Business investment in marketing these days is increasing, especially in digital marketing. The digital marketing channel specifically represents the majority of that marketing spend, with 57.1%. According to that same report, spending on digital marketing is expected to grow by a whopping 16.2% over the next year. But how much of the digital marketing spend goes to search engine optimization? According to the report, those who do SEO internally (at least with local companies) report higher costs and lower returns than hiring a consultant or agency, resulting in lower costs and greater returns.
So, what determines your SEO budget? I'll talk about that next. What percentage of your budget should go to SEO? Also, consider how much money you're spending on paid advertising. For example, a national brand that runs PPC campaigns to attract new customers should spend approximately 25% more on organic SEO. The two channels complement each other to help boost website traffic.
Keep in mind that most search engine queries produce at least one million search results. And you have to be on page 1 for it to matter. Any company competing in organic search has a lot of work ahead of it. But, if you find yourself in a difficult niche or are faced with big brands with bigger budgets, you might have to push yourself a little harder and faster.
This often requires an increase in your SEO budget. And you have to be willing to do it, or you risk being irrelevant in the search results. This is really what determines your budget. At a minimum, you should spend 5% to 10% of your revenue on SEO.
But if you want to get ahead faster, you usually spend more. That doesn't mean blindly investing in SEO with the promise that more money will be 3% better in results. You need to know who you're hiring, and they must have an excellent reputation and extensive experience. If you use an external SEO agency, make sure you only hire experts.
Unfortunately, many companies settle for cheap SEO services. Cheap SEO is a near-death experience, and it will cost you more time and money to get out of the grave you dug than if you had to invest in a healthy SEO strategy up front. With a good budget that a true expert allows, you can learn to make the most impactful SEO moves with the resources you have. And if you can be more agile than the competition when it comes to making those changes, you have a better chance of succeeding.
If you can, take advantage of recessions whenever possible. Those who don't have the rash reaction to reduce their budget for digital marketing when prospects are unstable will have the opportunity to step up and outperform their competition. If your marketing budget is already maxed out on other channels, consider diverting part of your budget to SEO. For example, let's say you're spending a significant amount on PPC ads.
Saving 5% to 10% of that amount for SEO shouldn't be a problem. Especially if you consider how SEO trumps PPC in average conversion rates, you'll thank yourself later. And, SEO has staying power for your brand's online presence. You can't say that with ads: if you turned off advertising tomorrow, you wouldn't have any residual value in the search results.
SEO is more profitable in the long run because your optimized web pages can continue to generate traffic for years. Yes, you must keep the leads that arrive today (whether through PPC or otherwise), so I'm not suggesting that you close those activities. But, if you have a good flow of potential customers now, invest part of your budget in the future, and SEO will help you do that. Learn practical search engine marketing tactics that can help you generate more traffic, leads, and revenue.
Once you've established your customer base, the balance between your PPC marketing budget and SEO should change in favor of SEO, which should, with an effective approach, generate the same or better traffic or leads. How much you pay for SEO depends on several factors, from your SEO budget and SEO goals to your industry and the location of your SEO provider. In the worst case scenario, you might find that the economic SEO agency has harmed the authority of your website by using black hat SEO tactics, such as keyword stuffing or buying links in bulk. However, even if you currently only have a few hundred dollars to spend on SEO, you can make the most of your SEO budget by choosing a cost-effective SEO strategy.
A national HVAC chain will have different SEO goals, reach, and budget compared to a small-town plumbing service with three people on the team. You can only afford to spend within the allotted amount, so to budget for SEO, you'll have to take money from other places. You might waste months and waste your entire SEO budget before you realize that the agency isn't delivering the results it promised. Fix any problems such as broken links, slow loading pages, or poor visibility of essential information to maximize SEO revenues with a limited budget.