How much does SEO cost in South Africa?

“It depends” is a famous phrase when it comes to SEO, how it works and how much it costs. This is because Google takes into account over 200 factors to determine which sites should rank at the top of their searches.

We will try to breakdown some cost estimates for the different styles of SEO, how to think about and budget for your business’s SEO costs and what not to do when looking for SEO services.

How are SEO services charged?

The size of your company, the extent of the SEO project, the experience and standing of the SEO provider, as well as the degree of service you seek are just a few of the variables that can significantly affect the price of SEO services in South Africa. In general, there are three ways to pay for SEO services: project-based pricing, hourly consulting fees, or monthly retainers.

How much should monthly SEO cost?

We believe we are able to provide the best SEO services to our clients by providing them with monthly packages. This is due to the nature of SEO and how Google is constantly changing its algorithms and ranking factors as well as the work that goes into ranking a website.

SEO takes between 6 – 9 months ( sometimes longer ) of work to achieve the goals that have been set, such as ranking in the top 3 for a keyword search. SEO is a long term process and investment, so long term partnerships are the best way the get meaningful results.

Monthly Retainers:

For ongoing SEO, many businesses prefer the monthly retainer model. These can range from as low as R 3,000 to R 20,000 or more per month for small to medium-sized businesses. Larger businesses with more competitive goals and large websites might see quotes exceeding R 50,000 per month.

*Note: We do not advise anyone to hire someone to perform monthly SEO on a site for anything less than R 7 500 per month for a small website. We think this money will be wasted as you will not see your SEO goals achieved or gain a return on investment for your business.

It’s important to remember that the cheapest option may not always be the best choice. Effective SEO requires expertise, time, and continuous effort, and investing in a quality SEO agency can lead to significant long-term benefits for company.


Set and Forget

With monthly SEO services an SEO company will take care of all your SEO requirements and concerns for you so you can focus on delivering fantastic products and services to your clients.

Long Term Partnerships

Monthly packages promote a longer term relationship with your SEO service provider. They are incentivised to put long term best practices in place to ensure that your business and website benefit and grows over time rather than trying to put short term fixes in place that back fire later.

With monthly SEO packages your SEO company becomes invested in your company’s success as they watch you grow and succeed.

Planned Budgets

With monthly packages you can budget for your SEO costs without any unforeseen or unpredicted costs.


Long Term Commitment

Monthly SEO services require a long term commitment in order to see the desired results. Change and improvements can be seen almost immediately but final goals can take up to 9 months to achieve.

You need to have the budget and resources to maintain this long term monthly cost.

Doesn’t all SEO take time?

Yes all SEO takes time to show results which is why we often explain that short term SEO fixes or goals are usually a waste of money and can sometimes cause more harm than good.

Can I trust my SEO Agency?

Some companies worry that they will not be able to know if they have chosen a good SEO agency for 6 months when they see if the goals have been achieved. This isn’t the case as you should start to see improvements within the 1 month. This is why it is always important to select a reputable SEO company.

Best For

Small, Medium & Large Companies

This option is only possible if you are able to afford a monthly SEO package. The smallest advisable monthly packages start from about R7000 pm. So not all businesses have the budget for this.

Read our section on whether SEO is right for your company.

Complete SEO Outsourcing

On a monthly package your SEO company will take full control and responsibility for your SEO and reporting. This means you can concentrate on the more important task of running your business.

How Much Do SEO Services Cost In South Africa

How much do project based SEO services cost?

Project based SEO services are best suited for large companies who are engaging in a serious SEO overall of a large website or online project as well as smaller businesses that need a short term intensive SEO project handled over a fixed period, such as a new website launch.

The costs of an SEO project can vary widely depending on the scope and detail of the tasks.

Project-Based Pricing:

A SEO project’s prices can vary significantly based on the project’s scope. Small-scale SEO projects might start around R 10 000 – R 20 000, while more extensive, comprehensive projects could cost anywhere from R 30 000 to over R 150 000.


Lump Sum Predictable Cost

No need to worry about the hourly cost of your SEO project breaking the budget. Usually the cost will be agreed upon before the project is started and an up front payment made of 50%. The rest is usually paid on completion or in tranches. This makes the costs of your project very predictable.

Clear Goals and Scope

When deciding on and defining the project all tasks and outcomes will be considered in the costing and preparation of the SEO project.


You Might Get Over Charged

If you do not have much experience regarding SEO costs you may get over charged for really simple SEO work. It is important to do your research when selecting an SEO provider for your project.

Lack of Flexibility

Once the project is decided upon and scoped out it can be difficult to add or change items or tasks. Some companies allow for a pay for change model, where to add new tasks or outcomes you must either lose an existing task or be willing to increase the project cost.

Best For

Large Companies or Once Off Projects

SEO Projects are best for websites with very specific needs. Such as a large company who is performing a lot of changes on a large existing website or a smaller company building and launching a new website who want to make sure it is fully SEO optimised.

How Much Do Monthly SEO Services Cost South Africa

How much do per hour SEO services cost?

At first per hour SEO services might seem like the best option, but we only advise you to use this method if your budget is very small and it is your only option.

With an hourly SEO rate you know what you are paying for and you can accurately estimate your SEO bill. But there is a catch.

By paying for hourly SEO you are removing the results orientated nature of SEO. You are motivating your service provider to punch the clock rather than deliver great rankings and website traffic.

Because of this SEO can take longer than expected.

Hourly Consulting Rates:

Paying by the hour can also be expensive if you hire a respectable SEO company. You can expect to pay between R 1 000 – R 2 500 per hour depending on what work you are wanting to get done. Our advise is to always avoid cheap SEO options as they will usually leave you worse of than before you started.



The time worked will be logged so it will be easy to track where the time you are paying for is being devoted to.

Predictable Costs

Knowing your set hourly rate will allow your business to budget and control for how much you are spending on SEO.



SEO is intensive – sites need to be monitored and optimised, links need to be built and relationships managed. If you only allocated a certain number of hours to be spent on your companies SEO each month results may take a long time to be seen.

Time not Results

On a per hour basis your SEO expert or company is motivated to spend hours working on your SEO rather than delivering results. This might mean you pay for the hours you asked for but the results never materialise.

1 + 1 doesn’t = 2

SEO is not a simple task, there is no checklist you can move through and if you do all the items then your company will be at no 1 in Google. SEO is dynamic – sometimes extensive work is needed to see results, link building is a complicated and complex task that takes time and relationship management to be affective, spending one hour to get one link doesn’t always add up.

Best For


If you do most of the work on your website and your budget is tight then per hour SEO work is an option. A great option here is to hire an SEO consultant who can advise you on everything that needs to happen and can assess your site and the changes you are making.

Small Websites

If your budget is very small but you would like to know all of your On-site SEO boxes have been ticked then this is a good option. However just fixing your websites on-site SEO doesn’t mean you will start ranking well in Google.

Some Frequently Asked Questions Regarding SEO Costs

Investing in SEO can offer a high return on investment (ROI) by improving your site’s visibility, driving organic traffic, and increasing conversions.

The key to understanding whether it will be worth it for your company to pay for SEO is to understand how many people search for your products and services, the possibility of your website ranking highly for your desired keywords and the cost required to hire an SEO agency to do that.

In order for it to be worth it for your company to hire an SEO agency to rank your website, there needs to be enough people searching for your product or service so that increased visibility online will result in substantially more sales which will have a much higher return than the SEO cost.

If your product or service is a low ticket item then there needs to be a lot of people searching for your product in order for it to make financial sense, however if your product is a high ticket item then you do not need as many people searching for your product as one sale equates to a substantial financial gain.

SEO is easier to validate for higher ticket items generally, unless there are thousands of people searching for low priced goods.

Competition both online and offline also factors into deciding whether it will be worth investing in SEO.

Do you need help deciding on whether it will be worth it for your company? Talk to us and we can help you understand.

Sometimes it doe not make sense to use SEO for various reasons. In these cases using Google Ads can be an effective way to get the same increase in visibility and online sales.

SEO typically takes several months, we usually quote 6 – 9 months,  to show significant results due to the nature of search engine algorithms and competition. That being said, some websites are already primed to rank well for their keywords due to the age of the website and existing links that already point to the website. In these cases marked improvements to keyword ranking can be seen in a short period of time ( eg 1 month ).

It is also important to note that the closer the website moves to the #1 position the longer it takes. This means that moving from page 3 to the top of page 2 can happen relatively quickly, but moving from the bottom of page one to the top of page one takes much longer and requires much more effort.

You should see some movement in your website’s ranking within the first month or two so that you know the SEO changes being made are working.

Most reputable SEO providers do not guarantee specific rankings but strive to achieve significant improvements in your site’s visibility and traffic.