If you’re here, you already know that SEO is an integral part of any digital marketing strategy. You want to include it—you just need a better idea of what it’s going to cost you.
There’s no fixed magic number when it comes to SEO budgets.
Spoiler alert: There’s no fixed, magic number. Depending on your needs, SEO can be managed in house or by contracting with a company like VELOX. Naturally, that means the cost can span a wider range than you might see for other marketing-related services. The good news is there’s a sweet spot in that range just for you once you’ve determined your business’s needs, goals, and timeline.
The first thing you want to consider is pretty obvious: Will SEO really benefit your business? The short answer is that if you do business or have a presence online, then SEO can take it further. The longer answer is only slightly more complicated. If your business is creating a new market or part of a brand-new industry (think CBD a few years back), then SEO has to work a lot harder to meet your goals. The harder it has to work, the more it’s going to cost, and that might not be worth it if you’re just getting started.
On that note, there are a lot of factors that go into a comprehensive SEO plan. If you need the whole package—on-site optimization, search engine marketing, PPC, linkbuilding, etc.—then your spend is going to be higher. If you think just a couple of those services will suffice, you can save a few bucks.
The same is true for your own contribution. Do you have an employee or team in house who can handle the time and legwork that a good SEO strategy requires? If not, you’ll probably be better off hiring a company to take care of it. Unless you already have experts on your payroll, it’ll cost you less in the long run to have an outside company do the work for you.
An important part of knowing and setting your goals is keeping reasonable expectations. Every company is different in some way, so you can’t fully expect one business’s goals to work for yours too. The next step, of course, is identifying and outlining your goals. Here, it’s important to be realistic and smart, so set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant to your business, and timely.
It’s easy to say, “I want to increase my revenue,” but that’s a broad goal and not really reasonable on its own. Aim for something more like, “I want to increase my revenue by 15% by the end of this quarter.” Then focus on how you’ll implement and benchmark that goal. Will you use PPC campaigns and on-site optimization? Would a link building strategy help? Whatever you choose, determine how you’ll measure that strategy’s success. Take advantage of the tools out there to help you—Google Ads is your friend.
Be fair to your company’s abilities and expectations when setting goals. Choose reasonable, attainable finish lines that can be reached by a logical deadline.
Already you’re going to a great deal of trouble to lay these plans out, so make sure a 15% increase by the end of the quarter, for example, is a practical goal. Is it truly attainable or is it a big dream? If you aim higher than your business can actually reach, you’ll set yourself up for disappointment. A 10% increase is lower, but you’ll feel much better if you meet or exceed it than if you set a 15% increase goal and only hit 11%.
That same principle holds true for deadlines. You want your goals to be timely, but you also need them to be reasonably timely. Is the end of the quarter an achievable timeline for increasing revenue by 15%? Would it make more sense to add a few months to the deadline? Like with the actual percentage, you’ll feel more successful if you reach your goal by the later deadline, rather than nearly reaching it by an earlier one.
We already mentioned that your goals should be timely, and reasonably so, but your expectations for results also need to be timely. Google’s said in the past that SEO can take at least four months to have a visible impact, so you should keep that in mind when mapping out your strategy and the budget to go with it.
When you see results depends on the goals you set, your company’s industry and size, and the number of implementations you put into place.
Larger companies with an established online presence can potentially see results sooner than a smaller one just beginning to make a dent in the market. Companies that operate locally only may have better results more quickly, if they target the right keywords, than a company trying to garner awareness on a global scale. Wherever your company falls on the spectrum, make sure the money you’re setting aside for your SEO plan is enough to be effective in that space without putting your business in a tough spot.
Now that you know what you need, what your goals are, and how long it may take to see results, what do you do? Research. Use Google Ads’ tools to choose the best keywords for your purposes, then plug in your budget to see what it’ll cost to run ads for those each day. If you decide to work with a digital marketing agency, check out several companies and know what you want to ask in advance.
As far as the main question here—what you should be spending on SEO—the answer is up to you. Our best advice, however, is to be prepared to invest. There are agencies out there offering cheap services with fast results but be wary of them. While there is no set number for what SEO will cost you, there is a threshold. A company that offers a monthly fee of $200-500, regardless of your business or overall vertical, is almost certain to offer meager, cookie cutter results. We’ll cover these types of services and why you should avoid them in our next post.
Set a range for your budget, rather than a specific number. It will help you make the right choices at rates reasonable to your business’s needs.
In the meantime, we recommend that you lay out the minimum you think you’ll need to spend, based on your research, as well as the maximum you’re willing to spend to get results. Because there’s no fixed number that can apply to every business, only a relative range depending on your industry, you should strategize based on a range as well. It’s the most practical way to give yourself a realistic look at what you should be spending on SEO. If you find yourself needing a hand figuring out the specifics, VELOX is here to help. We offer proven results at competitive but honest rates, and we’ll always be transparent about the work we’re doing for you and why it works.