Trudy Seeger
Trudy Seeger 18 March 2020

Logical Ways of Deciding on the SEO Budget

It is always a problem for the company management to decide on how much the budget for SEO should be. It can be quite difficult for the marketing team to evaluate SEO tasks like keyword optimisation, technical SEO and more, let alone come up with an ROI figure.

Any figure allocated to SEO spending seems to be completely arbitrary and one never really knows whether the budget is too little or too much. In this kind of a scenario, it can be useful to adopt a strategy that can arrive at a logical SEO budget. Here are some practical ways to come up with an SEO budget. 

Overall Online Marketing Budget

It is well known that it can be very difficult to decide what the overall marketing budget should be. On top of that, you have to allocate the budget for digital marketing and then carve out a portion for search engine optimisation. Of course, there are a huge amount of resources, both offline and online dedicated to budget allocation; however, one of the most common approaches include a flat sum of money that you can afford.

This method can be the least accurate but it does offer the greatest simplicity. Another method is to allocate a certain percentage of your sales to marketing activities. This has the benefit of being more accurate as well as less difficult. You can also decide to allocate a marketing budget based on what your competitors are spending.

This is often necessary when certain players are pushing hard to grab a larger share of the market and you need to defend yourself. It can be difficult to know how much your competitors are spending. The most logical way is to decide on a budget that aligns well with the marketing objectives; however, despite being the most accurate, it can be difficult to calculate.

After arriving at the overall marketing budget, you will need to allocate figures to conventional marketing and digital marketing. You will need to further breakdown the digital marketing budget to the different heads of cost such as staff salaries, website development and maintenance, buying or subscribing to tools, and more.

It is natural to focus more on the channels that drive the maximum traffic and/or revenues. You should also keep a sharp eye out if any of your channels seem to be out of sync with the industry norms because then it is possible that you would need to allocate extra funds to get it back on track and aligned with the industry average. However, it has to be appreciated that every company and every industry is different, so you may need to experiment until you get the allocation right, according to

Paid Search Spend

The spend on paid search can be a very good reference for SEO budget allocation because at the end of the day both are methods for driving traffic to the website in the hope of conversions. You can take your current spending of Google AdWords as something to compare your SEO budget with. For example, if your current paid advertising budget is $10,000 per month, you could allocate an SEO budget that may range from an optimal 4 times to even half of your PPC budget depending on how confident you are about SEO. You should, however, be ready to spend at least an equivalent amount of what your PPC budget is so that you can more easily establish which method is working better for you. Almost all online marketing experts agree that spending too much on PPC without considering an adequate budget for SEO is not a very good idea. 

One of the reasons, why some marketers love PPC more than SEO, is that the results are immediately measurable while SEO usually takes a lot of time to make itself felt. However, the benefits of SEO are more long-lasting. How much to spend on SEO is also a function of the type of industry because it is evident that in some industries that are more mature like banking and insurance, automobiles, the cost per click can be very high and so it makes more sense to plow the money into SEO.

However, if you are a well-funded startup or a new company trying to make a rapid market entry it may be more worthwhile to allocate your budget to PPC as you may be making constant tweaks to your product or service mix and any long-term investment into SEO may not be advisable. According to Search Engine Journal, it can easily cost $500 to execute a local SEO campaign.

Pages That Drive the Maximum Revenues

As most marketers know, it can be relatively very tough to get good quality backlinks to the pages that drive revenues such as lead generation pages or product pages on an e-commerce website. Due to this, SEO is employed as a strategy to lift the content of the site for better visibility. However, rather than focusing on the entire site, it is certainly far better to focus the attention of the SEO on the pages that drive the maximum revenues.

You can select the top product pages that perform very well in paid search or advertisements but lag behind in organic traffic and implement a powerful SEO campaign on them in a sustained manner for a specific period of around 12 months or so that you can measure the impact of your SEO while being able to rule out fluctuations due to other factors in the environment. The SEO plan for these identified pages can revolve around creating useful and value-added content and also obtaining high authority links to the pages directly.

The plan has the merit of being extremely focused and the outcomes too are measurable. Instead of spreading precious resources to boost the SEO for the entire site that may easily have thousands of pages, focusing on the top-performing pages is a wise thing to do, especially when there is a resource constraint.


Because of the perceived difficulty in arriving at a rational SEO budget, many marketers tend to ignore the process altogether and allocate an arbitrary amount that is usually too less to achieve any significant results. Since it can be tough to build an optimal budget, it may be well worth your time to engage a professional digital marketing agency.

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