Hello, and welcome to the Pickaweb Business School Podcast.
This is Tony here. And today, we’re going to be answering a tough question, and this is one that gets asked, surprisingly, frequently. And that is, “How much should I pay for SEO?”
Now, I hate it when people start answering a question by saying, “Well, it all depends.” But, unfortunately, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
But, don’t worry. I’m going to give you a clear understanding.
So at the end of this you’re going to understand the costs that you need to pay depending on your type of business.
SEO Is Expensive For Competitive Markets
As I say, it does depend on the type of business that you run and how competitive your market is and that’s an important point. So if we take web hosting for example that’s an ultra-competitive market.
It’s the same for things like mortgages and financial products like insurance. Then travel, gifts, and also other various e-commerce niches like gifts and that type of thing.
If you’re in one of these types of industries, then you don’t need me to tell you that you’re looking at really comprehensive strategies that are possibly going to cost thousands, even tens of thousands per month, whether that’s dollars, pounds, euros, whatever.
It’s an expensive business to be in and if you’re in those really competitive markets, and I’m not talking about pay-per-click here. I’m just talking about normal SEO, natural listings in Google.
And that’s without looking at social media and all sorts of things like that.
SEO Has a Lot of Moving Parts
And the reason that it’s so expensive is because you’re going to have a whole host of things that need to be coordinated, that need to be happening.
Things like keyword research.
You’re going to need technical SEO, on-page optimization and content creation.
You’re going to need to outreach for content promotion, you’re going to have to promote that content, you’re going to have to build links.
You’re going to be creating blog content. All sorts of things are involved there.
So, as I say, lots of moving parts. And you’re going to need a multi-disciplinary team. This isn’t something you can just give to one person.
The net result is that it costs a lot of money in some cases. But, if you’re in that type of market, then you know that and you’ve got a good handle on that and you’ve probably got a consultant who can tell you all of that, if you’re not doing all of that yourself.
So, if that’s your marketplace, all I would say is that you really need to be focusing on getting great content, and I mean really great content.
You have to stand out these days. You need to get influencers on board. You need to make sure that you’re getting plenty of eyeballs on that content, and that way, that’s how you going to get those backlinks and that’s how you going to get the social media action.
But SEO Is Easier and Cheaper for Small or Local Businesses
But, what about smaller businesses, or local businesses where you’re not competing in such competitive areas?
Well, that’s what I want to look at in today’s podcast and that’s what I’m going to explain.
And I think the best way to look at is to break it down in terms of what’s involved first. That will give you a good feel. Once you understand where your money is being spent and what it’s being spent on then you can better understand how to budget for it.
And also, just to make sure that you’re getting value for money and that it’s being spent on the right things.
There is No Magic SEO Machine!!
Because a lot of the time people are going to see a monthly price and just think, “There’s some kind of big red button that gets pressed because they’re paying a certain amount and the button is just going to get bigger the more you pay.”
They assume that you start with the little button. You pay a few pounds, then you pay a few hundreds or a few thousands and you get a big, massive red flashing button
Unfortunately it doesn’t quite work like that. It’s not like there’s some kind of magic SEO machine that’s just chugging away in the background depending on how much cash you feed it.
You Need To Understand What’s Involved with SEO
But there’s a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes.
Or maybe I should rephrase that. There’s a lot of stuff that should be going on behind the scenes.
And if you understand that and if you can have that level of conversation with your suppliers, with the people who are going to be doing your SEO, you’re soon going to get a much better feel for whether you’re getting real value for money.
Now before we get started there’s a huge caveat around SEO. So listen up, because this is a big point, and I want you to understand this before you part with your hard earned cash.
Small Businesses Do NOT Need to Spend a Lot on SEO
Now I spend a lot of time with small businesses. I speak to the owners and I look at the results.
And I can I tell you with the benefit of years of experience that you do not need to go crazy when it comes to SEO if you’re a local business.
Now anyone who tells you that you’ve got to spend loads of cash month in, month out is taking you for a ride.
Most SMEs in my experience do not get the basics right. So it just means you need to put in enough effort to get things right and you’ll be fine.
There’s no direct correlation between money spent and the end results.
You just need to do the rights things and you need to do them right.
Here’s What You Need To Spend Your SEO Money On
So, here’s what you need to making sure your money is being spent on.
If you’re just starting out you’re going to need a list of keywords.
So that’s going to involve some research. And this is really to understand what people are searching on and how competitive these keywords are.
Because basically more competitive keywords means more effort which I’m sure, you’ve guessed it is going to mean more dosh.
On Page SEO
Then you need to put these keywords into the content of your side and this is called on-page SEO.
This is things like metatags.
This is things like URLs, headings, texts, and internal links, the way you link the different pages through your website.
There’s also going to be technical aspects.
Things like creating a sitemap and Robots.txt, setting up the Google Search Console which used to be called Google Webmaster Tools, and then there’s Google Analytics.
So you’re going to need to install those codes in your website. It’s not that difficult. It’s pretty straightforward if you know what you’re doing.
If you really want to have a go at it maybe give it a go depending on what tool you’re using.
Estimated Costs for Basic On Page SEO
But if you hand it over to somebody else let’s say a small website of five to seven pages.
To set this type of activity up is going to cost somewhere in the region of £300 to £400 if done correctly. That’s maybe $400 to $500 or Euros. Something around that figure. You could pay a lot more but I’d say that’s a good rule of thumb.
You could do it for a lot less as well. Just be aware of who is doing it and make sure you know and can trust them.
Copywriting Will Increase Costs
This is also based on you providing the content.
If you’re going to hand it over to somebody and you want them to create the content they’ll just say, “No, you need to come up with that. That’s your job.”
But if you want a decent copywriter to do that then you need to bear in mind that’s going to be another cost.
And if someone is writing long pages for you because longer pages do tend to rank better, that’s going to cost you maybe £100 per page maybe more depending on the quality of the copywriter that you’re using.
If you’re on a really tight budget that’s one of the things that I would say, “Do it yourself.”
That’s one of the areas copywriting, writing the content for your pages that you should do yourself because you know your stuff inside out.
It will sound much better.
But do make sure that you work with the SEO team if you do this to include the keywords. Make sure that they give you a list of keywords that you need to include.
So that’s actually setting up the website and getting it all ready.
Off Page SEO Costs
Then you need to think about what are called the off-page elements.
And this is basically getting other websites to link back to you. This is link building basically.
Now for local businesses this is going to be pretty straightforward and this is going to start off with things like setting up Google My Business, Bing Places, as well as getting listed in trusted local directories.
This is often referred to as NAP citations. That’s name, address and phone; N-A-P.
Google My Business, Bing Places, anyone can do that. That’s really easy to do, really fast and very straightforward.
Just make sure that you take that opportunity to fill in all of the information that they ask you for.
Overall for this type of thing on a monthly basis and the NAP citations, you can actually get companies that will do this for you. There’s tools that you can use like Bright Local.
But for most businesses, the kind of stuff we’re talking about here you should be able to get for a budget of between £200 to £400 a month and that’s kind of top end.
Bear in mind if you are in a competitive market link building can get very expensive, very quickly if it’s done correctly.
Avoid Spammy SEO Techniques
Now overall whatever you do you need to make sure that you question whoever who’s doing your SEO and ask them how they’re going to be building links.
If they come up with any of these sorts of spammy techniques like private blog networks (PBNs) or link wheels or article directories or crappy directory submissions, the type of thing where you’re getting listed in linkforyoudirectory.com or whatever.
Just run a mile.
Or it could be things like not so old school SEO. Things like grey hat methods like buying expired domains and linking back to you.
Try to avoid or definitely avoid all this kind of thing.
You don’t really want to get involved. It could harm you in the short term. It could definitely harm you in the long term.
You don’t want that to happen.
You haven’t got to go crazy. Just stick with the basics like the NAP citations. I’m talking about getting listed in places like Yelp, Yell and that sort of thing.
Great Content Is Vital For Competitive Markets
And we’ve got all sorts of content on our blog that will help you and show you how to do that. Just have a search through on our local business SEO techniques and you’ll find loads of stuff there.
But proper link building is going to basically involve, a) creating great content, b) outreaching to people to who are going to promote the content, and then c) getting your content featured in other websites.
Now this is going to require a blog and it’s going to mean creating high-quality content.
And by high-quality I would also add to that it needs to be long. So we’re looking 1,500 to 2,000 words. You just can’t create great content in 300 words or so.
So you need to make sure that you’re promoting it and getting guest blog gigs, that type of thing.
If you’re going to go down that route it’s more expensive and the sort of stuff that’s going to work for you is going to be definitive guides, detailed how-to content, list-based content, Crowdsourced content or expert roundups, infographics – that type of thing.
And these type of expert authority content is what Google really wants and it’s also going to give you much more social media traction.
I keep reiterating that this is probably for the more competitive niches. This isn’t so much for local businesses. This isn’t so much for small businesses.
This type of content also needs to be visually attractive.
So a decent content strategy with those types of things that’s going to include content creation, good outreach to good influencers, this is going to be starting at around £2,000 a month up to maybe £4,000 or £5,000 a month.
In dollars, that’s $3,000 up to $6,000 or $8,000.
That’s kind of entry level pricing. But that’s for really good SEO where people are creating great content and promoting it for you.
You can cut the cost down if you can write the content yourself or you can do the bulk of it.
If you work with a team that’s going to be doing the outreach, if you can work with them to write that content yourself, that’s going to save some money. But obviously that’s going to eat into your business time.
But the results would be better because you are an expert and that will come through in the quality of the content.
So there you are. In summary local biz you’re going to be looking £300 to £400 basic entry level to get a small size setup as a one-off, then you’re looking at maybe £200 to £400 a month.
And honestly, most of you won’t even need to do that.
You could probably scale back after a few months and certainly a year and really just keep the plate spinning with the lower budget.
For more competitive businesses, we’re talking about content and outreach.
Try to get involved in the content creation process, not so much to save cash, but basically to make sure that you’re putting your expert imprint on that content.
You’ll easily be looking at a couple of thousand pounds for starters and for decent content and outreach team.
So that’s around $3,000 to $5,000.
So there you go, that’s an outline of how much SEO should cost you. I hope you found that useful, and keep tuned into the “Pickaweb Business School Podcast,” if you want to learn how to get online, get found, and get more customers.
Thanks very much. See you soon.