With SEO becoming the basic marketing tool for all businesses seeking to succeed in the Internet race, it is no longer a question whether or not you should invest in SEO. It’s now how much you should invest, and how to allocate the funds.
A thorough budget plan for an SEO strategy includes knowing the funds on your disposal, knowing your limits and setting the goals. Planning an SEO budget includes being aware of the fact that this a long-term approach which means it can cost quite a bit. However, as the competition is pretty wild, you will be able to get decent results if you do the research and find the right balance between the price and the quality.
In this article, I’ll help you figure everything out to set your SEO budget for 2019.
Analyze Your Current Position
Before you even begin thinking about your strategy for the future, you need to know how visible you are in organic search.
You probably already have a website, but is it mobile-friendly? Do you have a blog? Do you have some sort of content or a content strategy? Do you use descriptions and tags on your pages? Do you have some sort of strategy for maximizing your visibility?
The more of these basic elements you have, the less you will have to pay, and the less work you’ll have on implementing an SEO strategy.
Some of these things can be done in-house. In fact, some of them you can do on your own before you contract an SEO provider. Ask help from your employees or interns with some spare time, and try to brainstorm what can be done.
How Much Money do You Have?
The first step toward budgeting for SEO is assessing how much money you actually have, especially if you were not thinking about SEO when designing your total budget. Be sure that your competitors already intended a certain sum for this purpose, so you don’t have time to waste.
A recent survey found that most business (71%) who have an SEO budget spends less than $100 a month. This is something that the experts would call “cheap SEO”, and it comes with a significant risk for collateral damage. It can draw Google penalties and lead to the complete wiping out of the website.
A good SEO strategy, which includes content creation, should take up about 50 percent of your total digital marketing budget.
Break it Down
Once you have the total sum for SEO costs, you will be able to break it down to monthly expenses. The easiest way to do that is to break it down to equal pieces, but the easiest way is not always the best.
If you have some sort of activity plan, you will know in which months the campaign should be intensified because you have a new product coming out, a giveaway, or something else that is on the horizon and that should be made more visible with the search engine optimization.
Go Over Your Options
A large chunk of the SEO business is done by professionals working from SEO agencies. While it is smart to outsource these tasks to pros, you should explore your options, and see where you can get a better offer.
Look for SEO agencies which have a strong track record and happy and satisfied clients. A good SEO provider will be available on the web, and it will have clear terms of hiring and payment. Nevertheless, it would be useful to talk to industry insiders and ask for recommendations.
When you compile a list of potential agencies, start the elimination process by conducting interviews in person or on a phone. Make sure the interviews include relevant questions that will give you all the insights you require to make the right choice.
As for the budget, most trustworthy providers have a “per-hour” billable rate of $100 to $250. On average, businesses devote between five and fifty hours to SEO marketing in the course of one month which usually costs between $500 and $10,000 a month.
Handle Some tasks In-House
Businesses go from one extreme to another when it comes to in-house SEO. They either take it all upon themselves or transform their employees into content writers, link builders, etc. or they give it all up to an agency.
The key is finding the right balance, where one part of the tasks can be handled by your employees. These are usually PPC (Pay Per Click) campaigns, some parts of the social media marketing, and blog creation.
Of course, your employees shouldn’t do it for free and if you give them new responsibilities, they should come with a raise, at least a symbolic one.
Put Your Money Where Your House Is
Local SEO is often ignored and outshined by the willingness to conquer the world which is always within your reach thanks to the Almighty Internet. However, including local directories in your SEO can significantly increase your growth and market share, and generate some serious revenue.
Source: screenshot from seoexpertbrad.com
Local SEO helps you attract local customers by targeting the audience near your premises. Check with your agency whether they are offering a Local SEO package, and can you get it with some sort of discount since you are already hiring them.
Focus On the Most Relevant Factors
Google can be really intimidating for SEO beginners, especially because it uses more than 300 ranking factors. If you play your cards right, you should only pay attention to three:
- How your website is designed: It should be easy-to-navigate and accessible to SEO engines. It should perform at high-speed. It should be mobile-friendly.
- The content quality: An SEO-friendly content needs to offer value, be unique, match the search inquiries, and fresh.
- Backlinks: They must be natural and lead to high-authority websites.
Set Your Goals and Measure Your Accomplishments
Setting clear, achievable, and measurable goals will help you establish the budget and allocate the funds. To accomplish that, you need to ask yourself two questions.
- What do you want to achieve?
- How will you measure success?
The desired outcome can include increasing the number of clicks to a specific figure and turning the clicks into revenue.
As for the metrics, some inexperienced people would measure success solely by keyword rankings. Here are other important metrics you should pay attention to in order to get a clear picture:
- The number of organic sessions
- Conversions per month
Of course, the results won’t happen overnight, give the campaign some time to work. Wait for three to four months for the implemented improvements to act, and then measure the potential benefits. You have plenty of online tools which can help you see how your campaign is doing and compare it with what you have done before.
Remember though, one of the biggest factors for a successful SEO campaign is not to how much money you spend, but rather, how you spend it. A $500 budget that’s misused on complicated keywords and low-quality content worth nothing, but the same amount of money spent on a one valuable SEO move, can give your business the improvement it needs to achieve the goals you have set in front of you.
The key is in assessing how much money you have, allocating it in the right places which will generate value and revenue, choosing the right people to do a significant chunk of the work for you, having a clear goal in front of you, and knowing how to measure your success. Hopefully, the tips above will help you get started. You can take it from here.