How much does SEO cost?

SEO | February 14th, 2022

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Contributor Phil Robinson. Partner, Founder + CE

If you understand how much a website can do for your business, then you should understand the importance of SEO! Search Engine Optimisation is one of the core fundamental practices when it comes to website performance. Website design and performance can then (if measured accurately) be the key to a website working hard for you, earning you exponential ROI, or just sitting there and essentially costing you money.

Just like the website itself, SEO is an investment. Over time there is no doubt you will see great returns (if you use a trustworthy SEO expert). But how much should SEO cost?

The cost of SEO services will vary depending on a range of things. Like your SEO plan, the types of services included (and if the agency can perform them all in-house), and more. To be fair, most ongoing projects involving SEO cost between $750-$2,500 per month based on the project scope. One-off projects will range between $2,000-$30,000 (which is a huge ball-park) and will typically include SEM services too. Hourly rates for SEO freelances and consultants range between $75-$200 per hour.

 

Like anything in the realms of marketing, there is no set rule about SEO cost, or what it should be, however, there are some key elements that are worth understanding. Then you can decide how much to invest.

SEO service types

When setting expectations for the ROI that a company will receive on an SEO campaign, you must consider the comprehensiveness and quality of the SEO campaign itself. It is a one-off? Or is it to be ongoing?  What are the parts that will make up the strategy? All of these things and more will contribute to the SEO cost. Below are the three most common SEO services:

1. Technical SEO

This is where an SEO agency, freelancer, or consultant, monitors and fixes technical issues on your website. Typically these fixes relate to site speed, Google core vitals, website security, and mobile optimization. This should involve a monthly audit or health check, where these issues can be detected and fixed. Technical SEO would also involve keyword research to understand Google search volumes and keyword difficulty. From there this will often lead to rewriting the meta-data on your sites, such as title tags and meta-descriptions, and alt-tags on images. Depending on the level of service and your SEO cost, your provider may also monitor and fix the following:

  1. Backlinks
  2. Structured data
  3. Crawling
  4. Indexing

Technical SEO generally requires the help of someone with expert skills in web development to perform the technical stuff, so find out from the provider if they do this work in-house or outsource it. To Find out more about technical SEO in this article: Website performance. Is it important?

2. Standard Content Marketing

Google now more than ever is putting its users at the centre of what they do. That means providing the most relevant information to their search query. The primary function of performing cursory keyword research typically consists of looking up keywords using an online tool and producing 2-4 blog articles per month of average quality relative to your competition.

3. Educational Content and Thought Leadership

This type of content marketing is a subset of Inbound Marketing, and when you start to use it to get found online it crosses the border into SEM – or search engine marketing. With so many conflicting names and crossovers, it’s no wonder everyone is confused.

Embracing the Inbound way of thinking is where your results will amplify and really level up! Inbound Marketing is really about putting your client or customer at the centre of what you do. By focussing on creating value for them at every stage of their buying journey with you.

 

This type of SEO campaign is where the best SEO agencies extract from you (the expert in your field) an intimate understanding of your customer’s buyer personas’ pain points. What problems are they facing and how do you solve these problems? Through thorough keyword research with an emphasis on target audience persona needs and pain points, transactional behavior, and search intent you can build out clusters of topics, which will over time, coupled with services that complement each other will help you and your business win online.

If you’re serious about winning in the online space, then building out a Marketing Road Map that includes: Growth-Driven Website Design, SEO, SEM and a solid Content plan will return exponentially on your investment.

What is your SEO Cost?

When figuring out how much you want your SEO cost to be, one option is to reverse engineer the process. How much do you want to make? We know that depending on the industry, SEO results and ROI range from 300% to 1600%. It is also important to understand that with setup and tweaking,  it can take 6-9 months to break even on your SEO cost. With that said, let’s say your industry’s average return on SEO investment is 700% or 7x return, then if you want to return $700,000 in revenue each year, you would need to invest around $100k per annum in SEO. This will include, on some level, online advertising spend or PPC, continuous website improvements (Technical SEO), and content creation (Inbound Marketing). Of course, there is no guarantee you’ll see this return, but any half-decent SEO agency should be able to help you if you’re focussed on SEO investment and return, rather than SEO cost.

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