How Much of Your Marketing Budget Should You Spend on SEO?

We get this question very often – how much should a small to medium-sized business spend on SEO? How much of your marketing budget should you allocate to SEO? There is no single answer to this question, and a lot of SEO professionals and business consultants have their own view on this.

 But there is a complete unanimity on the fact that allocating a part of the marketing budget for SEO is a must for every business. Specifically, you should keep in mind that SEO is a long term commitment. It’s not something that will give you immediate results – unlike Pay-Per-Click adverting or PPC. Even PPC takes time to get the right results. So if you’re looking to invest in SEO, be prepared to stay the course for the long term.

Yes, many people are discouraged by how long SEO takes. Many wonder if investing in something that takes so long to get the desired results is the right thing. Well, it takes time, but make no mistake – you have no choice but to invest in SEO. You should see SEO as a long term and an ongoing effort.

 So paying for an SEO service is something like paying for a utility bill. But the difference here is that the more you spend on SEO and the longer you spend on it, your return on investment is only likely to get more and more impressive. In most cases, an SEO investment takes 12 months to get you the ROI that you expect. If you’re in a highly competitive industry, it may even take 24 months. But ultimately, the hard work as well as your investment will have been very much worth it, because SEO is a gift that simply does not stop giving.

So, most small businesses in Canada allocate $500 to $1500 per month from their marketing budget to search engine marketing. In a survey done by a marketing research firm in the United States, small businesses on an average claimed to spend 36 percent of their marketing budget on SEO. This is double the allotment made to PPC as well as to social media marketing and email marketing. This just goes to show how seriously small and medium-sized businesses in North America take SEO.

Suppose you spend $500 per month of your marketing budget on SEO, like many other small businesses in Canada – what can you really expect with such an investment?

Well, for a start there are things to consider such as how old is your site and are you new to SEO? This is because when you have a new website, the SEO becomes so much more difficult, as establishing the website and making sure it ranks well against competitors takes time and effort.

If you’re competing in a category that’s not competitive enough, then you could probably make do with something lesser than $500 per month. But if you’re in a hyper competitive field, $500 for the SEO may not be enough. So basically, how much you spend on SEO largely depends on your market or niche. Essentially, you will have to outrank the sites that are ahead of you in your category – and this takes a lot of dedicated effort, which does require a certain investment.

Finally, once you’ve decided to go with a certain budget for your SEO, it is important not to spend your entire annual budget in just a couple of months, hoping to get to the top of Google’s SERPs (search engine results pages) in the shortest time possible. SEO, as we said earlier is not a short-term game, and you should not expect instant results.


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