Why does SEO cost so much? cover image

The costs of SEO are the one thing everyone looking to implement a marketing strategy just cannot seem to stop talking about. Are you sitting there wondering “Why does SEO cost so much?”. We’re here to shed some light on why SEO can seem so expensive, and what paying for SEO really entails.

We should warn, there really isn’t a simple answer to the question. But there are a few reasons that are indicative of why the service may seem costly.

For starters, Google has evolved dramatically over the last few years. More people are relying on the search engine than ever before, which means the digital landscape has become more competitive than ever before.

Secondly, the costs of SEO can vary enormously because unfortunately, there is a significant difference between good SEO and bad SEO. For the purpose of this article, let’s consider why effective SEO is expensive.

Why Do I Need to Pay For SEO?

After building a new website or updating your older one, sitting back and waiting for those leads to come pouring in will quickly become fruitless. While your site may have all the right information on why customers should choose your business, it can be a tough gig trying to work out how to get those customers to your site in the first place. Depending on your niche or industry, there will be hundreds (if not thousands) of competitors vying for the same business as you. So, how do you get customers to choose your website over others in search results?

The answer, my friend, is SEO. Search engine optimisation is the act of improving a website and its content to help it to rank better in search engine results. Organic search accounts for 51% of all traffic that a business receives online. When a potential customer searches for your brand, service, or products, SEO works to put your website right in front of them at the exact moment they are ready to learn more.

average SEO spend by businesses investing in marketing

SEO is not new – in fact, marketers have been learning and trying to understand Google’s search algorithm for years to help websites benefit from organic search traffic. However, in today’s competitive online market, businesses implementing and engaging with SEO agencies are becoming more prevalent than ever. With this growing awareness into the benefits of SEO, it’s the costs that have many business owners scratching their heads over and wondering, “why is SEO so expensive?”

SEO Is an Investment

To be frank, SEO is not expensive. Compared to other marketing methods, including paid advertising, SEO is easily the most cost-effective marketing strategy for a business. Furthermore, effective SEO provides the highest return of investment than any other marketing channel.

Like most marketing strategies, business owners should consider the potential return on investment, rather than the price. If the considerations are shifted towards the cost, the money spent will be viewed as an expense, and not an investment.

As soon as people begin to see SEO for what it is – a business investment – they will no longer consider it to be “expensive”. The money that you put into your SEO campaign accurately reflects how much you’re willing to invest in your own business. If you’re only willing to put a small amount into SEO, you can expect minimal results. And we all know cheap SEO is never good SEO.

Why Does SEO Cost So Much?

When you pay for SEO, you’re paying for an expert to tailor an organic marketing campaign to your business. 93% of online experiences begin with a Google search online. Good SEO costs so much because it means relying on skill, experience, and regular upkeep and maintenance to increase the visibility of your website on those search engine result pages.

Consider it like this: If you were getting your car repaired, you wouldn’t question the inflated costs of a good mechanic over an inexperienced mechanic. You would thank your lucky stars you had an expert working on your vehicle. SEO is no different.

Why Is SEO Expensive?

There are three main reasons to answer the question of “why does SEO cost so much?” or “Why is SEO expensive?”. Firstly, SEO is a long-term game that takes both time and vision. If you can’t afford those things, you can’t afford SEO. Secondly, it takes a lot of work, resource, and strategy to provide effective SEO. SEO experts work tirelessly to gain results in search engine results and will then have to work to sustain those results. Thirdly, an effective SEO campaign will rely on the expertise of an SEO specialist to develop and implement the organic strategies; experience and skill are not cheap.

an explanation of costs involved with SEO

Here’s a breakdown of the main elements you need to consider when asking “why is SEO expensive?”.

1. SEO Is A Long-Term Strategy

Your SEO campaign is not an overnight project. Most SEO campaigns will run from anywhere between 6-12 months, and will hopefully set up a sustainable framework to continue benefiting your business long after the campaign has concluded. Anyone offering “fast-tracked” results is relying on black hat techniques or lies and will only get your website into trouble.

Where a short term PPC campaign may be similar to a sprint, an SEO campaign is definitely a marathon. Improving the visibility of a website takes time, work, and vision. It can often take weeks for pages to be indexed, let alone ranking on the first page of Google. The webmaster guidelines set out by the search engine giant mean that white hat SEO is a sustainable practice that takes a multidisciplinary approach to have a positive effect on a website.

2. SEO Requires Work & Maintenance

Improving the visibility of a website in the search engine results takes both time and effort. Most SEO campaigns are pretty top-heavy and will require a lot of work in the beginning, followed by strategic maintenance and regular upkeep. During these first few weeks or months of a campaign, an SEO expert will be spending a lot of time researching, learning, adapting, and adjusting different elements of a website. Once a website begins to see some positive impacts from SEO, the specialist will need to implement regular upkeep and maintenance to sustain the beneficiary positions in SERPs.

There are so many elements at play when it comes to search engine optimisation. SEOs need to stay ahead of the latest algorithm changes, keep up to date with white hat practices, and continuously adapt to continue providing ethical and impactful practices for websites.

There are more than 200 factors of Google’s algorithm that an SEO expert will need to consider for your website. The price of SEO reflects the work that goes into a campaign, and how SEO addresses these factors to get your website noticed by Google. The work that goes into each campaign includes:

• Site audits
• Market research
• Competitor analysis
• Keyword research
• On-site optimisation
• Off-site optimisation
• Content marketing
• Analysis and reporting

what is involved in an SEO campaign

3. You’re Paying for Expertise

When you engage with a reputable SEO company, you’re relying on their experience and expertise of a specialised service. Within the expanses of digital marketing, SEO is one of the most complicated and technical landscapes to navigate. In comparison to an expert, those who have little experience in SEO will seriously struggle to achieve any tangible results for a website.

Those offering good, high-quality SEO spend all of their time learning, researching, and adapting to the algorithm shifts of Google. The more money you invest in SEO, the higher the quality you can expect to receive the services.

Effective SEO is not a day in the park – it takes hours, days, and months of professional strategy to increase the organic traffic coming onto a website. When it comes to the costs of SEO, you’re paying for expertise and skill in the trade of strategic traffic acquisition.

SEO Costs in Perspective

The reality is, SEO is designed to deliver long-lasting leads, traffic, sales and enquiries for a business. The term “expensive” is relative. A very cheap car is still going to cost more than a cup of coffee, but does that make it expensive?

Some businesses may describe $1,000 a month as expensive, and some may consider up to $10,000 to be reasonable. The term “expensive” really depends on the business, the industry, the budget and what the owner expects to come from an SEO campaign.

Generally speaking, those who have an idea of what SEO can provide for their business are willing to commit more time, money, and energy into their SEO efforts. It’s the business owners who don’t quite understand the fundamentals of SEO that are wondering “Why is SEO so expensive?”.

The reason people have such a hard time wrapping their heads around the costs of SEO is that it is an online service; it can be challenging to commit to spending money on something that does not come in a physical box. Business owners generally do not understand the value of SEO until they have experienced it first-hand. Once you realise the potential of SEO, you’ll begin to understand the importance of good SEO as a service.

Consider Your Business

The reason your website is set up is to attract customers online and make money; either online, in your physical store, or through a service. If customers are not readily finding your business online, what’s the point in having it?

It’s for this very reason that SEO has become a fundamental part of having a business in 2020. Search engine optimisation focuses entirely on ensuring your website is being found by the right people, at the right time. If you cannot afford to invest in the success of your business, then you need to rethink your business priorities.

SEO really does not seem expensive when you realise the potential it can provide for your business. When you work with a reputable SEO expert, your business will benefit immensely from improved search visibility, increased organic traffic, and those powerful, qualified leads driving to your site. If you’d like to learn more about what SEO can do for your business, get in touch with one of the experts at Safari Digital today.

Breanna Golub - Author Information