEO comes down to time.  Delivering quality service is time-consuming, which is why SEO can be expensive, especially if you are in a highly competitive market.

When you are looking to hire a Local SEO company, make sure you are clear on your expectations so there are no misunderstandings.  A good Local SEO company will also bring your expectations back to reality given your current state and budget and help you put together a realistic plan that will work with your resources.

Sample Costs For Local SEO

Every Local SEO company is different and offer different levels of service.  To give you an idea, below are some examples of what we have charged in the past for Local SEO services, which included website optimization, Google My Business and review management, link and citation building and ongoing consulting services.  We'll charge less if the company does not need a comprehensive Local SEO strategy, but below should give you a general idea.

  • General contracting company in a city with 3M+ residents we charged about 3K a month
  • Criminal Lawyer in a city with 5M+ residents we charged about 4K a month
  • HVAC Company in a city with 1M+ residents we charged about 2K a month
  • Physical Therapist in a city with 500K+ residents we charged about 1.5K a month
  • Professional Organizer in a city of 500K+ we charged about $700 a month

Like I said, every Local SEO company charges differently and delivers different levels of services so it can be difficult to compare one company from another.  Your best bet is to have an understanding of what specific services and expectations you have and then start reaching out to companies.

It's also important to know that what they charge has no relation to the quality of service they will deliver.  I've had clients come to me paying twice as much for Local SEO services and I had a hard time trying to figure out exactly what they were delivering each month for their large price tag.  I've also had clients come to me after paying companies overseas $200-$500 a month for SEO services that did absolutely nothing except take their client's money every month.

When it comes to hiring a Local SEO company, my advice is to make sure you feel comfortable communicating with them and that you feel like they have the knowledge and understanding to deliver the results you want.  You should also ask to speak to current clients so you can get first-hand experiences of what it is like to work with them.  Don't rely on online reviews, there are many companies out there that are loaded with fake reviews.  Be sure to speak to actual clients of theirs.

How Much Does Local SEO Cost?

As you can see, the cost of Local SEO depends on a lot of factors.  The best thing you can do is to spend time educating yourself on Local SEO, ask lots of questions and do your research when deciding on who to hire.

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CEO at 3Bug Media
Gary Shouldis is the founder of 3Bug Media, a web marketing company that helps businesses create 360 Marketing Strategies to dominate their market. His blog is read by over 20 thousand small business owners a month and has been featured in the N.Y. Times Small Business, Business Insider and Yahoo Small Business.
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