Small business owners by nature can have limited time and resources, so it’s understandable some may view spending money on SEO with some hesitation. Will I get an ROI? How quickly will I see results? Can I trust this SEO agency? Is it the right time to hire an SEO agency?
There may well be a bunch of other questions when considering committing to SEO services. So it’s understandable that small business owners want to get a good value for money service they can trust.
But let’s be clear from the start. SEO is not cheap. If you’re paying £100 or less a month for SEO services chances are you’re wasting your money. If the affordable figure you had in your head was around £100. You need to think again.
Most of the time an agency’s fees will be based on time spent. Hourly rate X hours spent on account = Monthly fee. (£50 x 10 hours per month = £500).
There are many facets to an SEO strategy and the services that an agency provides. So what should those hours be spent on? Can you trust the agency is focusing on the right things for your business?
With that in mind, we’ve put together this affordable SEO for small businesses checklist to ensure you never miss a step, know what you’re looking for in a great SEO agency and how much it will likely cost.
Why is SEO Vital For Small Businesses?
Oftentimes, small business owners forget about SEO and the important role that it plays in their businesses. Without a proper SEO campaign, small businesses can’t tap into the vast ocean that is Google (and sometimes Bing) of potential customers looking for products and services just like theirs.
Your website is the main component of your SEO campaign. But, having a great site isn’t enough to rank for the terms you want. Without improving your website, writing quality content and building off-site authority for your business across the web. You will never see results with organic search. And without the skills to implement these tasks, your SEO efforts can be wasted or quickly turn into a waste of time and resources.
That’s where well-priced, outsourced SEO comes in. If you don’t have time or the desire to dedicate to your SEO, outsourcing this work is the best way to get results.
The Cost of SEO in the UK
According to Statistica, the average cost of SEO across the UK as of 2020 was £901.50, however this can usually range from around £500 to over £9000.
The cost of SEO from our point of view is all relative to certain factors. For example, if you’re a small plumbing business looking to rank for [plumber location] chances are you won’t need to spend £1000 per month to do that. You’re likely looking around the £500-£750 mark.
But, if you’re a new eCommerce business looking to rank for “office chairs” and tap into a nationwide market, you’re going to need to be spending closer to that £9000 per month mark.
Of course, SEO is an ongoing project. It needs to be maintained over time as Google and Bing update their algorithms and introduce new features that could affect search rankings. In that sense, it can’t just provide a quick fix or one-time boost to your site. The best financial results come from consistent efforts to refine your on-page SEO, build links and keep an eye out for new opportunities to capture.
Want to understand more about SEO costs? We go into more detail in our blog:
So, What Should Be Included in Affordable SEO Services?
So if you’re looking for affordable SEO services, and want to make sure you’re getting the best value for money make sure the below is included in your SEO package.
- Technical SEO
- Content Marketing
- Link Building
- SEO/Digital Consultancy
Our SEO Checklist Infographic below is a great base starter list of what to look for in affordable SEO services that will let you know if your service provider is worth it or not, and they show you some great ways to get ahead of the competition.
Technical SEO Checklist
For technical SEO services, you should expect a thorough SEO audit report in the beginning stages, this will focus on issues that need to be fixed. This could include things like improving page speeds, identifying thin content, optimising metadata of key pages etc.
As far as technical services go, there are potentially hundreds of things that can be done to improve your website for search engines, but below are some of the key areas your agency should review:
- Technical SEO Audit – Identifying site wide issues & fixes
- URL Structure
- Website Navigation
- Page Speed
- Metadata Optimisations
- Structured Data
- Internal Links
For optimisation, technical issues should be dealt with first and foremost. Ensuring that your site is indexable, fast loading and crawlable will be the difference between a good SEO service that helps your website rank higher or not doing anything at all for you.
Content Marketing Checklist
Content marketing is a key part of SEO and can be an extremely good way of driving more traffic to your website, and building topical authority.
Having a content marketing aspect within the SEO services provided is a must. Regularly producing topically relevant content is a great way to boost your search engine rankings, as well as create brand awareness and thought leadership, but only if you have the right team in place.
The best way to ensure that your SEO agency is a good fit in regards to content writing is to check that their services follow our initial content marketing service checklist:
- Keyword Research
- Targeted Content Strategy & Calendar
- Unique, Informative Content
- Content Refreshes
Again, the affordability of SEO content writing does depend on the size of the campaign you are looking for. Within the package you are looking at there may be a set amount that is produced. Make sure this is clear before you sign up to anything and make sure it’s more than 1 a month, the more the better.
Link Building Checklist
Link building can divide the SEO community on its effectiveness and need. Link building is simply the process of getting more websites to point to yours. The intricacies of good link building that will actually improve your websites ranking is where the good and bad SEO is separated.
- Guest post outreach (not at scale, high quality relevant websites)
- Secure industry Interviews
- Podcast outreach
- Digital PR campaigns (this is normally in higher priced SEO)
- Variety of link building methods are used
- They do not pay for links
The main thing you need to ensure is that the links being built will not harm your website. So be sure to ask any potential SEO agencies how they build links. They want to be mentioning the above terms. From an affordability point of view there again may be a set amount of links they will be building each month. Here you need to ensure high-quality links are being built rather than quantity.
If you’re a small local business, the SEO services may mention building local citations, whilst this is important it should not be counted as link building or included in the total amount of links built. Local SEO is very important for small businesses, and there’s a lot more to do than just local citations.
SEO/Digital Consultancy Checklist
This may not be included in all the SEO services you are looking about so it could be a good question to ask when vetting an SEO agency.
As part of our SEO packages we offer digital consultancy included. We don’t just stick to SEO tasks. For example, if a client wanted advice on overall digital strategy, or what other channels they could work with to grow their business we will provide that information and no extra charge.
So check if they can:
- Provide advice on overall digital marketing strategy
- Provide general marketing support
Again this isn’t something that most agencies will do. We like this as it sets us apart slightly. So it would be a worthwhile question to ask of any potential SEO agencies you’re considering hiring.
This can also help make your chosen SEO services more affordable. Of course, there may be a limit with how much they can do or how many additional hours you can use this for without being charged.
Determine what your “affordable” is…
So if you’ve made it this far and have found yourself thinking “I can’t afford to pay £901.50 a month” it’s not the end of the world. To figure out what “affordable” SEO you can actually afford do the following.
Step 1: Figure out what you can afford to pay each month, for the next year.
Yes, that’s right for next year. You need to be committed to SEO for the long term so figure out how much you can pay for each month for the next 12.
Once you have this figure you can start shopping around. Now of course, depending on what this figure is will affect how much work is carried out, which is where our checklists above are designed to help.
If your budget is less than £500 per month, jump to point 3.
Step 2: Research SEO agencies
The next point is fairly logical. You can Google “affordable SEO agency” or “cheap SEO agency” and see what comes up.
Use our checklist above to ensure their SEO services include the things you need, take note of the hours they will spend on your account, what work they will carry out etc.
Make sure you take a look at case studies and reviews to get an idea of how good they are.
Step 3: If you still can’t afford an SEO agency
It will be hard for you to find effective SEO for less than £500 per month. You may see packages advertised at £99 per month but if you use our checklist they will most likely not contain the things you need to see results.
If your budget is between £100 – £500 per month you may want to consider the following instead.
Look for a small business SEO consultant
An SEO consultant may be able to provide you with the affordable SEO services your budget allows. This may be a better fit for your business at this time and if done right can prove the channel will work. You can use an SEO consultant whilst you continue to grow your business until you monthly SEO budget reaches a higher level
Try to do the basic SEO yourself.
If the budget you have in mind is way off the figure we have been quoting you may be better off trying SEO yourself, you can read up on the latest small business SEO tips and strategies and see if you want to give it a go yourself. That is a risk though.
But just the basics, to see what that entails check out these two guides below.
- SEMRush: DIY SEO: 6 Steps That Anyone Can Follow to Get Results
- Ahrefs: DIY SEO: A Basic 4‑Step Guide That Anyone Can Follow
Do not hire an SEO agency for £100 or less per month.
This will likely be a waste of money.
Get Your SEO Right With Dandy
At Dandy Marketing, we offer all of these SEO services in a range of affordable SEO packages, each tailored to suit your needs.
We can also help you get your SEO right with digital consultancy services. Either way, we’ll meet your needs and aim to surpass your expectations.
Plus, we offer no lock-in contracts, meaning you can get affordable SEO help on a monthly budget you can afford!
To find out more about Dandy’s extensive range of SEO services, contact us today!
So – here’s your small business checklist of affordable SEO basics.