ahhh..if there was a magic answer to the question “What does SEO cost? – your life would be much easier.
But, all kidding aside, if anyone gives you a quick answer to that question or offers you a one size fits all program – run away and run away fast.
Would you walk into a car dealership and ask – how much will a car cost and expect an answer? No. Why – which car? Do you want the Kia or the Mercedes? The stripped down version or the Special Edition? You get the picture.
With Search Engine Optimization pricing, many things have to be taken into consideration. A full analysis needs to be done on your website, on your keywords, your competition, your current ranking. Is there really one keyword or do you have hundreds? (take for example a jewelry store – they might want to optimize for engagement rings, diamonds, necklaces, rings, jewelry, earrings, diamond earrings, etc. a lawyer may need to optimize for Law, Criminal Law, DUI, felony, criminal defense lawyer, etc) as well as optimizing for geographic location.
How are you ranking now? How are your competitors ranking? How is your social media?
All of these questions go into the equation to calculate the cost of your SEO.
You need an agency or consultant that will give you an analysis of your website and then discuss the different options available to start moving your website up in the search engines. Your SEO cost will depend on how much work needs to be done to get your site ranking.
Now, if a consultant or agency offers a specific task for a specific dollar amount – that is not the same as a general optimization quote. Ie. they can offer social media management or make your website mobile friendly or load faster (all things that are important in SEO). Those items are fairly standard and a price can be given to them – depending on the experience of the agency/consultant and how busy they are, their physical location (agencies in New York City will probably cost more than agencies in a small town in central USA), and other factors. (very similar to how 10 dentists will give you 10 different prices to pull a tooth).
Whatever person or agency you decide to work with, make sure you are comfortable with their communication style and have them give you some references and case studies.