Updated: Mar 31
How much should you be spending on SEO?
This is a question that we get all the time from business owners. This article will hopefully break it down for you so that you can make an educated decision on how much you should spend on SEO a month for your business and give you more confidence on your way to stellar search results!
First things first:
What is SEO?
SEO stands for "search engine optimization." Wikipedia defines SEO as:
Search engine optimization is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines. SEO targets unpaid traffic rather than direct traffic or paid traffic.
So now we know that SEO is different from ads. SEO increases organic traffic both in quality and quantity. Here are the top 10 factors borrowed from Optinmonster:
A Secure and Accessible Website
Page Speed (Including Mobile Page Speed)
Domain Age, URL, and Authority
User Experience (RankBrain)
Real Business Information
Here's the cliff notes version of the article:
Security (everybody wants it)
Ideally, you want a site with an SSL certificate on it (that's the "s" in HTTPS as opposed to HTTP) and a submitted sitemap to Google. All of the sites that we build are secure and accessible to search engines. Check #1!
Speed - we design sites in a way that maximizes speed. For example, we only use animations where they add value. Image size, fonts, added code, third-party integrations - these are all things that can slow a website down. Again, we always design websites with speed in mind. Check #2!
Sometimes this is a setting on your platform, sometimes you need a specific theme. Again, we design sites that are mobile friendly, but most website building platforms and themes are mobile friendly today. Check #3!
Ideally you want a .com or something reputable, no .xyz's. You want to have a domain that describes your business, but that isn't over zealous. If you have a ice cream store, called "Bob's Ice Cream Shop", go for:
The best, shortest domain option is usually best. It is possible to get penalized by Google for too many keywords in the domain, but this is mostly to weed out sites that are not legitimate. Try to avoid:
Although, I'm not sure why Bob would go with "Bob's Ice Cream Shop," when you can get that alliteration and a keyword in there with "Bob's Best Ice Cream Shop"...
Domain authority doesn't mean that your website is bossy, but it does have to do with a commanding presence. Domain authority has to do with the reputation of where is shows up. If you are a therapist and your website is listed on Psychology Today, that would help boost your domain authority because the link would be on a reputable source.
Listings and directories are a great way to boost SEO, especially your local SEO. The most important directories are:
Optimized Content & Technical SEO
Optimizing your content just means putting a title or H1 heading on the page and getting some images or text on the page. Think of each page like an outline. The page title is title of the outline (H1), the section headings are H2s, etc. Again, if you are working with a designer, they can help you do this.
Technical SEO includes things like page titles and descriptions.
UX is very simply - Do your users like your site? Users that like your website are typically the people we want more of and they spend a lot of time on the site. They click through the pages, maybe comment on a blog or two, etc. Tying back to speed here, if your site is slow, your users are going to have a bad time.
You want a variety of links on your website. First, you want to add links to other pages within your website because Google likes sites that are easy to use. Google ranks sites where people get lost lower. Google hates it when people are lost cause Google is all about finding stuff.
Next you want links going TO your website. If you are a therapist, you want the Psychology Today directory to link to your website in your listing. One, Psychology Today is a reputable site and two, it is driving traffic to your website.
Lastly, you want links going out of the website, for example, we added a link to the original article that we are summarizing.
Adding social media adds credibility and provides more links and it makes Google happy. So, add your social media to your website. In case you haven't Liked us, here you go LINK.
Real Business Information
Gain credibility by having contact information in the footer and an address or location if possible. This one is pretty self-explanatory.
SEO Services & Pricing
Now on to SEO pricing - please keep in mind that prices can vary based on pricing models, location, and competition. You can see how complicated search engine optimization can be. It's not just a one-time thing and on-going SEO isn't going to necessarily help you if it's not done well. Here's what I mean:
You just started a business and made a Facebook page. You have no followers. You are paying a company to post on Facebook for you. None of the posts have keywords or link back to your website. Your website gets no new hits from the Facebook posts.
This is how not to do SEO via Social Media. Now let's talk about how to run a successful SEO campaign. Here are some points to check off the list.
Technical SEO Cost
If your designer didn't "do SEO" when they designed the site, you should be able to optimize your content fairly easily and do the technical SEO on a basic 4-page site (Home, About, Services, Contact) for between $200-$400 as a one-time service.
Alpha SEO is a full service onsite and offsite custom SEO offering. We recommend this for business owners trying to increase local traffic. Code edits, content, link building, and reports that prove real value to local businesses.
All-in-one SEO dashboard 1 keyword topic and 1 target location (Location of Business)
7 target keywords 1 piece of content writing or guest blogging (every 6 months)
10+ backlinks every month
5 website pages of on-page optimization
Website audit and SEO issues fixes
Google My Business listing advanced optimization as required
Website goal conversion tracking [Google Analytics]
SEO KPI dashboard and metrics
Website uptime monitoring and reporting
Weekly website SEO
Health check via crawler audit
Weekly and Monthly SEO status reports
Blogs and White Paper Content
Blogging contributes to SEO and there are many affordable options out there depending on your business. If you are a technical company, we recommend these bangarang content generators -> PubPow for your needs. If your blogger isn't running your blog through some kind of keyword analyzer, you're probably losing out. Honestly, it's probably worth it to start at the $100 blog range, but shop around and try out different options and see who makes the best content!
Social Media Cost
I put this one at the bottom because I know you're all waiting for this one. Using social media to boost your SEO is effective. The cost depends:
How many channels or accounts you want to post to
Ad spend (optional)
Content generation (Are you providing the content or is it generated externally)
This can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars a month. And there are probably some companies who spend hundreds of thousands...The most common approach is to have a company on a monthly retainer to help generate content and post as the business owner.
Listing and Directory Services
We offer listing and directory services. Instantly enhance the accuracy of local business listings, protect from 3rd-party changes, and suppress duplicate listings with our listing sync pro service.
Listing Distribution submits business listings to the four major data providers. As the name suggests, data providers are entities that gather consumer and business data. Hundreds of listing directories, review sites, search engines and more trust their data, and will pull business information from these four authorities. The data providers also power sophisticated modern applications such as Apple’s Siri and personal navigation systems.
In North America, four major providers offer this data: Foursquare, Infogroup, Neustar/Localeze, and Factual. Over 300 online listing sources gather business listing data from these four providers. Vendasta’s Listing Distribution submits listings to all four of these data providers, which gets them maximum exposure and impact for your business clients.
Listing Distribution is designed for single location businesses, as well as multi-location brands and franchises that list and market their physical business location online.
Plans start as low as $50/month.
Progressive Web Apps (My current favorite easy and inexpensive booster)
Progressive web apps (PWAs) mean smarter digital connecting. You can trust me or read our earlier blog. <- I just created an internal link here cause I'm following the good SEO guidelines.
PWAs can act as a digital business card see live example here. Or more like an app for your business where you can post specials, add blogs, showcase your portfolio, and really anything you want!
These are a MUST have. There is a free version, but it won't help your SEO. The paid version is $10/month. Basically the same cost as a pack of nice business cards, but this is green and will never have a typo or the wrong business information.
We hope this was helpful!
If you are a new business or are feeling overwhelmed by SEO, here's a quick story about our SEO journey. When we first launched our website in 2015, I think we ranked on page 58 or so for "web design atlanta." Now you can find our company in the first and third links that pop up on page 1 of Google:
We are #1 on page 1 for "professional web design atlanta." For this we are very proud. So that little brag is to say that we know what we're doing and we know what work is involved to get found. You will be in good hands working with us. Doing SEO is a process and we will be with you, guiding you all the way to the top!
Need an SEO Expert?
Need some help with ranking higher, showing up in more search results, and getting more, better traffic to your site? We are SEO professionals and love doing this! Email us:
We offer monthly retainers, project rates, and hourly rates based on the needs and budget of the client. We can tailor plans for large and small businesses.