The SEO Budget: A Cost-Effective Plan for Small Businesses

Selsi Selvia

Selsi Selvia

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Budgeting for SEO: A Cost-Effective Approach for Small Businesses

Table Of Contents

    As long as Google is making changes to search, SEO will remain powerful in digital marketing –probably with new major components because some SEO tactics that were effective in the past may have ceased working.

    Yes, as Google keeps updating its algorithm to provide more relevant search results for users, new SEO implementations will follow. As a result, a business has a lot to keep tabs on to stay on the top of a result page.

    With SEO evolving and Google adjusting around, it does take an effort for a business to stay visible on the SERP. Thus, a business should consider having an SEO team. But the question is how much does an SEO team cost? 

    Bear in mind that there is no standard budget in SEO as every business has its own requirements. In other words, it depends on the business needs and goals.

    And here we are, trying to break down the budget for SEO on the least scale of SEO goals that can be used by a small business as a cost-effective approach to compete in digital markets. 

    Before Creating the SEO Budget

    Planning to have an SEO team is more than about hiring SEO professionals and waiting for them to get the work done. As a business owner, you also need to understand the whole concept of SEO in digital marketing.  Also, trial and error process to understand how this marketing channel will help your business effectively.

    Being aware of how SEO works will help you determine the kind of SEO team your business needs, which gives you an overview of the SEO budget –how many SEO professionals to hire, do you need a content writer in the team, and how much money to allocate for their salary. Including all the benefits regarding the local regulation from the government.

    Not to mention SEO training programs a company should provide and the number of SEO tools to buy. Search Engine Optimization is a complex activity. It requires certain skills and many SEO tools to support the man doing his job. And it takes days to months to master a tool.

    Now that you have got the idea of SEO costs, let’s move into the steps of creating the SEO budget on the least scale of SEO goals, online brand visibility.

    Creating the SEO Budget

    At this point you may think that SEO isn’t cheap –that’s true. Search Engine Optimization is a long-term process, like any kind of investment, SEO takes time to grow. 

    That is why the earlier explanation informed us that the SEO budget is not only about the amount of money you pay, but also the amount of time you are ready to spend for ranging on top results from your business-related websites. 

    But, do not dwell on it. Focus on the business goal because that is what SEO costs depend on. If your business is still around online brand visibility, then you have the chance to maximize your budget as tight as possible just like what we have mapped out on the SEO spending plan below.

    Employee Salary

    Please note that employee salary will differ from one to another because of several factors, e.g years of experience, geographic location, etc.

    Employee salary is one of the most important aspects because this is where most of the budget will end up. As a business with the least scale of SEO goals, it is considered to have at least a junior SEO specialist and junior content writer in the team.

    Based on the research done, junior SEO specialists' average starting salary is $40,754 - $62,534 per year in the United States, while for junior SEO content writers, the average salary range typically falls between $42,726 and $55,136 per year.

    SEO Training

    Provide your team the training program they need. SEO training is one of the best ways for employees to scale up fast in the right way. How much does it cost? Unfortunately there is no definite answer to this question.

    SEO course cost is varied. Some may offer a whole package at $100 to $1,000 or higher. But, the more expensive the course is not always the best. You can choose the one package that suits your team needs and, of course, the SEO budget.

    SEO Tools

    SEO tools save time, especially when it comes to in-depth audits. They help you optimize a website and identify website issues with comprehensive information that you may not be able to monitor otherwise. They make everything more efficient. 

    Are these tools worth the money? Yes. Should we buy all the tools? If your business is not on a limited budget, why not. However, if you have little room in your budget, paid SEO tools can be difficult to fund. A little tip, you do not have to buy all at once.

    Search Analytics: Ahrefs

    Search analytics tools, like Ahrefs, is a mandatory tools in SEO. Ahrefs itself contains multiple tools for google search analytics tasks. It is employed to analyze a website and provides you insight, which can be used to take action, e.g improving the business website. 

    We can also utilize Ahrefs to conduct keyword research. So, it is not only useful for SEO specialists but also content writers. The subscription plans offered by Ahrefs range between $99 - $999 per month.

    SEO Stats: Sequence

    The SEO Budget: A Cost-Effective Plan for Small Businesses

    Figure 1: The display of Sequence Stats Rank dashboard.

    Having SEO Stats with keyword ranking tracker capability should be on your checklist. The ranking is one of the most important aspects of SEO, especially for brand awareness or online brand visibility. The higher a website's position, the bigger chances it will be found by potential customers. Even if they do not visit the website right away, they will certainly notice your website which contributes to brand awareness.

    We personally use Sequence Stats to gain data on our keywords. We can track keywords where we win the snippet feature and where we don’t, or view our keywords with other metrics such as competition, CPC, indexed URL, SERP features, and more. 

    Through all the features offered in Sequence, we are not only able to track keyword position, but also monitor website performance, and competitors with the same targeted keywords, and see our business’ market share.

    Compared to other similar tools, Sequence offers more affordable subscription packages starting from $7 - $67  per month. 

    Free SEO Tools

    Don’t forget to make use of free SEO tools available for better outcomes. These tools certainly will ease webmasters' and writers’ jobs without bothering the SEO budget.

    Time to Learn SEO Tools

    There is always a learning curve in every job, and it could be longer – not always – for junior-level employees to pass it as they still learn the ropes, in this case, SEO tools. That’s why SEO training is required here.

    This long curve of learning may not be good in SEO, especially when we talk about time investment. SEO is about taking action, the sooner the better. So, if you are on a limited SEO budget, make sure you have planned the timeline properly. 


    There are several possible ways to plan an SEO budget at a fair price as long as you know what your business needs and goals to achieve. Suppose your business goal is to make the brand appear on a certain number of keywords without aiming for organic traffic, then the budget planning above could be the option. However, if you plan to set a new goal on a higher scale – targeting organic traffic, and increasing the company’s profit and leads – you may also need to prepare a higher budget.