SEO has become so popular in the last ten years that it’s become a buzzword. Anything and everything can be attributed to SEO. Nevertheless, real SEO – the type that needs a general strategy, lots of planning, and hard work, has helped countless businesses dominate their markets.
Naysayers will always say with every Google update that SEO will become less and less relevant. However, it’s been 20 years, and SEO is still the backbone of websites that don’t rely on paid ads. So, if you don’t mind waiting for a little for long-term gains, you’re likely interested in knowing the cost and value of SEO this year.
In SEO, you optimize your existing online content by including keywords, adding backlinks to trustworthy websites, and enhancing overall site functionality. In a nutshell, SEO aims to make your website the best source of relevant information. These criteria work together to convince search engines like Google that you are the best solution to a user’s search query.
The Value of SEO
The ultimate goal of SEO is to appear at the top of the search engine results page. Anything other than the first page of search results will not suffice, as 75% of users never proceed past the second page. You can pay to be first in search results. However, because up to 80% of people skip through paid advertising results, SEO is the most effective technique to get new clients through search results.
SEO is more than just a powerful sales tool. Being seen in search results enhances your reputation as a trustworthy company in your industry and location. In addition, you can establish an identity as a thought leader, generate a better brand image, and manage PR from your position at the top of organic search results.
However, achieving this ranking requires a competent SEO plan. Yes, getting high rankings on Google and other search engines requires time and effort. However, you must earn it, and many businesses outsource SEO to skilled SEO consultants because of the high return on investment.
Some people only consider SEO in terms of rankings and traffic. While both are excellent ways to assess the performance of your SEO campaign, focusing just on those metrics risks overlooking the more excellent value provided by a first-page result, regardless of whether it generates click-throughs. Each time your product, service, or brand shows on page one of the search results, you make an impact. Brand awareness, or the degree to which people recognize your brand, product, or service, is dependent on those first impressions.
Brand awareness, which also involves recall and recognition, is crucial whether promoting a new product or focusing on retention. With each search, SEO provides an opportunity to increase brand recognition.
The Cost of SEO
Unlike other costs of doing business on the internet (like server hosting, technical services, etc.), the cost of SEO varies depending on your business type, the general difficulty of breaking into a market, your audience, etc. If you own are an SMB owner, expect to pay anywhere from five hundred dollars to $2000 monthly.
If you represent a larger company or enterprise, the cost of SEO would be $10,000 or more a month. These figures are not static and can quickly increase depending on the approach used and how much work is involved.
We would recommend being wary about SEO agencies that offer SEO work that’s so inexpensive that it’s almost as much as you spend on coffee or bagels monthly. Natural SEO requires serious outlay because it will involve the regular work of so many professionals doing different tasks.
Your SEO agency or SEO consultant will discuss the final costs of performing SEO on your website. Closing a deal will likely require several calls until all the essential details are figured out.
The Factors That Influence SEO Costs
SEO is a lot like building a house. Much of the cost will be determined by your goals and dreams for your business. Remember that SEO agencies will be fair, and clients will get what they pay for. It’s enticing to go with the cheapest option available. However, you’ll need to find a company that devotes enough time and experience to optimize your content to achieve results. The higher you rank, the better your advancements are. And the higher you rank, the better your return on investment.
Typically, an SEO agency will ask the following questions:
- What are your objectives, and how soon do you want to achieve them?
- What is your average sale revenue?
- What is your lead-to-sale conversion rate?
- What kind of material do you require optimization for?
- How many pages require optimization?
Additional factors that you may want to look at are:
- The status of your website and the amount of work required to optimize it
- Your current position in Google and other search engines
- Your industry vertical and the number of local competitors
- How much time it will take to complete the initial campaign
While there is no perfect science to evaluating a successful SEO ROI, there is a marketing rule of thumb. For sales and marketing ROI, the golden ratio is 5:1. Therefore, you should receive $5 in return for every dollar spent on SEO.
Another way to put it is that you should have a return on investment of at least 500 percent. This isn’t specific to SEO, but it’s a good starting point.
Some agencies have shared their internal data. These data points should give you a clue as to how much profit is forthcoming with a sincere SEO effort:
- The average return on investment for SEO services is $2.75 for every dollar spent.
- After three years, the average ROI on SEO can reach 748 percent.
- Some firms calculate SEO ROI at 5x to 12.2x
Another way to determine a decent ROI for SEO is to compare it to the other marketing channels. If the percentage is higher or comparable to digital advertising, paid search, or social media marketing, you’ll know if the current agency is worth keeping or not.