How much does SEO cost
SEO is an integral part of your marketing strategy but the question is how much will SEO cost you. How can you create a budget for SEO without knowing what to expect? Most online business owners are constantly struggling to allocate funds for SEO services but it can be tough. Each online campaign is different and that means different costs.
So, ultimately, the cost of SEO will depend on the positioning of your website and campaigns. You would have to figure out how your website compares to competitors’ websites and how fast you want to achieve results.
- Expectations & Reality
Small business owners are always facing a cash crunch and due to limited resources, most do not have a budget for SEO services. Those, who do tend to utilize SEO, have a tight budget that does yield the results they envisaged. As a result, many small business owners give up on SEO and that throws their business into cyber limbo.
However, SEO is a necessity to survive in a highly competitive marketplace, and that would explain why so many businesses get spam mails guaranteeing them first-page search results for a paltry sum. This can be hard to resist for an online business that is struggling to target audience and attract more footfalls.
The problem is that most business owners are clueless about SEO and hence, they accept whatever offer is provided to them without realizing that SEO is an expertise and does not come with guarantees. But, they feel that it is overpriced and hence, an SEO provider, who quotes the lowest, will end up being the winner. Unfortunately, this will not work for the business, and results, at the best, will be sketchy.
- The Cost of Cheap SEO
SEO has become so important that novices, with just a little knowledge, tend to sell themselves as experts. Most of these novices do not know how to get clients to rank for a specific keyword and this can be a frightening prospect for experienced SEO specialists.
The cost of cheap SEO can be devastating for a business. Cheap SEO runs the risk of working with a novice who will not have the knowledge, experience, or expertise to help you rank for chosen keywords or explain the usage of link schemes.
If you get your SEO wrong and it does not conform to the rules laid down by Google, instead of getting a higher rank, your site will be penalized. This will virtually mean that your target customers will not be able to find you online.
So, it is best not to get swayed by cheap SEO. Business owners are responsible for what happens to their site. Hence, they should make it a point to discuss with the SEO specialist the strategies they intend to employ on the site. It is also prudent for business owners to get conversant Google Webmaster Guidelines so that any SEO tactic the specialist uses complies with these guidelines.
- Managing Your Resources
Google uses over 200 factors to rank websites. While some of these factors are known, others are not common knowledge. Hence, when you are trying to get your SEO right, you should focus on factors that you know.
Usually, it is best to work on the following three factors to ensure that your SEO gets the right results.
- Information Architecture
Ensure that you get metatags, meta descriptions, URLs, image tags, and other on-page SEO elements right. It will make it easier for search engine spiders to crawl the webpages and rank them. Make sure that your website is responsive so that users can access it from their phones, desktops, and tablets with ease. Also, ensure that the pages download quickly. Remember, if a page takes long to load, the bounce rate will be high.
Content is still king and it should be optimized with the right keywords so that your webpages show up in search queries. Also, make the content unique and of high-quality so that visitors keep coming back for more. Above all, your content should satisfy user intent – it should provide the answer or information they are seeking.
The importance of back-links is often neglected. Forget about link schemes and paid guest posts. Instead, focus on building genuine back-links that are natural. It is better to have one backlink from a trusted website than to have multiple back-links from unreliable sites.
- You Manage What You Measure: Set Goals
Before you can create a budget for SEO, you should first know what you expect from your campaign. What is the outcome you want and how will you measure whether the campaign was successful or not?
Previously, SEO experts measured the success of a campaign based on the rankings of the keywords but that is not the case any longer. You should measure the success of the SEO campaign based on how it affects your bottom line. That is why it is essential to have tangible goals.
So, your goals should be about increasing organic traffic by an X percentage, ensuring conversion by Y percentage, or increasing your business’ revenue by Z percentage. These are measurable goals and will let you know if your SEO campaigns are doing what you want them to do.
Another point to remember is that SEO takes time to show results. An SEO expert who promises instant results is bluffing. You need at least 4 months to around a year before your SEO shows results. So, patience is the key as long as you have set goals that you can achieve with SEO.
- Developing a Budget
Coming to the most important part – establishing a budget. Once you have fixed your goals, you can decide which SEO tactics are the best to help you achieve them. That, in turn, will help you create an SEO strategy, and it is then you will be able to allocate funds.
You would need to prioritize your goals and then the SEO expert will decide how much work is required to reach them. Make sure you can afford what you decide to opt for and that will ensure you are stress-free and not worried about the money.
As stated earlier, SEO takes time and usually, with a well-thought-out plan, campaigns can be implemented and then tweaked. It is only after that you can measure whether the campaign was a success or not.
If you have a low budget, getting the right results will take longer than a business that has a big budget.
- How Much Can You Expect to Spend on SEO?
In case you are hiring an exceptional SEO company, you will need to pay big bucks for it. The cost will increase if you decide to run national or international campaigns. However, all businesses cannot afford $2,500 to $5,000 a month for the duration of the campaign. Such businesses can look for SEO companies that offer trial packages at a low cost to test the services before you sign on the dotted lines.
It is best to first run an SEO audit and get recommendations that you can act upon. Once you implement even a few of the recommendations, you will be able to get more organic traffic. Other things that you can focus on are analysing keywords and developing high-quality content. This usually can be done by a professional for a one-time payment.
- SEO Cost Calculator: Measuring Organic Search (SEO) ROI
Most business owners and novice SEO experts end up calculating the ROI for SEO incorrectly. They take into consideration just a one-time sale and not a recurring sale.
- ROI Calculation for SEO Assuming ‘One-Time Sales’
This method of calculating ROI for SEO considers the number of new leads that have converted to a sale after implementing your SEO. Of course, in doing so, you will also calculate the profit you have earned from these new customers.
Then taking the monthly profits and dividing it by the monthly marketing budget will give you the return on investment.
This is not the way to calculate the ROI as a business needs recurring customers to sustain itself. It will be tough for a business to survive just on one-time customers. Here too, you tally up the number of new customers your business has gained through SEO and the profit that each customer ensures. The difference in the calculation is taking an average of the number of new customers who will return to your site for repeat orders. This will enable you to calculate an estimated lifetime profit.
Now, take the lifetime profit and divide it with your monthly marketing budget. That will give you the real return on investment for SEO. And, it will then reveal the true value of implementing SEO.
- The Takeaway
SEO does not yield instant results. It is an ongoing process and when you get your SEO tactics right, it will take a few months to show the results. And, those results can do wonders for your website. So, when you trying to find out how much does SEO cost, look at the aforementioned factors to calculate the cost. This cost is an investment and will reap the right results if SEO is correctly implemented and executed.