What Determines the Price of Local SEO? Learn How to Keep Costs DOWN

So you’re looking to invest in search engine optimization, and you’re chatting with a local SEO agency to get an estimate, and you ask, “how much is this going to cost me?” Suddenly you hear, “The price will be $1,000 a month” or “$1,500 a month for everything we’ve talked about” ($1,000-$1,500/mo is the normal price range for a standard local SEO campaign).

You think to yourself, what really determines the cost of local SEO and why? Well, to save you time, here are the major factors our agency considers when quoting local businesses (contractors).

  • Who are you competing against?
  • How old your domain is
  • How many pages you have
  • Are you looking for a website revamp?
  • Do you wish to rank on Google Maps?
  • How many images/graphics, and or videos you have

There are a few more factors to consider, sometimes we realize that we would ideally need more money once we begin working (more technical difficulties than anticipated), however at JCSURGE, we give all our clients a one-price guarantee. If a campaign is $850/mo, but we realize we should have charged $1,000/mo, we won’t try to upsell the client aggressively.

Related Articles

Local SEO vs National SEO

Ranking in a local market is oftentimes more direct than ranking nationally. For instance, an HVAC company that services Tampa, FL will be able to rank faster (statistically) for “AC repair Tampa” than “How to fix a broken AC?” this is because, more often than not, local contractors are not spending time on their sites (EVEN THOUGH THEY SHOULD!) as much as national brands.

Local search engine optimization will almost always cost less than national SEO simply because the competition is almost always going to be less.

Who Are You Competing Against?

By far, this is the most important factor SEO agencies consider when pricing their campaign. Depending on where you wish to rank and who you wish to target could mean the difference between an $800/mo campaign and a $1,500/mo campaign.

Most SEO consultants and agencies will structure their pricing to match the likely cost (time, software, labor, etc.) it will take in order to get you ranking on the first page of Google. Let’s take a look at an example:

You own johnshvac.com and want to rank for “HVAC Miami” because you realize people are searching this phrase 150 times a month. However, you realize that you’re now going to have to compete with listings like Yelp, Homeadvisor, Angieslist, and that one company that can throw tens of thousands of dollars a MONTH on advertising. In order to rank on the first page for this phrase, you’ll need to invest a lot of time and/or money. If you’re competing for what we call “high difficulty” keyphrases, phrases with a lot of tough competition, your quote will be higher.

However, let’s suppose you want to rank for “emergency ac repair Miami” Now we’re looking at something more specific and less competitive. According to Ahrefs, as of Sept. 7, 2020, this phrase is searched 70 times a month and is much easier to rank for.

How Old is Your Domain?

Older domains are easier to rank. If your top three competitors have domains that are each 5 years old, and your domain is 20 years old, then Google will give you more trust than your competition. This doesn’t automatically mean you will outrank them in 30 days, but it will determine how much work an SEO specialist will have to perform when ranking your business. If your domain is significantly older than your competitors’ domain, you may be able to save a couple of hundred bucks!

Tip to Reduce Cost

If you have two domains, for instance, “johnshvac.com” and “johnsprohvac.com” and the first one “johnshvac.com” is older, and you don’t have a strong preference as to which one is used, then you may wish to use “johnshvac.com” since it will rank faster. However, if you’re business cards, truck, storefront, etc. have “johnsprohvac.com” it may not be worth the hassle of saving a couple of hundred bucks in exchange for more headaches and confused customers.

How Many Pages Do You Have?

Now, how many pages do you have? The more pages, the more work, but not really? On the one hand, if you have 50 pages, a technician will have to go through each page and optimize each one individually. On the other hand, it means we don’t have to create content from scratch. So is it better to have more pages or less, and how will it affect the cost?

If you have pages that are already ranking for their own keywords, such as “residential electrician near me” then all that might need to be done is to change a few items (e.g., add alt-text).

That being said, if you have tons of completely irrelevant or “schmutz” content, duplicates, bad URL structure, etc., then someone will have to do a massive clean-up, and thus your price can go up.

Tip to Reduce Cost

If you want to reduce your SEO cost, you can try to clean up some of your bad content yourself. You can look at bad URL structure, duplicate content, or dead pages that lead nowhere. At JCSURGE, we tend to charge less if the customer has less content. This is because we don’t have to worry about re-adding or transferring files if we do a site redesign. It also means that we can start scratch-free from navigating errors.

Tip to reduce cost

If you’re on a tight budget, consider asking your SEO specialist or consultant to look into “industry-specific” keywords rather than macro phrases. Another example is “sewer repair Seattle” as opposed to “plumbers in Seattle”

Do You Need a Website Revamp?

JCSURGE offers a complimentary website redesign whenever we take on new clients. This is done because, believe it or not, in most cases, it is easier to work with a site we have a good understanding of and know how to navigate than to fiddle with someone else’s design/layout. We only charge an additional fee when the total page count exceeds 12.

However, many agencies will add an additional charge if your site needs a revamp. Website revamps are big in the online marketing and search engine industry because SEO is not only about keywords and backlinks. It’s about user experience. If your site is old, outdated, takes forever to load, has alignment issues, or has an unsecured connection, then SEO WON’T work for you.

Unfortunately, there is no “tip to reduce cost” here since every site is completely different, and every agency will handle this in its own way. However, if you are looking for a website revamp, consider contacting us at JCSURGE.

Are You Looking to Rank in Google Maps?

The maps section is where you’re going to get a lot of conversions. People search for a business and immediately call the one with high reviews and proper details.

But this is no easy process and requires a lot of work. Similar to the competition factor, when it comes to ranking in Google Maps, your consultant or agent will have to consider who is in your area and what they’re ranking in the Google Maps section for.

Check out our HVAC SEO Guide for more

At JCSURGE, we include Google Maps SEO in all of our campaigns, although some agencies charge extra, albeit not many that we’ve come across.

Since this is often built into the local SEO campaign, if the maps section is competitive along with the organic section, you can expect to be quoted a higher price with respect to the difficulty.

How Much Content Do You Have?

Most contractors are busy out in the field installing things and yelling at people. So having content isn’t always the top priority. However, it is one that can determine how much you spend on SEO. If you have no content, your agency will have to spend time creating content.

What exactly is content?

Content refers to information, and the type of content is how it is delivered. This can include:

  • Logos
  • Banners
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Blogs
  • FAQs
  • Biographies
  • etc.

So if you have lots of pre-made, it’s possible you can have your quote lowered.

Tip to reduce cost

If you’re looking to save a few bucks and have a few hours to spare, go through old company photos. Photos of your truck, staff (yes, even the dispatcher/receptionist), the crew on the job, office space, ANYTHING. Go through old published web pages, sort this out in a Google Drive or physical thumb drive, and have it ready to be sent to your new agency.


We thank you for taking the time to read our article on how to reduce local SEO costs. While so many factors will come into play when giving a quote, these are the main points that will determine if you spend $1,000/mo or $2,000/mo. If you have any additional questions about how much you should spend or are looking to increase your online visibility and drive more leads, contact our team at JCSURGE!

401 E 74th St. #1B, New York, NY 10021
(917) 747-4234

Share this post

Request a FREE Privacy-Respected Marketing Analysis

Looking for personalized feedback on your website marketing strategy, but not comfortable giving up your data? Not a problem! All we need is your email, and a website and we’ll send you a FREE video report with expert feedback. 

29 Responses

  1. Pingback: URL

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.