Does SEO cost money? Yes, it does. If you hire a consultant. Yes, it does if you do it yourself.
Because they say time is money and you cannot do good SEO without taking your time on it. Without studying, perfecting, testing, creating content and generally just knowing that you’re doing the right thing. Or as close to the right thing as you can.
I’m being glib, but of course, you can do SEO for free without actually handing over money. But you may find you get to a point where your gains start to slow down. If you don’t get a little bit of paid help.
It doesn’t have to be a lot, you don’t have to take on an SEO agency, or a huge SEO agency. In almost every town there are SEO consultants who will give you some of their time without costing you all of the money. And these are a great place to start. If you find someone who’s new to SEO they tend to have a real passion for it.