seo cost canada

SEO Cost Canada 2024 (4 Pricing Models) Service Examples

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SEO pricing in Canada varies dramatically by region, agency, and the type of service needed. Here are the current price ranges for SEO costs in Canada for 2024.

There are four primary ways to buy SEO services: hourly, project, retainer, and revenue share. SEO pricing in Canada averages $120/hr, $2500/project, and $2500/monthly retainer.

Average SEO Costs in Canada: 4 Pricing Models

Here are the four primary ways you can buy SEO services in Canada and the benefits and drawbacks of each.

1. Hourly Rate SEO

What It Is:
You pay the SEO agency by the hour for the work they perform. Best for smaller projects.

In Canada, expect to pay from $70 to $150 per hour for SEO services. Our hourly rate is $115.

Hourly Rate SEO examples: Broken link repair, optimizing SEO tools (like RankMath or WPRocket), or troubleshooting sitemap problems.


  • Flexibility: You can adjust the amount of work based on your current needs and budget.
  • Control: You have direct control over the number of hours worked and can easily track what you’re paying for.


  • Cost Uncertainty: The final cost can be unpredictable if the scope of work changes.
  • Short-term Focus: Agencies might prioritize quick wins over long-term strategies since they’re being paid by the hour.

Tip: Even with hourly rate SEO, get a quote (estimate) before giving the go-ahead. Authorize up to a certain number of hours. This provides some important cost controls.

seo cost canada
Cape Forchu Lighthouse in Yarmouth, NS (Canada)

Hourly Rate SEO Example

Scenario: You run a small e-commerce website and need help optimizing product pages for better search rankings. You hire an SEO consultant who charges $120 per hour.


  • Initial Consultation: 2 hours ($240)
  • Keyword Research: 3 hours ($360)
  • On-Page Optimization: 5 hours ($600)
  • Technical SEO Work: 4 hours ($480)

Total cost for the month: $1,680

2. Project-Based SEO

What It Is:
You pay a flat fee for a specific project, such as a site audit, a content overhaul, or a link-building campaign.

In Canada, expect to pay from $175 to $5000+ per project. According to one study, $2500-$5000 is the most popular rate per project.

Examples of Project-Based SEO include SEO audits, keyword research, image and speed optimizations, website migration, and plugin setup and optimizations.


  • Clear Scope and Budget: You know exactly what you’re paying for and what to expect in return.
  • Goal-Oriented: The agency focuses on delivering specific outcomes within a set timeframe.


  • Limited Flexibility: Any changes or additional work outside the project’s scope may incur extra costs.
  • Potential for Rushed Work: Agencies might rush to complete the project on time, potentially compromising quality.

Project-Based Example

Scenario: Your company’s website is undergoing a redesign, and you need an SEO agency to ensure the new site is fully optimized from the start. You agree on a project fee of $5,000.


  • Project Scope: Includes keyword research, content recommendations, technical SEO setup, and an initial audit post-launch.
  • Timeline: 3 months

Total cost for the project: $5,000

3. Retainer SEO

What It Is:
You pay a fixed monthly fee for ongoing SEO services.

In Canada, expect to pay from $500 to $5000+ for retainer SEO services. In a study by Ahrefs, they found that the most common retainer in Canada was $2500-$5000 per month.

Examples of retainer SEO include link building, content creation, combating algorithm updates, ongoing site optimizations, and lead conversion programs.


  • Consistency: Continuous effort towards your SEO goals, which is crucial for long-term success.
  • Partnership: You build a close relationship with the agency, which leads to better understanding and collaboration.


  • Long-term Commitment: You’re locked into a monthly fee, which might not be ideal if your budget changes.
  • Risk of Complacency: There’s a risk the agency might not push as hard after securing a long-term deal.

According to a study by Credo, worldwide SEO providers charge $112.22 on average per hour. 50% of SEO providers worldwide have a monthly retainer minimum of under $3,000 per month.

Retainer SEO Example

Scenario: You operate a growing blog and need ongoing SEO support to improve your search rankings and traffic. You sign a retainer agreement with an SEO agency for $2,000 per month.


  • Monthly Services: Continuous keyword research, content optimization, backlink building, and regular SEO reporting.
  • Duration: 12 months

Total cost for the year: $24,000

4. Performance-Based (Revenue Share) SEO

What It Is:
You pay based on the results achieved, such as a percentage of revenue generated from organic search traffic.

In Canada, expect to pay either a percentage or fixed fee for performance-based SEO. The actual percentage or dollar amount varies greatly. I’ve seen a range of 5-20% for revenue share SEO and conversion services.

Revenue Share SEO most often includes lead generation but can also be used effectively with e-commerce shops.


  • Aligned Incentives: The agency is highly motivated to deliver results since their payment depends on it.
  • Lower Initial Cost: You might pay less upfront, with costs increasing only as you see success.


  • Complex Contracts: It can be tricky to agree on what metrics to measure and how to attribute (track) revenue.
  • Potential for Aggressive Tactics: Agencies might use riskier SEO tactics to achieve quick results, which can be harmful in the long run.

Performance-Based SEO Example

Scenario: You own an online store and decide to work with an SEO agency that charges based on the increase in revenue from organic search. The agreement is for 10% of the additional revenue generated.


  • Baseline Revenue: $10,000 per month from organic search.
  • Post-SEO Revenue: $17,500 per month from organic search (after 6 months of SEO work).
  • Additional Revenue: $7,500 per month.

Monthly payment to the SEO agency: $750 (10% of the additional $7,500)

Which One is Right for You?

Choosing the best way to purchase SEO services depends on your specific needs, budget, and long-term goals.

  • If you’re looking for flexibility and control, hourly or project-based might be best.
  • If you prefer consistency and a long-term partnership, a retainer could be the way to go.
  • And if you’re focused on results and willing to share the rewards, performance-based pricing might suit you.

The key to successful SEO is not just about how you pay for it, but finding a reliable and skilled agency that understands your business and can deliver the results you need!

Next Step

Here at Storyteller Media, we offer SEO consulting (hourly and project-based) and SEO site audits. Here’s how to work with us.

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