How much should you budget for SEO? Answering this question can really push your business to new levels and boost your content. According to recent statistics, global spending on digital advertising has surpassed $300 billion. With the rapid digitization we are currently undergoing (which is also partly due to the global pandemic), this spending is expected to further increase in the coming years, probably even going past the $400 billion mark this year.
You have probably chosen digital marketing as your primary marketing method. It is ideal if you want to start a business with a low budget given the free online platforms that you can use to promote your product. However, as the statistics suggest, fellow business owners are obviously ramping up their SEO game. There’s no question that you should follow suit. The real challenge is determining how much your SEO budget should be.
In this article, we are also going to talk about conversion rate optimization and other ways to maximize your SEO investment.
Do You Really Need Paid SEO Services?
There are three ways to get your website search engine optimized:
• You can learn and apply SEO techniques to your digital marketing campaigns yourself. We will always promote expanding your own knowledge, especially today in the digital age when a lot of educational materials are easily accessibleーand some at no cost!
However, please keep in mind that there are always both benefits and consequences to every SEO method we’re going to talk about. The main benefit of doing your own SEO is its low cost. There are countless techniques that will only require your time and energy.
But that is also its major consequence. SEO tasks can take a lot of effort that you could have spent running your business and developing your brand instead.
• You can hire an SEO specialist. There are two ways of hiring the services of an SEO specialist. You can either hire someone to work in-house or you can opt to hire a freelancer to work as needed.
Hiring a full-time employee can hurt your budget especially if your business isn’t prepared to take on additional team members just yet. Meanwhile, hiring a gig worker might allow you to save on salary payment but his availability will vary on his schedule.
Another factor to consider is the expertise of your chosen specialist. Not all "specialists" are as good as they claim. The problem is, inefficient and outdated methods can sometimes cause more harm than help.
• You can work with an SEO company or agency. Your best bet remains working with an SEO agency, especially one with an established reputation. Maintaining an SEO company's status takes a lot of effort in delivering consistent results. However, their expertise comes with a price.
The Cost of Poor SEO
Yes, SEO services require investment but it can be worth it given the potential costs of neglecting the SEO of your website.
Believe us. You don't want to get your website penalized for black hat techniques. These are SEO shortcuts that seemingly provide excellent results immediately but can cause lasting damage to your online presence in the end.
You can disappoint your online visitors and turn them away, at the very least. Or worse, Google might notice it and wipe your website off their search results entirely.
Free SEO Techniques
Want to help increase your website rankings but you’re not prepared to invest in SEO services just yet? Here are three things that you can do right now to help. The best thing is, they’re all free of charge!
• Improve your content. Content is king in SEO. After all, one of Google’s main objectives is to direct people towards relevant, quality content. Take a tour of your website. (You’re actually performing a basic SEO audit already). Does the content stand out? Will your posts provide the answers that your online audience is searching for? Are they timely and relevant to your niche? Are they easy to read?
Don’t just focus on written content as well. There are a lot of mediums that you can explore: infographics, photos, video clips, podcasts...content can come in many forms.
• Increase user experience. While you’re touring your website, take note of how it performs as well. Is your navigation clear and easy to follow? Are there links leading to non-existent pages? And if so, where do they lead? Do you have a presentable 404 page? How about your website speed? How long does it take for each page to load? Take down notes. Consider this as your SEO to-do list as benefits come from increasing user experience.
• Work outside the website. Finally, you can also increase your online traffic by promoting your website’s links elsewhere. Do your social media profiles link back to your website? How about its other pages? You can also consider writing guest posts for other websites not just for the links but to establish your online credibility. Joining relevant online communities, groups, and forums may also give you the opportunity to drop your links in a respectable way every once in a while. Every little step helps.
The Five Parts of an SEO Budget
Meanwhile, those who are gearing up to create an SEO budget can divide it into five parts:
• Auditing. This is one of the most essential parts of an SEO campaign. You can think of it as a deep sweep of your website (and your competitors) to determine what your current SEO efforts are lacking. It can take up to a month for a detailed audit but it will turn up angles that you might have otherwise overlooked.
• Technical Optimization. This is the technical part of your SEO. It seeks to remedy the issues discovered during the audit, increase site speed, fix redirects, and more. It can be a one-time project, but we recommend regular website checks as your website continues to grow.
• Content Optimization. This is the aspect of SEO that seeks to improve your existing content. It can unify everything within a single niche, apply high-quality links and keywords to previous posts, and basically clean up irrelevant and poor-quality content. Again, this step can be a one-time thing, but it is ideal to redo as you add more content.
• Content Creation. Speaking of adding content, a lot of companies focus the bulk of their SEO budget on content creation. The good news is, you won’t need content optimization moving forward if you have already made sure that all your posts are high quality, to begin with.
• Link Building. Finally, don’t forget to dedicate a part of your SEO budget towards link building. It should be done organically and in an honorable way that will take some time and a lot of effort. However tempting it may be, do not buy links. It is a black hat tactic and can lead to your website’s downfall.
Factors to Consider When Setting an SEO Budget
Determining the five aspects that make up an SEO budget is not the only factor that you need to consider. Here are others:
• The Main Issues. Are there any issues with your website that immediately stand out? If you’re unsure, then you can get an SEO audit done first to catch any critical issues that you might have missed when you were just building your website. Those who are not yet ready to launch a full SEO campaign can opt to focus on resolving particular issues instead.
• Your Goals and Priorities. The next things that you should consider are your goals and priorities. This will help you in determining the best SEO plans for you. There are numerous agencies out there that offer SEO “budget packs” These deals only focus on a particular aspect of SEO and can save you a lot of money, especially if they cover most of your goals and priorities already.
• The Duration of Your SEO Campaign. Finally, you need to determine how long you want to get SEO services. Big players will always have the support of an in-house SEO team. Small business owners would probably prefer one-time fixes and short-term campaigns.
How Much Does SEO Cost?
An average local SEO campaign that runs for six months can cost around $3000 at $500 per month. A national campaign can cost five times more at $2500 a month. An international campaign will further double the cost at $5000.
However, we believe that SEO is a flexible art. It can be adjusted to any budget, regardless of how small it is. A realistic budget is one that you can comfortably afford, without putting any aspect of your business on the line.
Finally, keep in mind that an average campaign can take six to 12 months. You might even need to wait longer than that to really see substantial long-term results. The lower your budget is, the longer your results will take.
SEO is Essential to Online Success
There are many factors to take into consideration to create a budget for your digital marketing expenses whether it's for SEO, advertising, content creation or else. The bottom line is this: regardless of what your decisions are going to be, SEO will always remain essential to achieving online success. It is the wind that will carry your website through the rough seas of the internet. Determining an effective SEO budget will help you avoid financial difficulties. Good luck!
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