Most people equate organic traffic as free and hence, compared to their paid marketing campaigns give SEO less or no importance. Some even go to the extent of not including it in their marketing budget thinking it would not need any focus or investment.
It is very crucial to identify SEO as a marketing strategy and allocate a certain percentage of your marketing budget towards it. This is because SEO is a channel that provides a higher conversion rate when compared to your email or social media marketing campaigns.
Now here comes the tricky part.
How do you establish what percentage and what parameters do you keep in mind when planning for your SEO strategy and setting a budget for it?
Well, before we jumpstart right into the budgeting aspect, we need to bear a few things in mind about SEO.
Unlike your other marketing channels, SEO is long-term in nature. That means the budget you allocate, investment you make, and the results you start seeing will take time, maybe starting from the third or fourth month since its implementation.
When preparing a budget for your strategy, keep note that its impact will not be immediate but spread over a couple of months to ascertain if you are getting the right ROI.
When you are investing in SEO, you are not only working towards improving your search engine ranking but also working on other elements like:
· Keyword Research
· On-Page SEO
· Off-Page SEO
· SEO Content
· SEO Auditing and
· Reporting and Analysis
So the investment you make on your strategy will comprise all of these.
Now, here is how you get started with budgeting.
The amount you set aside for your SEO will depend on four things:
1. How much of your sales or revenue you are getting from your website:
A lot of businesses depend on the traffic from their website to generate sales. In such cases, investing a major proportion of your marketing budget is the wise approach because your investment in the right channel will directly contribute towards sales. As most of the activity is taking place on your website, it needs to be promoted and worked on.
2. How much your competitor is paying to target a particular keyword that is relevant to your business:
Keywords play a crucial role in impacting the SEO of any business. Businesses are always in a bid to target the right keywords to capture the share of organic traffic on the internet. You would not want to lose this share of organic traffic to your competitors, would you?
So when planning your budget, prioritize the importance of SEO in your strategy in order to outperform your competitors.
3. The customer lifetime value you get from the investment:
As discussed earlier, a large customer base that you drive to your website through SEO is organic. Also, the benefits from these customers go beyond a one-time purchase if the focus is appropriately made on their retention and satisfaction.
The Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) is the amount you expect to earn from your customer in the long-term and help you if your SEO investment is giving the proper results.
4. Its effectiveness when compared to your paid marketing strategy:
Not always do PPC or social media marketing work for you. So in such cases, it would be unwise to keep allocating funds for investment in these channels when it yields you no proper results. On the other hand, the funds can instead be used on SEO to and improve your business performance through that channel.
So depending on these, you can decide how to prioritize your SEO and the percentage of budget to set aside for the purpose.
How to allocate funds for your SEO:
If you have not really taken your SEO into account right from the beginning, you need to introduce fresh funds for SEO into your marketing budget.
You can even work around your current budget by channeling a percentage of funds from less successful marketing campaigns and diverting it to your SEO, if your SEO audit reports show good results compared to the others.
Choosing the right SEO services or agency:
We have already stated above about how people underestimate the importance of SEO and do not really strategize, or simply choose to do SEO by themselves resulting in no improvement or negative results in the performance.
Getting your SEO done by professionals really makes a significant difference in your organic growth.
But the question is – How do you figure out which agency is right for you based on your budget?
First of all, never get your SEO done on an hourly rate basis just to save a couple of bucks.
It may end up costing you more instead and has no scope of accountability for the performance as the service provider may attribute the inadequate performance to lack of time or provide sub-par performance due to time constraints.
A professional agency who can work with you throughout the months of your strategy, communicating properly about the steps taken and reporting the results is a green signal for you.
Another thing with outsourcing your SEO is it will help you sit-back and track the ROI instead of having to worry about micromanaging the various elements of SEO and the amount to put in for each, which an agency can manage better.
Keep in mind your SEO is a long-term plan that cannot be limited to a few hours of monthly work. So make sure your budget is according to it.
– SEO is important on its own as a marketing channel and needs to be planned and budgeted like your other marketing efforts.
– It is long-term in nature which requires your budget to be spread over months and your ROI to be tracked accordingly instead of writing it off as a failure in just a few weeks based on performance.
– Do not fully rely on your web developers to understand and implement the technical SEO requirements onto your site.
– People offering you SEO services at heavily discounted prices guaranteeing results in a short time is a red flag. SEO requires consistent efforts, resources, and time to work out.- Check the agency’s reviews, reputation, and the cases they have worked on before making any decision.