How Much is SEO?
How much should I spend on SEO?
It’s the million-dollar question most business owner asks but the answer they always get from freelancers, gurus and marketing agency is “It depends”.
In this article, we will be breaking down the factors that might affect the cost of SEO.
Most Businesses are willing to spend on SEO
A recent survey reported that less than half of all small business owners have allocated a specific budget for a good SEO strategy.
And for those the ones who allocated a budget, the majority of them are only willing to spend roughly $100 per month. yikes!
I am sure you have received one of them. some random email from a guy named Chris Smith guaranteeing to put your business on the 1st page of Google for only $99 per month!! What a deal right? Wrong!
90% of small business owners have no idea how SEO works and guys like Chris Smith ( Apologies in advance if there are Chris Smith out there who knows SEO ) knows this and they are exploiting business owners like yourself!
You are probably saying to yourself what is the worst thing that can happen right? If I don’t get results from a $99 per month SEO I will just look for someone who can get it done for me. Again, Wrong!
The True Cost of Cheap SEO
As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. SEO is no different don’t expect great results from a $99 per month SEO management.
But the real issue from a cheap SEO service is not the because you didn’t get the results and you just lost $100 the collateral damage to your business can go much deeper. Because cheap SEO can get your website a Google Penalty and essentially wipe out the online visibility of your business.
Before committing to any SEO contracts or agreements as a business owner you need to keep in mind what strategy will be used on your website and to make sure that all strategy that the freelancer or a marketing agency is using are all compliant with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
If your website is hit with a google penalty it can be very costly to recover from it. for example, a few years back popular website eBay was hit by a Google Penalty and the estimated loss in revenue was around $200 million!
So How Much is a Good SEO?
It’s only natural for a business owner to ask “How much should I pay for SEO?” after all most small-business owners have a very tight budget and they look at that monthly SEO cost as an expense. but what you really should be asking is “How much am I willing to invest in SEO” because SEO is an investment for your business that will bear its fruit in years to come if done right.
There is a reason why billion-dollar companies are investing heavily in getting that first-page result in google we are talking tens of thousands of dollars. in a recent report around 3.5 billion Google searches are made every single day and businesses on the 1st page receive 90% of those clicks. and unlike paid ads like Facebook Ads and Google ads clicks from Organic traffic have a higher conversion rate.
A good rule of thumb is anything under $1000 per month should be viewed with caution since a good SEO plan takes a lot of time and that is basically what you are paying for. How much time a marketer or an agency is working on your business to do all the things to put your business on the 1st page.
On average an SEO professional costs around $70 up to $200 per hour. Trying to be cheap while still expecting the same results on companies who will charges $2000 per month will only disappoint you in the end.
SEO Pricing Model
There are lots of different pricing model SEO companies implement but generally, it all boils down to 3 different pricing structure.
Monthly Retainer – You and the SEO company agree on a certain monthly cost per for an agreed hour that the SEO professional will work on your business
Hourly Rate – the SEO professional or an agency will bill you for every single hour that they work on your business again this can range to around $70 up to $200 an hour
Pay for Performance – This type of pricing structure relies on how successful is the campaign
the cost that the agency will charge you depends on what task will be done on your website or business. a recent survey of 600 marketing agency shows that a standard SEO plan is around $1500 up to $2000 per month.
You might be asking yourself why would anyone pay a monthly retainer or hourly rate when there is a Pay for Performance pricing structure right?
Typically a Pay for Performance pricing structure allows agencies to inflate the cost on metrics that are not relevant to your bottom line, leaving your business paying for keywords that are easy to rank but does not bring any revenue to the business. Their job is to rank keywords and they will show you they ranked 100+ keywords and charge you an insane amount only to realize that the keywords that they ranked for is not doing your business any good.
What we always say to all of our clients. If you want faster results you must be willing to spend more money and if you want to dominate your competition you need to spend more than them.
in simple terms, you need to spend money to make money.
What’re your Goals?
To understand how much you can invest in SEO you need to determine what is your business goal and why do you want SEO?
By telling us your business goals it allows us to create a tailored SEO plan to achieve those goals.
- Do you want to dominate your competition?
- Do you want tons of backlinks to your website?
- Do you want to just create content?
The answers to those questions will determine priorities as well as the volume of work required to reach your goals.
That being said, only invest money on SEO that you can afford. We don’t want you losing sleep for a minimum of 4 to 12 months because you over-committed on SEO and if this fails your whole business fails.
SEO should be viewed as a fuel to your online presence and not a be-all and end-all for your business.
Afterall a successful SEO is only one part of becoming a successful business. You also need to have a great product, great service, great sales, and after-sales process
Unlike Paid Ads, an organic search campaign won’t generate results in roughly 4-12 months. You need to be asking yourself am I willing to invest around $1,500 to $2,000 per month for the next 4-12 months?
A comprehensive SEO strategy combines on-page optimization ( your website), content creation and link building.
Even done perfectly, Google takes the time to recognize these efforts.
That being said, as we mentioned before the conversion rate on organic traffic (17% ) is the highest converting compared to customers gained from paid ads (1.7% ).
in today’s world, it is no longer a question of “Should I Invest in SEO?” but “How much am I willing to spend on SEO?”