Search engine optimization, better known as SEO, can make or break your business. With good SEO, your website can surge to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs), helping more people find your products and services.

The problem? Good SEO doesn’t come cheap. Exactly how much does SEO cost? It can be anywhere from low hundreds to $10,000 or more a month depending on your needs—we’ll break it down below.

6 Types of SEO Costs

SEO isn’t a singular process. It’s an amalgam of various on-page, off-page and marketing tasks. You can choose to do as little or as many of these optimizations as possible, but generally, the more you complete, the higher your site will rank in SERPs.

Generally, most service providers offer all of these costs baked into a package deal—meaning you’ll only pay a set monthly or hourly fee without seeing each itemized product. However, here’s how some of the SEO costs might break down.

1. Auditing

Before you can develop an SEO strategy, you need to see where you’re at. An SEO specialist can do that by performing an audit of your website. This involves taking a look at your existing efforts to see how well you’re doing and identifying areas where you could improve.

SEO audits aren’t cheap. They can typically start at $500 for a simple backlink check to up to $30,000 for a full content audit. That said, they’re usually a one-time fee.

2. Content Creation

Content is the star of SEO. It’s what search engines crawl to determine if your site is offering value to a user. With that in mind, you’ll need a variety of content that’s keyword-optimized, as well as compelling meta titles and meta descriptions.

If you want effective content, it’ll need to come from an experienced content creation specialist. Experienced specialists can charge anywhere from 20 cents to $2 a word, which equals out to $200 to $2,000 for a 1,000-word landing page.

3. Link Building

Google ranks sites based on their authority. To become more authoritative, it helps when other reputable sites link to your content. This is called “backlinking,” and while it can happen naturally if you have quality content, it’s possible to pay to have other sites link to you to help rank faster.

Getting backlinks isn’t cheap. It costs anywhere from $100 to $1,500 per link depending on the industry and quality of the site. There’s no magic number of backlinks a site needs to have to rank higher in SERPs, but it helps to have 40 to 50 on your home page at the very least.

4. Technical Configuration

SEO isn’t just about what’s on your site—it’s also about how your site is built. You need to design your site with an easy-to-navigate architecture, including a robots.txt file that Google can crawl. You should also make sure your site is mobile-friendly.

All of these backend tasks are best left to a developer. These types of professionals can typically charge anywhere from $40 to $160 an hour for their services according to Zippia.

5. SEO Research Tools

Researching keywords and competitors can help inform your SEO strategy so you know exactly how to proceed with your content and advertising. For this step, you’ll likely need the help of SEO tools and software. Some good examples of these include Ahrefs and Semrush, which start at $99 a month and $129.95 a month, respectively.

6. SEO Reporting and Monitoring Tools

After you implement an SEO campaign, you have to make sure it’s working. To do that, you’ll need reporting tools that help you track link clicks, paid search results and other site analytics.

The good news is that these features are often bundled into a research tool subscription. You can also rely on Google Analytics, a free tool that monitors your site’s traffic.