How much should you spend on search engine optimization (SEO)?
That’s a challenging question. One made all the more difficult by the fact that no two companies will have the same answer. There are many different factors at play where SEO is concerned. We’ll go over some of the most prominent.
Here are five things you must account for when planning your SEO budget.
Your Current Website
Are you starting fresh and optimizing for an entirely new website, or are you looking to drive traffic to an established brand? Have you put any thought into your website’s information architecture, content quality, and backlinks? Are you currently suffering any algorithm penalties?
These are all questions you need to ask yourself at the outset before you even begin planning a strategy.
What do you want to achieve with SEO? Measurable, realistic goals and milestones will help you track your progress and help you figure out a baseline for how much you should spend. The keyword here is realistic.
Avoid striving for a specific place on the SERP or trying to generate explosive traffic in just a month. You need to understand that SEO isn’t immediate. It takes time to get results.
Once you’ve established your goal, try to estimate how much additional revenue your website will generate once you achieve it—that figure can then be used to guide how you spend.
Marketing Budget and Spending Limits
In most cases, SEO is not going to be the only line item on your marketing budget. You’ll likely have to balance it with things like paid social, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and inbound marketing. To figure out how things should be allocated, you need only ask yourself a simple question.
In a perfect world, what’s the maximum return each of these investments will generate?
Current Traffic and Conversions
While a small or mid-market business certainly could dedicate its budget towards enterprise-level SEO, that doesn’t mean it should. Just as the current state of your website represents an important SEO starting point, so too does your brand. Consider the following when budgeting:
- Monthly traffic numbers.
- Conversion rate.
- Average order value per customer, if relevant.
- Other marketing channels.
Last but certainly not least, look at what your competitors are doing. If you can find and assess a business that’s similar in size to your own, you’ll be able to determine your SEO budget more accurately. More importantly, this research can help you identify potential opportunities—weaknesses in a competitor’s brand, for instance, or a gap your business could potentially fill.
The Right Budget Doesn’t Break the Bank
Taking into account all of the above, we’ll wrap things up with one final piece of advice. The right budget is one that you can comfortably afford while still generating a reasonable return. Keep that in mind, and everything else should easily fall into place.