Businesses everywhere know they need to have a robust search engine optimization (SEO) strategy in place. What they aren’t sure of is how much SEO is going to cost.
The truth, as you might guess, is that the price tag associated with SEO varies greatly. In other words, there isn’t any set amount you should expect to pay per week, month, or year for SEO.
Before you become frustrated, though, you need to remember that it is possible to get a general sense of the cost of SEO. You simply have to take into mind some considerations when embarking on an SEO campaign.
Factors That Change SEO Cost
Below are some of the key factors that typically change the amount you can expect to spend on SEO:
- In-house versus outsourced SEO measures. If you’re a small business and want a professional web development firm to do all your SEO — from content creation to back-end website coding and everything in between — you’re going to end up paying more for these services than if you did it all in-house.
Before you assume you’ll save tons of money by handling your SEO in-house, make sure you consider the time your team members will spend on these tasks. Sometimes, it’s cheaper to pay someone else to do your SEO, allowing your employees to focus on other revenue-generating responsibilities.
- Scope of SEO campaign. SEO campaigns can vary greatly in scope. For instance, you may just want an SEO company to set up your operation’s social media sites, website and blog. From that point, you are secure in the knowledge that you can handle the day-to-day SEO. On the other hand, you might want to hire an SEO firm to cover all SEO, including writing social media posts and blog articles, sending out press releases, and updating website content regularly.
- Current SEO strategy. Do you already have an SEO strategy in place that’s been working well, but you want to move your SEO to a different organization? This may be less costly overall than if you have zero SEO strategy and need a firm to help you develop one from the ground up. The same is true for a business that has an SEO strategy that hasn’t been working, or that’s backfired and incurred the wrath (and penalties) of Google.
- Need for reputation management. Many times, SEO programs are launched because of a poor online reputation. In these cases, a full-fledged reputation management strategy and campaign may dovetail with a more generalized SEO program. If your intention is to drive down negative reviews by driving up your positive reputation, you can expect to pay more because you’ll need all the SEO power you can get.
- Desire to have a sudden online marketplace blitz. In some cases, companies want to use SEO strategies to give their team members a sudden influx of leads. If this is important to you and you’re into a blitz marketing mode, you’ll probably need to spend more on your SEO than you would if you were just trying to build your online reputation slowly. A blitz can be done, but it needs to be powerful and fully planned.
- Type of SEO firm you’re hiring. Let’s be honest: Not all SEO firms are worth their salt. You have to find the firm that not only has a solid reputation, but that also can provide you with what you want to achieve. You may pay less for an up-and-coming SEO firm, but you’ll get what you pay for in terms of knowledge.
Don’t look at the raw figures alone. Consider all the aspects of the firm you’re considering, including portfolio of successful SEO campaigns, length of time in the business, number of team members and more. Also, see how they’re doing their own SEO — is it professional?
Of course, at the end of the day, your budget will help drive your final decisions. With that in mind, remember that a good SEO program should increase your profits, which will allow it to pay for itself over time.