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How much does an SEO optimization cost? [2020]

Do you want to know how much good SEO optimization costs? Here's how to set your SEO budget, manage your goals, and calculate organic search ROI.

Let's start with the basics first.

What is SEO

If you prefer videos instead of text, I recommend the explanatory video from my colleague Sam:

Here are some of the most important SEO factors to look out for if you want to improve your page's ranking in search results through search engine optimization.

  • Add keywords to your URLs, page titles, meta descriptions, headings, and website content: When crawlers crawl your page, they look for keywords to identify the subject of your content. This will help them show your page in relevant search results. If your website ranks higher in search results, more people can find and contact your business
  • Tweak the alt attributes: You will also want to add alt tags to your multimedia content. Since search engines cannot “read” multimedia elements, you will need to add alt tags - text descriptions for your multimedia content. This helps the search engines better understand and index your multimedia content.
  • Update your content regularly: Users and search engines alike love freshly updated, high-quality content. If you update your page regularly, visitors and crawlers will keep looking for more. Regular website updates can also help you establish yourself as a leader in your industry.
  • Technical SEO: You can also take some time to tweak the technical elements of your page, such as the coding and speed of the page. By cleaning up your code and making sure your page loads at top speed, you can improve your rankings in search results and encourage people to spend more time on your page.
  • Implement a nice design: To improve the usability, you should implement a nice design. With an appealing design, you can ensure that your site looks and works well no matter what device a visitor uses to access it. In other words, an appealing design enables smartphone, desktop and tablet users to have the same great experience on your side.
  • Streamlined Navigation: Search engines want to reward pages that offer visitors great experiences. To make sure that people can find the information they need on your site, streamline your navigation. Instead of overloading your navigation with links, only point to the most important pages. From there you can use internal links to link to other subpages.
  • Answer users 'questions: You should also make sure that your site provides valuable answers to visitors' questions. You can achieve this by creating custom content. Make sure you do keyword research to discover trends in your industry and post new content to answer questions and improve the user experience on your site

If you want to improve your rankings in the search results for keywords related to your industry, then adhering to and optimizing these SEO factors is a good start!

Keep in mind, however, that SEO doesn't follow a short-term strategy. In other words, it takes time to see long-term results - but it's worth the wait!

Why is SEO important?

Why do you want to be at the top of the search results? The answer is simple.

Because 75% of people don't look past the first page of initial results.

This means that if you want more customers to find and contact your company, then you have to be at the top of the search results for keywords related to your company.

Research has shown that the first page of organic search results has a click-through rate (CTR) of 71%, while pages two and three combined have only 6% CTR - a drastic decrease.

Moral of the story? The higher your rank in the search results, the more people will find and visit your page. That means you can reach more customers and generate more revenue for your business.

How much should you budget for SEO services?

Countless business owners and SEO service providers struggle with this question every day.

Since the web does not operate in a vacuum, the specific requirements for a successful campaign can vary widely.

In short, it's a question of positioning - how does your website compare to your competitors. This position and how quickly you want to progress are the most important variables in setting your budget.

Expectations & Reality

A survey found that less than half of all small businesses have an SEO budget.

Of those on an SEO budget, the majority (17 percent) were spending less than $ 100 / month. 71 percent of small businesses have an SEO budget of $ 0- $ 99 / month.

Because of this, your inbox will be showered with promises of "guaranteed first page results" for $ 99.

SEO spammers know the market. Their promise of first page results is hard to resist.

And let's be honest; most business owners have no idea how SEO works. They're way too busy running their business to spend time learning SEO.

Most companies have a standardized step-by-step process to get from point A to point B. Many assume that SEO works the same way. They treat it like a commodity and have no qualms about using the cheapest supplier.

Cost of Cheap SEO

I belong to a number of internet marketing groups on Facebook. The number of suspected SEO pros taking customers on is truly terrifying.

It's not uncommon to see a question like this: "I've just landed a customer who wants to rank for 'Keyword x' - how do I do that?"

Second is the use of link schemes, especially private blog networks (PBNs), without ever explaining the risk to customers.

If business owners just throw away money by hiring incompetent SEO, that would be bad enough.

Unfortunately, the collateral damage from “cheap SEOs” can go much deeper. It can result in a Google penalty and virtually ruin a website's visibility on the web.

Business owners need to keep in mind that they are ultimately responsible for all SEO work on their website. You should discuss the specific tactics before reaching an agreement.

I would encourage any long-term business owner to insist on following strategies that are in line with Google guidelines.

Manage your resources

Since Google uses more than 200 (probably exponentially more) ranking factors, it's easy to get intimidated and paralyzed.

The good news is that if you only focus on three factors, you can still make it regardless of the niche.

Here's what to look out for:

1. Information architecture

Your page should:

  • Be crawlable and search engine accessible.
  • Follow Google Webmaster Guidelines
  • Work at the highest possible page speed
  • Enable clean rendering on phones, tablets, and desktop devices

2. Content

Your content should follow best practices as outlined in Google's Search Quality Assessment Guidelines. Above all, this includes the following factors

  • Be unique and offer value.
  • Deliver answers to relevant search queries
  • satisfy the user intent
  • be of high quality
  • Satisfaction of the fresh content algorithm.

3. Backlinks

  • Your backlinks have to be natural. Avoid popular link sources such as PBN's and paid guest posts. Instead, focus on building real links that will boost the SERPs.
  • Quality is the key. A smaller number of high trust / high authority / relevant importance links can outperform a large number of lower quality links.

Set measurable goals

Before setting a budget, you need to set goals for a campaign.

  • What is the desired outcome?
  • How can success be measured?

In the past, success was measured solely by keyword rankings. Ranking position is still an important metric, but not the only one.

I would argue that the most important metrics are those that have a direct impact on the bottom line. For example, organic meetings and revenues fall into this category.

Objectives could include:

  • Organic sessions improved by x percent.
  • Increase in conversions by y per month.
  • Increase in income by z percent.

When setting goals, it is important to keep a few things in mind.

  • Your goals need to be measurable
  • You have to be reachable. Stretch goals are all well and good, but benchmarks that are too high can actually be daunting.
  • You have to give the campaign time to make it work. According to Google, "in most cases it takes SEOs four months to a year to help your business make improvements first and then see the potential benefits."

Set a budget for SEO

Your goals will determine which tactics are necessary for success.

This in turn creates a framework for developing an action plan and the necessary budget to support that plan.

This closes the circle for positioning and considering the factors that should move your decision.

  • How does your information architecture stand up to the competition?
  • How does your content compare to the competition?
  • How does your backlink profile compare to the top ranked websites?

The answers to these questions determine both the priorities and the amount of work required to achieve your goals.

In many cases, the work actually done is the same regardless of the size of the budget. The difference is the volume of work done.

If you add up the duplicate content and links with budget “X” versus budget “Y”, there is a higher chance that you will succeed sooner with the higher budget.

That being said, the right budget is one that you can afford for at least four (and ideally 12) months without loss of sleep or nerves.

It takes time to properly plan, implement and optimize a campaign in order to evaluate its success.

In addition, the following applies: the lower the budget, the longer the trip.

How much can you expect to spend on SEO?

If you hire a top SEO firm to run a local campaign, expect to pay over $ 1,000 a month.

A minimum budget of € 2,500 to € 5,000 per month is required for a national or international campaign.

Some SEO agencies offer a "trial package" at a lower price without a contract. This gives potential customers the opportunity to test their services by minimizing the risk.

If you can't afford to hire a top SEO agency, there are a few options. The most common is a one-time SEO audit of the website with actionable recommendations.

Fixing your website just once can often result in a significant increase in organic traffic. Content development and keyword analysis are other areas where you can get help from a professional for a one-time flat rate.

Another option is to become an expert and do it yourself.

SEO Cost Calculator: Measuring Organic Search (SEO) ROI

Below is a calculator that is often (incorrectly) used to measure return on investment for SEO.

ROI calculation for SEO assuming a 'one-time sale'.

Product sold: The coolest thing ever!

  • Number of new customers won through SEO that turned into a sale during the month = 20
  • Average net profit for every “coolest thing of all time” sold = € 50
  • Total net profit from the newly acquired organic visitors (# new customers X net profit) = € 1,000
  • Monthly Marketing Spending (Budget) = € 2,500
  • Profit from new customers (€ 1,000) divided by the SEO budget (€ 2,500)

ROI = -60%

The flaw of the above calculator is that it doesn't take into account the life worth of a new customer.

Online retailers need repeat business to grow. By not calculating the lifetime value of a new customer, the real ROI is grossly undervalued.

The correct way to calculate the ROI is to build the lifetime value into the calculator, as seen here:

ROI calculation for SEO assuming lifetime value

Same product: the coolest thing ever

  • Number of new customers converted into a sale via SEO during a month = 20
  • Average net profit on each coolest thing ever! sold = 50 €
  • Total net profit from the newly acquired organic visitors (# new customers X net profit) = € 1,000
  • Average number of orders per newly recruited customer over a "lifetime" = 5
  • Total Estimated Lifetime Profit (Total Net Profit X Number of Average Lifetime Sales) = $ 5,000
  • Monthly SEO budget (expenses) = € 2,500
  • Expected lifetime profits from new customers (€ 5,000) divided by SEO marketing expenses (€ 2,500) ROI = 200%

As you can see, that one variable makes a huge difference in expressing the return on investment.

How Much Does SEO Cost: SEO Billing Models

How much SEO costs your company costs and how high the prices for SEO are, of course, depends heavily on the needs of your company and the experience of the agency in the field of search engine optimization. But you should assume that you will have to pay within the price range given below, depending on the type of service you choose.

Monthly charges:

This is perhaps the most popular pricing model, and the cost increases with the needs of your organization.

(Less than 500 € / month):

Unless you're a hyper-local business that has little competition and your site is very small, you should be careful about buying SEO for less than $ 500 a month. Most companies that work in this area automate a large part of their link building, employ workers from Asia for the content and only do basic technical SEO work on site.

That might work for a local pizza place looking for a ranking for their name and showing up on some local listing sites like Yelp and Google Local, but if your goal is to rank on a keyword that has competition, you should probably be better off Check out DIY SEO courses.

(€ 1,000-5,000 / month):

Smaller companies with low to medium competition and less complex websites can usually get by on this amount, but should understand that prices at the lower end of this scale could indicate inexperience or a lack of proven results. SEO requires consistent creation of quality content, quality link building, and a strong focus on optimizing conversions, usability, and accessibility; it is difficult to find all of these services that should be properly performed at the lower end of this pricing model unless you are working with an SEO agency that has been in business for a while and knows how to get quality on a large scale produced. Hiring a smaller company or an individual on this scale can also be effective, but usually there are tradeoffs with the quality or amount of work that can be done each month and these people can be very difficult to find and use to check.

(€ 5,000 -10,000 € + / month):

In this price range, you can expect to find established SEO agencies that have a proven record of success in competitive markets. At this price point, your company can often get access to a dedicated SEO team that employs professional text editors, content managers, conversion specialists, web development experts, link outreach specialists, account managers and analytics experts who will ensure success and help you with search engine optimization , that you need.

(10,000 € -20,000 € + / month):

Companies with ambitious goals tend to work at this level with an SEO partner who takes care of the entire process from start to finish. With this budget, not only will your company gain access to a high-level SEO team, but this investment will likely produce substantial results as the entire project is well funded, which gives your search engine optimization partner more options to carry out.

If the market you are trying to dominate has a lot of competition, you can expect that you will make this type of investment for at least the first year or two. In fact, it's not uncommon for companies to spend well over $ 100,000 a month on SEO when targeting the most lucrative keywords.

Conclusion: how much does an SEO optimization cost?

Unlike PPC, an organic search campaign won't give you instant results.

A comprehensive SEO campaign involves a combination of technical SEO, content marketing and link building.

Even if the SEO campaign is executed perfectly, Google will need time to recognize and reward these efforts.

That being said, the traffic generated through these efforts is often the most consistent and converting among all channels.