A lot of variables determine pricing differences, but your mindset, and what you bring to the table is most important in determining the best fit with an SEO professional.

Obligatory: Depends on what you need. Biggest reasons for huge swings in price on SEO

  1. Proof of work on real world projects
  2. Foreign country/labor rates in region
  3. Actual implementation capabilities, vs. task completion that may or may not work well with other facets of your overall marketing/planning
  4. Agency overhead/work could be outsourced from main account that you hire
  5. 5-stars is not hard to get. It’s A LOT harder to get if you are charging $115/hour for work consistently. Chances are they aren’t. I charge $105 for technical work that requires authority and a ton of background experience to get it right the first time; I charge $55/hour for mundane tasks. I’m one of the top rated people in my space on upwork. The opposite can be true too – they charge $120 because they have a client already paying that, and leverage it to get others to pay too. Many won’t give a bad review to a freelancer because they think they screwed up (as the business owner), or don’t know enough to rate them properly. Business owners don’t want to be retaliated on by other freelancers for giving bad reviews (it can happen unfortunately).
  6. Language barrier or difficulty working with others (the prices of great workers don’t stay low if they are communicative, unhindered by social barriers or language and can work well with contracted businesses). Even someone who has a severe language barrier can outperform if they are good at what they do.
  7. There are a lot of fakes on upwork.

How to resolve these problems?

  1. If you don’t know what to do or what you need – hire an independent auditor, or a professional that can tell you what you need, then go look for others who can implement properly. Ask your auditor to help you screen long-term candidates on your phone call. I charge a flat fee for an audit, but provide a ton of actionable data. I don’t or cannot perform the work for every client I audit, without scaling my company unsustainably. So I walk away from a lot of implementation work, but my audit work and strategic planning is world class. I don’t want a client coming back to me saying: Why did you steer me wrong? Just because I (“I” meaning top quality SEO professionals in general) don’t have enough hours in the day to do your SEO work, doesn’t mean I cannot get you going down the right pathway.
  2. Know exactly what you need or want before you negotiate price, and do not close yourself off to paying more, if they accomplish the task with less headache or put you at a distinct competitive advantage.
  3. Call them on the phone – see if they meet you on time – see if they can prove they know what they are talking about – see if they can communicate well – pay them for 30 minutes of their time for the phone call, or whatever – and compare them to peers. The harder that first call is, the more you should avoid them regardless of price or stated capabilities
  4. Have a list of actual deliverables – never accept a “yes” answer to everything – if they say yes to everything and it seems too easy then they are hiding something. Is it possible? sure. Is it going to happen? Not if they tell you yes to outlandish things like ranking your affiliate website in 20 days for #1 SERP’s on the #5 product on Amazon.
  5. Forget about hourly. Get a price per project or an ongoing workflow rate. Hourly lends itself well to fraud, and is harder to manage for both parties. I write a lot of SEO content (60% of what I do in SEO on upwork), and I can write 2 hours worth of content in 25 minutes compared to others in my niche specialties. I can charge 2 hours worth of time and make a ton of money, or I can charge per project and keep my clients. It’s hard to quantify hourly rates for a lot of what SEO’s do. Get deliverables/set a common agreed upon price.
  6. Don’t be fooled by old techniques or seemingly hard but easy in reality work being sold to you by the freelancer. Yes backlinks matter. But if you are being charged $120/hour to build social media backlinks you are being overcharged. If you are being charged $120/hour for social media profiles to be established you are overpaying. Building legitimate backlinks through world class content and proper outreach? Basically priceless.
  7. All tasks are not created equally. Don’t accept their plan. Build your your own plans and compare their abilities to enact those plans relative to another or several other providers.


In economics many students take commerce to add more credits towards and undergraduate degree. Marketing is more difficult due to the cost. The cost of advertising on social media can be relatively high. Here at the studio, we depend on organic traffic instead of wasting precious funds on questionable advertising. Roll your own seems to be as effective effective as anything.

The discussion on the Amazon forum has been very helpful while some posts have some questionable motives. This is a consolidation of several comments and questions etc. The studio has considered offering SEO marketing services but the overhead is high enough reconsider, Then given adblock the value of more traffic is dubious at best.

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