Marketing has never been cheap. But fewer items are more important than the one responsible for exposing a brand to new potential customers. For this reason, the U.S. Small Business Association recommends that businesses with less than $5 million in annual sales devote between seven to eight percent of gross revenue to all types of marketing. Of course, this includes online marketing, website development, print advertising, public relations and event hosting. The marketing budget is stretched thin in most organizations.
While there may be several competing areas for marketing dollars, business owners are being advised not to skimp when it comes to spending on SEO services. According to a recent study, which was released by Backlinko, business owners who shelled out a little extra for their SEO services reported being much happier with the results.
The study surveyed 1,200 business owners, asking them questions related to their SEO goals, metrics, budget and level of satisfaction with their current SEO service provider. The following are a few of the interesting discoveries:
- The average cost of SEO services is about $497 per month.
- There was a strong correlation between higher spending and higher business-owner satisfaction.
- Eighty-three percent of small business owners cited “accessing new customers” as the primary goal of their SEO strategy.
- Client satisfaction is low, with just 30 percent of business owners saying they would recommend their current provider to a friend or colleague. Approximately 65 percent of business owners claiming to have worked with more than one SEO-service providers.
- The location of an SEO-service provider is important to 78 percent of small businesses.
Of course, to fully understand these numbers, a more in-depth look is necessary. For example, while the average amount spent by business on SEO services is just under $500, this includes a few top-tier spenders who shell out $25,000 or more per year. Removing these outliers from the equation would reveal that most small businesses are spending significantly less than $500 per month on SEO-related services. As the study shows, roughly 50 percent of all small businesses are spending less than $1,000 per month.
Perhaps the study’s most interesting find is the link between the amount of money spent on SEO services and client satisfaction. For example, business owners that spent upwards of $500 per month on SEO services were 53 percent more likely to consider themselves “extremely satisfied.” At the same time, those who spent less than $500 per month were 73 percent more likely to be dissatisfied.
The key takeaways from the study are that small businesses are spending less on SEO services than previously thought, and trying to trim a few dollars from the SEO budget may be the reason why so many are unsatisfied with their current providers. Small businesses need to connect with specialized SEO providers that understand their business, goals and customers. When the ideal provider is located, business owners should remember that diverting a little extra into SEO may be the best investment they can make because, when it comes to SEO, you get what you pay for.
Tony Chiaramonte is a content developer for law firms at Custom Legal Marketing.