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When 68% of online experiences start on a search engine and 63% of all shopping visits start online, how much should you be budgeting for SEO services to get your business in front of people? 
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The internet is a crowded marketplace, with millions of websites vying for the attention of consumers and visitors. A key digital marketing tactic to attract visitors is SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, as businesses do everything they can to rank and appear in the top spot – or very near – on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). 

Why SEO should be included in your marketing budget 

In Q1 2023 alone, ad spend by businesses has increased by 8.2% overall; a marked increase in Q4 2022 of 6%. For marketers managing their annual budgets, SEO is a major priority. In fact, 61% of marketers say SEO is top of the list. 
But why is SEO so important to businesses these days and why should you allocate money towards it? With so many consumers heading online to search for goods and services, even if they do finally buy in-store, your website is your new digital shop window. But you need to make sure your ‘shop window’ is visible to drive traffic to your business. 
The advantage of spending money on SEO tactics is that businesses can maximise their spend by targeting their ideal audience, at the right time. It avoids wasting time and money on broad marketing campaigns that don’t hit the right people. Whether it’s SEO or local SEO, your budget is more likely to generate more conversions, and ROI (Return on Investment). 
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The benefits of SEO 

So, before we talk about how much of your budget to allocate to SEO, let’s talk about why you should be focusing on SEO in the first place. If you’re wondering why search engine ranking matters, websites in position one on Google get 81.5% more clicks than position two. Indeed, 69% of digital traffic is generated from local and organic searches. 
Now you’ve got your head around these statistics, here are the top five benefits of SEO for your business: 
Increased traffic to your website. 
Traffic is of a higher quality, i.e. they’re looking for your products or services. 
Delivers a better user experience through better website content and structure. 
Improved brand presence and awareness. 
Cost-effective marketing strategy with enhanced ROI. 

How much do I need to spend on SEO? 

Unlike online advertising, SEO results won’t be immediate. It takes time so you’ll need to commit to an ongoing SEO strategy. It’s a long-term activity that needs to be monitored and managed. Google determines that generally, you need to allow at least four months, if not a year, to see the benefits of your SEO activity. 

Setting goals 

But before you start thinking about money, you first need to decide on your goals; what you want to achieve from SEO. Make sure they are measurable and achievable or you’ll soon lose faith in SEO. Some goals to consider are: 
Increase organic website traffic by 50%. 
Improve brand awareness. 
Rank in the top five in six months. 
Increase revenue by 20% in one year. 
Look at your competitors and compare how your website and online presence is against theirs. For example, do they have more backlinks than you? How does their content differ from yours? Does your website architecture stack up against theirs? 
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Plan of action 

Once you have your goals and a strategy set out, you can start to plan your SEO campaign. Don’t try to meet all of Google’s ranking criteria. There are more than 200 – and probably more to come – so it’s almost impossible to achieve that. So, there are three main SEO areas you can focus on and still see great results. They are: 
Backlinks. This is one of the top ranking factors for SERPs, particularly if they are from websites that are relevant to your business and content, and are high quality. Backlinks tell Google that you are credible, trustworthy and command authority. However, it’s important to make sure they fit ‘naturally’ into your content and aren’t forced. It will take time to build backlinks that boost your SERPs position but it is worth it. 
Content. This is now a crucial factor in successful SEO. Google and other search engine bots crawl masses of online content to find the best possible matches to a user’s search query. Unique content that is regularly updated and refreshed helps them determine website authority and relevance. So, make sure you are regularly adding new or refreshing existing content that is of high quality, contains keywords and phrases that match search queries but are not over-stuffed, offers value to the user, is easy to read and digest, and is engaging. 
Infrastructure. How your website is designed and laid out also plays an important part in SEO. Pay special attention to user experience and let’s tell you why – 75% of people will form an opinion about your business based on your website’s aesthetics. Here’s another statistic to consider – 88% of online shoppers won’t go back to a website after a bad user experience. So, make sure it’s accessible, easy to crawl for search engines, provides a good user experience, loads quickly and is easy to use on mobile devices. 
So, to get back to how much to spend on SEO, it largely depends on whether you’re hiring a company to manage your SEO on your behalf or are handling it in-house. Budget essentially comes down to what you can afford and what you hope to achieve, particularly as your monthly spend will be over a period of six months to a year, and probably beyond. On average, most businesses spend between £400 and £1,000 a month but if you can’t afford this, you can still get the results you want on a smaller budget. 
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At it’seeze, our network of website consultants throughout the UK and Ireland are skilled at designing and developing websites that are fully optimised and effective, delivering a great customer experience online, as well as helping to generate enquiries as well as sales. Our new SEO Manager will make optimising your website easy and affordable. Get in touch with us today to start your it’seeze journey. 
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