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Is SEO Worth it in 2022? How Much Should SEO Cost?

by | May 12, 2022 | SEO

It’s not unusual for business owners or managers to be skeptical about making provisions for SEO in their company’s marketing budget, often wondering if it’s even worth the effort.

It is understandable considering that, unlike paid advertising, there is no platform-specific dashboard that offers an easy way to compare their daily spending with conversion revenue.

Whatsmore, with all the technical jargon, it can seem as if SEO providers are trying to position themselves as SEO gurus rather than serious service providers. Business owners end up deciding that SEO probably won’t work, at least not for them.

The data, on the other hand, shows otherwise.

This post will analyze the data to decide if SEO is still worth it for 2022.

SEO: How Costly is It?

SEO firms will often cite a study that’s now a decade old to argue that the average monthly budget for SEO is around $5,000. Things are different today, however. With more agencies and freelancers throughout the industry than ever before, prices have significantly changed.

The current average cost of SEO can range from $80 to $30,000 and depends on service type, duration, and frequency. For example, the average hourly SEO rate is between $80 and $200 an hour, while monthly SEO prices range between $750 and $2,000 per month, and one-time (project-based) SEO costs average between $5,000 and $30,000.

Currently, nearly 75% of SEO freelance consultants and agencies work on monthly retainers, and, surprisingly, most monthly SEO plans are actually cheaper today than just a decade ago. Yet, prices vary between companies to the point where averages become practically useless. Lower monthly SEO fees reflect the fact that more small businesses are investing in basic SEO services now more than ever.

When more than half of SEOs charge in excess of $80 an hour, you can’t expect to get much from someone charging monthly retainers of a couple of hundred dollars.

SEO Prices Depend on Many Factors

In any industry, including SEO, you indeed end up getting what you paid for. The cost of SEO will depend on the business size, its goals, and its target markets. So, to think that multinational companies offering hundreds of products could get quality SEO on a $100 a month retainer is rather absurd.  

Of course, Enterprise SEO represents a whole other ballgame than SEO for small businesses. The marketing budget of your average small company isn’t going to have $10,000 to cover the cost of SEO.

However, planning and implementing quality SEO strategies require time as well as expertise. So, anyone who thinks that they will secure world-class SEO for a price that is less than their monthly Starbucks spend is fooling themselves.

When you treat SEO as if it were just another expense, you’ll be tempted to go for the cheapest available option, but, in actuality, SEO is one of your business’s most significant investment opportunities.

Imagine you were going to open a restaurant or a store. You’d choose your location based on where you can get the most foot traffic. Think of SEO in the same way, and the only difference is that the foot traffic (potential customers) are actively seeking your specific products or services.

Think about your SEO spending as if it were real estate. If you were opening a new restaurant or store, you’d be targeting areas with regular foot traffic. When you can get your business out in front of those people 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year-round, the outcome can be a true game-changer.

If you are unwilling or unable to pay for this service, you can expect to invest your valuable time using trial and error.

SEO: Is It Effective? Can it Generate Sales?

SEO is incredibly effective not only in generating traffic but in generating leads and generating sales. That isn’t an empty statement because there is plenty of data to back it up.

A true expert can plan SEO campaigns that deliver not only traffic but also conversions and sales. When done correctly, SEO will attract potential consumers in the most beneficial buying cycle stages. For B2B businesses, SEO is shown to generate more revenue than every other digital marketing channel combined. SEO generates 44% of revenue across every industry.

These are numbers a business owner simply cannot afford to ignore.

Best of all, if done right, a business can see measurable results from a solid SEO campaign within three months or even less. However, if you decide not to go all the way, you should expect it to take much longer. If you opt for a DIY model, partially outsource, or go with the cheapest available option, there’s no telling when you will see results, if ever.

The bottom line is that SEO is one of the most effective ways to generate traffic, increase sales, and build brand awareness.

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