Hiring A Black Hat SEO? How Much Do They Cost?

Apr 16, 2014 • 8:28 am | comments (23) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under SEM / SEO Companies

google cloakingA Black Hat World thread has one newish Black Hat SEO asking others what to charge for his services.

How much do SEOs in the darker spaces charge for their time and services?

Truth is, SEO prices scale tremendously on all spectrums of the color grid. Those with more experience and are more in demand charge more, and sometimes a heck of a lot more. Those with less experience and more time on their hands may charge less. I've seen rates from $10 per hour to well over $1,000 per hour. I've seen monthly fees of under $100 per month to well over $20,000 per month.

It is not just about the hours you need to put into a project, for many good SEOs, even in the black hat space, it is about the value of their time and the work they are offering you.

If you are about to make your client millions of dollars in pure profit, would you charge them $500? If you can spend your time making $500 per hour doing other work or your own thing, would you do work for a client for $500 or less?

The questions Black Hat SEOs ask about pricing their time and services are the same anyone would ask in the SEO space or other spaces.

In any event, the folks are discussing in the thread.

Forum discussion at Black Hat World.

Note: I am offline today and this post was pre-scheduled to be automatically posted. So if I am delayed in responding to issues or comments, I apologize in advance.

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04/16/2014 02:19 pm

The effort SEO activities require is subjective, as subjective is the 'kind' of SEO techniques and strategies applied. Personally, when I had to write content for a SEO client, I charged them my freelance writing fees, not my SEO fees. It really depends on how you package your SEO services, I guess.


04/16/2014 03:46 pm

Most of the best black hats don't sell their services - the do it on their own sites to make money directly.


04/16/2014 03:48 pm

RyanMJones is right. That having been said, I charge between $200 and $500 per hour for a basic consultation and analysis. If the client I'm consulting with actually wants work done - I charge much more and it's based on the overall profit potential of the project itself.


04/16/2014 04:39 pm

Isn't Black Hat SEO dead? Unless it's for negative SEO?

Josh Zehtabchi

04/16/2014 05:05 pm

If you have to ask or question how much you're worth then odds are, not much.


04/16/2014 05:14 pm

the problem with using black hat for SEO is that can you really know and trust them to do a great job.. Anyone can claim they know SEO and make a thread about there service, then get there friends to rate it as top notch service with killer reviews. 90% of black hats hire 3rd party to do the job for them. You want serious SEO service, find a reputable company not black hats.

Mark Warner

04/16/2014 05:18 pm

Funny how everyone in that thread seems to say that the right thing to do is figure out how much a client will make by ranking #1 and you can pull your answer from those numbers. You would need to weight the equation for the probability that a client will lose all of their rankings before you can really come up with an expected value for any services.

Douglas Karr

04/18/2014 04:18 pm

The question isn't how much they cost "now", the question is how much they will cost you later. Whatever you're paying now, be prepared to pay a lot later to repair it.

Link Worx Seo

04/18/2014 09:42 pm

Honestly I can not fathom paying someone that much money an hour. That is ridiculous. I would believe someone could easily find Black Hat services for way less money than $1000.00 an hour.

Todd Kron

04/19/2014 02:37 am

That sounds like a lot of assumptions you are making. A "white hat" could have used Build my rank and guest posting. And where would you be now. I followed a build my ranker at a job, its (not) fun having sites falling 5 pages on your first day.

Todd Kron

04/19/2014 02:40 am

Exactly, ^^ there is man who gets it. Leaving others to assume nothing works, since there is no incentive to post the most valuable "research" online. Ryan, Your the reason I had to have the 'most handsome seo' keyword. An old post of your inspired that.

Douglas Karr

04/20/2014 05:34 pm

It's not an assumption, it's the majority of my agency's business. We have several high-profile clients who hired 'white hat' agencies that were secretively executing 'black hat' campaigns. These weren't small agencies - they were listed as a top resource in the industry, promoted in the Inc 500, and wrote for and worked with very trusted SEO resources on the net. The problem is that most SEO companies who call themselves 'white hat' are drinking their own kool-aid and trying to justify their activities - but Google has always been clear on how you should gain organic ranking. So - when they finally detect the black-hat activity, it's too late for these companies who invested so much... then they have to hire folks like us to pull them from the abyss. It's unfortunate.

Todd Kron

04/20/2014 08:59 pm

you would never get a client come to you who's having everything go perfectly well so its hard to say how often anything like that happens.

Arun Kallarackal

04/21/2014 10:54 am

What Barry explained in the article makes good sense. Personally, I'm not a fan of taking help of black hat SEO techniques. But I've heard of folks making use of it to rank quickly in case of event based niche blogs. Such blogs are like disposable entity. Once the event is over and the profits have been made, it won't matter if the blog is meted out a penalty! ;) Now, talking about the remuneration part, I guess those folks will charge for the value of the service they are giving. Taking a look at the profits the site will generate, upon reaching #1 rank will be given importance by them. Based on that, they'll make the call regarding their cost. I found link to this post on Kingged. Arun


04/22/2014 11:26 am

Is there any way to measure success of black hat seo ? Do they even tell you what exactly are they going to do and how it will make difference ?

Maxime Sincerny

04/27/2014 06:30 pm

Well if we accomplish the goals you have set you see the level of success. Most clients will not ask for ranking or new visitors. They want more calls more converting leads ect If I get paid 1k/month and in exchange you make 5k from traffic you really don't care how I do it. You pay me so you don't have to learn how to do it.

Maxime Sincerny

04/27/2014 06:39 pm

Yeah, big assumption. Good seo will have everything planned so if something happen they can remove backlinks.

Maxime Sincerny

04/27/2014 06:41 pm

"White hat" can do the same haha. Calling yourself whitehat doesn't mean that you are reputable and don't fake reviews. Anyone can go on fiverr and get a dozen video reviews.

Maxime Sincerny

04/27/2014 06:42 pm

Never been easier everyone left the boat

Maxime Sincerny

04/27/2014 06:45 pm

It depend, it is easier to leverage the profit someone can make as a surgeon with pay per call than create your own product

Maxime Sincerny

04/27/2014 06:51 pm

If you are interested in investing your money. Would you go with the guy from that big firm from wall street or the guy from the shack in the woods who don't even have internet

Gracious Store

04/28/2014 03:19 am

If those SEO companies who charge thousands of dollars bring in revenues in the multiples of the cost of their services, so be it.. What do the black SEO companies tell their clients when Google catches up them with manual actions after they have charged their clients so exorbitant prices?

Todd Kron

05/06/2014 08:54 pm

And its less headaches to use affiliate programs with real time feedback, stats and no client to handhold. And yes big ticket items like surgeons, real estate agents and pool companies make a great deal of sense when they pull 5-15k per sale, but explaining to them that spending 5K to make 10k still is a hard sell when they stop listening at 5k. The anti-seo PR machine (google) makes it hard to explain ROI.

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