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SEOversite Newsletter #16 – Don’t SEOverspend

Here at SEOversite, we are “The Guardian Angel Watching Over Your Online Presence,” floating among the clouds in the great blue beyond that is digital marketing, steering our clients clear of the turbulent tempests of poorly performing, unvetted vendors and service providers.  Oftentimes, however, we land on one shoulder as your good conscience, helping you fight the devilish temptation on your other shoulder from convincing you to make a misguided investment in your digital marketing and SEO budget by either spending too much or not spending enough, on your website’s monthly search engine optimization.

Before we can roll up the sleeves of our flowing white robes and get to work sourcing proposals from our angelic preferred vendors, we schedule a short call to develop a working knowledge of your business, goals, and budgets.

One of the most common questions business owners ask us is, “What should I spend on SEO every month?”  The answer could be as subjective as the question: A lot?  A little?  Just enough?  These words mean different things to different people just as budgets differ from business to business.  Nevertheless, a pragmatic, didactic approach to discovering your needs, along with a basic understanding of the concept of organic SEO, PPC or website design, can illuminate the appropriate monthly “spend” to produce a long-term return on investment.  Read on for a journey to digital budgeting nirvana.

On an angel wing and a prayer

So many businesses naïve to digital marketing (which, candidly, are most) underspend on their SEO by such a large margin they might achieve better results through focused transcendental meditation (not known to provide consistent results, though the price is right). There is a “minimum acceptable threshold” (MAT) for what one business can spend on one person (a lone wolf search engine optimizer) to get enough hours of work to create a reasonable, perceptible increase in site visibility, unique visitors, and visitor conversions (leads or e-commerce sales). For a robust analysis of where the money goes (answering the second most oft question asked of us, “what am I even getting for the money?”), refer to our previous newsletter on understanding the average pay rate of a web team.

But you want specifics, right? In short, the smallest of small businesses could spend as little as $700 per month and see a several-fold return on investment with an honest, efficient, talented web team. Our average client, achieving annual revenue of a few hundred grand to around 20 million dollars, spend around 2-10k/month. And our larger clients in the 4 to 100 million dollar revenue range average online marketing budgets of 5 to 50 thousand dollars per month. They should almost never spend less, for good reasons, but it is clear that there is much nuance and range based on goals and budgets, which is why we recommend a short discovery call with our team of experts. Because our help is complimentary and we are not the web team itself, we can help you in a more transparent fashion to craft an appropriate and prudent budget for your company.

Web sites have become ubiquitous, as have techniques to increase the chance of those sites being found. Even a one-person business in a one-horse town needs a website to appear legitimate and relevant, and a commensurate monthly expenditure on SEO or other online marketing efforts should be looked at as just another monthly, necessary cost of doing business no different than internet access or electricity. Just as you need power, you need to have someone (or a team) consistently adding dynamic content to your site, updating links from your site to others and vice versa, updating your business’s listing on myriad online directories, along with the dozens of other activities that contribute in aggregate to greater search visibility. That same team needs to also constantly remain abreast of frequent updates to search algorithms to keep your site current, avoid penalties and ensure its authority in the eyes of search engines grows in relation to your competition.

Mo’ money, mo’ pablum

Should you spend $2,000/month?  $4,000/month? $30,000 per month like several of our clients? More? Not if you’re with the wrong team, happy to take the money while providing the same bland, insipid work. If you find the right team (perhaps by trusting one of our fully vetted preferred teams), the more you spend, the more hours of work you generally get dedicated to your site(s), at a higher caliber of experience and training, likely leading to faster, better results. How do you determine the appropriate indefinite monthly spend, though? Look at your business’ metrics, and find the “break-even” first.

If you sell widgets with an average price of $5000, and your profit on each widget is $2000, you need just one extra sale every two months to cover every thousand dollars you invest every month on organic SEO. If you have a lower-cost, higher-volume product with an average order of $50, and your profit per sale is $20, you need an extra 50 sales every month to cover every thousand dollars. Every additional sale is delicious, proverbial gravy.

Once your business starts seeing a return on investment, you can consider reinvesting and growing your monthly budget.   Those additional funds can gradually increase the number of hours spent building the site’s authority, and/or invest in other aspects of digital marketing such as pay per click, live chat, app or mini-site development, or reputation management. Compared to “traditional” marketing, digital marketing offers a greater ability to track visitors and conversions, allowing businesses to be much more agile when determining ROI.  As the angel on your shoulder, we will caution you to adjust your budget slowly and deliberately if needed.

To make a long story short, there is an immense upside to digital marketing, however, the devil is in the details. Do you need monthly SEO?  Yes.  Have you determined your MAT of SEO investment?  Use the simple equation above.  Need help sorting through the details and finding the right team? Give us a call. With the right team and the right support, you can quickly determine whether the juice is worth the squeeze. If you’d like to learn more or simply want our well-founded opinion on the “state of the union” of your website(s), reach out to us today at

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