SEO Retainers: What Are They and Why You Need One

As a business owner in today's digital world, you are likely aware of the importance of search engine optimization or SEO. Optimizing your websit… As a business owner in today's digital world, you are likely aware of the importance of search engine optimization or SEO. Optimizing your website…

As a business owner in today's digital world, you are likely aware of the importance of search engine optimization or SEO.

Optimizing your website and content to rank well in search engines like Google is crucial for driving organic traffic and leads.

However, effective SEO is an ongoing process that requires constant monitoring and adjustments to be impactful.

For many companies, the solution is to hire an SEO agency to handle their SEO on a monthly retainer.

An SEO retainer is an agreement with an agency to provide a fixed set of SEO services for your business each month.

The retainer model provides consistency in resources and strategy, allowing for long-term planning and continuous optimization of your SEO campaigns.

If you are looking to improve your website's search visibility and gain more traffic, leads, and customers, partnering with an SEO agency on a monthly retainer basis may be the most effective approach.

In this article, I will explore what SEO retainers entail and why every business looking to strengthen their online presence should consider one.

What Is an SEO Retainer?

An SEO retainer is an ongoing search engine optimization contract with a digital marketing agency or consultant.

As an SEO professional, I offer retainers to provide consistent SEO services to help clients achieve and maintain high search engine rankings over the long term.

Why Have an SEO Retainer?

There are several benefits to having an SEO retainer:

  1. Ongoing optimization.

    SEO is an ongoing process.

    A retainer ensures your website and content are continuously optimized to boost rankings and traffic.

  2. Consistent results.

    SEO retainers lead to consistent, long-term results.

    One-off SEO audits or projects may produce short-term gains but rankings often drop off again without ongoing work.

    Retainers sustain momentum.

  3. Priority support.

    SEO agency clients on retainers receive priority support and faster turnaround times.

    Their needs come first.

  4. Cost savings.

    SEO retainers typically offer discounted rates compared to ad hoc project fees.

    Clients save money with ongoing commitments.

  5. Strategic guidance.

    SEO professionals get to know your business inside out over time.

    They can provide strategic recommendations and help set digital marketing goals tailored to your needs.

  6. Peace of mind.

    SEO retainers give you the peace of mind that your search optimization is under control and being maintained by professionals.

    You can focus on running your business while your SEO partner focuses on running your SEO.

The Benefits of Having an SEO Retainer

As an SEO consultant, having retainers with my clients is key to the success and continuity of our working relationship.

SEO retainers provide many benefits for both the consultant and the client.

Long-Term Planning

With an SEO retainer in place, I can develop comprehensive, long-term strategies to achieve my clients’ goals.

SEO is an ongoing process, not a one-and-done campaign.

Retainers allow me to plan and execute strategies over months and years to build sustainable organic growth.


Retainers give me the opportunity to consistently refine and improve my clients’ SEO.

I monitor metrics, analyze reports, and make incremental changes to strengthen their search presence over time.

Small tweaks and updates, when done regularly, can have a big impact.

Priority Access

My retainer clients always get priority access to my time and services.

They have a direct line of communication with me for any questions or concerns.

I can also respond quickly if there are any issues with their SEO that need immediate attention.

Cost Savings

For my clients, retainers often end up saving them money versus paying for SEO services on an ad-hoc basis.

My retainer fees are discounted since the work is ongoing.

Clients get more value for their investment with a long-term, customized SEO strategy.

What to Expect From Your SEO Agency

As an SEO agency client, you can expect a few key things from your SEO retainer agreement and service.

A Dedicated SEO Strategist

With an SEO retainer, you will be assigned a dedicated SEO strategist and account manager to oversee your SEO campaign.

This individual SEO expert will gain a deep understanding of your business, website, customers, and competition to develop an effective strategy tailored to your unique needs.

They will be your main point of contact for any SEO questions or concerns.

Custom SEO Audit and Strategy

Your SEO strategist will start by conducting an in-depth audit of your website and current SEO standings.

They will analyze your site structure, content, backlinks, rankings, and more to identify opportunities for improvement.

Based on their findings, they will build a customized strategy to boost your search visibility and traffic over the long run.

This roadmap will outline specific tactics, tools, and timelines to achieve your key SEO goals.

Ongoing SEO Implementation and Optimization

With an SEO retainer, implementation and optimization become an ongoing process.

Your SEO agency will continuously work to improve your search rankings by:

  • Optimizing your page titles, meta descriptions, header tags, content, and internal linking.

  • Building high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites to increase your domain authority.

  • Monitoring your search rankings and traffic to make sure your SEO efforts are effective.

  • Adjusting strategies as needed to adapt to changes in search engine algorithms and your business.

Detailed Reporting and Analytics

Your SEO agency will provide regular reporting to keep you up to date on your SEO progress.

This includes rankings reports to show how you stack up against competitors, traffic reports highlighting trends in visitors and conversions, and analytics for determining the success and ROI of your SEO campaigns.

With data-driven insights, you can make informed decisions about your SEO strategy.

How Much Does an SEO Retainer Cost?

An SEO retainer is an ongoing search engine optimization contract with a digital marketing agency or consultant.

As an SEO professional, I offer retainers to provide consistent SEO services over an extended period of time, typically 3-12 months.

Retainers offer many benefits over one-off SEO projects or hourly work.

Cost Considerations

The cost of an SEO retainer can vary depending on the scope of services, the experience of the SEO, and your business's needs.

On average, SEO retainers in the U.S.

range from $1,000 to $10,000 per month.

The total cost will depend on factors such as:

-Keywords and rankings targeted: Targeting highly competitive, high-volume keywords will be more expensive than targeting long-tail, low-competition keywords.

-Technical SEO audits and fixes: Auditing your website and making fixes to issues like duplicate content, broken links, page speed, etc.

requires time and expertise, so the retainer may need to account for ongoing technical SEO work.

-Content creation: If the retainer includes blog posts, landing pages, or other content to help with rankings and organic traffic, the total cost will be higher.

Content creation is a time-intensive process.

-Reporting and strategy calls: Detailed reporting, analytics, and calls to discuss strategy, progress, and next steps will increase the monthly investment.

More high-touch, hands-on retainers typically cost more.

-Experience of the SEO: An SEO with 10+ years of experience and a proven track record of success will charge a higher monthly rate than an entry-level SEO.

Industry certifications like Google Ads or Bing Ads certification may also allow an SEO to charge a premium.

While SEO retainers require an ongoing financial commitment, the rewards of improved search rankings, increased organic traffic, and revenue growth can be well worth the investment.

An experienced SEO with a tailored strategy for your business can help achieve powerful results over the long-term.

Questions to Ask When Hiring an SEO Agency

When hiring an SEO agency to handle your search engine optimization, it’s important to ask the right questions to determine if they’re the right fit for your needs.

As the business owner, you need to make sure any SEO retainer agreement aligns with your key priorities and expectations.

What is your experience in my industry?

SEO strategies differ across industries, so find an agency with experience in your field.

Ask about their successful case studies and results they’ve achieved for other clients in your industry.

Their knowledge of your industry terminology, trends and best practices will lead to better results.

What SEO strategies do you focus on?

Techniques like technical SEO, content creation, link building and keyword research should all be part of their approach.

An agency that relies too heavily on a single tactic may not drive the best outcomes.

Probe to ensure they utilize a comprehensive, well-balanced SEO strategy tailored to your business goals.

How will you track and report on results?

Understanding how they monitor rankings, traffic and conversions is key.

Ask about the metrics and KPIs they will use to measure success, how often they report, and what those reports will include.

Look for an agency that takes a data-driven approach to tracking meaningful SEO results.

Who will be involved in managing my SEO account?

For the best results, you want an experienced team dedicated to your account.

Ask who specifically will handle your SEO needs, their backgrounds, and how much time will be allocated to your account.

Be wary of agencies where your point of contact is constantly changing.

Consistency and expertise are important.

What is your pricing model?

Compare their rates and billing models to your budget and needs.

Retainer models, where you pay a flat monthly fee, are common.

Be clear on exactly what services are included for the price, to determine if the investment will be worthwhile for your business.

Cheaper does not always mean better value when it comes to SEO.

By asking these key questions, you can find an SEO agency that meets your needs and helps drive real results and growth for your company.

The right partner will become an extension of your team, providing guidance and expertise to boost your search visibility over the long-term.


As you can see, SEO retainers offer numerous benefits for businesses looking to boost their online visibility and rankings.

By committing to ongoing SEO services, companies can achieve better results over the long run.

An SEO retainer helps ensure your website and content are continuously optimized to target the keywords and phrases that matter most to your business.

It also provides the dedicated resources and expertise required to monitor trends in search engine algorithms and make timely adjustments.

For any organization serious about digital marketing, an SEO retainer should be an essential part of their overall strategy.

Continuous optimization and a long term outlook are key to success in today's competitive online landscape.

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