The 5 Step Process for Smart Local SEO Pricing

Mark LuckenbaughUncategorized22 Comments


Swipe Our Exact Pricing Matrix for Local SEO

If you sell local SEO services, you’ve probably had thoughts like this:

  • “Am I charging enough for my services?”
  • “I wonder what my competitors are charging.”
  • “Can I raise my prices?”
  • “If I raise my prices, will I accidentally scare off new clients?”

We’ve been there. Pricing can be intimidating, and it’s totally normal to worry about these kinds of questions.

We’re going to show you exactly how we use a pricing matrix anytime we quote pricing for our local SEO services.
[Download the EXACT pricing matrix we use for our clients, 100% FREE. Comes in three versions: PowerPoint, Printable PDF, and Pre-populated Google Spreadsheet.]

Don’t Use Package Pricing

Some SEO providers promise to rank any site and any keyword for a flat package price—maybe something like $997 a month.

That’s not where you want to be.

Straight package pricing means you’ll leave tons of money on the table, plus you’ll end up working harder than you should for the amount your clients will pay you.

Matrix pricing is a much a better way to price your services. Set your pricing matrix right, and it will be really difficult not to be profitable.

Establish a Universal Minimum Price

First, you’ll have to do a certain amount of work for every client, regardless of their niche or location.

We try not to take on clients under $997 a month. That’s our minimum.

Your minimum might be different than ours, and that’s okay. But you should have some sort of floor you won’t go under, no matter what.

Niche + Location: The Two Variables of Our Local SEO Pricing Matrix

When a potential client asks about our local SEO services, there are two pieces of information we need:

  • The niche
  • City (or cities) where the client wants to rank

Once we know those two things, we simply pull out our pricing matrix, add two numbers together, and provide the prospect with a quote we know will make us money.

To create and use your own pricing matrix, here are the five steps you’ll need to take:

Step 1: Group Niches by Difficulty

You know which niches you work in.

From experience, you probably know which ones are difficult to rank and which ones are relatively easy.

For our business, we’ve taken those niches and bucketed them into three tiers.

The most difficult niches go in the top tier. Medium difficulty niches go in tier two. And the easy ones go in tier three. In our matrix, it looks like this:


Step 2: Add Baseline Pricing to the Niche Tiers

After we grouped the niches into three tiers, we added baseline pricing for each tier. The more difficult the niche, the more we charge for our services.


Step 3: Create Tiers for Location

Next we look at the location column. For this, we look at the city population sizes.

Like we did with the niche column, we group different size cities into tiers.

Big cities like Philadelphia or San Antonio go in the top tier. The second tier includes cities like Seattle and Detroit. Tier three has smaller cities like Toledo or Plano.


A word of caution: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston are giant cities that require special attention. Ranking in those cities means pricing well above anything in our normal tiers.

Step 4: Add Baseline Pricing to the Location Tiers

As we did with the niche column, we add baseline pricing to each location tier.


Step 5: Quoted Price = Niche Price + Location Price

To use the matrix, just add the niche price to the location price to determine how much you should charge for your services.

Need a quote for a law firm in Pittsburgh?

Pull out the pricing matrix. In ours, the niche cost is $1,500 a month and the location cost is $500 a month.

So we’d quote $2,000 a month.

Get an inquiry from a carpet cleaning service in Seattle?

That’s $500 for the niche and $750 for the location. So we’d quote $1,250.

See how that works?


Download the EXACT pricing matrix we use for our clients, 100% FREE


These Are Pricing Guidelines, Not Pricing Rules

Don’t be afraid to raise or lower your price based on your experience.

Instead of $1,250, I might quote that Seattle carpet cleaning service $1,047 a month and close them on it. And for a lawyer in Pittsburgh, I probably wouldn’t use $2,000, because I know I can close these kind of clients at $3,000 a month. So, that’s what I’d put in my proposal.

A pricing matrix is a starting point.

It’s a tool that keeps you from drastically undercharging or overcharging for your services. And it helps us avoid those nagging feelings of “Are we charging enough?” every time you sign up a new client.

Don’t Finalize Pricing Until You Audit the Site

Finally, you always want to do an audit of the site before you finalize a price with a new client.

Where are they ranking today? How much on-site work will you have to do? Was a previous SEO company irresponsible with its backlinking strategy?

All these things will impact your profitability (and the results you can deliver over time).

One-Time Setup Fees

You’re not locked into straight monthly pricing either.

If you have a ton of cleanup work to do for a new client’s site, charge a one-time setup fee, and then charge your normal monthly fee moving forward.

Don’t be afraid to charge for the work that’s required. You’re about to get great results for your clients. It’s right that you be compensated for your work every step of the way.

Your Numbers Might Not Match Our Numbers

You might not charge exactly what we charge for the different niches and locations. We’ve been doing this a long time and are confident we can land clients at these rates.

If our numbers are too high for you at this point, that’s okay. We still encourage you to use the matrix framework for setting up your own pricing tool.

Swipe Our Exact Matrix

We know pricing is difficult.

To help you, we’re sharing our exact pricing matrix with you. We’ve made three versions of the same tool.

We use PowerPoint for our matrix, but if you prefer spreadsheets, we’ve put the same information in a pre-programmed Google Spreadsheet.

And if you’re more of a pen-and-paper person, our printable worksheet is the tool for you.

Download the EXACT pricing matrix we use for our clients, 100% FREE

22 Comments on “The 5 Step Process for Smart Local SEO Pricing”

  1. seork

    Here a fantastic idea about seo service pricing has provided.Though pricing is so much difficult for seo job, this article will give you a good tactics for your proper pricing.

  2. Lloyd Silver

    How about ranking in multiple cities? I would imagine it’s less than if priced on their own. Maybe add the city baseline for the 2nd city to the original niche/city baseline?

    1. localclienttakeover

      You can give deals to an extent but the economies of scale dont really come into play with seo until you have a massive budget to create a very authoritative site. Price however works for you but in most cases i encourage people to pick whatever they can afford and explain why i cannot give a substantial discount

  3. Sean

    This has been one of the cloudiest subjects so far for me. I have always wondered how to identify the proper prices to charge for clients, and this just really helped clear things up.
    At first, I was wondering how local SEOs bundle keywords into a package. This actually makes a lot more sense to me.
    Scenario: I get a lead for a drug/alcohol rehab in Malibu, California. Using Wikipedia, I can check out Malibu’s demographics and find out that it’s loaded with millionaires, is famous for it’s rehabs, and that it’s proximity to LA and Hollywood make it a hot commodity for rehabs.
    So I would want to charge top dollar for a listing like this, and I would want to show how my services will benefit them via cleaning up/avoiding penalties, ranking in Snack Pack, YouTube, Yelp, and Facebook…all for $3K-$4K per month. ($4K due to the fact that rehabs in the area buy TV commercial spots for about 10x that)
    Clients win because they get smart SEO and results (quickly, with Tube and Geo-Tagging work), I win because I get a super healthy cash flow and super satisfied customers to help build my brand and move me forward.

  4. Carlo Cretaro

    When you say charge a “one time set-up” fee and then a monthly retainer, do you mean that the set up fee would be X and also you get the first month’s retainer on top?

    So the set up fee would be $500 and the monthly retainer would be $1500 for example.

    That would be $2000 first month and then $1500 every month after that? Is that what you mean?

  5. Michael Lenz

    I am unable to down load your matrix and I am not having any success joining local client breakthrough. How can i do both.

    1. Mark Luckenbaugh

      An updated pricing guide is on my list as we have increased our minimums and modified our packages, but the same general rules apply. Find your minimum and then add values to areas and niches based on their competitiveness and ranking difficulty. Modify price based on that and once you get used to the system you can price quickly. Thanks for reading 🙂

  6. Stephen Foulkes

    Great article, I believe that pricing plans aren’t the way to go either because clients may feel they cant afford it but if there are no pricing its more of a possibility to get a meeting or chat with them. Tiers for locations is a great idea too. Thanks for the value great content 😀

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