We all know that technology helps us scale in SEO. After all, we don’t manually rank check keyword positions anymore. In fact, SEO has evolved so much that we really look at rank tracking performance in topic groups.

But if we do want to check rankings, we use automation to gather and report them.

Plus, we use automated SEO tools to do the analysis for us and surface insights, but do you remember the days of data downloads and excel-jockeying everything together?

Maybe there’s unique situations where we’re still doing that, but if we are, we aren’t scaling the programs we have in place — that’s for sure.

For many, this led to the debate of what’s the best way to scale in SEO: with people, or tools? As SEO continues to evolve we come back to the same question of tools or talent.

The next phase of SEO technology is here to help scale execution — actually getting things done and changes made on your site.

This leads us to: SEO automation for rapid execution vs. a developer.

See the comparison chart for developers vs. SEO tech.

Option #1: Developers

Salary and Other Compensation

Bringing on a developer to execute your SEO program can cost about $116,642 annually, according to Built In.

That includes the average base salary plus cash compensation. That comes down to about $9,720 per month.

Salary.com gives a higher average. Based on HR-reported data, the salary plus benefits averages out to a total of $127,598 annually, or about $10,633 per month.  

Then there are payroll taxes, which can range from $8,900–$9,760 for the salaries mentioned above.

Totaling these numbers, a developer can cost around $125,540–$137,360 annually, or $10,460–$11,446 per month.

Training a Developer

If the dev has no prior SEO experience, some training hours will be involved as well.

There’s most likely going to be a time investment in teaching the developers the basics of SEO. Then there are other factors to take into account, like QA, human resources, and of course vacation time.

Option #2: SEO Technology

You may choose to move your SEO program forward by hiring multiple devs, or you can equip an SEO with the right tech stack to get the job done.

The “right” tech stack here will involve some sort of automation, specifically rule-based automation. This lets you set rule-based changes so the technology can follow the parameters while you have the final approval to implement the changes.

We know this SEO automation technology costs between $72,000–$108,000 a year, but the price fluctuates depending on features and functionality. This comes down to about $6,000–$9,000 per month.

The seoClarity platform combines world-class SEO data, AI-driven insights, professional SEO services, and now automates execution, all so you can generate results faster.

Plus, with our next-generation SEO automation platform it only takes one person on your team to make changes on your site — no dev team required. You can optimize on-page elements, fix critical issues, add structured schema, and plenty more … all with a few clicks.

This is an effective way to increase your agility to deliver SEO results.

Perhaps more importantly, you’ll know which SEO projects result in a positive change and should be brought to the dev team for further implementation, instead of guessing what will work.

Don’t promise ROI, prove it! 

With our SEO Split Test analysis, for example, you can test your hypotheses, implement testing at scale and measure the results — all within a few clicks and with no devs or data scientists.

How much is a data science team? We'll discuss that in the future. 

By matching the right person with the right tech, SpareFoot was able to accelerate their SEO projects by 6 months with ClarityAutomate.


There you have it: a quick breakdown on the cost of a developer versus SEO tech for executing your strategy.

If you’re interested in option #2 — SEO tech — request a demo to see ClarityAutomate in action.