You know SEO is important, but how do you know how much you should be investing and what you should be getting out of it? No matter what your take on the issue is, there’s a lot going on, but having digital marketing expertise on your side is going to help. Having a feel for what others in your business sphere are doing – and how much they’re spending – provides you with a valuable opportunity to get a better handle on your own SEO game. A recent in-depth study published by Search Engine Journal (SEJ) entitled The State of SEO 2021: Insights, Opportunities & Threats has its finger on the pulse of all things SEO, and we’ve broken the most interesting bits down for you.
Considering Common SEO Budget Ranges
When you’re determining a budget for your SEO, the first order of business is pinning down the goals you want to accomplish and assigning a breakdown of hours that will likely be needed to get the job done. These are called estimates for a reason – because it’s impossible to know what you are going to be up against once you roll up your sleeves and get to work. Putting a price on your services is key, but pricing isn’t a static matter, and the market, your place in it, and your competitors should all factor in. Consider the following average monthly budget ranges of SEO clients:
- 27% of SEJ’s 1,241 survey respondents have an average SEO budget range of from $1,000 to $5,000 monthly. 33% of the agencies that responded were in this category, while only 14% of the freelancers fell into this group.
- 23% of respondents have an average SEO budget of from $500 to $1,000.
- Freelancers also tend to charge less for their services than agencies do, which likely speaks to the lower SEO budgets they serve.
- 32% of all agency respondents bill monthly SEO budgets of under $1,000, which indicates that a considerable number of agencies serve a series of clients that are on the smaller size.
It is important to note that 14% of the survey’s respondents are based in India, which has a 20% share of the worldwide SEO market and where lower incomes and a lower cost of living almost certainly brought the average budgets down.
Calculating for Time
How do SEO professionals spend the majority of their time, you ask – well, it isn’t link building. The most likely explanation for this seeming disconnect is that link building is so specialized that time allocations are difficult to follow, and it is routinely sourced to outside expertise. Consider the primary time-allocations from the SEO survey:
- 19.2% of SEO professionals spend only a bit of their SEO-related work on on-page optimization.
- 11.7% of SEO professionals share that they spend no time at all on audience research.
- 7.3% of SEO professionals focus all their working hours on keyword research.
- 7% of SEO professionals dedicate all their time to mobile SEO, while 8.7% don’t spend any time on it.
- A mere 7% of survey respondents devote their entire workday to technical SEO.
- Only 5.7% of professionals in the SEO space spend none of their time on the job focused on technical SEO, which highlights just how critical the skill set is.
The primary takeaways from the SEO survey include:
- Keyword research is paramount to increasing online traffic and opening doors to new opportunities.
- Once an SEO strategy is implemented, ongoing analytics are necessary to help ensure that progress continues to be made and that it is measured accurately.
- When it comes to page visibility, on-page factors are key.
- Local SEO is bigger than ever (which is likely pandemic driven), and more and more local businesses are carving out their online space.
A Note about the Technical Stuff
While technical SEO didn’t make top billing in the SEJ survey, there’s a pretty simple explanation. Technical SEO is so tech-heavy that it tends to require a larger investment upfront (when a client is just getting started on its SEO journey) but requires less upkeep once the deed is done.
Striking a Balance
SEO is a balancing act that pits strategy against the optimization of all things technical, and finding that balance is the name of the game. If your technical SEO isn’t tight, however, you won’t even be in the game. This is where strategy comes in, and your goal is figuring out what those other guys (your competition) are up to and optimizing your own online space to ensure it offers more in terms of customer experience, ease of use, visual appeal, and beyond.
What’s in a Year?
2020 was one for the books, and while you may think a pandemic would leave businesses tightening their SEO budgets, this isn’t how it played out. Online sales actually exploded in 2020 – leaving online businesses scrambling to keep up. In fact, a lot of these businesses doubled down on their commitment to optimizing their SEO and kicking their online game up a notch. When the shutdowns began and panic set in, there was an initial overall downturn in business, but the essential role that the digital world plays in what makes our economy tick soon became so glaringly apparent that any doubt soon dissipated – and it was back to the races.
Ready to Bump Up Your SEO Budget?
The fact is that your fiercest competitors may be investing more in SEO than you are, and if they are, it likely shows. Optimizing your SEO drives your business, and no matter what business sphere you’re in, it almost certainly has a stronger online presence today than it did pre-pandemic – and this trend is not going away anytime soon. Ready to talk SEO? The SEO gurus at The Web Guys have got you covered, so please contact us at (317) 805-4933 for more information today.