The Cost Of SEO In Australia

Whether you’re in Wagga, the Gold Coast, Sydney, or Esperance your business can and will benefit from the purchase of bespoke SEO services.
SEO is the process of optimizing your business website for search. In layman’s terms, it’s a service that will increase your business’s presence on search engines, with the largest and most utilised being Google.

The SEO industry is a proverbial no man’s land with snake oil salesmen, large companies and small boutique agencies taking up much of the SEO landscape. It can be a minefield, navigating through all the confusing jargon, and technical processes that riddle an industry where results are determined by a third party.

In essence, making the purchasing of SEO services in Australia a risky entailment.

Mitigating the risk and choosing the right SEO company is very important. In our own experiences, we’ve come across client’s who have spent over $50,000 to be left with an algorithmic penalty that took over 18 months to correct. In short, that money would have been better spent being thrown in the garbage.

In this guide, we will evaluate the average cost of SEO in Australia and we’ll start by discussing how much it costs to actually provide the service to a high standard. 

How much does high-quality SEO cost an agency to provide?

graph showing the growth of a website without backlinks 

When discussing how much SEO costs for businesses to procure in Australia, the first idea is to analyse how much it costs an agency to provide quality SEO as a service for its clients.

To discuss this notion in depth we need to query what providing the service to a business entails. Google utilises over 200 signals to rank websites on their authority and usefulness to an end-user. 

SEO services optimise websites for those aforementioned signals. Such signals include the amount of referring domains a website has (websites that link out to a particular website), the age of the domain, the on-page user experience and a myriad of other signals. 

At Maxim Media, we create bespoke content, landing pages, engage in on-page optimization, targeted outreach to increase referring domains, and technically optimize a website to increase your business’s presence on Google’s search engine. 

Unfortunately, to complete this comes at a cost both in terms of labor, expertise, and software costs. As an agency, we also need to make a profit to better improve our services, streamline processes and ‘put food on the table’.

Agency Software Costs

SEO software is utilized to streamline the processes for our agency and can make up 10-15% of our total outgoing costs.

Without the use of SEO software the man-hours to provide it as a service would drastically increase, so much so that it would cost tens of thousands of dollars in labor costs in turn increases the overall cost of the service to a business in Australia. 

At Maxim Media, we use a ‘tech stack’ that makes up the following software.
These include AHREFS, a backlink analysis software that we utilize to analyze the backlinks of your competition and check on-page site health. This comes at a monthly cost to our agency of $1288.95.

SEMRUSH which we use for keyword research, finding keyword gaps, creating a content schedule for our clients, and analyzing the content of our competitors. It costs $950 per month for our agency to utilize SEMRUSH to its full capacity for our clients. 

We use content optimization software to analyze the data of content in relation to high positions in the search engine result pages. SurferSEO provides this software which costs our agency $260 per month. We also use other similar software like Frase, Page Optimizer Pro at a cost of $100 per month. 

Link building that is done in accordance with Google’s terms of service is done mainly through outreach. Outreach is the process of contacting webmasters in niches that are relevant to your market and asking if they would like to share the high-quality content we have created. To speed up the process of this outreach, we utilize two different kinds of software. 

The first being, which allows us to grab the emails of webmasters from specific websites without having to spend hours trawling through the web to obtain them. To utilize this software to its full capability costs Maxim Media $500 per month. 

The second being Mailshake, Mailshake is a sales engagement and automated tool that allows us to send email sequences to webmasters where we are requesting them to share our content on their site. To utilize this software effectively for our clients, this costs Maxim Media upwards of $125 per month per user, of which we are utilizing more than 5 users at any given time. 

As you can see from the aforementioned software outgoings, it can be extremely expensive to provide SEO as a service to businesses in Australia. At Maxim Media, we also have teams of writers, on-page optimization experts, WordPress developers and web designers. 

Labour Costs

 Maxim Media uses onshore labor to assist with the providing of SEO services to our clients. We use contracted freelancers as well as direct employees to do the heavy lifting that SEO-based software isn’t able to assist with.

Your SEO service will include hours of keyword research, technical optimization, site speed, image optimization, and the design and creation of SEO landing pages which costs our agency up to $75 per hour per person that works on your website.

In addition to the technical optimization of your website, we also create bespoke content which includes weekly industry-based blogs, and high-quality website copy. 

On average we are creating over 5,000 words of research, market-relevant content for our clients per month. At a cost of 6.5 cents per word.
As you can see through the aforementioned expenses, to provide the service to our clients at the bare minimum with two to three clients costs our agency upwards of $3,000 Australian dollars per month. 

Whilst some agencies may not require the extensive use of such software and labor, we believe that this tech and labor stack is the absolute best for providing the high-quality results we’re known for. 

It can be extremely risky utilizing services that are happy to provide SEO without the use of such software and labor as they can only be cutting corners and like with any product or service if corners are cut, the quality of the service generally suffers.

What are the risks of cheap SEO?

semrush evidence of a manual penalty

The SEO market in Australia and throughout the world is tarnished by the notion of snake oil salesmen. We believe this is due to two reasons. Partly because SEO is difficult to quantify, there is really no manual for it. 

It’s a service that’s governed by a third party and no matter how much money you spend, no one can really guarantee first page rankings and the second reason is due to the fact that it’s an industry full of jargon and unlearned clients can fall victim to the promise of quick fixes for a long term problem. 

Falling prey to the promises of overseas or locally based SEO companies that charge excessively cheap prices to draw you in can leave your website susceptible to Google algorithmic and manual penalties.

Most SEO companies that offer services for less than $500 per month, cannot possibly be providing an adequate service that increases site authority and search presence over time. 

How do cheap SEO companies provide their service and what should I look out for? 

Cheap SEO companies provide their services by utilizing content that has been created, or stolen from a competitor and then rewritten with computer-generated software. This is known as spun content and is highly frowned upon by Google.

The reason cheap SEO companies utilize this strategy is they don’t need to pay for a reputable writer to create the content, in essence, they are creating the content for free. A reputable SEO company will create fresh content from scratch that is free from plagiarism. 

A company that is providing cheap SEO will use spammy link-building techniques, relying on automated link-building software (commonly known as GSA), forum commenting or private blog networks to increase referring domains to your website.

These types of links are known as link schemes or blackhat link building and
are highly frowned upon by Google. They can and will lead to your website being penalised as is shown in the image below. A reputable SEO company will create links through general outreach to webmasters. 

ebsite that has been penalised by a Google update


What am I paying for?

When procuring the services of an SEO company in Australia, you are ultimately paying them to increase your overall search presence on Google and other search engines.

This includes but is not limited to the following services.

  • Landing page creation
  • Link building
  • Content creation
  • Keyword research
  • Onsite optimization
  • User experience optimization
  • SEO competition analysis
  • Site load speed optimization

 Maxim Media provides a thorough content marketing strategy as well as building out your website to be easily crawled and indexed by Google’s robots. We procure links from relevant referring domains which in turn assist your website in becoming an authority in your market over time.

The price of our monthly SEO packages also include the creation of relevant landing pages and any custom images we create.

Your SEO service generally does not include the following services.

  • Conversion rate optimization
  • Pay Per Click marketing
  • Reputation management
  • Marketing automation
  • Social media marketing
  • Excessive website design and development

Now that we know what you’re paying for, let’s explore some of the different SEO pricing models in Australia.

An explanation of SEO pricing models

a website that is position 1st for a ke

There are multiple different pricing models that Australian SEO companies use for their clients. These pricing models can be totally dependent on the amount of staff an agency has or it could be dependent on the scope of work required (national, international, or local SEO, E-commerce SEO, etc). 

Generally speaking, freelance SEOS or one man band organisations that sell SEO, will usually utilise an hourly rate in their pricing model. This hourly rate can be anywhere from $75 per to over $300 per depending on the scope of work and the experience of the individual freelancer.

From our extensive research, we have been able to conclude that most agencies in Australia are utilizing a flat rate SEO pricing model, whereby they bill at the beginning of each month for work to be completed that following month. They then charge a flat fee inclusive of GST for all the work included.

It is of our unbiased opinion that for a business or end-user, the flat-rate pricing model allows you as a business owner to obtain the best bang for your buck. Like the pricing model, there are a few factors that impact the total cost of your SEO campaign. 

Factors that impact the cost of SEO

There is a multitude of factors that affect the pricing of SEO in the Australian market. The main differentiating factors are the market that you’re targeting and the level of competition in that market. Other factors include whether or not you’re targeting the whole of Australia, or if you’re targeting one city and if it’s one city, is it a large city like Sydney? or a smaller regional city like Newcastle.

These factors will greatly affect how much it costs the company to provide SEO as a service to your business and thus how much it ultimately costs you to purchase the service.

A large national SEO campaign necessitates the creation of city pages, local suburb-based pages, and the copy of the relevant sales pages which can be extremely expensive to procure.

Industries like lawyers, casinos, roofing companies, health-based and financial-based markets can be extremely lucrative for the businesses that are able to procure spots 1-3 in the search engine result pages, and as such SEO in these markets can be extremely difficult and thus expensive.

Speaking about health and financial websites, markets that sit under the aptly named Google by YMYL (your money, your life) niches receive far more moderation, scrutiny and attention from Google than other markets and as such it can be very expensive to rank content in these niches. 

How much time does it take to see SEO results?

Generally speaking an average SEO campaign from a fresh domain, that is a domain that has just been registered and a website that has just been built can take upwards of 6-8 months to get out of Google’s sandbox (a probationary filter that prevents brand new websites from ranking immediately in the search engine result pages) and ultimately rank on or close to Google’s front page.

However, there are keywords that you may never rank for, or that will take so much time and effort to do so that it may not be worth your while pursuing. Keywords like ‘houses for sale Sydney could take upwards of 6-7 years of authority building and work to rank in the top 3.

Keywords with low or no search volume and as such low competition can be ranked in a matter of weeks. The same can be said of specific brand-based keywords.

As such the time it takes to see immediate results, highly depends on the results you’re looking to obtain, the keywords you’re looking to rank for and the level of competition in your market.

For smaller, local markets 6-8 months is a great positioning point. For larger markets in the YMYL (your money, your life) niches, it can take upwards of 18 months-3 years. 

So, how much does good SEO cost for an Australian business?

a man in office attire holding up a horizontal beam that represents a search engine result page

On average, it costs Australian businesses between $2000-$3000 per month inclusive of GST for SEO services in local markets without too much competition. These packages are suitable for businesses looking to rank for search queries like electricians in Cairns, or air condition repair Geelong.

For more competitive queries in competitive markets like lawyers, plumbers, and other high ticket services you can expect to pay between $3,000-$5,000 for a reputable Australian-based SEO company to provide your business with tangible SEO results.

For national campaigns, you can expect to spend between $5,000-$10,000 per month and for campaigns in competitive markets or for excessively large websites (websites with more than 1,000 pages) also known as enterprise SEO you can expect to pay upwards of $10,000  per month. If you want to obtain a tailor-made SEO strategy for your business and an exact quotation, contact us today. 


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