How much does SEO cost for small businesses?



24 August 2021

SEO is the most crucial part of marketing for small businesses. It's not just about being on Google. It's about how high your website ranks when someone performs a search. SEO isn't something you can do in one day, and SEO isn't always cheap. But it usually pays off in time by leading to more traffic and higher conversion rates than most other marketing strategies. In this blog post, we will discuss what SEO costs for small businesses!

Before diving into the details, let's clear up some basic concepts of SEO!

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the process of optimizing web pages to rank higher in a search engine's results page against your target keyword. SEO can be done on the page level (web pages) or site-wide (homepage and all pages).

The goal is to get free and targeted traffic to your website so you can stop spending fortunes on paid Ad Campaigns. SEO is one of the most important aspects of any business, and it should be a part of every marketing strategy!

How long does SEO take to show results?

It does not happen overnight. The time it takes to rank on Google varies depending on the market you operate in and your competition, but SEO is a long game. More competition means more time is required to rank. That is why SEO Experts look for low and medium competition keywords to start.

Even if you target a low competition keyword, that doesn't mean your website will be on the first page the next day. Google calculates the worth of information you provide by testing your website at different positions, and if your website is performing well, it could be on the first page within a few weeks.

SEO is about carefully and strategically sculpting your content, so Google knows it should be ranking you for essential keywords related to your business.

In short, there is no specific time SEO takes to show results. It is a long-term game, and you must be strategic about your SEO campaign. And when done right, results can be visible in a few weeks or months, depending on how competitive the industry is.

Can you do SEO Yourself?

Yes and no. It depends on your knowledge of SEO and the time you can spend. SEO takes much work, but you can do it yourself if you have the expertise and time to dedicate. This means that SEO might not be the best fit for an entrepreneur's busy schedule or someone who doesn't like learning about SEO as much!

If you are new to SEO, we recommend that you first learn about it. Many free resources on the internet will teach you how to optimize your website to reach the top of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). But anyone can do SEO themselves depending on the competition and the effort and time required to rank for that target keyword.

Here is a list of the top factors that influence SEO campaigns:

  • Niche Research
  • Keyword Research
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Optimized Content
  • On-Page SEO
  • Off-Page SEO
  • Technical SEO

In SEO, the data of your competitors is fundamental, so you can see what they are doing to succeed, and you can replicate (or improve upon) the same process. Finding data is time-consuming if you do it manually, but luckily, some tools can help you spy on your competitors.

Best SEO Tools

Many tools (Free & Paid) in the market can make SEO a lot easier. Here is the list of the Top 15 SEO Tools:

  1. Ahrefs
  2. Moz Pro
  3. SEMrush
  4. Screaming Frog
  5. Google Search Console
  6. Majestic SEO
  7. Keywords Everywhere
  8. KWFinder
  9. Google Keyword Planner
  10. Ubersuggest
  11. Google Trends
  12. SEOQuake
  13. SpyFu
  14. Answer The Public
  15. LSI Graph

These are some of the best SEO tools that you can use to spy on your competitors, help your website rank higher and improve its performance on Google's SERPs.

These tools allow any efforts put into SEO optimization by a webmaster to be profitable, with all the data they need at their disposal when optimizing a website.

How much does SEO cost for small businesses?

It depends if you are doing it yourself or hiring an individual or an SEO company and the competitiveness of the keyword you want to target.

Doing it yourself

Let's say you are doing it yourself; you need to make sure you know what you're doing before you start. You will be spending money mainly on the following things:

Purchasing SEO Tools - Tools prices can range from $10/mo to $999/mo. Make sure you buy the right tools (only the ones you need).

Content - If you are not a writer, you may need to hire a content writer. You can use Freelance Platforms like Upwork to hire writers. Every writer charges a different price, so this is something you can discuss with them.

Off-Page - Depending on the competition, you may need to invest more in Guest Posts, Niche Edits, and other Backlinks. Some websites allow you to write for them, and in turn, you get a contextual backlink for your website. Some of them charge you and give your website a backlink from an already written and published article. It would help to reach out to the respective owners to discuss pricing and terms using their contact information.

You can see, by doing it yourself, there are many variables.

Hiring Someone

The cost of SEO varies from company to company. You need to do your research and find a provider who will give you the best price for an SEO campaign that will satisfy all of your needs.

The final cost varies from site to site. It can typically range anywhere between $400-$3000 per month depending on how competitive the industry is where you are operating (often companies charge more if there's high competition) and what services they offer - like SEO audit or Complete SEO package. Some companies can charge tens of thousands and beyond.

Should I hire an SEO Company?

It is an ongoing process of managing your website and its performance on Google's SERPs which means you need to constantly test new ideas or keep up with the latest changes for it to work. SEO requires patience and dedication, so if this doesn't seem like something you can do yourself, then hiring a professional or a company might be the best option for you.

It also depends on your SEO needs and whether you can afford it. Each SEO Company charges different rates, so what's best for one business may not be the best choice for another depending on their budget and requirements from an SEO campaign. It's always a good idea to do extensive pricing and offerings research before deciding anything.

Whether you do it yourself or hire an SEO company, one thing is understood, SEO is essential!


It is important to note that SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is a very broad term that includes both Free(SEO) and Paid(PPC) marketing tactics, but it is usually used in the PPC context. So when we write SEO vs. SEM, we mean SEO vs. PPC.

SEO is the act of optimizing your website to reach the top spot for free traffic. In contrast, SEM refers to advertising on search engines like Google, YouTube or Bing.

Here are some significant differences between them:

Results Time

SEO involves a longer time frame, usually around six months, to see results, whereas SEM can have instantaneous results. You create an Ad, and once it starts running, you start getting the traffic to your website immediately.

SEO Cost

Usually, people think SEO is free. But, that is not true at all. It can cost little in a low competition niche, but you will have to spend some money (as discussed above). Also, it takes more work and patience, while SEM (PPC campaigns) cost money for the ads themselves, which can be up and running in just a few hours. Whenever somebody clicks on an ad, you pay for the click.


SEO can give you higher CTR (Click-through rates) than SEM because you can see more normal results on SERPs than ads. You have a chance to win a featured snippet that gets most of the clicks. Another reason is human psychology; nobody wants to see an Ad, so many people try to avoid clicking the Ad results.

But that doesn't mean you don't get clicks on your Ad. Google has improved Ad positions and tried to blend them as a normal result apart from that "Ad" written before them.


With a PPC campaign, you can target your exact audience, people that are interested or looking into what you offer. Whereas with SEO, you have some basic targeting, but you can't target the people with some specific Age limit, interests, hobbies, etc., as you can do with Ad Campaigns.

Which one is for you? SEO or PPC?

They both have their pros and cons, SEO can give you a lot of 'free' traffic, but you need to stay on top of SEO changes which require a lot of work.

PPC campaigns are straightforward. Although, you still need to put in many hours optimizing the campaigns if you want to achieve the best return on ad spend (ROAS).

It all depends on what kind of person you are, your business model, and your budget.

If you can wait some months before you see results, SEO is your best choice. On the other hand, if you want to get traffic quickly, then PPC is for you.

If you are running a blog with a low budget, SEO is often the best choice because otherwise, you're paying continuously for the clicks in PPC.

If you have an eCommerce brand or a service website with a reasonable budget, go for PPC. For this type of business, you often want to target specific audiences with specific interests and ages, which is only possible with PPC.

If you have a larger budget or want to see the best results in the short and long term, you may benefit from PPC and SEO. One will give you results in real-time, and the other will provide you with returns over a more extended period.

So that is it for today. I hope we have helped regarding SEO vs. SEM and SEO vs. PPC. If you still have any queries, comment below, and we will get back to you with a reply ASAP.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more SEO & SEM related posts.

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