Average SEO Budget For Small Businesses

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SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization, is vital for establishing yourself as an authority in your industry, attracting visitors to your website, and promoting your small business without incurring any costs.

Small businesses often face significant challenges when it comes to SEO. One of the biggest hurdles is poor keyword selection. Selecting the right keywords is essential for ranking higher on search engines and driving traffic to a website. If a small business chooses the wrong keywords, it may struggle to attract visitors and miss out on potential customers. Poor SEO practices typically stem from a lack of expertise.

In addition, small businesses often struggle to find the time to consistently implement and maintain an effective SEO strategy. SEO requires regular updates and monitoring to keep up with changing search engine algorithms and online trends. Small business owners may find it difficult to prioritize SEO while managing other aspects of their business.

Hiring small business SEO services can help these companies make SEO work for them. This article provides valuable information to small business owners who are looking to invest in SEO but may be unsure of how much they should budget for it.

Factors Affecting SEO Budget for Small Businesses

Business size

A bigger business may need to allocate a greater SEO budget to effectively compete within their industry.


The competitiveness of an industry can also affect SEO budget allocation. Some industries, such as finance or legal, are highly competitive and require a more significant investment in SEO to achieve visibility.

Target market

If a business is aiming for a highly specific niche market, it may need to invest less in SEO compared to a business targeting a broad audience.


If many competitors are vying for the same keywords and audience, a business may need to invest more heavily in SEO to stand out.

Goals and objectives

A business looking to achieve high rankings for a broad range of keywords might be forced to spend more than a business with more modest goals.

Number of pages

A larger website may require more extensive keyword research, optimization, and link-building efforts to achieve high rankings.

Current site rankings

If a business is already ranking well for its target keywords, it may be able to assign fewer resources to SEO maintenance and optimization.

The site’s current technical and content state

If the site has technical issues or lacks high-quality content, more work might be required to optimize and improve its search engine rankings.

Types of SEO Services

The types of SEO services that a business chooses to invest in can have a significant impact on its SEO budget. First, here are brief definitions of the types of SEO small businesses typically deal with:

  • On-page SEO: optimizes the content and HTML source code of a website to improve its visibility and relevance to search engines.
  • Off-page SEO: optimizes factors outside of a website such as building backlinks from other websites and social media marketing.
  • Technical SEO: optimizes the technical elements of a website, often including improving site speed and mobile-friendliness.
  • Local SEO: optimizes a website to improve its visibility for local search queries.

On-page SEO may require less investment compared to off-page SEO, which typically involves more extensive content creation and outreach efforts. Technical SEO may also require a significant investment depending on the complexity of a website’s technical issues and the level of optimization required.

In addition, local SEO may require a different type of investment compared to national or global SEO efforts, as it may involve more localized keyword research, content creation, and citation building.

How Much Should Small Businesses Spend on SEO?

Ultimately, the amount a small business should spend on SEO will depend on its unique situation. Experts highly recommend consulting with a professional SEO agency to develop a customized strategy and budget that aligns with their goals and objectives.

Small businesses that cannot afford to outsource their SEO may opt for a DIY approach. Depending on the type of SEO, this typically involves conducting keyword research, creating content based on the research, and monitoring the performance of the content. To achieve the best results, these tasks must be done consistently over time. Even still, results vary based on the person tasked with the job.

Professional SEO services come with a cost, unlike free solutions. However, small businesses can choose to pay someone else to handle all the aspects of SEO for them.

The Cost of Cheap SEO Services

While it may be tempting for small businesses to opt for cheap SEO services, it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with low-quality SEO. The reality is that not all SEO services are created equal.

Low-quality SEO services often use outdated techniques that can harm a website’s visibility and ranking in search engine results pages. This can result in a website being penalized or even banned from search engines altogether, which can have a significant negative impact on the business’s online reputation.

Additionally, the cost of fixing mistakes made by cheap SEO services can far outweigh the initial savings. Fixing these mistakes can be time-consuming and expensive. In some cases, this might even require a complete website redesign. In the end, it may have been more cost-effective for the business to invest in high-quality SEO services from the beginning.

Finding the Right SEO Service for Your Small Business

Do your research

Start by researching potential SEO providers online and reading reviews and testimonials from previous clients. Look for providers that have experience working with businesses similar to yours and have a track record of success.

Look at expertise

You should choose an SEO provider that has a deep understanding of the latest SEO trends and techniques. Look for providers that have been in business for several years and have a team of experienced SEO professionals on staff.

Compare rates

Different SEO providers may offer different packages and pricing structures. Obtaining quotes from each one can help you compare options to help you pick the one that best meets your business’s needs and budget.

Ask questions

When you are considering hiring an SEO provider, you should ask the right questions to make an informed decision. Some of the key questions to ask include:

What is your approach to SEO?

They should be able to provide a clear strategy.

Have you worked with businesses similar to mine before?

If they have, then they might be a good fit for your company.

How do you track and report on results?

To achieve the desired results with minimal resource costs, it’s essential to track progress regularly.

Do you offer any guarantees or commitments?

No SEO provider can guarantee specific results. Nonetheless, the SEO provider must be able to commit to improving your website’s ranking and visibility to some extent.

Budget for SEO, Budget for Success

Investing in high-quality SEO services is crucial for small businesses to improve their website’s visibility and attract more targeted traffic. When budgeting for SEO services, small businesses need to consider factors such as their business size, industry, target market, competitors, goals and objectives, number of pages, and the site’s current technical and content state.

Working with a reputable and experienced SEO provider can help small businesses achieve higher website rankings, attract more targeted traffic, establish credibility and authority, and avoid costly mistakes and penalties. Know what you want and can afford, do your due diligence, and hire an SEO to help you get and keep your company on track to success and growth.

About The Author

Matthew Post

Matthew Post

Matthew Post has dedicated over two decades to building and optimizing websites. He has worked in-house for nationwide e-commerce companies and large local firms to increase customer engagement through conversion rate optimization and search engine optimization. His expertise covers both the development and growth of digital properties.