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Understanding the Average Cost of SEO and Budgeting Tips

By Fidan Alizada on Jun 12, 2023 - 12 minute read

Many business owners find themselves wondering about the average cost of SEO and how to allocate their resources effectively. While it would be convenient to have a […]

Many business owners find themselves wondering about the average cost of SEO and how to allocate their resources effectively. While it would be convenient to have a straightforward answer, the reality is that the cost of SEO services can vary significantly. 

Different businesses have unique needs and goals, meaning SEO campaign pricing depends on various factors. In this blog post, we’ll explore the average cost of SEO per month, delve into the factors that impact SEO campaign costs, provide insights on how much you should be spending on SEO, and offer tips for budgeting your SEO campaigns effectively. 

By understanding these aspects, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions and invest in SEO strategies that yield meaningful results for your business.

What is the Average Cost of SEO?

SEO services are typically priced based on the specific needs and requirements of a business. An SEO agency will consider factors such as:

  • The amount of content needed
  • The number of backlinks needed
  • Any page speed or technical optimizations
  • Expected business growth
  • The range of services required 
  • The competitive landscape of an industry

It’s necessary to have a clear understanding of what to expect and communicate your goals to ensure you receive accurate quotes for SEO pricing from marketing agencies.

What Impacts the Average Cost of SEO Services

Several factors can influence the cost of SEO campaigns. By understanding these factors, you can better assess what impacts the pricing you receive:

1. The current state of your search presence

The starting point of determining your cost of SEO per month plays a vital role in determining the level of work required to improve your rankings. 

If your website already has a strong foundation, the average cost of SEO may be lower compared to a website that requires extensive optimization. 

An assessment of your website’s search presence will help you identify areas that require attention, which can be optimized to enhance the user experience. If you have a SearchAtlas account, you can use the competitor research tools to get an initial idea of how robust your competitors’ SEO presence currently is.

SEO competitor research report in SearchAtlas

If competitors in your industry have a lot of keyword rankings, high organic traffic, and high Domain Rating, they likely are executing a comprehensive SEO strategy. That means your brand will need to be more aggressive with your SEO campaigns, which will likely increase the cost of your services.

2. Campaign goals

When it comes to executing an SEO campaign, understanding the goals and objectives is crucial. These goals dictate the scope of the campaign, including the time, effort, and resources needed to achieve them. 

How much organic traffic are you hoping to drive to your website? 

Is your goal to rank in the top positions for your target keywords, or just somewhere on the first page.

The average cost of SEO largely depends on the campaign’s goals and objectives. The more ambitious the goals, the more resources are required, and hence, the higher the cost.

3. Desired timeline for results

The timeline for SEO results can vary depending on how aggressive you choose to be with your execution. If you’re looking for quick results from your SEO efforts, you may need to invest additional resources, which can increase your costs. 

For instance, a few pieces of content can help you start to rank in search results for relevant keywords. But hundreds of pieces of content on your website can mean a much greater chance of driving organic traffic at a high volume. 

Getting faster results will likely add to your SEO costs, but it will mean getting organic clicks and potential customers browsing through your website content sooner.

4. Allocation of marketing budget

The appropriate percentage of your marketing budget that should be allocated to SEO will depend on several factors, such as your company’s size, industry, and goals. Some businesses may seek to allocate a higher percentage of their budget to the cost of SEO per month to drive more traffic to their website, improve their search engine rankings, and lower their customer acquisition costs. 

Others may prioritize other channels such as social media, paid advertising, or content marketing, resulting in a smaller allocation to SEO.

These factors, among others, contribute to the variation in SEO pricing. It’s critical to discuss your specific needs with SEO professionals to get an accurate estimate for your campaigns.

How Much Should I Be Spending on SEO?

Determining the average cost of SEO can be challenging, especially if you’re new to the realm of digital marketing. While there’s no fixed percentage or magic number, there are some guidelines to help you budget effectively:

Assess your goals and competition

When starting or expanding a business, you need to assess your goals and competition. This evaluation allows you to set realistic expectations for your business and determine the best way to make your mark in the market. Remember to remain flexible and be open to change as you navigate the dynamic business environment. With careful planning and execution, your business can thrive in even the most competitive markets.

Research industry standards

By researching industry standards, you can gain insights into how much businesses similar to yours are investing in SEO. This can provide a benchmark for setting your own budget. You may find that some industries require a higher budget for SEO per month due to higher competition, while others can get away with less. Either way, looking at what others are doing can help you make an informed decision based on your business goals and budget.

Consider ROI

SEO is an investment that businesses make to increase visibility and attract potential customers through organic search engine results. However, it is not just about improving the rankings in SERPs, but also about realizing a return on investment. A good SEO strategy should deliver a positive ROI, and therefore it’s worth considering the potential ROI before embarking on an SEO campaign.

Review your coster per acquisition

Cost per acquisition is an important metric in digital marketing. It quantifies how many marketing dollars it costs for you to generate a sale (or acquire a customer).

Lower cost per acquisition is always the goal, and SEO is one of the most affordable ways to lower customer acquisition costs in the long term, because getting an organic click is free (while a PPC click can be very pricey). 

If you currently have a high CPA, you will likely want to invest more in SEO in order to drive that number down faster, meaning more revenue for your business.

How to Budget for an SEO Campaign

Budgeting for an SEO campaign involves careful consideration of your resources and priorities. Here are some tips to help you create a budget that aligns with your business objectives:

Start with a conservative budget

When it comes to investing in the average cost of SEO, keep in mind that it’s a long-term strategy that requires patience and consistent effort. If you’re new to SEO or working with limited resources, it’s wise to start with a conservative budget and gradually increase it over time as you better understand what works and what doesn’t. 

There is some experimentation involved in SEO. Although it is data-driven, it means that you might need to deploy a variety of different strategies until you discover which keywords are the most profitable for your business. 

Starting with a conservative monthly budget will help you stay within your means and avoid overspending on strategies that may not provide immediate results.

Be prepared for an ongoing investment

Search engines like Google continually update their algorithms and ranking factors to improve the quality of search results. These updates can impact your website’s ranking, and you may need to make changes to your SEO strategy—and to the cost of SEO services over time—to maintain or improve your ranking. 

Just because you earn page 1 rankings in your initial SEO investment doesn’t mean your business will stay at the top of the SERPs. You will need to continually update your website’s content, improve website speed, and ensure you meet Google’s standards as ranking factors change. Ignoring these changes can lead to a drop in your website’s ranking, reduced traffic, and a drastic decline in business revenue.

For these reasons, working with experienced professionals on managed monthly SEO campaigns can maximize the results of your investment.

Prioritize your initiatives

Prioritizing your SEO initiatives is crucial for the success of your online presence. It’s necessary to determine which initiatives will have the biggest impact on your business goals and target audience.

SEO is multidisciplinary and usually leverages a variety of strategies including link building, content marketing, public relations, social media, and more. Depending on your competition and industry, certain strategies may be more beneficial than others.

For example, if your website already has high-quality content but is not ranking well in search engines, an initiative like link building will likely produce better, faster results than an initiative like on-page optimization. 

By identifying the most critical SEO initiatives, you can focus your resources, efforts, and the cost of SEO services on the areas that will yield the best results.

Obtain quotes from multiple agencies

One crucial step in choosing an SEO agency is to obtain quotes from multiple agencies. By doing this, you can compare the offerings and pricing of each agency and determine the best fit for your budget and needs. 

Reputable SEO agencies will often provide detailed quotes, taking into account your business goals, website performance, and competition in your industry. Companies like LinkGraph even offer free consultations. This information will help you understand the range of pricing and services available in the market, allowing you to make an informed decision about which agency to work with.

Be wary of any SEO agency that is not transparent in their costs or their SEO strategies. Black hat SEO strategies are often faster and cheaper, but they can result in Google penalties and decrease your SERP presence permanently.

Consider long term value

While the average cost of SEO upfront might seem high, remember that SEO is an investment that yields long-term benefits. It also is far cheaper than most digital marketing channels. By investing in SEO, your business can benefit from improved search rankings, increased traffic, and a better user experience for potential customers. 

This can lead to increased brand awareness and ultimately, higher revenue. Unlike paid advertising, which only lasts as long as the campaign, SEO continues to generate traffic and leads even after the initial investment.

Allocate a flexible budget

When it comes to SEO campaigns, one thing is for sure: they require constant attention, adjustments, and refinements to stay competitive. Search algorithms and user behavior are constantly evolving, and what worked yesterday might not work tomorrow. For this reason, you should allocate a flexible budget for ongoing optimization, testing, and adapting strategies based on performance data and industry changes.

Monitor and measure results

The key to success lies in continuously monitoring and measuring the impact of your efforts. One of the best practices to achieve this is by implementing robust analytics and tracking mechanisms that allow you to keep a keen eye on your website’s performance. By doing so, you can assess the effectiveness of your budget allocation based on the cost of SEO services and make necessary adjustments to your strategies.

Many site owners use Google Search Console to track their organic clicks and results. Other tools like GSC Insights, Agency Analytics, and Google Analytics can also provide you with campaign monitoring tools and dashboards.

Final Thoughts on SEO Costs

Remember, SEO is a dynamic field, and it’s important to stay updated with industry trends and algorithm changes. Working with SEO professionals who can provide strategic guidance and implement best practices will help you make the most of your SEO budget.

By better understanding the many factors and following the tips provided, you can better estimate your SEO costs and budget accordingly. Remember, SEO is an ongoing process, and consistent investment and optimization are essential for long-term success.

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