What are the costs for search engine optimization?

Veröffentlicht: 23. June 2022

There are many discussions about the ROI of SEO. Many people are convinced that SEO is a waste of money, while others swear by its effectiveness.

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle – SEO definitely has the potential to bring in a lot of sales, but it’s not always easy to capitalize on that potential.

In this article, we want to look at the costs of search engine optimization. We take a closer look at how SEO costs are made up, how much SEO can cost and what kind of budget you should plan for in order to achieve sustainable results.

How does SEO work and what activities are involved?

Before we look at the individual cost factors, let’s take a quick look at the measures required for effective search engine optimization.

SEO is a long-term investment that can bring your company a lot of benefits. But how exactly does it work?

SEO is the process of optimizing a website for search engines. The aim of SEO is to improve the ranking of a website on the search engine results pages (SERP). This can be achieved by optimizing the content, structure and on-page elements such as titles, meta tags and anchor text.

SEO also includes the development of off-page SEO strategies such as link building. The aim of off-page SEO is to bring links and mentions from other websites to your own website.

This increases the authority and trustworthiness of your website and helps it to rank better on search engine results pages.

So we can see that there are many different sub-areas / tasks involved in optimizing your site. Depending on their scope, these cause corresponding effort and costs.

Let’s start with on-page optimization and take a look at the question: What does SEO cost?

Costs for OnPage SEO

The primary tasks here are the technical optimization of your website, the creation or revision of content and, if necessary, the adaptation of layout & structure to ensure the best possible user-friendliness.

Technical optimization

Fast loading times, ensuring smooth crawling and indexability and optimizing your HTML & URL structure are the primary tasks in technical SEO optimization.

The costs for this will be higher or lower depending on the size of your site. If you have a larger website or a store with thousands of URLs, the effort is of course correspondingly higher than for a small company website with 20 URLs.

Of course, the starting position of your site also plays a role. If it is in a technically catastrophic state, it needs to be improved more than a properly developed site.

Depending on the size and condition of your website, you should therefore budget a few hundred to a thousand euros per month for technical SEO.

Content creation

The second major area of on-page optimization is the content of your website. Text content is still primarily meant here. Since the content of your website is an extremely important factor for the ranking of your website, this area should also be given special attention.

It’s not just about writing any text – your content needs to be well-researched, well-written and, of course, keyword-optimized so that it can be found by your target group on Google & Co.

Tip: You can find instructions for creating SEO texts here

Writing a few blog texts “on the side” will not achieve any effective results here.

Creating good content takes a lot of time and effort. Depending on the length, complexity and topic of your texts, you should budget several hundred to several thousand euros per month for content creation.

Usability & Design

Although this area is not a classic task of an SEO agency, the overlap between the two disciplines has become ever greater in recent years, so I would like to include this point here.

Because even the best content and a perfectly technically optimized site will not work well if it is not properly accepted by users.

User-friendliness and an appealing design are very important to keep users on your site and encourage them to take the desired action (e.g. buy a product).

The costs for the creation or revision of design & usability range from a few thousand to several tens of thousands of euros, depending on the effort involved.

Here, too, the starting position naturally plays a major role. If your website is already user-friendly, optimally designed for mobile devices and has a solid conversion rate, this budget is certainly better invested in other areas of SEO work.

Costs for OffPage SEO

So far, we have only dealt with the costs of on-page optimization. Off-page optimization is about strengthening your website through external factors (such as backlinks).

The competitive situation plays a very important role here, as the costs for off-page optimization depend very much on it.

If you are only competing with a handful of smaller websites, you won’t need too many backlinks to establish yourself in the top 3.

The situation is completely different if you are active in a highly competitive niche. Here you will not be able to avoid link building if you want to achieve a significant position.

Although the rumor “you don’t need backlinks to rank” has been circulating a lot lately, anyone who has ever been/is active in a more competitive niche will be able to confirm that this is simply not true.

If you want to convince me otherwise, show me a website that has achieved a top 3 ranking for relevant keywords in the finance or casino sector without backlinks.

The cost of building backlinks therefore depends entirely on how much competition you have.

For smaller regional companies that focus specifically on local SEO, a mid three-digit amount per month for link building can be completely sufficient. Links may not even be necessary.

For national or international SEO campaigns, you should budget at least a four-digit amount per month for backlinks; depending on the competition, five-digit amounts are also possible.

Further costs for SEO

In addition to the costs listed above, there are several other factors that influence the price of search engine optimization.

At the start of every campaign, for example, keyword research, a website audit and the development of an SEO strategy are carried out. Again, the costs vary depending on the scope and objective of the project. You should budget at least €1000 for this.

However, these are usually one-off costs and are therefore not so significant.

Depending on the design, additional costs for tools, reporting, meetings, etc. may be incurred. Every agency does this differently.

How can costs be reduced?

The costs for search engine optimization are highly dependent on the goals and scope of the project.

However, there are a few ways in which you can reduce costs:

  • Focus on long-term cooperation. Most agencies grant discounts if you opt for a longer term.
  • Choose less competitive keywords. Building backlinks for highly competitive keywords is very time-consuming and expensive.
  • If necessary, your in-house team can help with content creation. This can save a lot of costs for agencies or freelancers.
  • Acquire a basic knowledge of SEO for your team. Many simple, smaller technical tasks can then be carried out by yourself. Take a look at my step-by-step SEO guide on how to implement it yourself.

So how much do I need to budget for SEO?

There is no universal answer to this question. The costs for search engine optimization depend very much on the respective project.

A small local company that only wants to be found well in its region (keyword local SEO) can already work effectively with just under €1000 per month.

For SMEs that want to tackle keywords on a national level, a budget of around €2000 – €5000 / month is recommended.

For international SEO campaigns and larger companies, the costs usually start from €5,000 – €10,000 per month. There is hardly any upper limit here.

What about SEO offers for a few hundred euros a month?

I’m sure you’ve already found offers for a few hundred euros a month. Can’t you also achieve results with it?

Personally, I would be very skeptical here. Take another look at the above-mentioned measures and consider to what extent you can work here to a reasonable extent.

At a standard hourly rate of €100, a provider could then work on your site for perhaps 3 hours a month. Content, links etc. must also be covered here. Basically, you quickly realize that this can’t work!

Conclusion – The cost of search engine optimization

The costs for SEO can vary greatly depending on the size and scope of the project and the competitiveness of the target keywords.

However, there are some ways to reduce costs, such as long-term partnerships with an agency, choosing less competitive keywords and having your own staff help with content creation.

Further costs for SEO may be incurred depending on the design, each agency works slightly differently here.

Hannes Kaltofen

Hannes Kaltofen

Gründer & Geschäftsführer

Seit über 7 Jahren in den SERPs unterwegs. Dank SEO konnte Ich das Affiliate Marketing, Blogging und Agenturgeschäft kennelernen und helfe Unternehmen tagtäglich bei ihrer Sichtbarkeit.

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