SEO: How much should I spend on SEO per month?
Many business owners and managers ask the question: How much should I spend on SEO per month?
The short answer is you should pay so much, how many it is not a pity. That’s exactly the right answer. But the SEO pricing is complicated.
In most businesses, there are step-by-step processes to achieve business goals. Many assume that marketing and SEO work the same way. This is why business owners treat search optimization as a commodity and fall victim to the $99/month SEO packages, “guaranteed #1” scammers. Then they notice that lower-quality websites outrank their professional sites and ask “What should I do to fix that?”.
Business owners and managers don’t have to learn SEO to know how search engine optimization works. But they should know more about SEO and SEO pricing.
What is SEO
F5 Studio’s SEO team defines search optimization as the scope of work to connect your target audience with your site through a web search and other digital marketing channels to achieve business goals.
There are some methods that SEOs use to optimize sites:
- Tech SEO
- UX design improving
- Informational architecture improving
- Content creation including keyword research and links generation
- Reputation management
- Crowd marketing
But search optimization is not about methods. SEO is about building relations between your business site, web environment, search engines, and users. This is why SEO methods should be based on SEO marketing strategy. It is advanced SEO. But it doesn’t guarantee results, because the web is a dynamic environment. SEO is just one of the ways to achieve business goals on the web.
A professional web agency conduct marketing research before providing search engine optimization. This research helps to understand which way to use to achieve your business goals.
Factors of SEO pricing
The price range of SEO services depends on some factors:
- expected results
- skill level of SEO services (advanced, intermediate, apprentice)
- scope of work
These factors we consider in more detail below.
If you want to make $1,000,000 you should spend at least $100,000 on Search Engine Optimization. Would you like to see quick results? You should spend more money.
Money helps to create valuable content and distribute it on many authoritative sources.
Money allows to redesign the site, improve UX UI design.
Money allows you to hire a well-known marketing team.
The more money you want to make, the more money you should spend. However, there are always some exceptions.
But if you want to make $1,000,000, spending $99/month won’t help you.
Skill level of SEO services
Unfortunately, it is a complex task to check the skill level of an SEO for any business owner. F5 Studio’s SEOs recommend asking an SEO about the approach. If an SEO follows “list” and “SEO tools recommendation”, it means SEO specialist provides apprentice SEO or intermediate SEO. These skill levels allow achieving business goals in some cases.
Advanced SEO means using a strategy-driven approach. An SEO has the ability to build a personal SEO marketing strategy for the business site instead of following SEO blog recommendations and lists.
Advanced SEO skills should be worth more than apprentice SEO or intermediate SEO. In fact, that already isn’t the case because there are a lot of exceptions for SEO pricing. Many people come to big cities to build a career that makes location is important for pricing any service. If a provider is located in a big city in the US, they’ll likely charge higher prices than a business out in the sticks but that’s due to overheads, not because fancy locations equal better skills.
Also, it’s all about presentation. Some SEO agencies just can sell themselves to public opinion. Can they help you to sell your products and services? No, not always.
The scope of work
See, one of the problems with SEO pricing is estimating the scope of work. Many business owners ask the same question How much should I spend on SEO? It seems ridiculous because no one knows what to do without SEO audit results.
As a business owner, you have to know that there is no “ultimate SEO checklist” to improve your website traffic or ranking. Because every site has its own design, “search history”, specifics, and SEO issues.
Only SEO audits can help estimate the scope of tasks to improve your website SEO.
Finally, you pay for the time that an SEO spends on your website. It depends on the scope of tasks. As a business owner, you can pay for high-priority tasks. Also, you can allocate an annual budget. But SEO is relative. You need to understand that SEO ROI depends on many factors and an SEO can’t affect many of these factors.
Anyway, SEO pricing can vary wildly.
You can learn more about F5 Studio’s SEO services pricing.
SEO packages are simple to sell, those simple to deliver. F5 Studio’s SEO team is not shunning this route at all, although there is a lot of supposed “SEO packages” out there that are scams or add very little value to unsuspecting business owners’ websites. Every SEO campaign should be bespoke to the client because not every client’s website is the same.
All work is invoiced at a fixed hourly rate, no matter what value the SEO is bringing to the table. This is an easy-to-understand model for the buyer, and easy to sell too for the SEO too.
A SEO team should estimate a project. Hourly rate depends on the skill level of the SEO team.
The project-based SEO pricing model
In the cases of technical audits that require on-page and technical fixes, some laser-pointed revamps to site silo structure, or content marketing initiatives, the agency can bundle the activities into a project with a finite timeline and deliverables.
Pay on results
This one is a hard one because SEO can’t guarantee results. But surely we can give our potential client peace of mind by offering a lower down payment and then the rest gets paid upon promised results? This kind of deal may work in the ‘buyers market’ for agencies that want to take the competitive edge by offering a pay-on-results deal.
How to choose the right SEO solution for you
What’s right for one business isn’t necessarily right for another. Make sure your SEO agency can provide SEO services, UX design services, and web development services. In other words, you need a full-service web design agency.
You shouldn’t skimp on SEO services if you want to achieve your business goals. Approach mid-level or high-end agencies and ask them about their approach to search optimization. It’s also helpful to make sure they haven’t been using any dubious techniques.
It’s worth trying to set up a conversation with the SEO team, rather than just their sales rep. That way, you can speak to the actual marketers who would work on your site and ensure they understand your objectives.
If you have the time and budget, you could test out a few agencies by purchasing standalone SEO audit services and comparing the findings. If not, just do as much research as possible on the agencies you contact.
Agencies with more experience and clout have been known to charge prices in the tens of thousands, please note that they will not always do things extremely different from a less known agency, at the end of the day SEO is SEO, despite some trying to make it sound like magic.