Is Your SEO Budget on Point?

SEO is an important investment—but it can get expensive. Here’s how to know if you’re paying too much or should be increasing your budget.

Source: cacaroot / iStock / Getty

SEO remains an important part of the marketing mix. Being found in organic search results on Google and other search engines is a source of traffic, revenue, and customers for many businesses. From building links to creating content, it’s a complex web many companies work hard to master. Yet, how can you evaluate your monthly spend on SEO—and determine whether it’s appropriate? Here are a few ideas to help you look more holistically at this part of your digital marketing investment.

Determine what falls into your SEO budget: Every firm has a different SEO strategy, and their SEO budget needs to cover a unique range of activities. In some cases, an SEO budget might cover a few freelance articles, or it might be a high-end retainer for end-to-end services. Clearly, these two situations can’t be compared as apples to apples. Determine what your SEO budget covers—and then you can more accurately assess your ROI, as well as compare your budget to industry standards.

Assess your customer acquisition costs: One way to determine the ROI from your SEO activities is to do the math and determine your customer acquisition costs. To find this, calculate how many customers you’ve acquired through SEO. Divide that number by your SEO costs, and you’ll have a sense of what each customer costs to acquire. To put that into context, look at what you’re paying for acquisition through other channels—such as your sales department or paid advertising. If SEO is netting a better rate, that’s a good sign it’s a strong investment. If those costs are higher, it’s time to look at reducing your SEO budget or increasing your volume of organic leads.

Compare costs: If you’re currently paying for services and aren’t sure if they’re competitive, compare your costs with other providers in your region. For example, if you’re using a full-service SEO agency, contact some other agencies and ask for their price scale. If what you see is dramatically different from what you’re currently paying, that’s a signal that you’re either getting a great deal or it’s time to shop around for a new provider.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to SEO. However, every company should take the time to evaluate their spending and determine their ROI. If results are good, there’s never been a better time to increase your spending or stay the course. Should you need to make adjustments, you’ll have the data-based framework to inform your choices.