How much should SEO cost?

By Aaron Rudman-Hawkins
November 14, 2019

As an SEO agency, we often get asked this question. Every day, people enquire about the cost of SEO, unsure of how much they should be spending per month, and why.

With so many SEO agencies out there promising the earth, knowing how much to realistically spend on your SEO can get confusing. In this blog post we’ll touch on the real cost of SEO. We’ll go into detail about how much money you need to invest to see a difference, and why. This can give greater clarity, so you can work out a realistic budget for your SEO campaign.

SEO Budgeting in a Nutshell

It’s all very well and good throwing money at a company, but if you fail to see results, things can soon turn sour. We see this time and time again, as agencies offer SEO to their clients for peanuts. False promises are made, and you find yourself largely relying on blind faith, which leads to poor results and under delivering on targets.

Why does this happen?

Because the SEO budget isn’t big enough.

A Realistic SEO Budget

Many agencies offer a range of services for a range of prices. For example, you may be quoted as low as £200 or £300 a month for SEO.

With SEO budgeting, remember; if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

A few months in, when you see no difference, it can be frustrating. With agencies or one-man bands offering the earth with such a low budget, a pattern emerges. There is usually a client lifespan of about 6 months; clients do not see results, and see their SEO is not working. This is exactly the kind of experience that gives SEO a bad name.

Spin it around; if you were offering a service that took time, resources, effort and manpower, would you sell it cheaply? Well, the same applies to SEO. SEO can make a huge difference to your inquiries, leads, and sales. But this can only happen when it is done right.

SEO is labour intensive. It takes time, hours, days, to devise appropriate strategies. An agency will need to devote time to the technical aspects of your campaign, including:

  • Website audits
  • Keyword research
  • Data analytics

Additionally, there is a necessary amount of time devoted to strategising and producing great content.

There are many plates to spin to do SEO right and see an increase in ROI with inquiries leads and sales. This simply can’t be achieved with a nominal budget of £300 / £400 a month.

Would you yourself offer your services for that little amount of money?

How Much Should I Spend on SEO?

Okay, time for the truth. Consider your SEO campaign as the equivalent of a salary. Regardless of whether you have one person or 50 people working on your campaign, you need one salary’s worth of marketing to spend. This is because of all the elements involved in creating and implementing an SEO campaign that works.

Any reputable agency should be quoting you figures that are at least a starter salary. Look to budget anywhere between £15,000 – £25,000 or more to deliver SEO. Let’s say you budget 20,000, which is a good start. This works out at around £1,500 a month. Think about how much more can be achieved with £1,500 a month, as opposed to £300 a month. Makes sense, yes?

With a larger monthly budget, an agency can devote at least 3 or 4 days a month to your SEO campaign alone. Any less than this, and an agency will only spend about a day on your campaign. Now, how much work is realistically achievable in a day?

With several days, more work can be done, and real time can be spent on the campaign. SEO isn’t something you can dip in and out of. You need an individual plugging away at your campaign every week, keeping up to date with technical analysis, researching great ideas for content, and feeding ideas back and forth so you can see what’s going on and what’s needed.  

With a larger budget and a dedicated amount of time spent, you will actually garner real results, as more time, effort and resources have been spent on the campaign. It really is that simple.

Is SEO Worth the Investment?

At this point, you may be wondering if SEO is a worthwhile investment. That’s a fair enough question; after all, one salary is a big investment. There’s no getting away from that.

There is an easy way to see if SEO will be worthwhile, depending on how much traction and exposure your products are getting online. One simple way to check this? Google Search Console.

Similar to Google Analytics, GSC is an easy way to check out what people are searching for and how often your page is showing up on google. There is 16 months’ worth of data on GSC. Type in your company URL and filter performance by ‘Clicks’ and ‘Impressions’. The ‘Impressions’ column will show you how many times customers search for that keyword or key term. This could be in the thousands, 100,000, – the number will vary depending on how niche a product or service you provide.

What’s next? Clicks. This is the amount of actual clicks your pages are getting. You could have 50,000 impressions and shedloads of potential, as this is the amount of people who are theoretically searching for your product that month.

However, if your clicks number is low, this is because you aren’t showing up in the first few pages of Google, or aren’t ticking the right boxes to attract customers. This is where SEO comes in. With a successful campaign, Google will push your page higher in the rankings. Achieve this, and you will see your click-through rate increase. If your page does not rank in the top 15, 30, 40, 50 pages with few clicks, compared to impressions, then implementing SEO will be worthwhile.


You shouldn’t stop there, though. Even if you are on page 1, or in the top 10, the internet gets competitive, so SEO is always worthwhile. It’s important to keep on your toes, and to consistently sustain a top ranking, you need good SEO.

You can also see your average position for a specific key term in Search Console. This is super handy if you want to hone in on a specific topic or service which has great potential for an increase in traffic.

Top Tip: You should be aiming for a position between 1-7 on Google Search Console, as this will mean you’re likely on the front page when people search for a key term related to your page.

When you see those impressions, you will see how much potential growth there is. If you have a low click-through rate or poor position, it is because potential customers aren’t finding you. And how can you change that? With great SEO.  

You can check out GSC yourself, and from this work out if SEO is a worthwhile investment.

The Takeaway

For a successful, well delivered SEO campaign that sees noticeable results and an increase in inquiries, leads, and sales, be realistic.

Use common sense; would you do that job for that amount of money? The answer is there in itself. Great SEO is achievable if you are working with a realistic budget to deliver it.  

If you’re keen to learn more about the subject, our blog is regularly updated with the latest news from the world of SEO. If that’s not enough, then our free SEO knowledgebase can help you get to grips with the basics if you’re looking to learn more. 

Check out our Linkedin video that goes into detail on this subject, or watch below.

If you’re still musing over your options or considering investing in SEO, reach out to us. Give us a ring on 01865 306889 or contact us via our website. We can get a conversation going, and scope out potential options.

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