How much to spend on SEO depends on many factors, including your SEO opportunity, competition, how much needs to be fixed or set up, and how much work you’re willing to do in-house.

1) How big is your SEO opportunity?

From an investment standpoint, if you see a big opportunity to generate a lot of new customers from search engines, then it’ll make more sense to invest more dollars into SEO. On the other hand, if you have a relatively small market (and there aren’t many people searching for your services), then you’ll probably want to limit your SEO budget.

2) How strong is your competition?

Generally, the larger your market size, the more competition you’ll be facing. For example, if you’re trying to show up in Google in a small town, you’ll face less competition than if you’re trying to show up in Google’s local results in New York City. And you’ll face even more competition if you’re trying to appear in national e-commerce results.

3) How much is already in place, and how much needs to be set up or fixed?

If your website isn’t set up properly for SEO and you have a lot that needs to be set up (or fixed), then you’ll need to budget more for SEO. On the other hand, if your SEO is already set up properly, but you’re just looking for help with a specific aspect of your SEO, you wouldn’t need to budget as much.

Here are some numbers to help guide your budgeting process, based on our experience working with hundreds of small business clients.

  • Starter SEO Budget: If you’re just starting out with SEO, or if you’re operating in a small local market, we recommend a budget of approximately $500/month.
  • Standard SEO Budget: For most small businesses who have a bit more budget, or are operating in a larger market (such as a city, rather than a town, for example), we typically recommend a $1,000/month budget.
  • Premium SEO Budget: If you’re looking to gain national exposure, then you’ll need more budget. Or, if you’ve got an e-commerce business with hundreds of products and thousands of pages, you’ll need a higher budget in order to optimize your entire website. For businesses in these categories, we generally recommend a $2,000/month budget.

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