How Much to Spend on SEO?

Creating a budget for online marketing can be confusing if you’re just beginning your Internet campaign. There’s search engine optimization, website designs, content creation and advertising to consider, among other important marketing features. Often inbound marketing companies will hear the question, “How much does SEO cost?” But determining the cost of SEO services isn’t as simple as an oil change or a gallon of milk. Online Potential will help you understand the services available and how each strategy can affect your overall online marketing campaign. Hopefully, you’ll be able to determine which services will improve your website and overall online presence while understanding the fees associated with these services.

Understanding SEO

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the action used to adjust online content to provide specific results. Most commonly, we use SEO practices in order to get websites to rank higher on search engine result pages from Google, Yahoo and Bing. Other goals can include an increase to site visitors and an improvement to your online reputation.

SEO can include content from any website or web page that you publish. This means your website can be optimized as well as social media pages, business blogs and even online press releases. When your content is optimized for searching, search engines can more easily crawl and index your site correctly. When your site is indexed correctly, your website has a better chance to rank highly on search result pages.

Optimizing a page for search engines is more than just inserting a few keywords here and there. In order to be in the top of the rankings, you need an ongoing plan to keep your content fresh and updated as well as optimized. SEO is not a “one-time” technique that will give your company results forever. Because online behaviors and trends change so quickly, it is important to stay up-to-date on SEO practices, which can be cumbersome for business owners and webmasters. That’s why so many companies rely on inbound marketing agencies to remain knowledgeable in standards and practices.

SEO & Link Building

Link building, also called backlinking, is an SEO practice that involves getting others to link to your website. When a company has thousands of links pointing to its website, search engines consider the site to be more trustworthy and credible than other sites, and this is factored into rankings. But small businesses, or those who have a newly formed online marketing campaign, may find it difficult to get even 5 backlinks.

Online Potential can help your company increase link building through several techniques. Utilizing social media may be enough if you have consumers who love your company, services and products. After all, word of mouth is one of the top marketing strategies that has withstood the test of time. But again, it can be difficult to build a following if your company is just starting out.

While link building doesn’t require a lot of money to be successful, it does require a lot of time, which is why so many companies rely on businesses like Online Potential for backlinking services. Many business owners just don’t have the time to spend on linking to their site from other pages or contacting other businesses and bloggers to do the same.

Search Engines & Algorithms

Google has an extensive algorithm that is used to index and rank websites. You may have heard of Panda or Penguin, but do you know how those algorithm updates directly affect your web pages? Google alone has hundreds of updates to its algorithms every year. Staying on top of these updates, and understanding what they mean for your site and web traffic, can be difficult. SEO marketing firms make it their business to stay one step ahead of Google when possible, and when those major “game changer” updates are released, SEO firms have to act quickly to ensure their clients aren’t affected. This is usually easy to do if your SEO marketing company uses White Hat SEO tactics, but if you’ve trusted a company that turns to less-than desirable practices, a Google algorithm update can spell ruin for your website.

White Hat SEO practices include creating new, original content and backlinking. These techniques help make a web page credible and informative to consumers, which are two factors that Google incorporates into ranking a website. But not all SEO companies want to spend the time and personnel resources on reliable White Hat SEO tactics. They may turn to Black Hat or Gray Hat tactics which can include fooling a search engine into handing out a higher ranking. These shady practices may deliver results for a period of time, but Google releases so many updates a year that it won’t take long for web pages to plummet in the rankings. When that happens, Black Hat SEO companies have to work quickly to change their tactics, sometimes relying on even more unethical techniques. These companies often spend more time trying to trick Google, Bing and Yahoo into better rankings than they would if they just switched techniques. That means your company is paying more money for poor service.

SEO Service Pricing

Very few companies publish their SEO prices online, so it can be difficult to get a good sample of what to expect. Requesting a free quote usually doesn’t take much time and can help you get a better understanding of the kind of pricing you should expect from an SEO service.

The most time-efficient decision for companies to make is to outsource SEO services. Pricing for search engine optimization varies from one company to the next and can depend on the complexities of the services provided. A basic SEO package will not cost as much as extended services, but you need to assess which package will most benefit your company. Otherwise, the money you do spend on SEO will not provide the results you anticipate or expect.

The level of competition your company sees is also a deciding factor in how much you should spend on SEO. A company with very little competition may not need to spend a lot -- maybe a few hundred dollars a month -- to see results and stay ahead of the competitors. But in an industry that is highly competitive, companies see better results when they invest more in SEO. It is not uncommon to start with $1,000 a month and then adjust the services as needed.

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