How much should SEO cost your business?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is an online marketing practice used to improve a website’s online ‘reputation’ in the eyes of search engines like Google. Ultimately resulting in Google ‘favouring’ them above their competitors and providing them a higher ranking in the search engine results page (SERP). The search engines use complex and ever-changing algorithms to determine which websites qualify for this ‘preferential treatment’ but ultimately their goal is to make sure they are presenting the user with the best quality and most relevant websites in response to their search. It’s important to remember that SEO takes time and you are investing in the long-term success of your business, not generating instant leads.
SEO is beneficial to your business because more than 67% of all clicks go to the first 5 listings on the search results page. The whole of the first page receives 95% of the traffic, which means if you’re on the second page you only have visibility to 5% of traffic. The lower down you are, the less likely it is your website will be clicked on. SEO is necessary because you and all your competitors want to be in those top 5 listings. It takes in-depth knowledge of the search engine algorithms to know what gets in their good books, enter SEO experts and agencies. However, it’s a complex and time-consuming practice, never trust an agency that guarantees you top ranking position.
Here are a few definitions of some SEO buzz words you may want to familiarise yourself with:
- Ranking: The position you are in the search engine results page.
- Keyword: Words or a phrase your customer searches.
- On-Page SEO: Page titles, meta descriptions, URL structure, header tags, keyword density, image attributes, internal linking.
- Off-Page SEO: Backlinks, SSL, Social Media.
The pricing of SEO depends on what situation your website is in now, where you want to rank, how fast you want the rankings to improve and what your competitors are doing. Also, the more highly prized your keywords are, the more expensive it will be to rank for those keywords. Industry partially determines cost too, if you make £100 per customer in your industry, your competitors will be spending more on SEO and you’ll have to as well. Then, once it’s all done, you have to maintain what you’ve achieved. As new competitors emerge and existing ones rank higher, you have to keep up your game.
Be careful of shady SEO schemes too, if it seems too good to be true – it is! There are all sorts of companies who use questionable methods and whilst they might work for you in the short run, Google will eventually penalise your website and you’ll suffer damaging effects to your rankings and traffic, or you may even be removed from the index altogether.
The good news is there are over 5 million small businesses in the UK and the majority have poor SEO so, depending on your industry, it should be relatively easy to achieve at least entry level results.
For good quality SEO the below is what you should expect to pay depending on the size of your business and your industry: