While the average small business is set to spend around $75,000 this year on digital marketing, that doesn’t tell the whole story of marketing costs. While SEO can be done at a fairly low cost, your SEO budget needs to be hammered out ahead of time. It should start with some knowledge of how SEO works and how it can help your business.
Here’s everything you need to know about putting together an SEO budget.
Start With A Calculation
If you want to figure out how much you need to allocate for your digital marketing budget, you need to assess your total digital marketing needs. Once you’ve hammered out all the details, you can figure out what percentage needs to be allocated to just SEO.
SEO shouldn’t be the biggest portion of your budget, but assuming that you don’t need to make space for it is a mistake. Waiting until the rest of your budget has been eaten up by digital marketing will leave no space for this vital element of your budget.
If your business is focused on selling directly to consumers, you’ll spend more on SEO than on other digital marketing efforts. Business to business or B2B sales requires a different approach.
You need to be honest about your company’s online presence. If your company hasn’t been around for very long, you’re going to have to lean on SEO to boost your presence. If you’re not already on the first page of online results, you’re going to have to make a big push to get there and SEO can be a serious player in that.
You should also have an idea of how much your competitors are spending on SEO. If you don’t have a good relationship with your competitors, talk to colleagues in other comparable businesses with companies of comparable size. They can help to clue you in.
Budgeting To Hire Someone
If you’re looking to hire an in-house SEO professional, you should know that the market isn’t chockful of them. Most of them make a lot of money per hour working as independent consultants. If you could make $100 per hour working just a few days a week, why would you settle for $35 per hour working in an office?
Since you only need to work on your SEO sporadically, having someone on staff to do this could cost you more than it’s worth to your company. You might be able to get marketing professionals on your staff to work on the project with your web design staff. If you’re short staffed in these respects, hiring an SEO company can give you want you’re looking for.
Hiring an agency makes a lot of sense in that you get the most experienced people in the business for less than it would cost to hire them permanently. You can hit your goals without compromising because you’ll be hiring based on a proven track record. For $100 to $200 per hour, you could have your problems solved in a short period of time.
Expect to have to devote at least 5 hours a month to SEO. If you’re a larger company or find yourself scaling up, you could start spending $10,000 a month to keep ahead of trends.
Choose The Right Things To Spend On
Once you’ve set aside a figure for how much to spend on SEO each month, you need to look at your goals again. When you know what your goals are, you can figure out which tools you should be using. Your tools will dictate which of your goals you can achieve.
Look beyond just sales and leads to figure out how you’re getting those leads or where those sales originate from. SEO will determine how well you can capture leads that start with organic searches and uses of your essential keywords.
Take your whole budget and divide what percentage you want to devote to organic search and to keyword rankings. You can even use keyword planning tools that Google offers to figure out which words are essential to you. There are plenty of free tools for assessing your SEO needs
Track The Results, Tweak, Apply, Repeat
If you’re not tracking the results of your SEO work, you’ll never know how well you’re actually doing. Set up Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager if you’re devoted to using google. If you don’t know how to do this or what to make of the figures you get, ask your SEO professionals about it.
You should work with an SEO company that offers good customer service and doesn’t mind taking the time to walk you through SEO. They should want to show off what they’ve done to improve your rankings and with the help of figures and charts, they can explain what’s happened. At the beginning of your SEO efforts, you’re sure to make some rookie mistakes or rely too heavily on the wrong things. As you get more experience, you’ll be able to think about SEO more broadly. There are a lot of phrases and terms that people search for which you might not think of when you’re focused on keywords. SEO is an ever-evolving process. Don’t be surprised if you’re continually changing and managing your terms or your keyword phrases.
If you’re looking to combine small business web design with your SEO efforts, there are plenty of companies that can do it all.
Your SEO Budget Doesn’t Have To Be a Burden
Once you’ve managed your SEO efforts for the first time, you can likely update it for a lower cost and with less effort next time. Your SEO budget will be a constant cost for your business but it won’t always cost the same amount. Learning about SEO can help you to take some of the costs out of your budget.
If you want to edge out your competition, check out our guide to managing image SEO for your business.