How Much Time and Resources Should I Devote to SEO?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is sort of like studying for a test; there’s always more you can do to prepare, and you are never really sure you are done.

There are three primary components to an SEO campaign:

  1. Technical – The way your site is developed can have an impact on how well Google indexes your site. If your site loads too slowly or isn’t designed well for a mobile device for instance, this can negatively impact how well it will show up in search results. Other components such as the site structure, sitemaps and META data will also have an effect on your rankings. There are thousands of articles to help you with the technical aspects of your SEO campaign including this one: https://searchenginewatch.com/2018/05/25/the-12-most-important-elements-of-a-technical-seo-audit/.

  2. Content – The amount and quality of the content you have on your site will impact your search results. If you are writing a blog for instance and you consistently post articles every week you will certainly see an improvement in your search traffic. Blog articles with 1,500 or more words will usually perform better than blog articles with 500, a daily frequency will perform better than a weekly or monthly and when you publish more than 50 articles you will also see a bump in traffic.

  3. Links – The number and quality of the links from other sites to yours will have a large impact on your search traffic. Setting up links from directories, social media profiles and working community sites such as Quora and Reddit are popular options for link building but can take a
    tremendous amount of time.

So, how much time you devote to this project depends on your strategy. I listed out some factors to help answer this question.

  • Do you offer a product or service that people search for? If not, then no need to waste time on SEO. Your resources are better spent on awareness and display ads.

  • What’s your budget? If you have a total annual marketing budget of over $250k, then you should consider spending a minimum of 10% of that budget towards SEO. If you have a limited or minimal budget then SEO may be your only option and you’ll have to do most of the work yourself.

  • How much does it cost to get a click from a paid search ad for your primary key phrases? If you are forced to pay several dollars per click to get included in the search results, then you should have a longer-term SEO campaign. If it’s relatively cheap to get clicks then the cost benefit analysis may not work in your favor.

Where do you start once you’ve decided on an SEO campaign? I listed out in order of importance below by category starting with tasks which take the least amount of time but provide the largest benefit. Start at the top and work your way down until you’ve hit your cap for time and resources:

  1. Technical – Assuming you are using a standard Content Management System such as WordPress, most of the technical aspects of your campaign can be handled in a few minutes to a few hours using off-the-shelf free or low-cost plugins assuming you don’t have too many pages. Here’s an article with reviews of a few of these plugins: https://www.wpbeginner.com/showcase/9-best-wordpress-seo-plugins-and-tools-that-you-should-use/. If you have a custom HTML site, this project could take considerably longer and will require some technical assistance in most cases. Here’s a free SEO checker to get you started: https://www.semrush.com/lp/site-audit-2/en/.

  2. Content –
    a. Content and links usually go hand-in-hand. The more content you have to share on social media, the easier it is to get people to link to it. This is why, if you have to choose between quantity and quality of the content you are posting, always go for quality. It will make your SEO campaign far more successful with less effort than attempting to get people to link to lower quality content.

    b. You should post consistently. As an example: if you only have resources for 4 articles per month, then post them one per week rather than all 4 at once.

  3. Links –
    a. Add your business to Google My Business and verify your address. It’s one of the most important aspects of your SEO campaign. Do the same for Facebook, Bing and Yelp. Run a Google search to find any directories specifically devoted to your industry and request to be included. It won’t take long and will make it easier for your customers to find you.

    b. Create all of your social channels such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Quora, Reddit and Snapchat. Be sure to add a link to your site from the profile sections.

    c. Add a social post across your newly setup channels daily if possible. Break out your content into shorter snippets to generate multiple posts out of a single blog article and link back to the article each time you use content from it.

    d. Join social sites such as Quora and Reddit to communicate with people who have an interest in the same subject matter. Search for and answer questions specific to your industry when possible. Each one of these connections and interactions will generate links back to your profile which is then linked back to your site.

If you plan to outsource this process, the pricing is all over the map depending on frequency and difficulty of the content writing and posting, and level of sophistication in the link building and technical aspects of the campaign. Expect to pay between $100 and $150 per hour for technical and link building and $25 to $75 per hour for blog writing. Social media management will cost you an extra $1k to $3.5k a month. The total package will cost you between $2.5k and $7.5k per month.

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