You’ve set your B2B marketing budget, but deciding what to spend and where can stall your progress. As you know, there's no silver bullet or single angle that will boost your bottom line. Instead, an integrated digital strategy is necessary if you want results. SEO is a crucial part of that integrated strategy, and the best way to determine how much of your budget should go to SEO is to start by examining your overall plan of action.
Be Specific When Setting Your SEO Budget
SEO is a broad term that can apply to a number of individual tasks. When setting your SEO budget, first consider which avenues you'll be heading down to reach your goals:
- Content. Your content is the backbone of your digital marketing strategy. Your goal should always be to get the highest quality content you can afford — even if it means fewer content pieces. What does your current content library look like?
- Video. According to one source, video will take up over 80 percent of all internet traffic by 2021. If your current content library doesn't include video, now is the time to start production.
- Targeting. Today's buyers expect a high-quality experience that feels like it was custom made just for them. Make sure you're allocating enough resources to take a deep dive into understanding your audience so you can meet those expectations.
- Link Building. This is one of those behind-the-scenes SEO tactics that is very necessary, but sometimes overlooked. When other authoritative websites link back to your digital assets, search engines see it as validation and are likely to rank you higher. You'll get some backlinks naturally — that is, links built by readers without prompting. However, direct action is still necessary for the best results. New businesses should invest more money toward link building to establish links from authoritative websites as soon as possible.
Different Strategies for New vs. Established Businesses
Newer businesses (or those new to SEO) may need to invest more heavily in SEO as they work to achieve a broader market share and brand awareness. Specifically, businesses new to SEO should focus on the following, according to Search Engine Land:
- Developing a fast, mobile-friendly website
- Informative blog content
- Basic on-page SEO (such as optimized titles and meta descriptions)
- Local SEO best practices
- Building authority through links
- Case studies, reviews and testimonials
But even more established, larger businesses still need SEO, as the vast majority of online experiences still begin with a search engine. Your competitors likely have an SEO strategy too, and regardless of your market share, they could outrank you in search results if you don’t further develop a long-term SEO strategy that involves content marketing and link building.
And even if you have such a strategy in place, you also need to ensure you stay on top of search engine algorithm updates that could quickly change your rank. Thanks to Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, for example, new businesses can compete with established ones on search engine results pages (SERPs). That’s because Google now rewards high-quality, relevant content, not who’s spending the most money to try to rank the highest.
Other issues that can crop up over time for established businesses include broken links and missing images as web pages are reworked and reorganized. Outdated website design, lack of mobile optimization, and poor response time can point to the need for a technical upgrade.
Make sure you take all of these factors into consideration when you’re organizing your B2B marketing budget.
Consider the Big Picture
While the primary objective of SEO is to boost your ranking in search engine results, there are still several important ways of making sure your buyers find your content online. Promoting your content with a healthy mix of organic and paid options is essential to achieving a steady stream of new traffic to your website. This can include paid search listings, display advertising, social media campaigns, and more.
Plus, it's not enough to just drive more traffic to your website. You also want visitors to stick around and read your pages, and eventually convert into leads or sales. You'll want to make sure you're allocating enough resources to optimizing landing pages, forms, and other lead-generation pages on your website.
So, How Much for SEO?
According to a survey from Moz, the majority of businesses in the US are spending under $5,000 per month on SEO. Around 40 percent dedicate less than $1,000 and around 15 percent are spending between $5,000 and $10,000.
Of course, there's a tremendous range of businesses in those numbers. Those on the higher end are likely to be big companies with plenty of revenue and challenging goals. The smaller end either has easy goals, low competition, or less revenue to draw from.
Where does that leave you? Rather than searching for a single number, look at your entire B2B marketing budget and your overall strategy. Then, determine which digital marketing strategies will be the most effective for reaching your goals and allocate accordingly.
Lastly, it is essential to evaluate your progress frequently throughout the year. That way, you can see which strategies are giving you the best results and which need a bit of attention. While it's important to give your strategies time to work, you'll make the most of your budget when you rely on fresh data and adjust your spending as you go.