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SEO, they’re three letters that are banded about a lot, especially in the world of marketing. Even if they sound like a mystery or a secret club to you, you’ll know that it has some importance when it comes to the world of digital marketing, which means you’ll probably be wondering about SEO costs in the UK. 

Firstly, what is SEO?

SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is a complex marketing method, used as a tool to position your company on multiple search engines for potential customers to discover your business. Think of it as an online version of the old business telephone directories. It includes many facets, encompassing content marketing, organic search and technical aspects. So, when you choose your package with a marketing company you will need to know what SEO work, they will do to compare the costs.

There are companies offering Search Engine Optimisation services from £35 per month right through to £10k+ per month. So, how do you decide which is the right one for you? 

At Relative Marketing, we have put together this article to help you make some sense of how much you should be paying to boost your website traffic. 

SEO trends 2019 Relative marketing google image

Where do I start?

If you have been in business for any period, you will have no doubt heard about SEO. As a business owner, you can sometimes find yourself in the middle of a sea of information. Making sense of it all can be a headache, which is just a step too far for most. As you are already busy running your business, we aim to help you save valuable time.

Before you jump in and choose an SEO service, you will need to know what you are looking to get from the service. 

Outline your goals

SEO marketing can achieve several things for your business and brand, and it is important to know what these are, how they fit in with your current marketing strategy and be the most cost-effective. These include;

  • Increase in organic traffic (keyword ranking)
  • Brand awareness 
  • Conversion rate increases

Once you have chosen your goals, you will need to perform a website audit. Many tools on the market can perform this, however, given the technical nature of these, it’s best to have an outside agent provide this. 

They will take a detailed look at all aspects of your website. Outline any issues and present recommendations to help you choose how you will proceed.

Once you know your goals and you’re armed with your website audit results, you will be able to look into the services available on the market.

seo signpost graphic with man scratching head

What kind of services are there?

As with every business service, there are many different types of SEO packages available on the market. These include;

  • Monthly retainer
  • Project-Based
  • Package (often bundled by the hour) 

Monthly Retainer

This is an ideal starting point for a business wanting to make a big impact on the search results. This will be a cost billed out by an agency that will include elements of SEO chosen by yourself and the SEO experts. The full scope will be directly chosen as a result of an SEO Audit on your site. 


By far the most popular is the SEO package. These come in many shapes and sizes, so once your goals are set out you can choose one that matches.


Project-based increases the cost compared to the standard package route and is ideal for a product launch or website re-brand

The costs of each product will vary depending on;

  1. How many keywords or phrases are you looking to rank for?

The number of keywords or phrases you want to rank for will increase or decrease the costs. Work has to be completed on an independent basis for each keyword or phrase as well as helping the domain authority to increase.

  1. Your target market

As per the example of “life insurance”, some industries are harder to rank for and will take a lot more work whilst others might be relatively easy in comparison.

List of top ten industries paying Google AdWords in 2011 was:

  1. Finance and Insurance (£3.2 Billion)
  2. Retailers and General Merchandise (£2.3 Billion)
  3. Travel and Tourism (£1.92 Billion)
  4. Jobs and Education (£1.76Billion)
  5. Home and Garden (£1.68 Billion)
  6. Vehicles (£1.6 Billion)
  7. Computers and Consumer Electronics (£1.6 Billion)
  8. Internet and Telecom (£1.36 Billion)
  9. Business and Industrial (£1.28 Billion)
  10. Occasions and Gifts (£960 million)

We can take from this that companies in these industries will be spending a vast amount on organic SEO too. The competition for those top 3 spaces is high, so achieving these positions will take a great deal of SEO work from high end SEO companies.

seo costs graphic with microscope

So how much does SEO cost?, industry leaders in SEO software and news on the subject, completed a survey of over 600 SEO agencies around the globe.

Their survey found SEO prices completed on an hourly basis was $76 – $200 per hour (£60 – £160 per hour).

When SEO services are used on a retainer basis, according to the survey, the two most common costs were $251-$500/month and $2,501-$5,000/month. (£200 – £400 per month and £2,000 – £5,000 per month). 

SEO companies also offer project-based pricing. By-the-project pricing is popular and most commonly $1,000-$7,500. (£800 – £6,000).

Why choose an SEO agency?

Many small business owners like to completely outsource marketing to someone “with more knowledge” than themselves. Others prefer to take advice and have either internal staff complete the work or even themselves.

Will I see a positive return on my investment?

Research suggests that 81% of all purchases start online. This is a huge number to be missing out on. Of course, not all of these purchases happen online, and more often than not, this is all about researching potential solutions to problems the user has or narrowing down the options they have available to them.

To gain a positive return on an SEO investment you need to be in front of the searcher as and when they are searching for a solution or product. This doesn’t just mean being there when their “credit card is in hand” ready to make the purchase. This means being in front of the searcher when they are starting in the buying funnel. Commonly referred to as the awareness stage.

Searchers all over the world normally start by looking for a solution to a problem they have. “How do I waterproof my shed?” This question is at the very start of any buying process.

A good SEO strategy will use this type of question and create content to answer this specific question, and each stage through the buying funnel until they have purchased the product you offer that enables them to waterproof their shed.

So, to answer the above question, Yes, if done right, you will gain a positive return on your investment into Search Engine Optimisation.

cheap seo graphic

Never go for the cheap option!

We’ve seen over the years the negative effect of using a cheap SEO service or provider. When Google updates its algorithm, you may find your website has been removed from the search results altogether. How would this affect your sales and ongoing business health?

SEO done right is a great way to gain a long-term upward trajectory for your business when it comes to organic results.

In summary

When looking to build your marketing strategy for the next 12 months you must at least have looked at SEO. With an estimated 61% of non-brand, organic clicks going to the top 3 positions in the search engine results page, there’s a huge amount of business to be generated using the right SEO agency and gaining the right results.

The key to it all is finding the right company and having the budget to make a real difference to your organic rankings.

To find out how we can help you with your SEO, please get in touch today.

Adam Waring profile picture

About the author

Adam has been involved in digital marketing for over 10 years and developed the love of all things marketing after running his own company selling baby goods. He used to be in a band, and after a gig in Ibiza, gave Groove Armada a lift back to the airport. He is SEO & Content Strategist, so he is responsible for integrating digital marketing channels in terms of SEO, driving website traffic and increasing return on investment.

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