How Much Should SEO Cost You? (& Is It Worth It?)
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the core of all digital marketing strategies. Keeping on top of your SEO ensures that you’re in the fight for that top spot in relevant searches.
When you make it onto the first page of Google for your keywords you’ll be; driving traffic to your site, capturing leads and converting sales. You’ll also get the added bonus of increased brand awareness when users start seeing your brand name pop up on their searches.
More traffic without having to run pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns almost sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? But how much is SEO really going to set you back and, more importantly, is it actually worth budgeting for?
By the end of this blog, you should have a better understanding of how much you should be budgeting for SEO services, as well as your return on investment (ROI).
How much does SEO cost?
The cost of SEO varies greatly depending on the agency or freelancer you choose and what you want to achieve. When choosing an SEO agency, it’s important to ensure that they are capable of helping you reach your company’s specific goals.
As a rule, you get what you pay for with SEO. If you try to cut costs with an agency that almost seems too cheap to be true, it’s going to be evident in the results they deliver (or don’t).
On the opposite end of the spectrum, choosing an agency with the most expensive quote doesn’t automatically guarantee quality. It’s important to talk with your prospective agency about your goals and set some key performance indicators (KPIs) to ensure these will be met. If they are experienced, they will know what is achievable and how long it should take to get you there.
Generally, agencies and freelancers will use 1 of 3 pricing structures for your SEO project:
- This is based on the time spent on your project and you will usually be billed monthly for this work. You’ll typically get this kind of SEO pricing structure from a freelancer, rather than an agency.
- Monthly retainer
- This is a fixed monthly cost that covers the ongoing SEO efforts for your business. Exactly what this would include would be laid out in your contract with your SEO agency.
- Per project
- This is a fixed cost for your SEO project from start to finish. The extent of this project would be discussed with your agency before the project kicks off.
Now you’ve got an idea of what kind of pricing structures you can expect from your SEO project, we can get down to the nitty gritty. The numbers. Of course you’ll find a lot of variation in prices when looking for SEO services, but it’s important to know roughly what to expect.
Unfortunately, there will be some SEO professionals out there who take advantage of naivete when it comes to the value of SEO. When you know a ballpark figure, it makes it much easier to set your budget and to recognise when you’re being ripped off.
Like many things, doing it yourself can reduce or eliminate costs. Often there is a clear reason why DIY is cheaper. Things like haircuts, brain surgery and flying planes are all best left to professionals. SEO is no exception.
Understanding SEO and starting to implement it on your site yourself is a great start when you have a limited budget. But you’ll quickly realise how extensive and complex SEO can be.
If you have significant traffic coming from sources other than organic, i.e. social, direct or referred, then you may be able to start dabbling in a bit of DIY SEO to supplement your efforts elsewhere. Once you’re ready to unlock your organic traffic potential, it’s best to seek professional advice.
When approaching agencies who are operating within the ‘cheap’ SEO bracket, it’s important to outline what it is they are going to be delivering. At this level, agencies are sometimes lacking the expertise needed to deliver results.
That’s not to say that these agencies won’t do a good job for you, you just need to align your expectations with their ability. This price range usually offers basic content marketing and simple onsite recommendations for boosting your ranking.
If you are just starting to explore SEO, it may be best to start with a more affordable agency so you can start to gauge the impact it has on your organic traffic. If you see a considerable difference you may want to consider upgrading your package or moving to a higher range agency.
Agencies in this bracket are usually suitable for most businesses, but there may be some fluctuation in price based on your requirements. Cost doesn’t always prove their competence, so make sure you do your research on who can deliver the results they promise.
For packages in this region, you should expect more technical issues to be covered with regular website audits and reports. It should also include content which aligns with your keywords.
At YUMYUM, we fall in the middle of this range, at £680/month. Our package is inclusive of strategy, audits, technical SEO, content and link building. We always make sure we are giving our clients value for money and provide regular KPI reports so they can keep track of their results. You can book a meeting with our SEO specialist, to talk about our package in more detail.
You may want to consider stretching into the high-end territory if you are in a highly competitive market. These agencies should be well experienced in delivering results for companies with competitive keywords.
You may find that there are limited agencies with this level of expertise. Just make sure you do your research to ensure your chosen agency has a good track record for getting websites like yours to rank highly for tricky keywords.
Is SEO worth it?
When starting an SEO project, you need to reign in your expectations. Ranking 1st on Google doesn’t happen overnight, even when you work with the most experienced agencies. SEO is a labour of love and will take some time to deliver results.
In fact, if you are faced with an agency who are promising to get you to number 1 in a week, you’ll want to tuck and roll. These agencies will either be going after an easy keyword which gets 1 search per year, or will be doing dodgy things behind the scenes to raise your domain authority artificially. Neither of these things will help your website in the long run, and could actually end up damaging it instead. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
When deciding whether or not your company should invest in their SEO efforts, you can refer back to this simple calculator. Using these metrics, you’ll be able to work out an estimated ROI, if you were to hire an agency to work on your SEO.
SEO ROI Calculator
- Go to Google’s keyword planner and search for a keyword* related to your business, e.g. if you are in real estate, you could try ‘houses for sale’.
- Write down the monthly search volume for that keyword.
- Because we know that the average click-through rate for top ranking sites is ~17%, we can work out your estimated monthly organic traffic:
- (Monthly Search Volume / 100) x 17 = Est. Monthly Organic Traffic
- Look at your businesses website sales conversions and average sale value. These can be used to work out your estimated monthly revenue:
- (Est. Organic Traffic x Sales Conversions) x Av. Sales Value = Est. Monthly Revenue
- You can then work out your estimated monthly profit:
- Est. Monthly Revenue – Monthly SEO Fee = Est. Monthly Profit
* Of course, if you’re working with an SEO specialist, they’ll be able to identify the best keywords to target. They’ll have way higher search volumes which equals a bigger ROI for you!
If you want to drive more organic traffic to your site, grab more leads and boost your sales conversions, get in touch with YUMYUM today. We’d love to get to know more about your business and its long-term goals.