What Should You Budget for Your Brand’s SEO Services?

April 20, 2024 | Platinum Consulting

If we had a nickel for every time someone asked us what their SEO budget should be… well, we’d certainly be spending more time on fancy yachts.

We certainly don’t blame people for asking! Search engine optimization (SEO) is a vast, complex landscape, and no two budgets are ever exactly the same. Your company’s ideal spending target might be substantially lower or higher than another business’s, and that’s okay.

But how do you determine your SEO budget?

That’s what we’re talking about on the Platinum blog today. Together, we’ll dive into the average cost of professional search engine optimization., as well as the critical steps that will lead you to the best SEO budget for your specific needs.

Let’s dive in.

The Average Cost of Professional SEO Services

If you search on Google, you’ll find that the average cost of SEO services in the US is somewhere between $2,500 and $10,000 per month – and that huge gap makes predicting your estimated SEO cost somewhat challenging.

The price of working with SEO professionals can vary widely depending on several factors. Typically, SEO pricing depends on the scope of work, the expertise of the agency or consultant, and the level of competition in your industry.

At the lower end of the spectrum, you might find freelancers or small agencies offering basic SEO services for a few hundred dollars per month. These may include essentials such as keyword research, on-page optimization, and basic link building.

While these options can be budget-friendly, they may lack the resources and expertise to deliver significant results, especially in highly competitive markets.

On the other hand, established SEO agencies with a track record of success often charge higher fees, ranging from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands per month. These agencies typically offer a comprehensive range of services, including advanced technical SEO, content marketing, link-building outreach, and ongoing monitoring and reporting.

Higher SEO pricing tends to reflect the level of expertise, resources, and effort required to execute a robust strategy effectively. After all, a proven track record doesn’t typically come cheap.

So, one of your first steps is to think about the scope of your needs and how that will impact your SEO budget (and overall digital marketing budget). Will you be outsourcing things like content marketing, or will you be staying within the most basic boundaries of appealing to search engines?

Don’t know? That’s fine - we’re here to walk you through the detailed process of assessing your SEO initiatives and spending.

How to Determine Your SEO Budget

Rather than throwing a bunch of numbers at you, we think it’s important to understand what goes into an SEO budget. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for simple keyword research or comprehensive content marketing – any aspect of SEO requires careful consideration.

Here’s what you need to do:

(1) Assess Your Business Goals & Objectives

This step is crucial for determining your SEO budget – it sets the foundation for your entire digital marketing strategy. Truly understanding your goals helps align your SEO efforts with your broader business objectives, ensuring that every dollar spent actually contributes to your bottom line.

Whether it's increasing brand awareness, driving organic traffic, generating leads, or boosting online sales, each goal requires a different approach and level of investment.

For example, if your primary objective is to increase online sales, your strategy may focus on things like optimizing product pages, improving page speed and user experience, and targeting transactional and relevant keywords.

However, if your goal is to reach a new target audience and draw in more organic traffic, you’ll likely need to take a different approach that involves more customer research and geographical targeting.

Moreover, assessing your business objectives helps you establish realistic expectations for your SEO campaign. Setting achievable targets based on your objectives allows you to measure the success of your SEO efforts effectively.

For instance, if your goal is to increase organic traffic by 50% within six months, you can gauge the effectiveness of your SEO work based on traffic growth and adjust your budget and tactics as needed to stay on track.

Additionally, aligning your SEO budget with your goals enables you to demonstrate the value of SEO to key stakeholders within your organization. When decision-makers see how SEO contributes to achieving overarching business objectives, they are more likely to support and invest in SEO initiatives.

The bottom line: if you don’t know your goals, your SEO strategy won’t be appropriately tailored, and that makes SEO budgeting ineffective and inaccurate.

(2) Conduct Competitor Research

Competitor research provides valuable insights into your industry’s landscape and helps you understand the level of investment required to achieve your goals effectively. If you don’t know what you’re up against, it’s hard to choose the right approach (and price point).

More specifically, competitor research provides insights into market dynamics, including keyword competition, search volume, and trends. Understanding which keywords your competitors are targeting and how they are performing can help you prioritize your SEO strategies and allocate resources more effectively. It also helps identify untapped opportunities and emerging trends that you can leverage to gain a competitive edge.

By analyzing the performance of your competitors, you can also set realistic goals and expectations for your own SEO. Understanding what is achievable within your industry and competitive landscape helps you avoid overcommitting or underestimating the resources required to achieve your desired results. This ensures that your SEO budget is aligned with achievable goals and delivers a positive ROI.

(3) Audit Your Current Website

Next on your list, a comprehensive website audit allows you to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your current digital presence. You can assess factors such as website structure, content quality, technical SEO elements, backlink profile, and user experience – and this informs how you prioritize SEO efforts and allocate your budget effectively.

Additionally, we recommend an upfront SEO audit because it helps you define the scope of work required to achieve your goals. This allows you to zero in on specific areas that need attention, such as technical SEO issues, content gaps, or link-building opportunities

Another key benefit of auditing is that it helps you prioritize initiatives that yield the greatest return on investment, whether that’s optimizing high-converting landing pages, targeting low-competition keywords, or improving site speed and usability.

This strategic approach ensures that your SEO budget is allocated to activities that drive tangible results and contribute to the overall success of your business.

(4) Identify Your Crucial Services

When you shop for a house, you think about your non-negotiable requests upfront – like the number of bedrooms, the size of the bathrooms, the location, etc. In turn, these requirements influence your estimated price point.

Similarly, you need to know what your most crucial SEO services are upfront. This helps you avoid overspending on unnecessary services or underinvesting in critical areas.

Every business has unique objectives, whether it's increasing online sales, generating leads, or enhancing brand awareness. Identifying your crucial SEO services from the start allows you to align your SEO strategy with these specific goals.

For example, if your primary objective is to drive e-commerce sales, investing in services like keyword research, product optimization, and conversion rate optimization would be crucial, and budgeting accordingly ensures resources are allocated where they'll have the most significant impact.

At the end of the day, SEO budgets are finite, and allocating resources to non-essential services can lead to inefficiencies and wasted spending. Focus on prioritizing strategic budget allocation for maximum impact.

By taking the time to identify your priorities and allocate resources accordingly, you can set your SEO strategy up for success and maximize the impact of your investment.

(5) Consider Quality vs Quantity

As you work to determine your appropriate SEO budget, consider the balance between quality and quantity. While it may be tempting to focus solely on quantity—such as the number of backlinks acquired or the volume of content produced—prioritizing quality is essential for long-term success in SEO.

Quality in SEO encompasses various aspects, including the relevance, authority, and user experience of your website and its content. Quality backlinks from authoritative websites carry more weight with Google and can significantly boost your rankings.

Similarly, high-quality content that provides value to users and answers their queries effectively is more likely to rank well and attract organic traffic.

Investing in premier SEO marketing services ensures that your strategies are aligned with best practices and ethical standards set by search engines. Black hat tactics such as keyword stuffing, link schemes, and cloaking may yield short-term quantitative gains, but they can ultimately result in penalties and long-term damage to your website's reputation and rankings.

When it comes to SEO costs, our recommendation is always to prioritize quality over quantity. Trust us: this will help you build a solid foundation for sustainable growth and mitigate the risk of negative repercussions from search engine algorithm updates.

(6) Account for Measurement & Reporting

You might have heard that SEO can be a one-time effort – but that’s a total myth. When budgeting for SEO services, you need to be looking at the long haul, and that includes planning for ongoing measurements, reporting, and adjustments.

Careful measurement and reporting allow you to track the performance of your SEO campaigns accurately. By monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) such as website traffic, keyword rankings, conversion rates, and return on investment (ROI), you can gauge the impact of your SEO initiatives on your business goals.

Without proper measurement and reporting mechanisms in place, you risk operating in the dark, unable to assess whether your SEO investment is delivering tangible results.

Additionally, continuous SEO assessment enables data-driven decision-making. By analyzing comprehensive reports and metrics, you can identify trends, patterns, and areas for improvement in your SEO strategy.

For example, if you notice a decline in organic traffic or a drop in keyword rankings, you can investigate the root causes and make adjustments accordingly. This iterative approach to optimization ensures that your SEO budget is allocated effectively to maximize performance and achieve your desired outcomes.

In other words, your SEO budget shouldn’t just account for one-time updates or services. Make sure you’re calculating the cost of continual monitoring, measuring, reporting, and adjustments. That’s how you’ll get the best bang for your buck, even if it seems more expensive upfront.

Need Help Determining Your SEO Budget? Let’s Talk.

SEO marketing services are multifaceted, and every business owner needs to carefully consider what they need from their provider. Start by reviewing your existing digital marketing budget, then decide how you’ll need to expand or tailor it to fit your search engine optimization goals.

Reach Out to Platinum Consulting

At our SEO agency, our marketing team knows that “perfect” SEO strategies look different to all brands. If you’re trying to nail down an SEO budget, we’re here to help – and we’ll make sure your marketing efforts generate tangible results with your target audience.

Contact us today to set up your free consultation. We’ll go over our SEO pricing, as well as our content marketing offerings. Then, we’ll work together to come up with a digital marketing budget and SEO strategies that suit your precise situation.